Evergreen State College restructuring programs to address enrollment issues
The Evergreen State College’s enrollment has dropped 27 percent during the past two years, one of the reasons it’s starting a new program when school restarts for winter quarter.
Evergreen’s new Paths of Study option allows students to follow recommended courses of study as they work toward a degree, reports The Seattle Times. Until now, Evergreen’s students have designed their own study plans and degrees.
College spokesperson Farra Layne Hayes tells KIRO Radio as college costs go up, students are increasingly concerned about having a degree that will get them a job when they graduate.
“As every college across the country is looking for ways to recruit and retain our students, we’re trying to be as innovative as possible,” she told KIRO Radio. “You’ll still have your choice to go ahead and curate your own path, but if you’re interested in something that’s a little curated for you than paths of study would be a good option.”
This fall, just over 2,800 students are enrolled, a 40 percent drop from 10 years ago. The school has had to make budget cuts the last few years. Partly due to an economic recovery and a general decline in liberal arts enrollment, Evergreen saw further troubles after campus issues involving professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Heather Heying, who resigned from their faculty positions after filing a $3.85 million lawsuit for failing to protect employees from verbal hostility and threats of physical violence.
It traced back to Weinstein criticizing the school after the white students were asked to leave campus during the school’s annual Day of Absence, arguing that the school was mistreating people based on their race. The incident and ongoing unrest at Evergreen made headlines for years.
The new programs are partially being developed as a response to students needs, who have indicated to the school a desire for more formalized, structured educational pathways.