Welcome back: Gearing up for the 2019-2020 academic year

Dear Evergreen Faculty,

As the newly installed director for the Learning and Teaching Commons, I am overjoyed to have the opportunity to welcome you back to campus.  I hope that you were able to spend some time rejuvenating and enjoying the long days of summer!  While you finalize your preparations and plans for your Fall Quarter courses and programs, here are a few updates and resources from the Learning and Teaching Commons.

  • The Commons has a new website at http://sites.evergreen.edu/LTC!  Here you’ll find information about programs and events as well as updates from the Commons Advisory Council.  We are still in the process of updating content and welcome your suggestions.
  • As you think about welcoming students to your programs and courses, you may wish to check in with the wonderful resource prepared by Julie Levin Russo, Elizabeth Williamson, and Joli Sandoz, Welcoming Students to Inclusive Learning Spaces.  This document is an excellent compendium of strategies and approaches for creating a welcoming classroom environment and includes helpful materials for syllabi and covenants.  We invite you to share your suggestions for inclusion in this living document by leaving a comment in the margins.
  • Coming off the tails of an amazing set of Evergreen Summer Institutes that attracted an audience of 479 faculty and staff, the Commons will be piloting several Communities of Practice to continue and expand the learning that we started this summer.  Opportunities to join will be shared through email and on the Commons Website.
  • The Learning and Teaching Faculty Scholar[1], Joli Sandoz, will continue to offer teaching consultations to individuals and teams.  If you have a teaching challenge or are looking for a sounding board, send an email to learningandteaching@evergreen.edu to schedule an appointment.
  • We’ve planned an initial three Commons Conversations on topics we hope will provide ‘just in time’ support for you during the quarter. Joli Sandoz and I are soliciting your ideas for conversations in Winter and Spring quarters.
  • We are also planning future potlucks where we can come together in community over food.  Stay tuned!

Finally, after last week’s retreat, it is clear that the renewal work we have ahead will require us to embrace change.  As we venture into thinking about Evergreen’s future, it is my hope that the Commons will provide a space for renewal and connection.  I invite you to share your suggestions or ideas about how the Commons can support our community during this time by sending me an email at metzkerj@evergreen.edu.

In Community,

Julia Metzker
Director, Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education

Coda: For those of you who I have not met, let me introduce myself (virtually) …

My name is Julia Metzker and I joined the Evergreen faculty in June as the director of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education – home of the Learning and Teaching Commons. I graduated from Evergreen in 1994.  My time as a student at Evergreen was a truly transformative experience where I discovered a love (and talent) for science. With important encouragement from Dharshi, I took a leap and went to graduate school in chemistry.  That step lead me to a career teaching at a public liberal arts college in Georgia and ultimately directing centers that support the critical teaching and learning work that faculty do with students in the liberal arts.  Coming back to Evergreen is a fantasy I’ve often engaged in over the last 25 years.  And here I am!  You can learn more about my career journey on at my bio.
[1] In an attempt to use more inclusive language, the Learning and Teaching Commons Faculty Fellow title has been renamed as the Learning and Teaching Faculty Scholar.

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