Dangerous Skills

Fall 2021
Freshman Only
Class Size: 23
8 14 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

This program incorporates Greener Foundations. Greener Foundations is Evergreen’s 2-quarter introductory student success course, which provides all first-year students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive at Evergreen. First year students will get 14-credits from this program, and 2-credits from a Greener Foundations course. In order for first year students to complete registration in the 16-credit program, you will also need to register for the Greener Foundations sections specifically designed to work with this academic program using CRN 10076. 

College presents itself as an opportunity to learn useful skills - skills that will help you get and keep a job and make yourself 'marketable' in the workforce. Employers no doubt value and seek out foundational humanities skills like effective writing, critical thinking, creative imagination, independent research skills, multilingual capacities, and the ability to work with diverse communities. However, in addition to being useful skills, these are also dangerous skills: these are the same skills that activists, artists, organizers, and community leaders use to make change, speak truth to power, and challenge unjust power dynamics. In this first-year program, we will explore ways in which writers, artists, and organizers have used humanities skills like journalism, creative writing, archival work, translation to engage in the world, address injustice, strengthen community resilience, and spark social transformation.

As part of our work in this program, we will look at examples of how people have used these dangerous skills in the world, while also strengthening those skills ourselves. Weekly readings will invite us to explore the work of writers and poets such as Valeria Luiselli, Gloria Anzalda, and Patricia Smith. Through weekly readings, lectures, seminars, and workshops, students will develop and strengthen skills in reading, writing, critical thinking, and community-based work. The program will also provide an introduction to Evergreen's unique interdisciplinary learning structure and offer support in navigating the first year of college.

This hybrid program will feature both remote and face-to-face learning. Students will need to be in the Puget Sound area and have technology and Internet access that supports Zoom. Lectures and workshops are likely to be remote, and seminars and day trips to community-based organizations face-to-face. In total, roughly half of classroom hours will be face-to-face, and half will be remote on Zoom.

The 8-credit program core will focus on developing reading and writing skills, and will include lectures, workshops, seminars, readings, and writing assignments. Students taking the program for 16 credits will also have the opportunity to develop foundational community-based and research skills through visits to community organizations and a focus on archival research; students taking the program for 16 credits will have additional readings, assignments, seminars, workshops on community-based skills and archival work, and field trips to local organizations. Writing assignments will include seminar responses, synthesis essays, and creative work.

This program is being developed in collaboration with the Dangerous Skills Working Group, which involves faculty from other universities across the U.S.


Fall 2021 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (14): 10016
Fr (8): 10017

Academic details

Preparatory For

Education, Communications, Public Service, Nonprofits, and any other careers and fields of study that require critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$50 entrance fee for students to participate in community-based events


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting