Our Team


Donald W. Harward & Sally Engelhard Pingree

Don and Sally became acquainted at Bates College in Lewiston, ME when Sally's daughter attended as an undergraduate while Don was serving as President. Don's and Sally's shared interests and devotion to the civic development and well-being of students created a lasting friendship. In 2002, as Don was stepping down from Bates, their conversations regarding the promise of higher education flourished into the launching of the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project.

Before taking office at Bates, Don served as Vice President for Academic Affairs at The College of Wooster, Ohio; preceding his tenure there, he taught and served in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Delaware, and subsequently designed and led the University Honors Program. Don continues to serve on the boards of national educational, philanthropic, and social service organizations. He is a frequent contributor and consultant to professional discussions regarding institutional planning, research and liberal education, the civic mission of higher education, and presidential and board leadership at private colleges and universities. In recent years, he has served as a consultant to the emergence of liberal education initiatives in former Soviet bloc countries, particularly to the College of Liberal Education developed as a leading aspect of the University of Warsaw, the historical premier research University in Poland.

Sally is President of the S. Engelhard Center and a Trustee of the Charles Engelhard Foundation. A graduate of Trinity College, her areas of interest are in health, education, and environmental affairs. She currently serves on the Council of Advisors at the National Geographic Society and as a Regent for Georgetown University. She has served in public relations at the American Heritage Publishing Company and the Board of Trustees of the Potomac School (Virginia), St. Andrew's School (Delaware), Boston College, and the Carter Center.



Barry Checkoway, Senior Consultant

Barry Checkoway is professor of social work and professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan. His scholarship draws on partnerships with grassroots groups, community agencies, and government programs in the South Bronx, Detroit, Chicago, Mississippi, Appalachia, and Oakland; and in South America, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. He collaborated with the White House in launching AmeriCorps, then served as founding director of the following programs: Michigan Neighborhood AmeriCorps Program, University of Michigan Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, Michigan Youth and Community Program, and Youth Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity. His work is very much about the scholarship of engagement in higher education, a topic about which he writes widely.

Jill N. Reich, Project Scholar

Jill is currently a Professor of Psychology at Bates College and serves as Project Scholar with BTtoP, working with the team to advance the mission and goals of the Project.  From 1999-2011 she served as Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculty at Bates during which time she sought to advance the intellectual, civic and psychosocial growth and development of students, faculty and staff through initiatives such as the development of the Harward Center for Civic Engagement, a Learning Commons, a new General Education curriculum,  a faculty workload and compensation plan, and  a seven college consortial project to identify best practices for student learning and assessment. Prior to Bates, Jill served as a faculty member, department chair and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Loyola U. of Chicago where she began and directed the Center for Children and Families spanning the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Education and the Medical School.  She has also been Executive Director of Education for the American Psychological Association, Dean of Faculty at Trinity College in Connecticut and consultant to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois Legislature and W.H. Sobel, Architects and Planners.

Ashley Finley, National Evaluator

Ashley Finley's work, at both the campus and national levels, focuses on developing best practices regarding program implementation, instrumentation, and mixed methods assessment. In her work with BTtoP, Ashley has worked with campuses to implement and assess programs focused on the intersectionality of emphases attendant to the whole student— their engagement in learning, civic development, and their psychosocial well-being. She is the author of Making Progress: What We Know the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes, and Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, with Terrel Rhodes, and many other articles and book chapters on assessment and student learning. Before joining BTtoP, she was an assistant professor of sociology at Dickinson College, where she taught courses in quantitative methods, social inequality, and gender in Latin America. Formerly the Senior Director for Research and Assessment with BTtoP's partner AAC&U, Ashley is now Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Dominican Experience at Dominican University of California.

Lee Knefelkamp

Lee Knefelkamp, Senior Scholar

As a professor of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, Lee teaches in the programs of social–organizational psychology and higher education, and has also held administrative posts as program coordinator and department chair. She directed the student development graduate program at the University of Maryland, served as dean of the school of education at American University, and as academic dean of the faculty at Macalester College. For thirty years, she has researched and written about student intellectual, ethical, identity and intercultural development; curriculum transformation; issues of race, ethnicity, and gender; campus climate assessment (including being one of the leading and initial voices on Iowa State's Personal and Social Responsibility Inventory); and the psychology of organizational change and resistance to change. Coinciding with her work with BTtoP, Lee is also a senior fellow with the Office of Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons in AAC&U, and has been a national panel member for the American Commitments and Greater Expectations initiatives. Starting with BTtoP in 2015, Lee brings this long and admirable history in higher education to her work as a senior scholar.

