In Brief: BTtoP News and Notes


BTtoP Receives Grant to Launch Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators

BTtoP is thrilled to announce that the Partnerships for Listening and Action by Communities and Educators (PLACE) Collaboratory has been awarded a generous two-year, $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The PLACE Collaboratory brings together a network of academic and community partnerships, involving eleven colleges and universities from diverse sectors and regions, to do civic engagement and public humanities work. Using cultural practices like oral history or photovoice, as well as the civic pedagogies of the humanities, these partnerships will develop shared public agendas that ground the setting and solving of community issues in community voice. They may involve such significant themes as community development, wealth disparities, and environmental justice, but the agendas and action plans will be set through listening and dialogue. Some partnerships will be anchored by a single university; in others, multiple institutions may join together in regional collaboration. All the partnerships will include undergraduate students as key participants, culture makers, and often cultural brokers.

The goal of each local project will be to develop action plans grounded in community voice and enabled by academic and community partnerships. The goal of the larger collaboratory will be to distill best practices for such partnerships, to model the role of the humanities in sustaining them, and to use networked collaboration to disseminate them across higher education. The participating institutions in the PLACE Collaboratory will be Rutgers University–Newark; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; five institutions in the Greensboro, North Carolina region (Elon University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro); and four institutions in the Los Angeles region (College of the Canyons, Pitzer College, the University of LaVerne, and the University of Southern California). To learn more about the PLACE Collaboratory, visit

BTtoP Offers Well-Being and Equity Webinar in Partnership with AAC&U

On June 12, BTtoP hosted a webinar on well-being and equity in partnership with AAC&U. Led by Nicole Brocato from Wake Forest University and Jo Ellyn Walker from Georgetown University, and moderated by BTtoP’s Caitlin Salins, the webinar explored two questions: What does it mean to place support for student flourishing at the center of the equity agenda? What does it mean to place equity, diversity, and inclusion at the heart of our understanding of student well-being? Students of color, first-generation students, low-income students, and adult working students were the focus of both these questions, as the importance of student well-being as an equity imperative has largely been due to their advocacy and activism.

BTtoP Hosts Workshop at AAC&U’s Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference

On March 28, BTtoP hosted a preconference workshop at AAC&U’s Diversity, Equity, and Student Success Conference in Pittsburgh on “Well-Being and the Equity Imperative.” Facilitated by Joselyn Schultz Lewis, Timothy K. Eatman, and Caitlin Salins, the workshop exceeded expectations, with fifty-six participants attending. As part of BTtoP’s emphasis on exploring the connection between well-being and equity (which continued with the June webinar), the workshop focused on the experience and needs of students whose experience of marginality often undermines their success: students of color, first-generation students, low-income students, and adult working students. It also combined research on student well-being and precarity, discussion of best practices, and reflection on what general commitments constitute a “well-being equity agenda.” Participants discussed frameworks to understand the intersection of well-being and equity, including the Schreiner Thriving Model, the Full-Participation Model, and inclusive pedagogy, and facilitators provided examples of well-being and equity work in action as starting points for transferable and scalable action plans for participants. Visit our website ( to learn more about the workshop and the frameworks and exemplars. For those interested in resources, feel free to view the etherpad document (a collection of notes and resources from participants and facilitators collected in real time) and workshop slides.

RFP Released for AMP Grants of up to $3,000

In mid-February, BTtoP announced its newest RFP opportunity: Amplifying, Disseminating, and Increasing the Public Reach of Research and Practice (AMP) Grants. Intended for both public and nonprofit universities, colleges, and consortia who are former grantees of BTtoP, AMP grants will provide between $500 and $3,000 to increase the public reach of work previously supported by BTtoP. These grants may be used to support a range of activities, including campus-to-campus consulting visits, multicampus convenings, public writing, and the release of digital and media products. On March 1, BTtoP started accepting applications on a rolling basis. Award announcements began on April 1 and are ongoing. The RFP is available on BTtoP’s Funding Opportunities page:

