Washington Center Staff

Washington Center Staff


Julia Metzker, Director 

I believe in the power of a liberal arts education to transform individuals and heal communities. 

I have experience in many aspects of building effective learning environments and assessing student growth. I am thrilled to be able to continue this work as the Director for the Washington Center.  Prior to joining Evergreen and the Washington Center, I served as the founding Executive Director for the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence at Stetson University.

I received my first degree from The Evergreen State College where I learned first-hand the value of a transformative liberal arts education.  I obtained a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from the University of Arizona and completed a post-doctoral appointment at the University of York in York, UK. In my 10 years as a chemistry professor at Georgia College, I discovered the power of community-based learning to engage students and was selected to champion the institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan as the inaugural the Director of Community-based Engaged Learning at Georgia College in 2016.  During my journey of discovering myself as an educator, I was fortunate to find a cohort of like-minded university educators and we co-founded of the Innovative Course-building Group (IC-bG) – a grass-roots social network for learning that supports teaching faculty and staff across disciplines.  Our most recent endeavor, Course Design for Essential Learning, helps faculty build courses that use dilemmas, issues and questions (DIQs) to inspire students and facilitate transformative student learning. I am also particularly proud of my recent work with Imagining America’s Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship, a research group that is reimagining and reclaiming the democratic potential of assessment.

I hold many identities. I am a life-long learner. I am a faculty developer. I am cis-gender.  I am a feminist. I am a scientist.  I am a humanist.  I am a knitter.  I am a wife.  I am a Gemini. I am addicted to podcasts. I am a citizen.  I am an educator. I am a daughter. I am an occasional farmer. 


Rachel Homchick, Program Coordinator

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 the Center's national events, regional workshops, and committee meetings. I am also the editorial assistant for the Learning Communities Research and Practice e-journal, and I provide ongoing support for the daily operations of the Center, including strategic planning, budget management, and staff leadership. As 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.


Katie Frank, Office Assistant 3

I am a Bachelor of Arts graduate of The Edward R. Morrow College of Communication at Washington State University, with a minor in Public Relations /Hospitality Administration.  Previous positions held  in the last 12 years at Evergreen were the Certification Officer /Registration & Records,  Agency Transportation Officer and Assistant to the Director of Alumni Relations.  Before Evergreen my State of Washington employment was as a Financial Services Case Manager / Department of Social and Health Services for 10 years.  Years before was in Construction Project Management/ Event Management/ Financial Accounting for Hilton, Hyatt and Atlas Hotels and as National Event / Sales Director for Ride Hard Apparel Inc. in conjunction with The National Rodeo Finals for 16 years.

Having been at Evergreen for the past 12-plus years and a State employee for over 20 years, I am always excited to see the difference our students and graduates make in the world; both while they are here and once they graduate. I enjoy supporting them during their time here.    Evergreen is  a unique college that prepares our students to follow our core values of Inventing, Evolving, Focusing, Learning and Evaluating their achievements and preparedness for entering the working world successfully from a different perspective. 

I love to volunteer.  I am a member of The Associated Junior Leagues International /The Junior League of Olympia.  Both are Women’s Volunteer Organizations committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.    I serve currently as VP on the League’s Board.  As past the President of Junior Leagues of Washington State (JLWS), I worked on diversity, inclusion and collaboration initiatives in conjunction with our state legislature.   Additional volunteer work: 10 years Red Cross Disaster Action Team leader/volunteer deployed to our regional fires.   I am a mom, mother-in-law, dog mom and grandma for our 4 grown kids and our lab Dakota.  I am a hiker, skier, kayaker, traveler, fisher, hunter, crab/clam hunter with my husband of 26 years. I am an avid concert junkie, crafter and spur of the moment road tripper.

Charles Favor, Clerical Office Aide

I am currently a student at The Evergreen State College where I am half-way through my senior year. Unsure as to what comes next, I am looking forward to what life has in store. 

At the Washington Center I complete various organizational and miscellaneous tasks.

Finn Stupakoff, Clerical Office Aide / AV Tech

I am currently on my fourth year here at the Washington Center. I love being able to learn about learning communities first hand with the wide variety of people that come here. My duties include mostly Audio/Visual work along with helping in the office with a multitude of tasks.

National Advisory Committee


Emily Lardner Ph.D, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs – Highline College 

I believe deeply in the power of collaboration, and that teaching and learning are best accomplished through trusting relationships and teamwork. I am passionate about the role education can play in helping students find their voices and their paths. 

For over two decades, I had the privilege to work at the Washington Center, collaborating with colleagues at Evergreen, across Washington State, and nationally on projects aimed at improving student learning and student success. Through the summer institutes, campus consultations, conferences, and national projects, I met faculty and staff committed to making institutions work better for students, particularly students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education. I also taught as an adjunct faculty member in Evergreen’s Evening and Weekend Studies Program.

I am currently serving as the interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Highline College. Prior to that, I had the opportunity to serve as the Vice President for Instruction at Grays Harbor College. Prior to coming to the Washington Center, I worked at the English Composition Board at the University of Michigan, including several years as the Associate Director for Writing Assessment. 

I earned an MA and PhD from the University of Michigan in English Language and Literature, and a BA from Augustana College in Illinois. 


Joye Hardiman, Professor Emeritus, Arts & Humanities – The Evergreen State College

I am a teacher, educator, global traveler, storyteller and life long learner.

