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Press Room

Press Release

Contact: Jennifer Reynolds
202.387-3760 ext. 815

Charles Engelhard Foundation Expands Support for Campus Initiatives That Involve Students in Engaged Learning to Reduce Health Risks

AAC&U to Be Partner in Major Initiative on Student Health and Civic Engagement

Washington, DC—August 4, 2004—The Charles Engelhard Foundation recently announced its intention to expand the Bringing Theory to Practice project with a $1.86 million three-year grant. The project, launched in 2003, has partnered with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to support campuses as they develop and evaluate engaged learning strategies--including service learning and community-based undergraduate research--designed to prevent or reduce levels of student depression and substance abuse. AAC&U's Office of Diversity, Equity, and Global Initiatives will represent the Association in the partnership.

"We are very pleased that the partnership and the Engelhard Foundation grant will enable both the project and the Association to expand campus work on civic engagement as a goal of liberal education," said AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider. "This partnership will build on several earlier curricular projects and will bring new support to AAC&U's continued work on effective learning strategies that help students develop civic, social, and personal responsibility and engage the pressing social issues of our time as an integral part of their undergraduate experiences."

The Bringing Theory to Practice Project was launched in 2003. In April 2004 it sponsored and published an initial review of research on the prevalence and patterns of depression and substance abuse among college students and the relationship of those phenomena to patterns of engaged learning. Teams of administrators, students, and faculty members from thirty-nine colleges and universities joined the effort to explore these linkages and received support grants from the project.

The next phases of the project's work include additional "Action-Conferences" and presentations at professional and disciplinary conferences; demonstration-campus programs will be established and followed for three years, allowing the project to assess the nature and extent of how students' academic experiences connect to depression and substance abuse. Leadership colloquia for presidents, student leaders, and health and student affairs leadership are scheduled for each year of the grant. A fourth area of attention will be the continued support of relevant research. An interdisciplinary planning group will lead the project.

According to Donald W. Harward, project director, president emeritus of Bates College, and senior fellow at AAC&U, "The overall purpose of the project is to advance the academic community's interest, support, and valuing of engaged student learning--determining how and to what extent doing so addresses positively the depth and quality of their education, their development, their health, and their civic lives."

For more information about the project, including information about applying to participate and a list of participating schools, see

The Bringing Theory to Practice Project (BTtoP) is an independent national effort, guided by an interdisciplinary planning team. It is funded by the Charles Engelhard Foundation of New York, and functions in partnership with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Washington, DC.

The Charles Engelhard Foundation is a New York-based foundation whose mission focuses on projects in higher and secondary education, cultural, medical, religious, wildlife, and conservation organizations.

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.

AAC&U functions as a catalyst and facilitator, forging links among presidents, administrators, and faculty members who are engaged in institutional and curricular planning. Its mission is to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education and inclusive excellence at both the national and local levels, and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.