TIES Program Update from Joel Zylstra (Director, Center for Community Engagement and Service)
The Tacoma Immersion Experience Semester (TIES) program has been discontinued indefinitely. TIES served as one expression of PLU’s long-term commitments to linking global education with our local community. In the early 2000’s, PLU faculty and staff worked collaboratively with leaders and residents of Tacoma’s Salishan community to develop a local residential and internships experience for students returning from Trinidad and Tobago. Four years ago, a team of PLU staff and faculty recommitted to establishing a PLU Gateway program and developed TIES in conjunction with the Division of Humanities. TIES was a semester long. study away program where students lived, learned and participated in internships in downtown Tacoma. In Spring 2017, five students enrolled full-time in the TIES program while 32 students enrolled in TIES-affiliated courses. Due to low enrollment in Spring 2018 and financial risks associated with pausing and relaunching the program in Spring 2019, we have decided to discontinue TIES indefinitely.
While TIES won’t look like a PLU Gateway program going forward, PLU’s commitment to linking global education with Tacoma will continue. Drawing on unique characteristics of our community including our ethnic and cultural diversity, the challenges and opportunities associated with being a west coast port city, the presence of Joint Base Lewis McCord, and continual growth and development in our region, CCES and the Wang Center will continue to support student and faculty engagement in Tacoma. Rachel Haxtema (TIES Program Coordinator) will continue to lead these efforts as the program transitions away from a semester-long study away model toward a sustainable initiative that continues PLU’s ongoing commitment to linking global education with our local community. This initiative will continue to support faculty interested in linking courses with Tacoma-based topics and partners, student internships associated with issues of diversity, justice and sustainability in Tacoma, and community-based research addressing pressing questions in our community.