In Brief: BTtoP News and Notes


BTtoP Director Don Harward Retiring; New Project Director Search
Donald W. Harward, who has served as Bringing Theory to Practice’s only director since cofounding the project in 2002 with Sally Engelhard Pingree, has announced that he will retire from his official position as active director in July 2018. For the last fifteen years, as visionary leader of the project and in his previous work as a college president and philosopher, Harward has advocated for and advanced the greater purposes of higher education: engaged learning, well-being, civic development, and preparation for a meaningful life. Under his direction, the project has funded over five hundred grants at over three hundred unique campuses, published two major books and a five-volume monograph series, and held numerous gatherings ranging from small campus seminars to major national conferences.

Through Harward’s rich legacy of work, aided by the generative collaboration among BTtoP’s scholars, staff, and community and with our partner, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the project is now in the exciting and positive planning process of transitioning into new leadership and is currently considering applications for a new director to begin in July 2018.

The project’s structural flexibility, reputation in higher education, professional team, and generous support from the Endeavor Foundation enable an environment of continuity and confidence while the transition to a new director is underway. BTtoP is deeply grateful for Harward’s remarkable tenure as director and for the unflagging support of the BTtoP community during this transition. BTtoP’s staff looks forward to continuing to fulfill its mission and flourish under new leadership. To learn more about the search process for a new director, visit

BTtoP-Sponsored Gathering at Berea College: Building Faculty Capacity to Support New Majority and Underserved Students
From November 10–12, 2017, Barry Checkoway, BTtoP senior scholar, and Chad Berry, academic vice president and dean of the faculty at Berea College, hosted a seminar on the Berea campus in Kentucky to explore ways to better prepare faculty to support new majority and underserved students. The discussions focused on first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color and emphasized faculty’s role in ensuring an environment where new majority students can flourish within higher education. The gathering also included a dinner with noted feminist and social activist bell hooks.

Thank You for Joining Us at the 2018 AAC&U Annual Meeting in Washington, DC
BTtoP was thrilled to present four sessions at AAC&U’s 2018 Annual Meeting in January in Washington, DC, featuring BTtoP team members, grantees, and colleagues as panelists and moderators. We hope you found our sessions, “Whole Students, Whole Institutions, and Whole Learning”; “Moving from Talk to Action: How Structured Dialogues Can Achieve ‘Greater Purposes’”; “Educating for Global Civic Consciousness and Agency: The Whole World and the Whole Student”; and “Upholding Truth, Evidence, and Reason: An Imperative Democratic Obligation of Higher Education in a Divided Nation,” to be provocative, timely, and useful for your own unique institutional contexts.

Thank you to all who were able to join us at the sessions and at our reception on Thursday evening—we cherish the opportunity each year to catch up with colleagues and friends of the project, old and new! To learn more about our Annual Meeting sessions and speakers, visit


BTtoP Director Donald Harward, National Evaluator Ashley Finley, and Senior Scholar Caryn Musil Present at AAC&U’s Global Engagement and Social Responsibility Conference
BTtoP Director Donald Harward, along with AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella, presented “Are Higher Education’s Efforts to Advance Global Engagement, and Global Citizenship, Un-American?” on October 13, 2017, at AAC&U’s Global Engagement and Social Responsibility Conference in New Orleans. The presentation, focusing on the intersections between global and national identity and the impact these identities have on civic engagement, spurred an insightful and energetic discussion. Harward’s presentation remarks are available on the BTtoP website.

Ashley Finley, BTtoP’s national evaluator and associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Dominican Experience at Dominican University, moderated a panel discussing the use of mixed methods assessments (AAC&U VALUE rubrics and BEVI) in relation to global learning, civic engagement, and social responsibility.

Caryn Musil, senior scholar and consultant, moderated a panel, “Immigration: Face to Face with Global Learning,” which used immigration to address issues surrounding individual, institutional, and national responsibility. Her panel also emphasized the importance of putting a human face on abstract theories through story-telling, performance, historical comparisons, and ethical questions.

