Since coming to the University of Washington a decade ago, Anne Browning (PhD ‘14) has helped transform how the institution supports undergraduates and their student experience.
“When I came in [to UW Academic Support Programs], I started off running the late night study center, CLUE, but pretty quickly, I started looking at who was using the center and specifically who wasn’t,” said Browning, who now serves as director of Academic Support Services. “For folks who weren’t yet independent learners and were struggling in their transition into UW, I was able to think about how we could outreach to students who were not seeking help on their own.”
Since Browning’s arrival, Academic Support Programs has created academic achievement courses such as Race, Class, and Gender in Sports Media, that teach challenging, compelling and engaging content paired with transparent skills acquisition. Students learn strategies to improve their studying, reading, note taking and essay writing skills. As a part of the courses, students are paired with tutor-mentors who help them with their coursework and skills acquisition and provide an individualized connection to campus.
“Probably about four [or] five years before I got into PhD work and into the College of Education, I was working off some good gut intuition but not really able to anchor what we were doing in research as much as I would like,” Browning said. “I think there was a huge transformation between the work of the Academic Support Programs once I was more integrated into the College of Education. I was able to start anchoring a lot of what we do into current conversations and research.”
Inspired by Browning’s research, the UW Resilience Lab launched in spring 2015 as a collaborative effort across the University’s campuses in Seattle, Tacoma and Bothell. The lab’s goal is to normalize the experience of failure and hardship in order to help students overcome struggles as they learn and grow.
“I think there is a neat bigger picture—almost a culture shift at the University—a notion of failing forward and developing resilience as a community,” Browning said. “There’s a greater recognition that struggle, hardship and failure are central to growth and learning. That culture shift is something I hope will be a part of my work for a long time to come.”
Dustin Wunderlich, Director for Marketing and Communications