We are thrilled to announce the 22-23 and 23-24 Commons Scholars!

The Learning and Teaching Commons Scholar promotes a generative culture of interdisciplinary teaching and learning that is student-centered, equity-minded, inquiry-oriented, and committed to access and excellence. The scholar fellowship provides faculty an opportunity to lead in advancing Evergreen’s mission as an innovative public liberal arts college that emphasizes collaborative, interdisciplinary learning across significant differences.

Cali Mortenson Ellis, Commons Faculty Scholar, 2022-2023

Cali Mortenson Ellis

Cali Mortenson Ellis has been a faculty member of Evergreen’s Master in Public Administration Program since the Fall of 2017. Before coming to Evergreen Cali received her PhD in Public Policy and Political Science from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor. She has a BA in economics from Bates College and a MPP from the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy. Cali previously worked in the Homeland Security Directorate of the Michigan National Guard, the Michigan Governor’s Office, and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.  She is an author of Why Leaders Fight (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and has published in the Journal of Applied Security Research (2008), PS: Political Science & Politics (2012, 2014), Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (2013), International Interactions (2015), Enterprise Development and Microfinance (2015), and Michigan War Studies Review (2013, 2014, 2015). In 2016, Cali was be at the University of Southern California Center for International Studies as a Hayward R. Alker Postdoctoral Scholar Research Associate.


What does excellent and inclusive online education look like at Evergreen? As our community moves past the pandemic, forward-looking students expect high quality and equitable education that embraces the advances in technology that affect all aspects of life and learning. While it is not possible to return to the way things were before the pandemic, the Evergreen community has a unique opportunity to bring the Five Foci of Learning to an innovative and student-centered online approach to learning that improves equity and outcomes for current and future students. 

Cali’s proposed project meets a critical institutional need to develop robust materials to support and train faculty that teach online. Her combined experience as an Evergreen faculty and with online teaching practices will lead to materials tailored to supporting Evergreen’s unique approach to teaching, learning, and evaluation – a need that can’t be met through available certification programs on the market. Cali sees this project as an important opportunity for Evergreen to offer students consistent experiences across online and hybrid learning that center student success and equity. Cali’s research into evidence-based practices for online pedagogy, integration of these practices into all of her classes in the MPA program, and service on the online policy task force during fall and winter quarters position her well to engage in this work.

Anthony Zaragoza, Commons Faculty Scholar, 2023-2024 

Anthony Zaragoza

From a steelworker and poker-playing family, Anthony Zaragoza has worked at The Evergreen State College since 2004 (nine years at Olympia and eight at the Tacoma campus). Zaragoza has been teaching and learning political economy, popular education, and cultural studies inside and outside academia including inside prisons as well as various public and community spaces. He taught and researched in Kobe, Japan and Milan, Italy. Recent teaching and research projects include “Neoliberalism in the Neighborhood,” which examines economic, political, and social changes in communities over the last 50 years, including his own neighborhood in Hammond, East Chicago and Gary, Indiana. This work evolved into gathering, sharing and teaching through political economy stories from his family while helping students develop their own families’ political economy narratives. In these multimedia, story-gathering programs the learning communities discovered some important things about what they know and how they learned it, which led to Zaragoza’s most recent project “Shit You Should Know,” which gathers participants’ most significant knowledge from throughout their lives.


Anthony’s proposed project applies a methodology for inventorying individual knowledge to develop a collective story of life lessons in the learning community. He’s crafted this methodology through teaching and study over the last several years. Anthony hopes to bring this methodology to gather knowledge from faculty, staff, and students about education at Evergreen. By asking questions such as “What is your most important knowledge about teaching and learning?” or “What should teachers know about students and their lives?” or “What should new Evergreen educators know about learning and teaching at Evergreen?” this project will develop multi-modal materials that not only document experience but also will serve to contribute materials for new members of the community to better understand teaching and learning at Evergreen. A phrase from Anthony’s proposal sums it up best: people power through popular education. This project has potential to tap into the best elements of communities of practice: connecting people around a shared context and facilitating generative dialogue to learn from one another.

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