Join the Washington Center Collaborative Slack space for future workshop announcements, event resources, and to connect with colleagues. 

The Washington Center Collaborative convenes higher education faculty, scholars, practitioners, and administrators to discuss emergent issues of importance to our collective work educating and supporting undergraduate students. If you’ve ever attended one of our institutes, you know first hand the magic that can happen when a team of people who’ve chosen to work on an issue come together to have the conversations that matter. We launched the collaborative in fall 2020 as a way to keep connected during a pandemic-induced hiatus from our in-person programming. We continue to host the collaborative to sustain a conversation that spans boundaries between and within our campuses.

The Collaborative consists of free monthly convenings like those listed below, a newsletter, and a slack space. If you haven’t yet joined the slack workspace, we encourage you to do so. This text-based, asynchronous space is a place for us to continue the conversation, share resources, and build our community. 

Intentional, Joyful, and Affirming Course Beginnings


Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 | 10:00 - 11:00 am (Pacific Time)

Cynthia Alby, Georgia College and State University
Karynne Kleine, Georgia College and State University
JuliA Metzker, The Evergreen State College
Caralyn Zehnder, University of Massachusetts Amherst

In these times when students and faculty are dealing with uncertainty, burnout, and anxiety, we need to intentionally build connection and community in our courses. And we need to begin doing this on the first day of class. An engaging, community-building course introduction can increase students’ sense of belonging, build anticipation, and generate excitement. In this interactive workshop, we will help translate ideas from Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters to education, and participants will plan course introductions that welcome and build community.

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*Recordings for many of these workshops are available in slack.*

Making Courses Memorable: Beginning and Ending


Tuesday, May 9th, 2023 | 9:00 - 10:15 am (Pacific Time)

Cynthia Alby, Georgia College and State University
Karynne Kleine, Georgia College and State University
JuliA Metzker, The Evergreen State College
Caralyn Zehnder, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Too often we open courses by reviewing the syllabus and end them with a final exam. In both cases, we squander critical opportunities to engage learners, build relationships, and reflect. In this interactive workshop, the facilitators will help translate ideas from Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters to education, and participants will apply those ideas to course design. Participants will plan course introductions that welcome and build community and course conclusions that allow for looking inward and looking outward.


Are your HIPs HIP?
Monday, April 17th, 2023 | 9:00 - 10:00 am (Pacific Time)

Janine Graziano, Kingsborough Community College
Carlos Huerta, Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi

There’s a lot of talk in higher ed about the positive effects of High-Impact Practices (HIPs). But simply implementing Learning Communities and additional HIPs without incorporating the features that make them “high-impact,” will not lead to desired outcomes. In this interactive workshop, we will consider what makes HIPs high-impact, how to intentionally implement effective HIPs at our institutions, and how to embed other HIPs into Learning Communities to make them even more effective.


Strategies that build community - social belonging is key
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 | 10:00 - 11:15 am (Pacific Time)

Cynthia Alby, Georgia College and State University
Karynne Kleine, Georgia College and State University
JuliA Metzker, The Evergreen State College
Caralyn Zehnder, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Students that better engage with their peers, professors, and advisors learn more, are healthier, and have stronger affiliations to their institutions. In this interactive workshop, participants will examine and practice strategies for building community through the lens of social belonging research. Three easy to implement strategies will be demonstrated and current research will be shared.


Seeking Student Engagement in Assessment
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | 9:00 - 10:30 am (Pacific Time)

Jaime O'Connor, The Evergreen State College

Students bring a much-needed fresh perspective to learning outcomes assessment, breaking faculty out of familiar patterns that can sometimes enshrine assumptions and biases contrary to equitable assessment practice. Student engagement in assessment can be accomplished following many models and at any stage of the assessment process. In this workshop, faculty will explore the possibilities for forming partnerships with students within the context of their own course, program, and institution with the goal of gaining insights to improve transparency and equity in assessment.


Tools for Teaching and Learning -- Creating Integrative Assignments with attention to Culturally Responsive Teaching
Monday, Nov 14, 2022 | 9:00 - 10:30 am (Pacific Time)

Jennifer Whetham, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Sonja Wiedenhaupt, Evergreen State College

In thinking about equitable student outcomes, there is value in focusing on the qualities of assignments and opportunities for students to learn through them. Integrative and interdisciplinary assignments can invite students to work in meaningful ways that reach beyond the four walls of the classroom. During this session, we will begin to think together about some principles for creating accountable and culturally relevant learning spaces through these assignments. This hands-on session guides participants through the process of developing an integrative or interdisciplinary assignment through a backwards design process that considers the qualities of: (i) questions for inquiry; (ii) learning outcomes; and (iii) materials and co-curricular opportunities that inform the inquiry and assignment. Imagining the “end” result from the very beginning leads to a curriculum planning process that can help faculty design appropriately scaffolded assignments and engage students by being transparent about the purposes behind those assignments -- a process that can also be used to design integrative co-curricular activities.  Finally, we will take a moment to think together about the opportunities for engaging work like this as part of a campus strategy for the action plan to meet some team goals.


