President's Introduction

From selfstudy

On behalf of The Evergreen State College, I am pleased to present this self study to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. This is the fourth time Evergreen has prepared such a report for a 10-year review by the commission. We trust it will show that our institution is sound and our mission as a public interdisciplinary liberal arts college is secure.

As you prepare to read this self-study, I encourage you to pause for a few minutes to visit the college's Web site, browse the online catalog, and read the descriptions of a few of the academic programs our students will be pursuing next year. You will soon get a sense of Evergreen's extraordinary approach to teaching and learning. Evergreen is unique within higher education, and has been since its founding in 1967. Our pedagogy embraces collaborative teaching and learning, interdisciplinary studies, the linking of theory and practice, learning across significant differences, and student engagement and responsibility.

The college continues to garner significant attention for its accomplishments, from the cursory assessments of national college rankings to the substantive attention of scholars like Loren Pope, who in 2006 called Evergreen one of 40 U.S. colleges that change lives, and George Kuh, whose 2005 study commended Evergreen students for their extraordinary academic engagement.

As you prepare to visit Evergreen, you may note another quality that distinguishes our college, what George Kuh characterized as "positive restlessness" – the continuing sense that what we are doing can be improved through ongoing assessment, evaluation and reflection. This self-study displays that positive restlessness in full measure. In this way, we will continue to be pioneers by tradition, to call on our history and commitment to innovation to address new questions and problems. Our commitments are to give students not just information but the means for deep understanding, and to graduate not just workers in service to the economy, but engaged citizens committed to improving our world.


Thomas L. “Les” Purce