Caryn McTighe Musil, Senior Scholar

Caryn has long been a colleague of BTtoP, and joined the group officially in 2017. She also serves as the Senior Scholar and Director of Civic Learning and Democracy at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. In addition, she is currently directing a multi-project national initiative, called Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. Until November, 2012, she was the Senior Vice President of Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives. Under her leadership, the office mobilized powerful and overlapping educational reform movements involving civic, diversity, global learning, women’s issues, and personal and social responsibility. Dr. Musil has special expertise in curriculum and faculty development, which she applies through a variety of programming.


Jennifer O’Brien, Consultant

Jennifer formerly served as BTtoP's Project Manager & Coordinator of Strategic Planning and Development, evolving in roles and responsibilities over her eleven years with the project. Now working as the Director of Development for the Middle East Children's Institute (MECI), Jennifer remains connected to the project as a consultant and close advisor. She was previously responsible for the design and implementation of BTtoP's major strategic planning and development efforts, served as editor of BTtoP's triannual newsletter, and oversaw all of BTtoP's work. Jennifer has a Master's degree in Public Policy (Philosophy and Social Policy) from the George Washington University and a certificate in Non-Profit Executive Management from Georgetown University. Her undergraduate studies, also at George Washington University, were focused on psychology and women's studies. Jennifer also serves as the Executive Manager of the S. Engelhard Center.



Caitlin Salins, Project Manager

Caitlin joined BTtoP in 2015, originally serving as Project Coordinator and Assistant to the Director and has evolved in her role, first as Grants Manager, and now as Project Manager. She works directly with Don and the BTtoP team in supervising, facilitating, and coordinating all project initiatives and partnerships, including  BTtoP's triannual newsletter, grants management, strategic planning, publications, editing, event-planning, and communications. Caitlin graduated from the Masters of Library Science Program at the University of Maryland in 2012, where she developed a passion for serving and bettering her community, and especially that of higher education. Caitlin's background in library and information services includes experience with public libraries, reference, inclusion & diversity, and records management. A native to the D.C.area, Caitlin also completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Languages and Literature. 

Mercedes YanoraMercedes Yanora, Project Associate

Mercedes has recently joined BTtoP as a Project Associate and works directly with Caitlin and Don in administering BTtoP’s work. Prior to joining BTtoP, she applied her passion for international collaboration, higher education, and civic engagement in her position as the U.S. Universities Advisor at Wycombe Abbey School in High Wycombe, England. Through this role, she forged relationships with each student and encouraged them to pursue both higher education and collegiate athletics in America. As a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, Mercedes was a Peer-to-Peer Advisor where she advised graduate students applying for external grants. Mercedes has an M.A. in South Asia Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in History, with a minor in International Relations, from Saint Joseph’s University.




The S. Engelhard Center, founded in 2008, is a non-profit public charitable foundation. Its mission is to support projects and initiatives that affect greater and sustained commitments by educational institutions at all levels to provide effective means of addressing the intellectual, emotional, and civic development of today’s students in preparation for claiming their positive future. The Center is supported by the generosity of The Charles Engelhard Foundation and the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, and has received grant support from the William and Mary Greve Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, The Teagle Foundation and the Spencer Foundation.

Founded in 1952 by Christian A. Johnson, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation is dedicated to efforts that foster independent thought, ethical understanding, deep appreciation of the arts and reverence for the natural world.  The Endeavor Foundation pursues this objective primarily by supporting and catalyzing excellence in liberal arts education and related fields, and has supported the curricular and pedagogical development of a significant number of liberal arts colleges in the United States.  The Foundation has also made major contributions to the arts, to projects that assist independent states in the formerly Soviet-dominated region of Central and Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Rumania, Slovakia and Ukraine, to Native American projects and to efforts that promote environmental awareness.  Endeavor was instrumental in the creation of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, and ECLA European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany.


Bringing Theory to Practice was founded in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. AAC&U is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises nearly 1,300 member institutions—including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.


Our Work