Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP)
Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) is an independent Project established in 2003 in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). The project was co-founded by Sally Engelhard Pingree, (President of the S. Engelhard Center), and Donald W. Harward (President Emeritus, Bates College, and Senior Scholar, AAC&U).
Bringing Theory to Practice is grounded in three convictions. We believe that higher education should be holistic and transformative, nurturing students’ intellectual growth, personal well-being, preparation for meaningful work, and democratic citizenship. We believe that “educating the whole student” has to include all students, no matter their background or interests. And we believe that the first two commitments require the reshaping of higher education. BTtoP works to advance these ideals through innovative practice, research, advocacy, and institutional change.
To enrich these conversations and the promise of their outcomes, BTtoP aims to be a supportive ally and resource as institutions foster their own deepened campus culture for engaged learning—one that expects and delivers a context in which students can have a truly liberating and transforming experience, preparing them to be flourishing members of the global landscape. To date, BTtoP has funded over 300 unique institutions through over 500 grant awards, published several volumes, and regularly participates in and holds conferences.
While attending to context and relevant influences, BTtoP selects and supports the planning and offering of multiple means to achieve our mission.
BTtoP funds and supports ongoing campus projects at institutions interested in taking steps toward realizing their missions for learning, well-being and civic development of their students. We realize that all campuses are at different places on any arc towards progress or change, so our grants fund a broad range of initiatives.
From small seminars that begin conversations with representative campus and community constituencies about the mission of the institution, to affirming, through research and programmatic initiatives, a significant shift in the campus culture for transformative learning—BTtoP grants provide necessary funding as well as the cache of a national and collegial learning community.
Total funding to support the work of BTtoP grantee campuses was over $700,000 in the 2012-2014 funding period, and over $7 million to date, to more than 300 institutions of higher education.
BTtoP has offered dozens of conferences, workshops, and other events related to the research and work we support on campuses. The goal of our events is to provide our colleagues an opportunity to get away from campus to be amongst their national (and occasionally international) peers—to learn, collaborate, and innovate.
We offer a host of recurring events (Retrieval Conferences, Bridging Conferences, Student Conferences), as well as specially-focused events (e.g., well-being symposia, civic seminars, or initiative-specific workshops).
BTtoP is dedicated to increasing institutional attention and commitment to the linkages we address in our mission and to create systems of support, reward and maintenance that value them. We utilize the production of various forms of resources to achieve this.
Publications (including major books, series of monographs, a tri-annual newsletter and timely reports and research) form the bulk of our resources devoted to enhancing the scholarship and national conversations surrounding transformational learning, the realm of the civic, and well-being.