he Evergreen State College takes summer seriously, but it also works to make summer fun. Evergreen’s summer programming offers current students new and exciting opportunities. It provides working and other students the chance to continue to make good progress toward graduation. Summer at Evergreen also engages members of our local and regional community with the chance to join in the experience, since summer courses open to everyone. Overall, summer students have the chance to concentrated learning in service of their academic, life, and career goals.
Dr. Kathleen Eamon, academic dean for Summer, Study Abroad, and Evening & Weekend Studies at Evergreen, sees summer school as playing an essential role supplementing the regular academic year. “The concentrated courses and intensive five-week sessions are a real change in pace from the rest of the academic year, often giving students a chance to really focus on one subject or skill or to participate in unique experiential learning.” With some 5-week, some 10-week, and lots of day, evening, and weekend courses and programs, the summer school curriculum also offers ample choices for busy students with tight schedules. The addition of a fourth quarter also helps students who want to graduate in under four years make quicker progress.
Summer offers students and community members the chance to gain a new skill, from graphic design and scientific illustration to Latin, archeology, or earning a certificate in wilderness first aid. Students from other universities often choose to take an Evergreen course and transfer that credit to their home institution. Summer also offers a lot of pre-requisites for advanced work at Evergreen or various graduate programs, from statistics to lab-based sciences. And Evergreen’s summer curriculum offers plenty of chances for experiential learning, from field ornithology to the really exciting Alaska Wrangell Mountains Summer Field Studies –– a perfect example of what makes summer so different at Evergreen.
This “study away” field program brings summer students to the Wrangell Mountains Center in McCarthy, Alaska, a small community with no electricity or running water. The Center began partnering with Evergreen four years ago to bring its skilled interdisciplinary faculty in to plan and support innovative academic work at the Center and out in the Alaskan wilderness. Ken Tabbutt, a faculty member at Evergreen and a geologist, had the opportunity to serve as a faculty member at the Center in 2019 and found it to be an exceptionally profound and wonderful experience for everyone.
This seven-week summer program starts on June 22 and involves four weeks of backpacking trips in the backcountry. There are professional guides that come in to lead the trek along with Alaskan locals that share what life is really like there. The program is extremely interdisciplinary and incorporates sciences, arts and cultural studies all in one. “It is a well-rounded experience academically,” Ken says. It is limited to 12-16 students and 2-4 faculty members, who come from universities across the nation.
The connection that occurs within the cohort is just as important as the academics being taught on the trip. The personal challenges also serve as a great foundation for growth out in the backcountry. “Students learn something about themselves,” shares Ken. “I like teaching it because I like to see students have that transformational experience.” The combination of personal connection, academic personal projects, and physically demanding activities forces students to push themselves, so most of them return home with a new outlook.
This is just one of the many exceptional courses and programs featured in Evergreen’s Summer Academic Catalog. Most of the courses will be online, but some key opportunities will be hybrid or in-person, such as those held in the studios for the Longhouse Indigenous Arts Campus, on the Organic Farm, as well as some offerings that are outdoors and in the science labs. If you want to learn more about these courses, Evergreen invites you to attend the Academic Fair. At the Fair, you can connect directly with faculty teaching in summer to ask questions and learn more. This spring’s Academic Fair will be held remotely, on Wednesday, May 19. If you decide you’d like to register, current students can register starting Monday, May 24, and community members can register beginning June 1.
This summer, students and community members can also take advantage of a reduction in cost approved by the Board of Trustees to help students affected by the pandemic or current economic downturn. Like the academic year, this year summer students can register for between 10 and 18 credits for the price of 10, which is a big help for people maximizing their time in school while minimizing debt.
It is always a good time to learn something new, but summer might just be the best time. Whether you want to get a head start on the upcoming school year, try your hand at something exciting and new, or experience Evergreen’s excellent teaching and learning community, check out Evergreen’s summer programming today.