RECAST | Update on the New Academic Directions Initiative

From: Geri, Laurance
Sent: Monday, August 17, 2020 8:42 AM
To: All Staff & Faculty DL
Subject: Update on the New Academic Directions initiative

Dear Evergreen Community,  

This certainly has been a busy summer as we all adjust our approaches to working and living with physical distance. We’ve been participating in dynamic and enriching summer institutes that remind us of the brilliance of our colleagues and the resilience of our community. Is it just us or does time seem different in 2020?  Surely June was at least six months ago.   

As a newly formed Leadership team (Amy, Larry, & JuliA), we have been busy stewarding the “start-up” phase of the New Academic Directions initiative (aka Big Bets).  Over the last month the work of the initiative has focus on refining the conceptual designs for curriculum proposals with an eye toward implementation planning.  We are excited by the progress the various teams have been making and deeply appreciative for the creativity and tenacity of the Evergreen community.  We also know many of you are eager for news of the project.    

This message is one of many regular campus updates from the project leadership team to keep our community apprised of progress over the summer. As always, we invite you to connect directly with us for additional information on the project.  

Who is doing this work…  

One persistent question we’ve been fielding is Who is doing what?  We are working to make the answer to this question more transparent by posting the membership of all the groups and structure of the project at   

What’s happened…  

Curriculum Proposals: Proposals for new curriculum in the areas of Interdisciplinary Arts &Design, Climate Justice, Psychology, and Workforce Development have been completed and continue to be under review by the Feasibility Team.  Alumni feedback for these proposals was gathered through several focus groups and the teams used this feedback to refine their ideas. (Sidenote: Our alumni are amazingly talented by the way – attending those focus groups was inspiring and heart-opening!).    

Work underway…  

Over the last month, we’ve added many new people to the project to build out elements of the plan.  In particular we appreciate the contributions of the staff who joined a variety of teams following their participation in summer institutes. We are buoyed by the engagement of staff and faculty in this work – especially given the many demands we all have on our time.  If you are interested in joining any of these efforts, please reach out!  

  • Capstones: Stacey Davis and Steven Hendricks have launched a faculty team to develop guidelines and implementation strategy for capstones.  
  • Certificates: A new team led by Amy Betz and Sue Feldman is investigating a strategy for developing and sustaining a variety of exciting certificates.  
  • Wrap-around advising: Andy Corn, Cholee Gladney, and Therese Saliba have been leading a dynamic team to develop a proposal for holistic supports that center student success.  
  • Transcripts: Karen Gaul, Lori Klatt, and JuliA Metzker convened a fruitful summer institute to begin thinking about how the transcript could be restructured to support student success.  
  • Schools: A team lead by Trevor Speller and Larry Geri is developing design criteria to support model development for undergraduate and graduate schools.  This week we held two focus groups with faculty, staff and students on those design criteria.  A set of subteams will begin crafting possible schools models the week of August 17th.   
  • Feasibility and Implementation: Members of the Feasibility and Implementation Team have reviewed the four submitted curriculum proposals and are in the process of providing feedback to the various curriculum teams.    

    On the Horizon: Initial Project Report to the Steering Committee  

    A project report is currently being drafted to share with the Steering Committee.  Our goal is to have a draft version ready by Wednesday, August 19th and will be available at the Big Bets website (  This document will provide an initial summary of the many elements of the project. Subsequent versions will include an assessment of the costs, enrollment impacts and options for implementation of the proposed curriculum, plus details on the remaining elements of the project as we receive recommendations and reports from those project teams.   

    Best wishes,  

    New Academic Directions Project Lead Team:  

    Amy Betz 
    Larry Geri 
    JuliA Metzker  

Larry Geri, DPA
Curriculum Dean, The Evergreen State College

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