Undergraduate Academic Affairs

2020: The Course

Graphic for course called 2020: The Course

From a pandemic to economic fallout to a reckoning over race and policing in the United States, 2020 is sure to be remembered as a year of historic upheaval and change.

And it’s not even over.

Many communities throughout the West Coast and elsewhere continue to grapple with the devastating effects of perennial wildfires. We are in the midst of a national election season that is garnering worldwide attention. As we enter the first quarter of our academic year, we will witness together the final quarter of 2020 — no doubt with more questions than answers about what we’ll do, individually and collectively, to address the challenges that have surged in recent months. 

Photo of Ed TaylorEd Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, is the lead instructor for “2020: The Course.”

This course examines what national thought leaders are doing to meet the imperatives of this particular moment through their research, scholarship, and service — inquiries with insights, actions with impact. Students enrolled in this course are engaging in a series of talks, lectures and dialogues with over 20 faculty from across the University. Further, students are documenting their own experiences so a time capsule can be created for future generations of UW teachers and learners.

Welcome to 2020: The Course

Designed with first-year students in mind and open to University of Washington students on all three campuses, this course connects students to some of the UW’s top public scholars. 

As part of our mission as a public university, we think it is important to make a number of these sessions available to you in an effort to help make sense of the most important issues of our time. The UW’s world-renowned scholars in the areas of history, sociology, education, law, environmental science — to name a few — can help place this tumultuous and chaotic time into a larger context and bring greater understanding.

These are the course sessions students viewed as the basis of the course, and it is truly representative of the moment. Just as our students are learning from their homes instead of classrooms on campus, faculty are teaching from their kitchens, dining rooms or living rooms.


Photo of President Cauce and Provost Richards

Intro to 2020: The Course

President Cauce and Provost Richards talk about the role of a public university in 2020.

Watch the video


Photo of Joseph Janes

Objects, Memory, the Future, and You

Featuring Joseph Janes, associate professor in the Information School.

Watch the video


Photo of Sharon Laing

Dual Pandemics: Finding Pathways to Heal and Repair with Sharon S. Laing

Featuring Sharon S. Laing, assistant professor in UW Tacoma’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership.

Watch the video


Photo of Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine

We Acknowledge …

Featuring Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine, (Apsaalooke Nation), MSIM, is the UW’s tribal liaison and director of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House.

Watch the video


Photo of Shawn Wong

Conversation with Professor Shawn Wong

Featuring Shawn Wong, writer and professor of English and Cinema and Media Studies.

Watch the video

Photo of Hilary Godwin

COVID-19 Public Health Basics

Featuring Hilary Godwin, dean of the School of Public Health.

Watch the video


Photo of Margaret O'Mara

Politics as it Applies to 2020

Featuring Margaret O’Mara, Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor of History.

Watch the video


Photo of Cordell Carter

Becoming an Inclusive Republic

Featuring Cordell Carter, ‘98, executive director of the Aspen Institute Socrates Program.

Watch the video


Photo of Kate Starbird

Mis- and Disinformation During Crisis Events

Featuring Kate Starbird, associate professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering.

Watch the video


Photo of Theo Myhre

Should There Be Legal Education for Everybody?

Featuring Theodore Myhre, teaching professor in the University of Washington School of Law.

Watch the video


This page will be updated as new videos are made available.

Extra credit

Read the course syllabus.

Learn about the course’s lead instructor, Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor and the course’s co-instructors, UW Tacoma Associate Vice Chancellor Bonnie Becker and UW Bothell Associate Vice Chancellor Cinnamon Hillyard.

Presenters for 2020: The Course


(In alphabetical order)
Iisaaksiichaa Ross Braine (Apsaalooke Nation) MSIM
UW Tribal Liaison, Director, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House
Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity

Stefanie Iverson Cabral
Assistant Teaching Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, UW Bothell

Cordell Carter, Esq., ’98
Executive Director, The Aspen Institute Socrates Program

Ana Mari Cauce
University of Washington President, Professor, Psychology

Karam Dana
Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell and Affiliate Member, Middle East Center, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies

Ben Danielson
Senior Medical Director, Odessa Brown Medical Clinic

Megan Ming Francis
Associate Professor, Political Science; Adjunct Professor, Law, Societies, and Justice

Hilary Godwin
Dean, School of Public Health; Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Alexes Harris
University of Washington Presidential Term Professor, Department of Sociology

Joseph Janes
Associate Professor, Information School

Sharon S. Laing 
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing & Healthcare Leadership, UW Tacoma

Vicky Lawson
Professor, Department of Geography; Director, Honors Program

Theo Myhre
Teaching Professor, School of Law

Margaret O’Mara
Howard & Frances Keller Endowed Professor, Department of History

Julia Parrish
Professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences; Associate Dean, College of the Environment

Mark Richards
University of Washington Provost; Professor, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, College of the Environment

Bob Stacey
Dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor, History

Kate Starbird
Associate Professor, Human Centered Design & Engineering

Carolyn West
Professor, Behavioral and Human Sciences, UW Tacoma

Shawn Wong
Professor, Department of English and Department of Cinema & Media Studies