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Bringing Theory to Practice


The Bringing Theory to Practice Project (BTtoP) encourages colleges and universities to reassert their core purposes as educational institutions, not only to advance learning and discovery, but to advance the potential and well-being of each individual student, and to advance education as a public good that sustains a civic society.

The Project supports campus-based initiatives that demonstrate how uses of engaged forms of learning that actively involve students both within and beyond the classroom directly contribute to their cognitive, emotional, and civic development.

Recent Project News

Bringing Theory to Practice is not offering grants at this time. We invite you to read about our current initiatives and to check this page for future announcements regarding funding. Thank you.

BTtoP releases a draft of "The Well-being and Flourishing of Students" (pdf) as part of its Well-being Initiative. The publication examines the theoretical underpinning of the well-being and its inextricable connection to higher education, strategies for institutional change, and selected descriptions of work funded under the Initiative. More information on the Well-being Initiative.

The Civic Series video debuts, using select comments from series authors to characterize the urgency and importance of considering the matters put forth in the five volumes.

On June 3, 2013 at President Obama's National Conference on Mental Health at the White House, Demonstration Site grantee Georgetown University presented on its Engelhard Project for Connecting Life and Learning, which "focuses on bringing health and wellness issues – including mental health – into the classroom."

Bringing Theory to Practice's five-volume Civic Monograph Series will raise questions and provide perspectives on fundamental issues about the civic mission of higher education. Civic initiatives are ongoing in democratic societies, but only some of them become papers which invigorate the intellectual climate and promote public discussion. Yet, we believe that that if each successive wave of visionary thinkers were to share their boldest ideas about the civic mission of higher education, it might contribute to theory and practice.

The currently available Civic Provocations monograph is composed of informal essays and provocations that support and deepen inclusive and intentional campus-based consideration of an institution’s own civic mission and the civic mission of higher education today. It is the first in a series of monographs that will raise questions and provide perspectives on fundamental issues about the civic mission of higher education. The full monograph is available here (pdf). 

BTtoP Director Donald Harward presented a discussion paper titled “Advancing Civic Learning” at the twentieth anniversary of the University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships on November 12. His paper provided an inclusive definition of civic learning and suggested a progression of steps and structural opportunities for deepening and extending the campus climate for civic learning. On November 27, Harward presented a talk titled “Engaged Learning” to students, faculty, administrative staff, and alumni at an all-campus convening at Allegheny College. Developing the concept of a campus culture for learning, the talk wove together themes of learning opportunities, the full involvement of learners, and the creation of a culture that anticipates, expects, and rewards engagement. Click for transcripts of "Advancing Civic Learning" and “Engaged Learning”.

Making Progress? What We Know about the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes
This new report from BTtoP National Evaluator and AAC&U Senior Director of Assessment and Research Ashley Finley provides an up-to-date overview of national data from a variety of studies of student learning, including the NSSE, Wabash National Study, CIRP, PSRI, and others. It presents comparative data on achievement over time across an array of liberal education outcomes—such as critical thinking, writing, civic engagement, global competence, and social responsibility. Preview | Purchase

"The Joy of Learning: The Impact of Civic Engagement on Psychosocial Well-Being" by BTtoP National Evaluator and AAC&U Senior Director of Assessment and Research Ashley Finley is now available in the new issue of Diversity & Democracy. Article

Bringing Theory to Practice announces sixty-one institutions selected to receive funding in first round of grants supporting projects on civic learning, psychosocial well-being, and engaged learning. The full announcement can be found here.

Selected "provocations" written by students from Project Director Don Harward's 3-week seminar at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLASs) at the University of Warsaw in Poland are now available. The pieces from Mikołaj Skowronek, Paweł Wiktor Siechowicz, Katarzyna Kowalska and Joanna Mazur can be found here.

The 2012-2014 RFP is now online. Proposals are requested for projects that will promote engaged learning, civic development and engagement, and psychosocial well-being of college and university students. We are especially interested in efforts that will enable students to have transformational educational experiences, and for institutions to transform and sustain their priorities and practices. More information

More BTtoP-related news updates are available at What's New.

The Bringing Theory to Practice Project is sponsored by the Charles Engelhard Foundation of New York City and the S. Engelhard Center and developed in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. More information on funders.

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