June 12, 2018 | Announcing Bringing Theory to Practice's New Director David Scobey

In fall 2017, Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) announced that after fifteen years of service, Donald W. Harward, director and cofounder of the project, would be stepping down in summer 2018. Following a successful search, we are honored to announce that commencing July 1, 2018, David M. Scobey will join BTtoP as the new project director.

David’s appointment comes with the full confidence of the institutions and colleagues who have been actively connected to the mission and work of the BTtoP project. David is widely respected as a scholar and author, with experience as executive dean at the New School, director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates College, and multiple professorships at the University of Michigan and Bates. Building on a history of accomplishments in creating multiple higher education alliances, David’s most recent leadership commitments have been to several innovative communities of scholars and practice—including the Graduate! Network and the Great Colleges for the New Majority network—that advocate for rigorous attention and changes to learning opportunities for nontraditional and underserved student populations, a topic that he has written about extensively.

According to David’s interpretation, “BTtoP’s mission . . . is to sustain and renew the core purposes of undergraduate education through innovative practices, institutional change, and nationally-salient research and advocacy.” He believes that the project’s unique voice “deserves to be amplified in the national conversation about higher education.” Early collaborative discussions between David and other BTtoP thought leaders have produced progressive initiatives to develop BTtoP’s established thought, research, advocacy, practice, and community, while also engaging with emerging issues in higher education such as “the proliferation of nontraditional students and contingent faculty, persistent inequity in educational access and success, and the ascendance of instrumental models of postsecondary training,” David said. In his acclaimed essay, “A Copernican Moment: On the Revolutions in Higher Education,” which served as the lead article in BTtoP’s Transforming Undergraduate Education (Rowman and Littlefield, 2012), David captured the timeliness, the importance, and the direction of transformative changes that should and must be put in place within the academy. As a social-justice champion, versatile scholar, network builder, and supportive ally—while still willing to be provocative, galvanizing, and counter-normative—his leadership of BTtoP will help enact these necessary changes.

David’s appointment follows an initial fifteen-year first chapter of the BTtoP project led by Don Harward, cofounder Sally Engelhard Pingree, and a community of close collaborators, who collectively asserted the greater and guiding purposes of higher education through hundreds of campus grants, multiple publications, and several conferences and events. Don and Sally report their deep admiration for David,

their steadfast trust in the direction of BTtoP’s mission, and their continuing belief that the infectious enthusiasm shared by BTtoP and its on-campus partners can lead to significant change in the narrative surrounding higher education. Over its history of achievements, BTtoP has benefitted from the support of many national foundations that are friends of higher education; however, its unflagging financial support has consistently come from the Charles Engelhard Foundation and the Endeavor Foundation, with the latter’s continuing support ensuring BTtoP’s transition into the future.

BTtoP honors and welcomes David Scobey’s appointment and his vision for a new chapter that will coalesce the project’s strengths, engage the past, and welcome the many new voices who will shape BTtoP’s promising future. Under David’s leadership, BTtoP will continue to benefit from the work and goodwill of friends and foundations, from its ongoing partnership with AAC&U, and from its excellent staff and emergent advisory board.

With a warm welcome to David and hopes that both old and new colleagues grow in their connection to BTtoP’s work,

Don Harward and the BTtoP Project