Eric Stein, Commons Faculty Scholar – A Virtual Give Back!

As we near the end of this academic year, I hope you will join me in virtual appreciation for Eric Stein as he winds down his term as the 2nd Learning and Teaching Commons Faculty Scholar.  I’ve penned some remarks below and I hope you will add your own by creating a short note of appreciation at

Over the course of this year, Eric has made remarkable contributions to learning and teaching at Evergreen. We got a peek inside some of this work at the Faculty meeting where Eric presented findings from the Syllabus Design Group he chaired this spring. Eric led this group of faculty, staff, and students in an assets-based review of syllabi. And as we saw, their work yielded a skeleton syllabus and important recommendations that will improve the accessibility and usability of syllabi for students.

Eric also helped refocus the Commons Conversations this year to center issues of immediate relevance to faculty.  This year’s conversation series included discussions about creating successful online learning communities, the impact of emotional labor on faculty work, supporting student resiliency, and planning for in-person teaching in the fall.

As co-chairs of the Learning and Teaching Commons Advisory Council, Rachel Homchick, worked closely with Eric. Her words echo my experience of partnering with Eric this year:

Over the last year I have had the tremendous honor of witnessing and supporting Eric’s work as the Commons’ scholar during unprecedented times, when it is often true that the best laid plans have had to be tossed aside for some new envisioning at every turn of the corner. Eric has handled all of this with tremendous grace, a willingness to collaborate across significant differences, and a certain poise that I think all of us can aspire to. He put aside the goals he had envisioned for himself and stepped up to support the college where it was most needed—notable by collaborating with different workgroups across the college on issues that matter.

Although this year has not been the year Eric or I originally planned for, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I have had to work and learn with him. Perhaps it was not the year we planned for, but it was a year of even more growth than I could have imagined. Did I mention that Eric did all this while teaching?  

~Rachel Homchick, Assistant Director, Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education

As Rachel notes, this year didn’t go as planned. Not even close. Despite these challenges Eric consistently demonstrated a caring persistence, resilience, and creative problem solving that always centered the student experience. Thank you Eric! 

On behalf of all the staff, we missed the experience of co-working in the Center with you and hope you will come visit us often when we are back on campus.

In Community,

JuliA Metzker (on behalf of the staff of the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education)

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