I am passionate about teaching and learning, student engagement and retention, culturally inclusive pedagogies, integrated curriculum designs, resistance and resiliency studies and applying ancient and global wisdoms to contemporary situations. My approach to work (and life) is shaped by my practice of appreciative inquiry and my perpetual interest in identifying and shifting negative paradigms that shape our worldviews and hinder our sense of possibilities. I have considerable expertise in the following high impact practices: learning community design, service learning, undergraduate research, and viewing students as valued partners.

I served as the Executive Director of The Evergreen State College’s Tacoma Campus from 1990 to 2008. During my tenure, the campus instituted a value based—inclusivity, hospitality, reciprocity and civility—infrastructure and an “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve” mission statement; became a Public Art Project destination; and had a retention and graduation rate of more than 89%.

I have over 45 years of experience as a practitioner of learning community excellence, inclusive pedagogy and moving from deficit to asset thinking. I have worked as a resource faculty at NSILC since its inception. I have also done faculty development and student success work with a variety of leader community colleges, college districts, civic, state, regional, and national consortiums. Most recently, I presented at the National Learning Communities Conference and led workshops at Historically Black Colleges and Universities Faculty Development Network Institutes. I am currently the Dream Scholar Student Responder Coordinator for Achieving the Dream – Community Colleges Count Student Success Annual Conferences and a frequently sought after workshop designer and facilitator.

I am a Founding Member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) and a Fulbright Scholar. I have done extensive research on Africana History, Culture and Spirituality in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Mali, The Gambia, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, South Africa, India, the Yucatan, Trinidad, Brazil, Ecuador, Panama and Cuba. I am currently working on an autobiographical triptych and a one-woman show entitled “45 years of Indigestibility while in the Belly of the Higher Education Beast.”


Rachel Singer, Senior Resource Faculty– Washington Center 

I was at Kingsborough Community College for twenty-six years (1986-2012) serving in many capacities. Specifically, as the Director of Academic Affairs for ten years, I was fortunate to have overseen and been part of the Opening Doors Learning Communities and Advanced Learning Communities Programs. These learning communities target under-prepared students at Kingsborough and over the years expanded from an initial enrollment of 100 students each semester to over 1,200. Also, as Director of KCC’s Academic Scheduling and Evening Studies, I developed the college’s Weekend and Evening College, allowing non-traditional students to earn a degree by attending classes solely on weekends and in the evenings.

After leaving Kingsborough Community College, I joined Achieving the Dream as Vice President of Community College Relations and Applied Research, and later as Senior Fellow (2011-2018). During my tenure there I worked to promote the adoption of evidence-based reforms in teaching and learning and college practices to improve student success.

I am delighted to say that I am now the senior resource faculty for the Washington Center’s National Summer Institute on Learning Communities and the Teaching and Learning National Institute.


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.

Sonja Wiedenhaupt, Faculty, Masters in Teaching Program – The Evergreen State College

I came to Evergreen as a psychologist with a particular interest in learning and motivation. For the last fifteen years, I’ve been teaching in the Masters in Teaching program. This two-year coordinated studies learning community and K-12 teacher certification program integrates themes of democracy, multicultural and equity-minded perspectives, and developmentally appropriate teaching practices.

I have also developed and taught in a range of undergraduate interdisciplinary programs including Health and Human Development, a program that used biology, psychology, anthropology, and intercultural communication as tools for learning about physiological and psychological development in a cultural context; Reinhabitation, a first-year program that used psychology, field natural history, and community service to investigate the question of what it means to be an inhabitant in a community; Waste and Want: The Psychology, Business and Science of Consumption, a first-year program designed to investigate the nature, influences and impacts of consumption; Climate Change: Action and Influence, a program that examined the scientific global warming data and explored the psychological factors that made climate change a contested issue.

I teach and work to refine in my own practice in the following areas, including how to:

  • use the principles of learning to inform instructional decision making;
  • structure opportunities for metacognition that support motivation and learning;
  • structure group work and dialogue to promote inquiry and interdependence; and
  • engage inquiry oriented critical reflection.

Learning Communities Research and Practice E-Journal Team


Janine Graziano, Editor (Kingsborough Community College)

I wear a number of hats at Kingsborough Community College—I am the Director of our Center for Teaching and Learning, a Professor in the Department of English, and a member of the coordinating team for Kingsborough’s Learning Communities program. My master’s degree in TESOL and my Ph.D in Linguistics (first language acquisition) reflect my interest in language learning, although in the past fifteen years, that interest has expanded to include learning, in general, and integrative learning, in particular. As a result, much of my current work focuses on collaborating with faculty at Kingsborough and across the country to foster and assess students’ integrative thinking in learning communities. It has also been my pleasure to work with campus teams as Resource Faculty at the National Summer Institute on Learning Communities, and to serve as President of the Learning Communities Association.


Gabrielle Kahn, Editor (Kingsborough Community College)

I am an associate professor in the department of English, and former co-director of the ESL learning communities program at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY. I have been privileged to partner with faculty from across my institution from such disciplines as Psychology, Health Education, and Philosophy to explore best practices in community college education. Based on these experiences, I can’t imagine teaching any way other than “team teaching.” My research interests are grounded in Vygotskyan Sociocultural Theory, which sees teaching and learning as a fundamentally collaborative endeavor. A recent focus of my work has been assessment-in-community, which calls upon students, as well as teachers and administrators, to reflect upon their experiences in learning communities in a group setting. As co-editor of our e-journal team, and member of the Learning Communities Association, I look forward to contributing to the continued development of the field of learning communities research and practice, and, along the way, continuing to grow as a teacher, learner, and scholar.   


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.