Washington Center Staff

Washington Center Staff


Joye Hardiman, Interim Director and Professor Emeritus of Arts and Humanities at the Evergreen State College

I am a teacher, educator, storyteller, keynoter speaker, institute designer, global traveler, and classically trained improvisational artist.

 I am passionate about teaching and learning, student engagement, culturally inclusive pedagogies, integrated curriculum designs, resiliency studies and applying ancient and global wisdoms to contemporary situations.

I have over 40 years of experience as a learning community practitioner. I was a Washington Center Founding faculty (1985). I have been a Resource Faculty for Washington Center/ Ford Foundation Cultural Pluralism Project (1990 –1993); the Pew Charitable Trust/ Washington Center Learning Communities Dissemination Project (2000- 2003); and the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities (1998-2018). 

I have done faculty development and student success work with a variety of 2 year and 4 year colleges and national higher education venues including the National Learning Communities Conferences, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Faculty Development Network Institutes and the Achieving the Dream - Community Colleges Count Annual Conferences.

I served as the Executive Director of The Evergreen State College's Tacoma Campus from 1990 to 2008. During my tenure, our retention and graduation rate was consistently more than 89%.

Brenda Orzino, Program Coordinator

In my current position as the Program Coordinator at the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, I coordinate the Center’s activities and projects. Over the course of the year about half my time is dedicated coordinating the

National Learning Communities Summer Institute, the Using Evidence for Improvement: Teaching and Learning National Summer Institute, and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning National Summer Institute. I work closely with the National Advisory Committee and with multiple offices on the Evergreen campus in planning our summer institutes.

I provide support to regional and state-wide learning community networks. I am ex officio member of the Learning Community Association representing Washington Center and I serve on their webinar committee.

I am an alumna of The Evergreen State College, graduating in June 2012 with a focus in Leadership, Management, and Systems Theory.

Before coming to The Evergreen State College, I attended Grays Harbor College and graduated with both an Associate of Arts degree and an Associate in Applied Science – Business Management and was honored as a President’s Scholar. I am a member of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. My prior work includes Hospitality Management and Accounting.

Rachel Homchick, Office Assistant 3

I am an adventurer. I love exploring the world through traveling, backpacking, river rafting, reading, researching, and writing.

In my role at the Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education, I provide support for both the planning and the execution of Center events, including the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities and the Teaching and Learning National Institute. I’m also the editorial assistant for the online journal, Learning Communities Research and Practice, and I provide ongoing support for the daily operations of the Center, including the administration of our website and database. As a graduate of the Evergreen State College, I am keenly aware of the importance of Learning Communities and just how powerful they can be when done well. I am very proud to be a part of a team that is furthering this pedagogical practice.

Abby Lynch, Clerical Aide

As a student staff member at the Washington Center, I do my best to make sure things around the office run smoothly. I work closely with the other members of the Washington Center Staff, and complete various database and clerical tasks. I am fascinated with Evergreen’s interdisciplinary programs, and began attending in September 2014. I hope to channel my love of nature, science, art and writing into books for children.

Curriculum for the Bioregion Project


Jean MacGregor, Director

I direct Curriculum for the Bioregion, a faculty- and curriculum-development initiative whose mission is to prepare students to live in a world where questions of sustainability—the complex issues of environmental quality, community health and wellbeing, and environmental justice—are paramount. Begun in 2005, Curriculum for the Bioregion supports faculty members, primarily from colleges and universities in Washington State, as they integrate sustainability content into a broad array of courses and disciplines and as they situate learning experiences in the places where we actually live. I also am an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate Program on the Environment at Evergreen. Both these roles bring together my longstanding interests in place-based learning, civic engagement, and the creation of academic communities for students.

National Summer Institute on Learning Communities Planning Team

Joining Joye Hardiman and Brenda Orzino on this project are:


Emily Lardner Ph.D, Vice President of Instruction – Grays Harbor College 

After serving at the Washington Center for twenty-one years, I'm honored to step into the role of Vice President for instruction at Grays Harbor College, a community college in Aberdeen, WA. I'm currently serving as editor of Learning Communities Research and Practice as well. 

Rachel Singer, Senior Fellow – Achieving the Dream, Inc.

