a space to engage with colleagues in conversations that matter
a space to engage with colleagues in conversations that matter

Our Guiding Purpose

We are guided by the academic success of all students. Ultimately, the measures of our success are improvements in students’ persistence, achievement, and graduation rates—particularly students who are the first in their families to go to college and those from groups historically under‐served in higher education. 

A Note from the Director


To our community,

Last month I made the exciting announcement that the 2022 National Summer Institute for Improving Undergraduate Education will be held in person on the Evergreen campus. While I am thrilled to return to an in-person gathering, I also know this is in no way a return to normal.  If anything, the past 18 months have brought renewed energy and focus on our mission to serve students equitably in their pursuit of an undergraduate degree.

I hope you will consider bringing a team to the summer institute to work on a project or initiative that is important to your campus. A key principle of the institute is that we offer tailored supports - that means the institute is designed in response to your goals. When you commit to bringing a team, we select resource faculty that have the expertise you need to meet your goals
The institute offers your campus team the time and support need to develop action plans for equity-focused initiatives.
Almost any initiative that has the goal of improving equitable outcomes for students is appropriate for the institute. Potential project areas include
  • Addressing equity gaps
  • Learning communities as a high-impact practice
  • First-year experience (FYE)
  • Guided pathways 
  • Evidence-based teaching & learning
  • Holistic and culturally competent advising
  • Equity-minded professional development for faculty and staff
  • Learner-centered assessment and building a culture of evidence
  • Serving and supporting returning adult students
The 2022 institute offers an opportunity to take stock and plan with intention for the future we know we need for students and our communities. It is an opportunity to REMEMBER the promise a college degree holds.  It is an opportunity to RENEW ourselves with a REFOCUS on the enduring principles that guide our work. It is an opportunity to REBUILD RELATIONSHIPS.
In Community,
Share your stories with us on Twitter (@WaCenterTESC) or the Washington Center Slack Space.

Now accepting applications! 
The National Summer Institute Returns in July 2022

23rd Annual National Summer Institute for
Improving Undergraduate Education

July 11-14, 2022
The Evergreen State College | 
Olympia, WA
Submit a team application now!
After a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, we are thrilled to invite campus teams to join us on the Evergreen State College's beautiful campus for the Washington Center's 23rd annual National Summer Institute for Improving Undergraduate Education
The Washington Center Summer Institute offers your campus team the time and support they need to develop action plans for equity-focused initiatives.
You bring a team of invested people with knowledge about an issue that matters on your campus. We will provide skillful coaching, a tested action-planning process, and thought-provoking opportunities to learn from well-known experts. [Learn More.]

Application & Fees

The fee for your team is determined by the date you submit your team's application.
  • $1,400 per team member (Applications received before February 1, 2022)
  • $1,500 per team member (Applications received by May 31, 2022)
  • $1,650 per team member (Applications received after June 1, 2022)
*Registration fees include the cost of the conference (including all sessions), lodging for four nights (July 11-14, 2022), and all but one meal. Participants are responsible for travel costs.

Health and Safety

Your ability to lead is critical to your project. That’s why we’ve taken health and safety as a crucial consideration in our planning. [Read our health & safety statement]

Change is hard.

What can we learn from community organizing?

The Washington Center Collaborative hosts monthly mini-workshops led by the dynamic and talented Resource Faculty. These free, virtual workshops offer a taste of what you can expect to experience at the summer institute. 
Learning to Think Like a Community Organizer in Order to Advocate for Student Success: Collaboration is Key
Thursday, November 18, 2021 | 10-11:15 am (Pacific Time)
Facilitated by Emily Lardner (Vice President of Academic Affairs – Highline College) and Rachel Singer (Senior Resource Faculty – Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education)
The need to make our institutions work for students has never been clearer. Considering the past two years, the challenge of making genuine, substantial change is daunting. How can we learn from the traditions of Community Organizing and Collaborative Leadership to help us move forward to make the changes our students deserve? Join us in a deep dive to understand how we can take action on our campuses in order to make positive and lasting change.
There is NO COST to participate.
RSVP today!

About the Collaborative

In 2020, the Washington Center launched the Washington Center Collaborative as a place where higher education scholars, practitioners, and administrators convene to learn with supportive colleagues. The Collaborative consists of monthly convenings, a newsletter, and a slack space.
RSVP now for December’s workshop: “Where do we go from here, sacred ground or battleground?” Facilitated by Jen Leptien (Iowa State University), Larry Roper (Washington Center), and Sonja Wiedenhaupt (Evergreen State College).
We encourage you to join the Washington Center Collaborative Slack for future workshop announcements and to connect with colleagues. 

Community Highlights

National Learning Community Collaborative Launches Learning Community Program Directory

Learning community programs have proliferated on college campuses for the last 30+ years. Jean Henscheid argued in her 2015 article, It is Time to Count Learning Communities, that it was time to determine the scope and range of learning community programs in place at America's colleges and universities. The Learning Communities Collaborative -- a cohort of practitioners, researchers, and organizations -- has taken up the call to count by creating a national resource directory for living-learning community, residential college, coordinated studies, linked-course learning community programs and others. 

We are delighted to announce that the directory is now available and has entries for 275 learning community programs from a wide variety of institutions. The directory is searchable by state, region, and institution type. We encourage learning community faculty and practitioners to use this directory to build community, share resources, and learn from one another. 

Over the next several weeks, this directory will be introduced to learning community practitioners at several national conferences. We want to ensure that all institutions offering learning communities, living-learning communities, coordinated studies programs, and residential colleges are represented in this directory as it is shared nationally. To update an existing entry or to add your institution to this directory, please visit the National Learning Community Directory Submission Form.

The directory is hosted by the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education.  Please direct questions, suggestions, or other comments to washcenter@evergreen.edu.

Register Now: National Learning Community Conference 

October 21-22, 2021
Registration is now open for the 2021 virtual National Learning Communities Conference. The theme for this year’s conference -  Cruzando Fronteras, Creating Communities -  is all about how learning communities help build bridges across traditional disciplinary and departmental boundaries on our campuses. [Learn more and register today.]
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