October 11, 2018 | Bringing It #2

Challenging Change Theories in Higher Education, News About Innovators, and a Powerful Memoir

Dear friends,

Welcome back to Bringing It. Today’s number links you to a short essay that David just published, and launches two mini-features, What We’re Learning From Our Friends & Partners and What We’re Reading. It ends with an invitation that we hope you’ll consider.

“How Does Change Really Happen in Higher Ed?”

Our partner, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) releases a newsletter each month, and we’re thrilled that October’s “Perspectives” column features a piece by David. Entitled “How Does Change Really Happen in Higher Ed?”, the article challenges the prevailing assumption that higher education will only change in response to “disruptive innovations” that destabilize its market and practices. Instead, David argues, our capacity for networked collaboration offers the best way to make positive change in the face of defensive resistance. Since BTtoP is prioritizing the launch of collaborative projects, we thought you might be interested. Here’s a link: https://www.aacu.org/aacu-news/newsletter/2018/october/perspectives

Whether you agree or not—especially not—we’d love to know what you think.

What We’re Learning From Our Friends & Partners

From time to time, we plan to bring you brief reports about important work from across the BTtoP community. This week “What We’re Learning” focuses on The Great Colleges For the New Majority network.

The Great Colleges Network is a group of adult-serving colleges and programs with a commitment to offering nontraditional students—the majority of today’s undergraduates—integrative, transformative education. They’ve been working together for three years, holding annual summer institutes that share both best practices and nagging problems in curriculum design, advising, pedagogy, and creating policies and a climate that empower and welcome adult learners. We’ve been struck by how deeply the values and practices distilled in the Network’s Mission Statement resonate with those of BTtoP.

The Great Colleges Network is relatively young and growing. At a time when higher education is focused on increasing attainment for adult learners, we are excited by the Network’s commitment to the adult learner as a whole student. Check out their website.

What We’re Reading

We’ll also be bringing you brief notices of books that members of the BTtoP community recommend. Today David Scobey comments on Tara Westover’s memoir Educated:

I wouldn’t expect a story about the emancipatory capacity of higher education to be gripping. Yet Educated is among the most remarkable memoirs I’ve read. Tara Westover grew up in a survivalist, Mormon family in Idaho, one of seven children of a rigidly charismatic father and an herbalist mother; she eventually earns a doctorate in history at Cambridge. The narrative of her journey is harrowing and generous, passionate and dispassionate all at the same time—and so compelling that I won’t give away any details. Westover’s story is astonishing enough. The beauty of her story-telling makes it even more so.

Bring Your Voice

We want Bringing It to become a platform for the whole BTtoP community: a place to respond, to share work, to share thoughts and readings, to brainstorm, argue, and build connections.

If you have an idea for a brief post, give us a heads-up about what you’d like to write. If you would like to contribute to “What We’re Reading,” send us a comment (no more than 100 words, please!). If you have an idea for a project, give us a kind of intellectual help-wanted ad. Or just send us advice, critiques, and kudos – you can reach us at info@bttop.org.

We also welcome submissions for our triannual newsletter; feel free to reach out to salins@bttop.org.

Warm regards,

Caitlin, Mercedes, and David