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

A note from the director

Oh what a difference a month makes.  The resilience of community is both inspiring and comforting. My last note came from a place of pain and worry as I processed the very fresh events of Jan 6th.  In the intervening month, I’ve been witness to the incredible dedication and resilience of the higher educators that work every day to help students transform themselves into agents of change. The day-to-day of our work is often challenging, sometimes frustrating and occasionally soul-filling. I celebrate all of you engaged in this work.  AND I hope that you know how valued and valuable each of you are.

In that spirit, this newsletter offers a variety of ways we can convene to talk about important issues that impact us while also providing one another support and solidarity.  I encourage you to attend the webinar for a book I recently co-authored (#humblebrag), join one of our upcoming monthly conversations, write about your good work building learning communities in times of COVID, attend a workshop that explores the “high-impact” nature of learning communities, OR let us know how you are getting on in slack
In Community,
Julia Metzker, Director
Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education

How is equity being produced at your campus or institution? We invite our readers to consider submitting short stories of success or challenge to be featured in our monthly newsletter.  If you have an idea, send an email to the Washington Center.
The Evergreen State College Welcome Woman figure in the snow.

Book Announcement & Webinar

We are thrilled to announce that the Washington Center’s director has co-authored a book!  Join Julia Metzker and her fellow authors for a webinar where they will discuss their book, Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education. In this webinar, they will explore three persistent themes - equity, culturally-affirming teaching strategies, and design principles. 
DATE: Wednesday, March 24
TIME: 9:00 am PST | 10:00 am MST | 11:00 am CST | 12:00 pm EST
LOCATION: Register in advance for this event
The Zoom webinar is co-hosted by Myers Education Press and Stylus Publishing  
Register Here!

Monthly Conversation Series

Each month, the Washington Center Collaborative hosts free monthly conversations where higher education scholars, practitioners and administrators convene to discuss topics relevant to our collective work supporting student success. Join the Washington Center Collaborative slack to continue the conversation, share resources, and connect with colleagues.
There is NO COST to join the conversation series. 

Post Covid-19: What to do When the Plan Keeps Changing?

Jeannette Smith, Interim Associate Dean of Student Affairs & Engagement
Julia Metzker, Director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education
Evergreen State College
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, what have we learned? How do we take this opportunity to do our work differently as we plan for fall 2021? How do we sustain ourselves while also providing better experiences for students?
DATE: Friday, February 26
TIME: 11:00 am PST | 12:00 pm MST | 1:00 pm CST | 2:00 pm EST
LOCATION: RSVP for Zoom link

Affective Labor: The Need for, and Cost of, Workplace Equanimity

Dr. Lee Skallerup Bessette, Learning Design Specialist with the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) at Georgetown University
What is affection and emotional labor, and how have staff in particular been asked to perform this form of labor during COVID-19 and beyond? Join us for a discussion about what we can do to start recognizing and rewarding this important form of labor we perform. 
DATE: Wednesday, March 17
TIME: 12:00 pm PST | 1:00 pm MST | 2:00 pm CST | 1:00 pm EST
LOCATION: RSVP for Zoom link

Events & Updates

Call for Authors: Learning Community Research and Practice

Explore articles addressing the need for us, in our practices, to remain steadfast in our view that individual students are empowered through their social activity in the most recent edition of the journal.

Spring 2021 Special Issue | Learning Communities: Remote Learning & Teaching

The Washington Center is seeking reflections from learning community practitioners about their experiences teaching in a learning community during a global pandemic. What have you learned that you will carry forward? How have trauma-informed teaching strategies impacted your practice? What barriers have been lowered as a result of distance learning, and what strategies have you employed to tackle the challenges?
As members of the LC community, we thrive best when we can connect theory to practice in meaningful ways, while simultaneously hearing a variety of perspectives and strategies. The Learning Community Research and Practice Journal offers a platform for documenting and sharing your experience with a  community eager to learn and grow.
The Fall 2021 Special Issue of the journal will focus exclusively on ways in which learning community programs adapted to the challenges of educating students during a pandemic that required social isolation. The deadline for the special issue has been extended to July 15, 2021. Authors are encouraged to submit manuscripts that share lessons learned and describe the creative responses they used to sustain learning community programs in remote learning environments.

Submissions are still being accepted for the Spring 2021 Special Issue. [Learn more]

Learning Community Association Webinar Series

A Framework to Evaluate Learning Communities as High-Impact Practice

DATE: Wednesday, March 10 
TIME: 1:00 pm PST | 2:00 pm MST | 3:00 pm CST | 4:00 pm EST pm LOCATION: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/734815093
Learning Communities are considered High Impact Practices, but how often do we investigate whether our practices are truly high impact? This workshop will summarize the current literature, offer research examples that illuminate new findings, and offer ideas to start down this path. Developing experimental evidence should not be considered extra, but rather a foundational support for LCs' existence and expansion. There is a need for regular assessment of practices that engage our students because implementation varies at every campus. Learning Communities stand out when supported by quality evidence that marks the practice as being High Impact. 
Please join the Learning Community Association webinar from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (312) 757-3121
Access Code: 734-815-093

Proposals Due February 26: Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities Best Practices Symposium 

Please save the date–Friday, April 30, 2021–as the Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities Best Practices Symposium goes virtual! Still co-sponsored by the College of DuPage, we are currently accepting presentation proposals from both member and non-member institutions across the country. Our theme will be “Creating Communities During COVID: What We’ve Learned and What Can Take Back to the Classroom.” 
Submission deadline: Wednesday, February 26.
Review submission details
Visit www.consortillc.org/symposium for more information.

LAST CALL: Learning Community Directory

Over the last 35 years, learning communities have been adopted by campuses across the country as a high-impact practice that supports student success. 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. 

This Learning Communities Collaborative -- a cohort of practitioners, researchers, and organizations -- is taking up the call to count by creating a national resource directory for living-learning community, residential colleges, coordinated studies programs, linked-course learning communities and others. As this directory is established, institutions will be able to search programs in both their state and region in an effort to build community across institutions, learn from one another, and explore the possibility of sharing resources. 

If you haven't yet had a chance to do so, we invite LC administrators and coordinators to submit information about your learning communities to a comprehensive national directory of learning communities in higher education. The deadline to be included in the first official directory listing is March 1, 2021.
Submit Information to the Directory


We are for 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. As a high impact strategy, learning communities offer a powerful learning environment for students at key points in their educational pathways, and implementing successful learning community programs in an intentional way helps to build institutional capacity for transformation.
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