While many definitions of the following terms exist, BTtoP provides these operational definitions to aid in better interpreting project materials, including our RFP's:
Civic engagement is when students participate in public work — such as, but not restricted to — social and political action, community organizing, issue advocacy, and other activities which contribute to actual changes. Community service or service learning by themselves are not necessarily forms of engagement, but they might become such when linked to learning, reflection, and actions that produce changes.
Civic development refers to indicators and measures of civic outcomes, such as civic knowledge and skills, civic dispositions, caring for others and community, and personal and social responsibility.
Engaged learning is when students are active participants involved in and aware of their being “in relation to” knowledge, discovery, facts, skills, values, and judgments, rather than only being presented with information. In addition to the usual lectures and seminars that characterize most curricula, there are various curricular and co-curricular approaches, as well as the use of alternative pedagogies, that make engaged learning possible. Such learning raises expectations of students, is often challenging and intellectually risk taking, and it enables them to consider how their learning affects and is affected by its application. This type of deeper learning enhances the educational process by increasing students’ involvement in it. Authentic engagement can contribute to civic development and promote the psychosocial well-being of students.
Well-being is a construction that refers, at a minimum, to the manifestations of characteristics, attitudes, and dispositions that typify positive development of a sense of direction: purposefulness, personal identity and fulfillment, social awareness and development, empathy, perspective-taking, resilience, and mindfulness, the sum of which is often identified as flourishing.
Building institutional capacity is about institutional sustainability, rather than one-time events. We support strategies for institutional change. Although we normally invest in institutions, we also are open to proposals that build capacity among clusters of institutions, such as the creation of a regional network of colleges and universities.
Transformational view of higher education is based on the conviction that the core purposes of higher education go beyond providing useful and transferable skills that contribute to students’ intellectual growth and their utility in economic and social contexts. Its purpose includes aiding students’ full development as individuals — their well-being and sense of civic purpose, as well as preparation for living meaningfully in the world. Materials on the BTtoP web site, especially the visual interpretation of the connections among core purposes of higher education are helpful in generating thoughts and discussion regarding your institution’s understanding of transformation.