Our Team


David Scobey

David joined Director of Bringing Theory to Practice as Director in July 2018, following the retirement of Don Harward. For twenty years, David has worked to advance the democratic purposes of higher education. In his writing, teaching, and programmatic initiatives, he has sought to build bridges between academic and public work, especially through the integration of community engagement into liberal education and the full inclusion of nontraditional students into higher education.  He is active in national efforts on behalf of these goals, serving on advisory boards for Project Pericles and Imagining America: Artists and Scholars In Public Life.

From 1989 to 2005, he was a member of the University of Michigan faculty, teaching American Studies, U.S. cultural history, and the history of urbanism and architecture.  In 1998, he founded Arts of Citizenship, a UM program that fostered public work and community projects in the arts, humanities, and design.  Between 2005 and 2010, he was the Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Professor of Community Partnerships at Bates College and the inaugural Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships. From 2010 to 2014, he served as the founding Executive Dean of the School for Public Engagement at The New School in New York City.  In 2016-18, he was Senior Scholar for The Graduate! Network, a consortium of regional efforts dedicated to improving college access and success for adult learners. 

David has a Ph.D. from the Program in American Studies at Yale University, a Diploma in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford, and a B.A. in English Literature (summa cum laude) from Yale University. His historical scholarship focuses on culture, politics, urbanism, and space in 19th-century America. He is the author of Empire City: The Making and Meaning of the New York City Landscape (Temple University Press, 2002), as well as other studies of U.S. cultural and urban history. He also writes extensively on current issues and the recent history of American higher education.  Much of his recent research centers on nontraditional undergraduates—the large majority of U.S. college students—and their importance to the future of higher education. 

David is the recipient of a Rhodes Scholarship, a Senior Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and other research fellowships and awards.  He is a member of the New York Academy of History.  He was awarded an Excellence in Education Award and the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award by the University of Michigan, and he was a finalist for the Thomas Ehrlich Prize, a national faculty award given for community-based education. 



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.

Donald Harward served as President of Bates College from 1989 through June 2002, when he was appointed President Emeritus. Before taking office at Bates, Don held the position of 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. Following his retirement from Bates College, Don co-founded Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP), a national independent project in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), whose mission is to advance the greater purposes of higher education.

As Director of BTtoP for 15 years, he presented across the country as well as authored and edited multiple volumes, including Transforming Undergraduate Education and Well-Being and Higher Education: A Strategy for Change the Realization of Education’s Greater Purposes. Don holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Maryland, honorary doctorate degrees from Bates College and the College of Wooster, and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship from the University of Warsaw Poland. In addition to his role as Director of BTtoP, he served as a Senior Fellow with AAC&U, and as a consultant, advisor, and board member for a variety of higher education organizations, foundations, and institutions. Don now serves as a Trustee to the project.

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.





Caitlin Salins, Executive 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 Executive Project Manager. She works directly with David 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 and Information Science Program at the University of Maryland in 2012, with an emphasis on public libraries, reference service, inclusion & diversity, accessibility, 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. She is currently working toward a second graduate degree as a student in Georgetown University Masters of Learning and Design program, with a focus on ethical leadership in higher education.

Kate Griffin, PLACE Collabortory Project Coordinator

Kate is the Project Coordinator for the PLACE Collaboratory, BTtoP’s national humanities-based civic engagement initiative working with university and community partners in four cities to create strategies for authentic listening and shared action related to big agendas on social issues. Kate’s background includes experience with academic-community partnerships, public humanities, community-based arts, and social impact. She is both a skilled organizational and project manager and an experienced community-builder. Kate has a doctorate in American Studies and has held leadership roles in community development, social entrepreneurship, and social services organizations for fifteen years. She designed “San Francisco Seniors Remember,” an oral history project in partnership with the University of San Francisco and StoryCorps, and in 2015 she co-founded the Storefront Institute, a Bay-Area grassroots public-humanities center. Last year, after many years in California, she returned to her native New Hampshire, where she directs the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire. Kate is based in New Hampshire, balancing her duties as Project Coordinator with her Arts Alliance work. Kate is on the steering committee for the New Hampshire Creative Communities Network, and was a New England 2018 National Arts Strategies Creative Communities Fellow.

Mercedes YanoraMercedes Yanora, Project Associate

Mercedes is the Project Associate and works directly with Caitlin and David in administering BTtoP’s work. She also edits for three foreign policy and security publications: Charged Affairs, Diplomatic Courier, and South Asian Voices. 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.




BTtoP is funded by The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon 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.