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Bringing Theory to Practice

Sponsored Research

The Project supports research that characterizes what is available and known regarding the specific nature of "engaged learning" in higher education, and how such learning may be related to student mental health and civic development.

2004-2007 Demonstration Site research compilation
November 2010 | Ashley Finley, Ph. D | PowerPoint

BTtoP Leadership Coalition Faculty Survey: Perspectives on Teaching, Faculty Reward Structures, and Job-Related Outcomes
November 2010 | Ashley Finley, National Evaluator| POD Conference PowerPoint

This study was developed to provide greater empirical understanding of the ways in which faculty innovate and enhance their teaching and the degree to which they feel these efforts are valued on campus. The study surveyed faculty across 20 colleges and universities, of various institutional type and size, regarding faculty practice and perspectives on what encourages and limits pedagogical innovation, views on institutional and disciplinary cultures of teaching and learning (including promotion and tenure processes), and the presence and influence of institutional rewards or incentives intended to encourage excellence in teaching. Additionally the study addresses the relationship between these reward structures and the presence of institutional cultures of teaching and learning on relevant faculty outcomes, such as job satisfaction, commitment, and mental well-being. Content from this study, including findings, is the property of Ashley Finley and the national Bringing Theory to Practice Project, funded by the S. Engelhard Center.  When citing any part of the study or findings, attribution must read: “This study was supported by the Bringing Theory to Practice Project and conducted by Ashley Finley, Ph.D, National Evaluator for Bringing Theory to Practice and Director of Assessment & Research at AAC&U.”

College Outcomes Project (COP)
December 2007- October 2008 | Richard Hersh, chair | "A Well-rounded Education for a Flat World"

The College Outcomes Project (COP), directed by Dr. Richard Hersh (Senior Consultant, Keeling & Associates; former President, Trinity and Hobart & William Smith Colleges) is an extension of the Bringing Theory to Practice Project (BTtoP) and has received support from both the S. Engelhard Center and from the Spencer Foundation in Chicago, to study and report on what a deeper analysis of learning outcomes might mean and suggest for change in higher education.

While there has been much discussion on the need to address the nature and quality of higher education and the well-being of students, little has been said of how we can achieve these goals. The Outcomes report has found that higher education must become far more transformational and integrative, and that formative learning outcomes assessment must be aligned with summative assessment and far more explicit, systematic, and tightly linked to standards, objectives, curricula, and pedagogy.

COP Team of Scholars, Researchers & Practitioners: Richard H. Hersh, Chair; Matthew Bundick; Richard Keeling; Corey Keyes; Amy Kurpius; Richard Shavelson; Daniel Silverman; Lynn Swaner
Related material: Richard J. Shavelson, et al: On Assessing Learning Broadly and Responsibly

BTtoP Cost Study: College and University Expenditures in Addressing Patterns of Student Disengagement
September 2008 | Ashley Finley, National Evaluator, Ph. D & Lynn Swaner, Ed.D., LMHC, NCC, ACS

The Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Cost Study identified and itemized specific direct and indirect costs related to resources, personnel, and programming employed by colleges and universities to address the various symptoms of student disengagement. Nine (9) institutions of various type (e.g., public vs. private) and size participated in a limited study of these costs and related trends in spending and resource allocation through the use of an online survey instrument. Aggregate resource allocation generally rose over time, with the study finding a 67.56% increase over five years in institutional commitments toward total resource allocation for BTtoP core dimensions (counseling and psychological services, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, civic engagement, and engaged learning). Staffing resources for these areas either largely declined or stagnated however; thus while schools might be spending more on these dimensions, the question is raised of how effectively resources are being distributed. In addition to presenting the findings of the Cost Study, this report also provides suggestions for institutions interested in furthering the development and dissemination of campus commitment for the promotion of engaged learning, civic development, and student mental health and well-being efforts. The Cost-Study Report and Instrument are the property of Bringing Theory to Practice.  Please do not reprint or distribute either without the consent of the authors or Bringing Theory to Practice. Cost Study Instrument (xls)

Bridging Civic Engagement and Mental Health
March 2008 | Penny A. Pasque | National Symposium on Civic Engagement and Mental Health, University of Michigan Bridging Civic Engagement and Mental Health

In 2008, Dr. Penny A. Pasque, University of Oklahoma, compiled this monograph from the proceedings from the National Symposium for Civic Engagement and Mental Health, held March 16-17, 2008 at the University of Michigan.

Focus groups and national survey on substance abuse, mental health, and engaged learning
April 2005 | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

Literature review: "Linking Engaged Learning, Student Mental Health and Well-being, and Civic Development"
April 2005 | Lynn Swaner, Ed.D., LMHC, NCC, ACS

This major research study examines both the theoretical levels and the available empirical research regarding the linkages among forms of engaged learning, forms of depression and substance abuse, and the civic development of students.

Literature review on depression, substance abuse and student engagement
November 2003 | The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA)

Additional Research of Interest:

National Survey of Student Engagement 2011 Annual Report
2011 | NSSE

Should College Focus More on Personal and Social Responsibility?
2008 | AAC&U

High Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access To them, and Why They Matter
2008 | AAC&U

Medicalisation in the 21st century
February 2007 | The Lancet | Introduction | Tomes | Rose | Duster | Metzl | Patton

In 2005, Jonathan Metzl and Rebecca Herzig convened a small gathering of scholars from such fields as sociology, history, philosophy, and anthropology to debate the issues of medicalisation. The goal was to bring the tools of disciplines outside medicine to bear on questions about the process by which the medical expands to incorporate common events and to circumscribe experience. The results of the discussion culminated in a series of essays published in a special section of the February 24, 2007 issue of the Lancet.

Findings from campus climate surveys administered as part of Core Commitments: Educating Students for Personal and Social Responsibility. More information on the Core Commitments Initiative.

Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More
2005 | Derek Bok

Key Findings from Focus Groups Among College Students and College-Bound High School Students
2004 | AAC&U and Peter D. Hart Research