Learning Communities at Evergreen
The Evergreen State College opened its doors in the fall of 1971 with the mission of providing students in Washington state and beyond with a liberal arts and sciences education through team-taught, interdisciplinary learning communities. Ever since, the college has emphasized collaborative, integrative learning across significant differences.
In its early years nearly all classes at Evergreen were year-long, 16-credit learning communities. While these full-time programs remain at the core of Evergreen's curriculum, there are now 8-credit and 12-credit learning communities, often held in the evening and on weekends to accommodate working students. Seminars are the cornerstone of learning communities at Evergreen and collaborative projects are frequently included in students' coursework. Evergreen also offers single courses, such as statistics and foreign languages, to augment and complete the standard curriculum as well as opportunities for internships and independent studies.
At Evergreen, students design their own educational pathways, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Bachelor of Science degree, or a dual Arts and Sciences degree. Since Evergreen's entire curriculum is interdisciplinary, the college does not offer majors or minors. Students may choose to design an area of emphasis for their degree. Evergreen also offers Masters' degrees in Teaching, Environmental Studies, and Public Administration (including Tribal Management).
Evergreen uses a narrative evaluation process rather than grades to assess students' work. Students receive an evaluation from their faculty and are required to write a self-evaluation reflecting on their work.
Teaching teams typically design program curriculum each year. Some learning communities such as those required for pre-med degrees are offered annually, other programs recur periodically, and new learning communities are continually being introduced.