In Brief: BTtoP News and Notes

NEWS

Well-Being Grantee Research Collaborative
Led by BTtoP national evaluator Ashley Finley and BTtoP senior scholar L. Lee Knefelkamp, the Well-Being Research Collaborative, a convening of BTtoP’s 2015–17 Well-Being Research Grants, brought together twenty-two researchers and project leaders from thirteen campus projects for a one-day workshop to discuss the connection between social and emotional learning pedagogies and the related effects on outcomes of well-being and success for traditionally underserved students within higher education. At the workshop, participants collaboratively developed principles of excellence for research on well-being and student success, conceptualized strategies for conducting multi-institutional research, and established foundations for future collaborative projects. See the agenda from the gathering at https://www.bttop.org/sites/default/files/public/Well-BeingCollaborative....

BTtoP Establishes New Formal Advisory Board
Summer 2018 marks the start of a new chapter for BTtoP, both in welcoming David Scobey as director after Don Harward’s fifteen years of leadership, and in reimagining our mission to link BTtoP’s core purposes of holistic learning, student well-being, and civic engagement to the needs of underserved and nontraditional students and to the growing challenges of equity and inclusion in a stratified academy. Part of this transition means turning our focus to connecting, curating, and lifting up the wealth of innovation, practices, and research distributed across BTtoP’s community. In this spirit, BTtoP established a new formal advisory board to include veterans and newcomers, administrators, association leaders, faculty, and staff from a diversity of fields, backgrounds, academic sectors, and regions. It is a board that embodies BTtoP’s commitment to both foundational academic values and creative change and that will enable us to integrate established and emerging priorities. To see the full list of advisory board members, visit https://www.bttop.org/about/advisory-board.

BTtoP 15th Anniversary Celebration
On Friday, September 14, BTtoP hosted a celebratory dinner at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC, to commemorate the project’s fifteen years of achievements under the leadership of cofounders Don Harward and Sally Engelhard Pingree, and to welcome new director David Scobey. Joined by longtime friends and colleagues of the project as well as voices of scholars and thinkers more recently involved with BTtoP’s work, the gathering served to both lift up BTtoP’s accomplishments and look forward to an exciting new chapter. Thank you to all who were able to join us, and to all who were there in spirit and solidarity—BTtoP is so grateful for the friendship and support of our community, without which our work would not be possible.

BTtoP’s Former National Evaluator Named Senior Advisor to the President and Secretary to AAC&U Board
BTtoP is thrilled to announce that longtime friend, colleague, and national evaluator Ashley Finley has been announced as AAC&U’s new senior advisor to the president and secretary to the board. Coming from a position as associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Dominican Experience at Dominican University of California, and prior to that as senior director of assessment and research at AAC&U from 2009 to 2015, she brings a wealth of experience “on engaging faculty and staff in developing student-centered, sustainable practices that enable the advancement of student success and learning with an emphasis on equity and evidence-based standards for improvement.” Read more in the official press release: https://www.aacu.org/press/press-releases/aacu-announces-appointment-ash....

BTtoP’s Former Director Don Harward Published in Inside Higher Ed
BTtoP’s former director and president emeritus of Bates College, Don Harward, published an article entitled “Risking Silence” in Inside Higher Ed this past August, inciting educational leaders to speak out against bigotry and falsehoods, even when that means speaking truth to the highest governmental power. “The challenges and warnings that people make upon exiting higher education—in my case, as a retiring nonprofit association director and former college president—are as expected as the admonitions for aspiration that we made upon entering it. But when, after more than 50 years of engagement in higher education, one encounters the normalization of deceit and the dismissal of reason and evidence, even a retiree should gain voice. Anyone who champions the values of self-worth, reason and the truth is obligated to speak out on issues of obvious misogyny, racism, intentional falsehoods and flaunted ignorance—even when it is coordinated and expressed by the highest powers of the executive office of our nation.” Read the full article here: https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2018/08/28/higher-education-has-res....

BTtoP’s Executive Project Manager Begins Learning and Design Graduate Program at Georgetown University
BTtoP is honored that Caitlin Salins, executive project manager, was accepted into the newly established master’s of learning and design (MLD) program at Georgetown University and began this fall while continuing in her BTtoP role full-time. The program, which is intended “to give our students a deep foundation in the tools and theory of learning design, technology innovation, learning analytics, and higher education leadership, a foundation on which they can create engaging and innovative learning experiences for all students,” is offered through Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS). CNDLS is also the home of the Engelhard Project, which uses curricular infusion to embed well-being into the classroom and was initially developed through a BTtoP development grant over a decade ago. To learn more about CNDLS and the MLD, visit http://learninganddesign.georgetown.edu/.

BTtoP Hosts Strategic Retreat at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Twenty-five participants, including members of the advisory board and a number of other key thought partners from both within and beyond the BTtoP network gathered from October 25–26 for a strategic retreat at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Student Community Center. Recognizing the project’s former accomplishments, the retreat addressed how to build on these achievements while sustaining the project’s core mission and values and developing priorities and tasks for its next chapter. The retreat served as an opportunity to strengthen the project’s network as a community of practice, amplify its voice in the national conversation, and confront new and urgent challenges of equity and change in higher education.

TRAVELS

BTtoP Director David Scobey Attends Great Colleges for the New Majority Institute in Chicago
David Scobey attended the third annual Summer Institute of the Great Colleges for the New Majority Network in Chicago from August 27 to 30. The Great Colleges Network (https://greatcollegesforthenewmajority.wordpress.com/) is a collaborative of adult-serving bachelor’s programs and colleges dedicated to offering excellent, transformative education to adult, working, and nontraditional students. The summer institute was cohosted by two Chicago-based programs in the network, DePaul University’s School for New Learning and National Louis University. It was attended by educators from a dozen colleges and programs and focused on themes such as best practices for mentoring and supporting students, building peer-to-peer student communities, faculty development, and redesigning high-impact practices for adult, working, and parenting students. David Scobey—who was among the original organizers of the network—took part in this year’s keynote conversation.

BTtoP Staff Attend the National Gathering of Imagining America in Chicago
Caitlin Salins, Mercedes Yanora, and David Scobey attended the annual national meeting of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life in Chicago from October 19 to 21. Founded in 1998, Imagining America is a consortium of nearly one hundred academic institutions and cultural organizations dedicated to the civic and democratic role of cultural and creative disciplines. Its annual national gathering is an important occasion for civically engaged artists, humanists, designers, and culture makers to share work and build a movement for public cultural engagement. This year’s gathering, cosponsored with Illinois Humanities, focused on the theme of “Transformative Imaginations: Decarceration and Liberatory Futures.” Scobey, BTtoP’s director, has been involved with Imagining America for several years, and BTtoP has worked with the consortium on a variety of projects.