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Build a Community

Cultivating a Culture of Practice

CEP is a place to learn about community, in community. Our learning community is formed by time spent together in cohorts, governance, annual retreats, and studying abroad. These experiences provide space for students to learn how to work together in small and large groups and communicate effectively across differences. Students practice facilitation, deliberation, and conflict management. They learn to actively listen, respect, and challenge one another. While students enter the program with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences, they bring with them a shared motivation and sense of purpose. In this way, students come to know that while they are shaping their own academic journeys, they are at their best when learning with and through one another.

CEP is a two-year major with two 40-student cohorts, a junior cohort and a senior cohort. Cohorts are small learning communities made up of a group of students who enter the program together in autumn of their junior year. The cohort is the first learning community that students connect with. Cohorts foster trust, collective decision-making, and cooperative empowerment.

CEP is a major that is run by and for the students. Governance is the class where students come together to make that happen. We believe that much of our learning grows from being responsible for our education and our major.

Students register for CEP 400: Governance (1 credit) each quarter during their time in CEP, a total of six times. This class is held on Friday mornings from 8:30 – 10:20am, with an optional third hour. The class is broken down into three distinct components:

  • Committee Work Time: 8:30 – 9:20 am
  • Forum: 9:30 – 10:20 am
  • Steering: 10:30 – 11:20 am (optional)


Committees meet during the first hour of Governance. Six committees work together to meet the needs and wants of our students. Students choose to join one committee each quarter based on the skills they have or the skills they want to develop. Each committee has a Point or Co-Points who lead the group and report back to Steering. Committees are responsible for crafting an annual plan, quarterly plans, and quarterly reflections.

  • Alumni Relations Committee (ARC)
    ARC connects current students with CEP alumni, facilitates alumni communications, and fundraises for the major.
    Gain skills such as strategic planning and fundraising.

  • Community Equity Committee (CEC)
    CEC guides the way our community engages with activities related to equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice.
    Gain skills such as community organizing and equity training.

  • Communications (COM)
    COM creates, manages, and maintains digital and print media including our website and social media accounts.
    Gain skills such as graphic design and journalism.

  • Committee on Academic Policies & Procedures (CAPP)
    CAPP supports the long-term planning and visioning for the major including the Plumb Manual and addresses emerging issues.
    Gain skills such as policy development and revision.

  • Outreach & Admissions (O&A)
    O&A is responsible for promoting the major in and outside of UW and running our entire admissions process.
    Gain skills such as public outreach and application review.

  • Program Events & Student Engagement (PESÉ)
    PESÉ plans and carries out formal and informal major-wide events and activities to build community within the major.
    Gain skills such as event planning and community building.


Forum meets during the second hour of Governance. Forum provides an opportunity for the major to meet as a whole, or as separate cohorts to cover a variety of topics. We discuss current events, hold trainings, bring in guest speakers, and engage in critical reflection. The schedule is set in advance, but it is flexible. Each meeting is facilitated by two students. In this way, students actively practice large-group facilitation and build leadership skills.


Steering meets during the optional third hour of Governance. All committee points are required to attend Steering. In this way, Steering acts as an executive committee for the major, discussing issues before and after they go to the entire major. They manage communication across committees, decision-making processes, and the overall affairs of the major.

CEP students participate in two annual leadership retreats, Fall Retreat and Spring Retreat. Students are awarded credit for attending these retreats through CEP 300: Leadership Retreat (1 credit). They will register for this course every fall and spring that they are in the program, a total of four times.

While retreats are led by current students, CEP faculty, staff, alumni, and special guests are also welcome to participate. Retreats focus on individual growth as well as the growth of the program. Through workshops and discussions, participants reflect on the program’s past and plan for the program’s future. While retreats are intensive work sessions, they are also important social occasions where the CEP learning community is further developed and strengthened. Participation is mandatory for all CEP students.

CEP Study Abroad in Berlin
The Once and Future Metropolis: Urbanization, Conflict, and Community

Program Dates: June 23 – July 22, 2022 (Summer A Term)
Credits: 10 credits, I&S/VLPA
Estimated Program Fees: ~$4,800
Location: Berlin, Germany
Other Info: No language requirements, open to all majors
Application Deadline: January 31, 2022

What makes a city? Who decides how a city grows and changes, and what criteria do they use — should it be beautiful, efficient, sustainable, open, just? How do economic systems and political ideologies shape urban development? What is the “right to the city,” and what does it mean for city-dwellers to exercise it? These are just some of the questions we will seek to answer.

If you have any questions, email Megan Herzog at

CEP Study Abroad in Tuscany
The Sustainable Landscape: History, Culture, and Agriculture

Program Dates: August 23 – September 13, 2022 (Early Fall Start)
Credits: 5 credits, I&S
Estimated Program Fees: ~$4,800
Location: Rome, Italy; Montepulciano, Italy
Other Info: No language requirements, open to all majors
Application Deadline: February 15, 2022

Students will investigate how Tuscany has developed its coveted farm-to-table practices, how it deals with pressures of global trade, and what challenges and opportunities exist in 21st century food production such as preserving and marketing heirloom species, building humane standards into profitable production, and responding to climate change and migration.

During our time in Italy, we will focus on how heritage practices and foods interact with contemporary community and environmental development issues to inform and shape a robust regional agricultural tradition and economy, and how Tuscan agricultural practices serve as standards for productive, resilient, and humane development in the modern world.

If you have any questions, email Megan Herzog at

CEP Study Abroad in England & The Netherlands
Sustainable Urban Mobility

Program Dates: Summer A & B Terms 2022
Credits: 15 credits
Location: England; The Netherlands
Other Info: No language requirements, open to all majors
Application Deadline: January 31, 2022

This course offers students a unique opportunity to study two important and inter-related subjects that significantly impact the built environment: land use and transportation planning. Best practices in England and the Netherlands will be applied to problem solving in the U.S. context. Students will use case studies from Seattle as they experience urban mobility in cities such as London, Manchester, Oxford, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam. The course schedule will include frequent field trips utilizing public transportation, bicycle and pedestrian modalities. Students will meet with faculty and working professionals in each country who will provide access to mobility solutions in the public, private and non-profit sectors. This course is modeled on previously successful UW Study Abroad programs held in 2016 and 2018. We look forward to meeting you at our information sessions to be held in early Fall quarter 2021!

If you have any questions, email David Blum at