What is the Value of an Evergreen Education?

thinkingRecently, we have seen an intensified interest among our college community in the value of of a liberal arts education. What is it exactly that students can get at Evergreen that they will not find anywhere else? What do you tell family, friends, and prospective students about the benefits of an Evergreen education? Take a look at this article written by faculty member Nancy Koppelman about how Evergreen teaches students to “think about their thinking”.

Saying Goodbye

phyllisOn Friday, May 2nd  Dr. Phyllis Lane will spend her last day as Dean of Students at the Evergreen State College. After 15 years of service to the Evergreen community she has decided to pursue her research interest in organizational behavior in higher education on a full time basis. In between meetings and packing up her office I had a chance to ask her a few questions about her Evergreen experience and this is what she said:

Q: What do you believe has been your greatest accomplishment as Dean of Students? 

A: It is hard for me to think about my accomplishments in isolation of the work of the SASS staff and others in Student Affairs.   As the Dean, I view my role as the concierge for the staff.  It is my job to make sure that staffs have what they need to be successful in working with students.  In other words, supporting my staff is my greatest accomplishment.   

Q: What will you miss most about Evergreen? 

A: The people who made me laugh and smile!!!!

Q: What was your most memorable professional development experience while at Evergreen? Why?

A: There are three: my work with AAC&U Institutes: Bringing Theory to Practice projects and initiatives, writing and working multi-year grants for access and college readiness, and the case studies institutes on Native cases studies writing and Critical Moments.  All of these have shaped my writing agenda.

Q: What advice do you have for professionals who are interested in a Dean or higher level administrative position?

A:  It is important to remember that all work is honorable work regardless of task or title. There are 3 things you should always remember: 1) make sure you acknowledge the presence of everyone, 2) do things for people and not to people and 3) when you get scared, “don’t run” and as Olivia Pope would say “Gladiators don’t run”.

Thank you for your leadership Phyllis. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


Colleague Connections: Kiana Donahue


This Student Affairs Employee Spotlight is an initiative to find out more about the talented breadth of people working in Student Affairs at Evergreen.  Colleagues were selected at random and are offered a variety of questions to which they respond. Learn more about Kiana Donahue who works in Student Employment.


Q. What is your educational background?

I am a first generation college student, and an Evergreen Alum.  I wanted to study art, but Evergreen’s science programs drew me into Food Science and Sustainable Agriculture.  The real world skills and ecological thinking serve me well as an artist and as a professional.

Q. What is your favorite part of the work you do?

My favorite part of my job is when students share their story with me, particularly when they have overcome immense difficulty.  It gives me hope that such resilient and passionate people are drawn to Evergreen, and that people are open enough to share their stories and pursue change. 

 Q. What are some strategies you have for self-care?

I do something creative every day (writing, drawing, or playing music) to keep my mind refreshed.  I also love going on walks, there’s nothing that makes me feel more alive than ambling around under the grey skies.

 Q. Can you recommend a book, article, or film that might be of interest to Student Affairs staff?

I recently read “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, which is an inspiring look at creativity in the digital age.  It’s taught me a lot about discipline and seeking inspiration, and I think anyone, no matter their vocation, would benefit from learning how to express themselves better.

 Q. Who or what inspires you?

Patti Smith.  Jayne Mansfield. Wendell Berry.

Professional Development Possibilities

recyclesustaintreeDay of Absence (April 30) /Day of Presence (May 2) is an annual event in which the campus community is invited to participate in various activities designed to address racism, privilege and allyship. Take a minute to check out the schedule and find a workshop (or several) to attend alone or as a work group!

Stress, Burnout and Vicarious Trauma: Taking Care of Self and Team– Friday, May 30th 10a-noon in Lib 1001.