Imagining the Past

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General Principles of Education at Evergreen

We Believe...

The main purpose of a college is to promote student learning through:

Interdisciplinary Study

   Students learn to pull together ideas and concepts from many subject areas, which enables them to tackle real-world issues in all their complexity.

Collaborative Learning

   Students develop knowledge and skills through shared learning, rather than learning in isolation and in competition with others.

Learning Across Significant Differences

   Students learn to recognize, respect and bridge differences - critical skills in an increasingly diverse world.

Personal Engagement

  Students develop their capacities to judge, speak and act on the basis of their own reasoned beliefs.

Linking Theory with Practical Applications

   Students understand abstract theories by applying them to projects and activities and by pulling them into practice in real-world situations.



Evergreen Is About Learning ...It is about creating a community that works together to build knowledge, experience and insight. Everything we do is designed to foster collaborative learning among students, among faculty and between students and faculty. Our faculty is dedicated to teaching, to helping students learn to think critically, solve real-life problems and make the connections that lead to greater understanding.

Seminars and other aspects of Evergreen programs promote active learning. We believe it is not enough for students to receive information passively in a large lecture hall. At Evergreen, students discuss ideas in seminars, write about ideas in collaborative and individual assignments, explain ideas in presentations and practice applying ideas in laboratories and workshops. They challenge their own and others' ideas.

Students demonstrate PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT in their learning by planning their course of study at Evergreen. Students prepare an annual Academic Plan that they discuss with their current faculty; this plan will change to reflect students' evolving interests and academic needs.

We believe that if teaching and learning are to be effective, they must draw from many perspectives and include a multiplicity of ideas. This is true for teaching across disciplines; it is also true for teaching across differences. Evergreen believes in preserving and articulating differences of ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientation, rather than erasing them or pushing them to the sidelines, and this belief is reflected in the design and content of our programs.

This distinctive approach means that the day-to-day experiences of Evergreen students differ in significant ways from the experiences of students at most colleges and universities. For example, education at Evergreen is not sectioned into traditional academic disciplines like mathematics, English and biology. We do not believe in isolating bits of learning and presenting them as if they had no connection to other types of learning.

Evergreen faculty members typically work in teams of two, three or four to create these programs. The focus on interdisciplinary learning means program participants might look at problems in health care from the points of view of biology, history, philosophy, sociology, economics and literature. Or they might study the physical world through the interplay of physics, chemistry, philosophy and mathematics.

Students learn to apply their ideas and theories and skills in the "real world." At Evergreen, we call it bridging theory and practice. Students may work with real-world communities as a program assignment or develop an internship that allows learning and the application of that learning to take place within a business, public agency or a nonprofit organization.

Those interactions contribute to another distinctive process central to Evergreen's educational philosophy-the narrative evaluation system. At the end of a program, students discuss their academic progress one-on-one with faculty and receive written evaluations of their progress. Students also prepare self-evaluations, discussing their accomplishments, learning environment, new understandings and goals for the future. As students prepare for graduation, they work with a faculty advisor to create a SUMMATIVE SELF-EVALUATION, reflecting on their entire undergraduate experience, and their achievement of their own learning goals. And students evaluate their faculty, as well. Evaluations are an important part of the learning experience, and students receive support from their faculty and from Academic Advising as they learn to reflect on and articulate their experience.