Sometimes the Best Laid Plans: Creating Sustainable LC Programs
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022 | 9:00 - 10:00 am (Pacific Time)

Rachel Singer, Washington Center Senior Resource Faculty
Janine Graziano, Kingsborough Community College-CUNY

We usually put a lot of energy into launching our LC programs, but often don't consider if our programs, once established, can weather the storms of change. How can we design LC programs that have resiliency? Please join us as we consider the key questions we need to address and the features we do need to include to create LC programs with staying power.


Applying an Equity Lens to Assessment: Practical Frameworks and Institution and Program-Level Examples
Friday, April 15, 2022 | 12:00 - 1:15 pm (Pacific Time)

Shawna Freeman, Highline College
Jillian Kinzie, Indiana University Bloomington
Aaron Moehlig, Highline College

Conducting assessment in ways that recognizes and centers our increasingly diverse student populations, improves equity in learning, and that helps close achievement gaps is critically important in higher education today. What does assessment look like when we attend to issues of equity? This collaborative workshop introduces equity-centered assessment and then highlights the efforts at Highline College to assess college-wide outcomes and implement program reviews and improvement with an equity lens.

Engaging the campus community: Thinking strategically about communicating your vision
Friday, March 4, 2022 | 10-11:15 am (Pacific Time)

Wendi Dew, Valencia College
Tate Hurvitz, Grossmont College

Change is hard, even in the best circumstances.  So how can we avoid making important changes even harder - and maybe even help move them forward - by communicating them effectively?  Who should do the telling?  With whom should we communicate, and when?  How do we tell?  What do we include (and why)?  Come learn some tips and spend some time unpacking the possibilities for communicating a change project at your own institutions.

Where do we go from here, sacred ground or battleground?
Thursday, December 9, 2021 | 10-11:15 am (Pacific Time)

Jen Leptien, Iowa State University
Larry Roper, Oregon State University
Sonja Wiedenhaupt, Evergreen State College

Over the past year, the deep wounds in our nation, local communities and campus environments have been revealed in astounding ways. Our campuses have experienced conflict, controversy and activism. Our students, faculty and staff bring with them to campus personal lived experiences, emotions, attitudes and behaviors that reflect the impact of the world and our social realities. As we begin to emerge from these tumultuous times, we must ask ourselves, where do we go from here? Do we continue on the path of conflict and confrontation or do we elevate our commitment to health and wholeness and honor the sacredness of our human communities? Our time together will look at the tensions we face and issues to consider as we move towards creating healing as restorative spaces.

Learning to Think Like a Community Organizer in Order to Advocate for Student Success: Collaboration is Key
Thursday, November 18, 2021 | 10-11:15 am (Pacific Time)

Emily Lardner, Highline College
Rachel Singer, Washington Center for Improving Undergraduate Education

The need to make our institutions work for students has never been clearer. Considering the past 2 years, the challenge of making genuine, substantial change is daunting. How can we learn from the traditions of Community Organizing and Collaborative Leadership to help us move forward to make the changes our students deserve? Join us in a deep dive to understand how we can take action on our campuses in order to make positive and lasting change. 

Post-COVID: What will we take forward?
Friday, April 23, 2021

Julia Metzker, Washington Center at Evergreen State College

This last year has been like none other. Many of us have changed the way we teach and work drastically. We are moving into a season of anniversaries, which include loss and change. For the final conversation of the year, Julia Metzker will guide you through a structured reflection  designed to help  articulate the learning and growth we’ve collectively experienced over the past year. And to make commitments to carry forward new approaches and, say goodbye to parts of the last year we won't miss.

Affective Labor: The Need for, and Cost of, Workplace Equanimity
Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Lee Skallerup Bessette, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University

What is affection and emotional labor, and how have staff in particular been asked to perform this form of labor during COVID-19 and beyond? Join us for a discussion about what we can do to start recognizing and rewarding this important form of labor we perform.

Post Covid19: What to do when the plan keeps changing?
Friday, February 26, 2021

Julia Metzker, Washington Center at Evergreen State College
Jeannette Smith, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, what have we learned? How do we take this opportunity to do our work differently as we plan for fall 2021? How do we sustain ourselves while also providing better experiences for students?

Opportunities that Trauma Affords: Trauma-Impacted People as Assets in Communities
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tara Hardy, Evergreen State College

Explore the uses and benefits of trauma-impact showing up in our work with students. We will collectively investigate opportunities that arise from the impact of trauma being expected and accounted for in our learning communities. 

How can political science help us understand the results and implications of the 2020 Elections?
Monday, November 16, 2020 

Carlos Huerta, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

In this conversation, we will discuss explanations for why individuals choose to vote and how they make their vote choices. In addition, the Dr Huerta will provide some analysis of the 2020 election results and implications for governing and democracy.