BTtoP Director Don Harward Attends 10th Anniversary of Artes Liberales in Poland
Don Harward, BTtoP director, traveled to the University of Warsaw in Poland from December 3–7, 2017, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of Artes Liberales, the university’s liberal education department. Appointed as a distinguished visiting professor in 2014, Harward helped plan and facilitate the event. As a board member of the Endeavor Foundation, a key funder of Artes Liberales, Harward extended congratulations on behalf of the foundation.

BTtoP’s National Evaluator Ashley Finley Presents at the California Community Colleges Civic Engagement Summit at the College of the Canyons
Ashley Finley, BTtoP national evaluator and associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Dominican Experience at Dominican University, participated in a panel discussion at the California Community Colleges Civic Engagement Summit on October 6, 2017, at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California. The focus of the panel was “Civic Engagement and the Crucible Moment in Higher Education: Why Now? Why Us?” Finley discussed BTtoP’s current Greater Purpose Campus Dialogues initiative, highlighting a number of successful grantee projects happening across community colleges. 

What We're Reading

Journeys of Social Justice: Women of Color Presidents in the Academy
Edited by Menah Pratt-Clarke and Johanna B. Maes; Forward by Julianne Malveaux
“From full professors, senior administrators, deans, presidents, and chancellors, women of color share their social justice journeys to leadership roles in the academy. With a focus on women of color presidents, a rich landscape is painted through their own voices of their experiences as they ascend and lead higher education institutions, navigating complex dynamics influenced by their race, culture, class, and gender status....This volume can be used in higher education, gender and women’s studies, leadership, and sociology courses on education and identity.”

Bandwidth Recovery: Helping Students Reclaim Cognitive Resources Lost to Poverty, Racism, and Social Marginalization
By Cia Verschelden; Forward by Lynn Pasquerella
“Beginning with an analysis of the impacts on mental and physical health and cognitive capacity, of poverty, racism, and other forms of social marginalization, Cia Verschelden presents strategies for promoting a growth mindset and self-efficacy, for developing supports that build upon students’ values and prior knowledge and for creating learning environments both in and out of the classroom so students can feel a sense of belonging and community....She addresses issues of stereotyping and exclusion and discusses institutional structures and processes that create identity-safe rather than identity-threat learning environments.”

Just Research in Contentious Times: Widening the Methodological Imagination
By Michelle Fine
“Michelle Fine widens the methodological imagination for students, educators, scholars, and researchers interested in crafting research with communities....animated by the presence of W. E. B. Du Bois, Gloria Anzaldúa, Maxine Greene, and Audre Lorde, the book examines a wide array of critical participatory action research (PAR) projects involving school push-outs, Muslim American youth, queer youth of color, women in prison, and children navigating under-resourced schools. Throughout, Fine assists readers as they consider sensitive decisions about epistemology, ethics, politics, and methods; critical approaches to analysis and interpretation; and participatory strategies for policy development and organizing.”

Deliberation in the Classroom: Fostering Critical Thinking, Community, and Citizenship in Schools
By Stacie Molnar-Main
“The book’s insights, presented in terms that resonate with educators, support both the wider use of deliberative practices and the goal of growing the number of students who recognize a role for themselves as citizens in a democracy. It highlights the work of educators who place civic education at the heart of their work by choosing to teach their students an alternative to the divisive, zero-sum politics advanced by interest groups and portrayed in the media.” 

Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines
By Elizabeth Matto, Alison McCartney, Elizabeth Bennion, and Dick Simpson
“For a democracy to function effectively, its citizens must participate. Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines evaluates the goals, challenges, and rewards of integrating civic education into the curriculum, highlighting best practices across disciplines and campuses.” 

Student Success in Higher Education: Developing the Whole Person through High-Impact Practices
By Dr. Henry Brzycki and Elaine Brzycki
“Drawing upon over 30 years of professional experiences as higher education leaders, teachers, and counselors, the authors have developed the Integrated Student Success Model (iSuccess), a visionary and comprehensive approach to student success through well-being and self-knowledge. The model provides three research-based, high-impact practices that empower students to create their own pathways to success in college and in life:
• Integrated Self Model (iSelf)—a framework to understand the whole person through self-system and positive psychology attributes
• Self Across the Curriculum (SAC) —a pedagogy to teach self-knowledge through curricula
• Success Predictor (SP)—a student success assessment instrument and intervention tool”