Thank You to All Who Submitted Proposals for Multi-Institutional Grants

BTtoP’s call for proposals for Multi-Institutional Innovation Grants (MIGs) elicited a large, diverse, and terrifically creative pool of proposals. Given the relatively modest funding (a maximum of $7,000 per grant) and the requirement of forging multi-institutional partnerships, BTtoP originally expected thirty or forty applications. We were honored to receive ninety-five meritorious applications in total, involving well more than three hundred colleges and universities. These included civic engagement initiatives, community-based arts projects, faculty development institutes, policy networks, design laboratories, transfer partnerships between two- and four-year institutions, and many other innovative ideas. The awards were announced in mid-March. Please visit our website to view the list of awardees:

BTtoP Director David Scobey Published in The Chronicle of Higher Education 2019 Trends Report

BTtoP Director David Scobey’s article, “The Path Across America’s Divide Starts at Its Colleges,” was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education 2019 Trends Report. Scobey challenges his readers to not simply set aside differences of race, class, religion, and sexuality, but to recognize the “similarities, differences, and conflicts that campuses and communities share” while “undertaking the hard work of confronting them together.”

BTtoP Director David Scobey Hosts Webinar in Partnership with SUNY Empire State College

On February 11, as part of State University of New York Empire State College’s “Revisioning Adult Higher Education” series, David Scobey hosted a webinar titled, “The Crossroads of Change: Why Adult Learners Are So Important to the Future of Higher Education (and Vice Versa).” The webinar primarily focused on the importance of understanding nontraditional and adult learners and the need for creative change in higher education structures and practices to better serve them. The webinar and accompanying PowerPoint presentation are available on our website:

BTtoP Cofounder Sally Engelhard Pingree Honored with 2019 Patrick Healy, SJ Award

In May 2019, BTtoP Cofounder Sally Engelhard Pingree was honored with the 2019 Patrick Healy, SJ Award. Established in 1969, the award is given to an individual who is not an alumnus/a of Georgetown University but whose record of service to the Georgetown community and professional achievements exemplify the ideals and traditions of Georgetown. Along with founding BTtoP, Sally helped start Georgetown’s Engelhard Project in 2005. The project infuses well-being into courses that cut across many disciplines and has evolved to include two grants programs and a faculty conversation series on teaching.


BTtoP Director David Scobey Attends HIPS in the States Conference

David Scobey attended the second annual High-Impact Practices (HIPS) in the States Conference from February 20 to 22 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Hosted by Western Kentucky University, the conference gathered college and university educators with the intent of improving the definitions, tracking, and assessment of high-impact educational practices at public institutions.

BTtoP Director David Scobey Leads Plenary at Campus Compact Conference

On March 25, David Scobey co-led, alongside Marina Kim of Ashoka U, a plenary panel titled “Social Innovation and Community Engagement: Evolving Towards Collaboration or Completion?” at Campus Compact’s Eastern Region Biennial Conference, “Education for Democracy: Innovating in Complex Times,” in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference showcased practices to advance the field of community and civic engagement, and participants had the opportunity to explore key topics related to community-engaged scholarship, learning that promotes civic and democratic engagement, and programs and partnerships that enhance both community and campus. For more information on the conference, visit the conference web page at

BTtoP Director David Scobey Gives Plenary at Public Health and Global Health Education Summit

On March 20, BTtoP Director David Scobey delivered the plenary, “Navigating the Storm: Currents of Change and Creativity in Undergraduate Education,” at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health’s Undergraduate Public Health and Global Health Education Summit in Arlington, Virginia. The summit brought together public health educators, professionals, and students involved or interested in undergraduate public health education and featured presenters representing academic institutions with undergraduate public health programs, schools and programs accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health, and organizations working closely with undergraduate public health education initiatives. For more information, visit the summit web page at

BTtoP Director David Scobey Attends Leadership Forum Cosponsored by Arizona State University and the Chronicle of Higher Education

On April 7, BTtoP Director David Scobey took part in the Leadership Forum cosponsored by Arizona State University and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Held in San Diego, this daylong convening brought together higher education leaders and innovators to discuss current challenges and creative innovations in areas such as equity, student success, educational design, and institutional change.