Currently, I am a Senior Fellow with Achieving the Dream, Inc. (ATD), a non- profit educational reform network consisting of nearly 200 community colleges from across the country. In this role, I help to promote the adoption of evidence-based reforms to improve college effectiveness and student success. I also work with colleagues to design the content of ATD’s annual learning institute DREAM, which convenes close to 2,000 practitioners, policymakers, and thought-leaders from across the higher education reform field to unveil cutting-edge research and create opportunities for deeper learning and real-time information sharing to promote action and foster progress in higher education.

Previously, I spent 25 years at Kingsborough Community College, working in various roles, where I coordinated and oversaw several successful learning community initiatives.

National Advisory Committee

Joining Joye Hardiman, Brenda Orzino, Emily Lardner, and Rachel Singer on this project are:


Pat Hutchings, Senior Scholar – National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

I am a senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA). My work has focused on a variety of strategies for creating a campus culture of teaching and learning: student learning outcomes assessment, assignment design, integrative learning, the peer collaboration and review of teaching, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.  Prior to my work with NILOA I was senior scholar and vice president at The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  Recent publications include The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Reconsidered: Institutional Integration and Impact, co-authored with Mary Taylor Huber and Anthony Ciccone (2011); and, as part of the NILOA team, Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (2015).  I received my BA from Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa.

Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director Center for Postsecondary Research Indiana University

I am the Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Institute, Indiana University School of Education. I conduct research and leads project activities on effective use of student engagement data to improve educational quality, and serve as senior scholar with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) project. I am a co-author of Assessment in Student Affairs (2016), Using Evidence of Student Learning to Improve Higher Education (2015), Student Success in College (2005/2010), and One Size Does Not Fit All: Traditional and Innovative Models of Student Affairs Practice (2008/2014). I am co-editor of New Directions in Higher Education and serve on the boards of the Washington Internship Institute, and the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. I received the Robert J. Menges Honored Presentation by the Professional Organizational Development (POD) Network in 2005 and 2011. I earned my PhD from Indiana University in higher education with a minor in women’s studies. Prior to this, I served on the faculty of Indiana University and coordinated the master’s program in higher education and student affairs. I also worked in academic and student affairs at Miami University and Case Western Reserve University.

Jen Whetham, Program Administrator for Faculty Development – Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

It is my great pleasure and honor to serve the faculty of the Washington State CTC system as program administrator for faculty development at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). In my role, I work with faculty, staff and administrators across Washington State to deepen individual and collective expertise in a variety of instructional areas. 

I earned my MA in English Literature at Western Washington University in Bellingham in 2001, and I earned an MFA in poetry from Pacific University in 2008. As a former faculty member (I taught a variety of English courses for more than a decade at a number of Washington State institutions of higher education), my overarching goals are to support educators with self-directed professional learning experiences– namely through communities of practice and faculty learning communities.  

I am currently increasing emphasis on support for the scholarship of teaching and learning, leadership development programming for faculty, and a greater emphasis on inclusive teaching and course design. Because I think a lot about the evolving role of our faculty and how best to provide educators with professional learning experiences that model the kinds of effective learning experiences we wish to provide our students, I am excited by the potential of this Institute in terms of providing practical strategies and techniques as we make a paradigm shift in terms of professional development– to move away from the “one and done” model of stand-alone workshops, and instead support faculty learning endeavors that are iterative, long-term, multi-faceted, tuned to local contexts and goals, data-based, and respectful of learners as knowledge-creators.

Learning Communities Research and Practice E-Journal Team

Joining Emily Lardner, Editor on the LCRP E-Journal are:


Sara Huntington, Associate Editor (The Evergreen State College)

Expertise: writing, research, and information systems

Interests: library science, library research methods, librarianship, English and satirical literature, rhetorical, professional, technical, and scientific writing (and any combination of these writing disciplines), cultural studies of science, information systems

Lynn Dunlap, Copy Editor (Skagit Valley College)

As an associate of the Washington Center, I frequently serve as one of the resource faculty for the summer institutes on Learning Communities. I am also a member of the editorial board and copyeditor for Learning Communities Research and Practice.

My own long-standing research and teaching focus has been the quality of learning and teaching and, in particular, integrative learning. Currently, I mentor new faculty at Skagit Valley College, where, prior to retirement, I taught composition and film studies for 34 years.