Recast | New Directions for Evergreen Initiative Update

From: “Geri, Laurance” <>
Date: Monday, May 3, 2021 at 3:02 PM

Hi Everyone: The New Directions initiative continues to move forward.  Thanks to the many faculty and staff who have contributed to this effort. Over the last several weeks the project leadership team has been working with the project team leads, the project Steering Committee, the Student and Academic Life Leadership Team (SALLT) and others to finalize an implementation schedule for the various elements of the project.  I’ll summarize below where these elements are, as some are still in a design phase, others are moving toward initial implementation, and the Paths project is deep into implementation. 

As Interim Provost David McAvity has shared in some earlier communications, the elements of the project we will focus on over the next several months will be Paths, Certificates, and Flexible Studies, or “Flex.”  These are the cornerstone elements of the initiative that offer the greatest opportunity over the next 12-15 months to help us meet the project’s key goal of raising our enrollments.  By the end of the academic year the project leadership team will complete a detailed report on the initiative that will include an updated implementation plan.   

The Paths project has made excellent progress under Amy Betz’ leadership.  On April 15th a key feature went “live,” as students’ could indicate in the Academic Progress section of their My Evergreen account if their preferred learning approach was to design their own Path, or follow a pre-planned Path, and if the latter to indicate what Path or Paths (up to two) they intended to follow.  Students who respond (so far, 280 as of April 26th) will receive communications about specific advising opportunities, events, and updates in curriculum to support them in their education.  Thanks to the hard work of many faculty members and the campus Web Team, we have also updated the college’s Fields of Study webpages and the Paths pages.  And Amy offered several advising sessions to faculty and staff to provide them with a detailed update on the overall project.  

The Certificates team led by Sue Feldman and Abir Biswas has completed a draft certificate policy and a draft certificate design handbook that continue to be refined as they work with faculty, work force partners and the implementation team to establish how the college infrastructure will support both grad-applicable and non-grad-applicable credit certificates. The group is also developing a proposal for administrative support for our certificates program through the School of Professional Studies.  And a team is developing a college-wide policy for self-supporting programs such as summer school and certificates.  We are starting off Fall 2021 with a few certificate options that you will be hearing about soon. 

The team developing a proposal for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies completed an initial draft proposal that was shared with the SALLT.  Since our intent is to rename Evergreen as a university, this structure is likely to emerge as the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, with a Graduate School and School of Professional Studies.   

A major focus of New Directions over the next year will be our efforts to expand access to educational opportunities for working students, returning adults and other students wanting to complete an unfinished degree, get additional credentials to support their career, or explore other educational interests.  This will entail expanding access to online and part-time pathways to degree, especially in areas connected to workforce development and other areas of high student demand.  It will also require coordination with certificates and Paths, and development of sensible support structures.   We are calling this effort “Flex,” short for flexible studies.  As David McAvity shared last week, Lori Blewett will lead this work and is working with us to pull together a team for this project, while he refines a charge and workplan for this work.  The goal is to complete a detailed Flex proposal by the end of this summer.  David provided more details on the Flex model in an email this morning and will provide additional information at the faculty meeting this Wednesday, May 5th.  

The Capstone workgroup led by Stacey Davis has made significant progress, starting with the team’s consensus definition of a capstone project.  They agreed that the equity goal for Evergreen should be the availability and support for all students to make the choice to undertake capstone experiences, rather than a capstone “requirement.”  The group will partner with the LTC to create a series of short videos and documents giving examples of current (spring 2021) students explaining their capstone projects/experiences and the steps they took to prepare for their capstone.  The group is likely to be on hiatus during summer ’21 and return to the project in fall ’21 should the college commit to implementation.  

The Holistic Advising team is preparing an application for Title III funding for the project, entitled “Holistic Advising:  Coordinated Services and Technologies with Community and Career-Connected HIPs.”  The proposal focuses on activities that provide robust and integrated Coordinated Technology Support, coordinated services to meet student basic needs, and build resilience and student success strategies; systematized advising practices focused on faculty/staff partnerships and navigational support; and community and  career connected learning to promote student goal setting, confidence in career options, and access to high impact community-engaged practices through Advising connections to faculty and alumni.  We anticipate an early June deadline for this grant proposal.   

The HAPPieR (Holistic Advising: Policy & Practices Review) team worked in sub-teams during fall and winter quarters to discuss and make recommendations on syllabi and credits; evaluations; and academic standing and required leave. The focus was on policies and practices that may create obstacles for students.  The group has completed a draft report which is available on the New Directions website at  

We are continuing to work on development of Paths in psychology and health, and in business and entrepreneurship.  Elizabeth Williamson is working with the psychology and health faculty, and I’m working with the business and entrepreneurship faculty.     

I’m pleased to share that the team developing the Center for Climate Action and Sustainability completed a position description and job announcement for the position of Center Director, and the search process is underway.  The group hopes to hold interviews in late May or early June with candidate selection around end of the academic year.  The candidate selected will likely begin in August or September 2021.   Please share the announcement for the position widely with your colleagues and networks:   

There will be a meeting on May 12th of faculty and staff who developed and supported the Interdisciplinary Arts and Design proposal crafted last year, plus those involved in the Interdisciplinary Computer Science Big Bet proposal.  The group will explore opportunities for cross disciplinary program and Path planning between visual arts, media arts, and computer science, ideas for certificate programs that link design and technology, and discuss the potential to design a concrete proposal for funding.  

Finally, several planned summer institutes relating to the project are being planned including: 

7/12-13 SPRJ03 School of Professional Studies (Days 1 and 2); 7/23 (Day 3)   

7/22-23  SP04 Holistic Advising: Supporting the Whole Student through an Equity Lens  

7/22-23  SPRJ00 Climate Center Launch 5  

7/23; 7/29-30  NTS04  Designing Certificates (Embedded or Stand-alone) with Support! 

8/12  TE08   Effective Capstone Experiences  

Thanks everyone!   Please send any comments or suggestions to 



Larry Geri, DPA

Curriculum Dean, The Evergreen State College

360-867-6616  he/him pronouns

Library 2017  2700 Evergreen Parkway NW  Olympia, WA 98505

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