Transformations: Energy, Education and Society


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

physics, education
social informatics, computer supported cooperative work, computer science, software engineering
composition, education, literature

The promise of a liberal arts education has always had two dimensions: the opportunity to develop personal skills and abilities and the opportunity to develop the skills and abilities needed to engage meaningfully in a diverse society.  In this program, we will focus on both aspects while exploring the transformation of ideas and ideas about specific transformations.

Our explorations will be set within a context of 'transformations' as viewed from multiple disciplines.  For example, we will study the physics of energy transformations within the context of climate change. We will consider transformations in thinking made possible by skillful and attentive reading and writing.  We will explore the use of social theory and technology in social transformation.  We anticipate additional topics such as transformational geometry and its role in both mathematics education and computer graphics.  At the core of this program will be guided instruction at multiple levels in writing and mathematics as well as a general focus on the creation, critique, and communication of ideas.

While we study the theme of transformations from disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, we will also look at the role of education and the specific goals of each student. Andrew Delbanco argues that a liberal arts education helps "people take stock of their talents and passions and begin to sort out their lives in a way that is true to themselves and responsible to others."  To this end, we will ask each student and the learning community as a whole a variety of questions: In what ways will you and your college classmates transform the world after you graduate from Evergreen? What knowledge and skills will you need to participate in and contribute to these transformations?  What do we need to know and be able to do in order to not just survive but thrive in the present?  How can you use your education to contribute to the wider public good?  How is education itself transformational, and what type of education is best to promote the learning we need?

The design and structure of this program attempts to find ways to build on what incoming students already know, especially students who transfer into Evergreen after completing work leading to significant learning in other contexts.  Our definition of "transfer student" includes community college transfers as well as veterans of the military and individuals returning to college after starting their careers.  The program is also designed to support students who plan to become teachers and need specific credits in mathematics and other areas.

The program is based on creating and sustaining cohorts of learners, and we aim to develop a sense of community that extends beyond the first year of a transfer student's time at Evergreen.  Students who have participated in the Transformations program are welcome to return in future years to serve as peer mentors, project team members, research associates, or casual observers.  A variety of credit options are available for these future roles.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule: 6:30-10p Mon/Wed, 9:30a-4:30p Sat (fall: Oct. 12, 28, Nov. 9, 23, Dec. 7; winter: Jan. 11, 25, Feb. 8, 22, Mar. 8; spring: Apr. 12, 26, May 3, 17, 31)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online:


Date Revision
May 29th, 2013 Cancelled due to low enrollment and staffing changes.

Registration Information

Credits: 12 (Fall); 12 (Winter); 12 (Spring)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50



Because this program is designed for new transfer students, priority will be given to juniors and sophomores who are new to Evergreen.  Seniors on the wait list may be admitted to this program if there is space available by the first week of class.

Course Reference Number not yet available.


Accepting New Students


Priority will be given to continuing students and juniors and sophomores who are new to Evergreen.

Course Reference Number not yet available.


Accepting New Students


Priority will be given to continuing students and juniors and sophomores who are new to Evergreen.

Course Reference Number not yet available.

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