Bringing It

Bringing It #4: What We Are Learning, an Opportunity, and Expression of Gratitude

November 20, 2018

Dear friends,

As the season of holidays approaches, this number of Bringing It offers you several small gifts: some civic wisdom from a friend, an opportunity for colleges to enrich the experience of their students, and our own thanks to you.

What We’re Learning From Our Friends & Partners

In her essay, “Democracy Under Siege: A Category 4 Storm,” which appears in the “Perspectives” column of this month’s AAC&U Newsletter, our friend and colleague, Caryn McTighe Musil, offers crucial advice on how to educate students in, for, and through democracy.

Students need opportunities to: (1) study the wide variety of democracies around the world, comparing constitutional language and protections offered—or not; (2) examine the historic struggles for democracy in this country and elsewhere, including how people organized, the forces they opposed, and the consequences of their opposition; (3) excavate and debate core democratic principles as they have been asserted, ignored, contested, and embodied in law, policy, and culture; and (4) explore the forces that caused democratic societies to fail strikingly and rapidly in Europe in the 1930s and elsewhere around the world…Finally, students need many chances to discover what democratic practices feel like by exercising these practices in the classroom, in student organizations, online, in intimate relationships, and in the workplace.

Caryn’s call couldn’t be more eloquent or timely.

An Opportunity From Our Friends at the Council of Independent Colleges

Make sure to apply for the Council of Independent Colleges’ Visiting Fellows Program! For more than 45 years, the Visiting Fellows program has brought prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, and other nonacademic professionals for week-long residential programs to campuses across the United States for substantive dialogue with students, faculty, and community members. These extended visits, built around classes, seminars, workshops, lectures, and information discussions, give Fellows time to demonstrate to students that there are challenging opportunities for those who want to build a better world through professional activities and as informed, engaged citizens. The Visiting Fellows program is available to all four-year public and private, nonprofit colleges and universities in the United States; Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) member campuses participate at a discounted rate. To see the roster of available Fellows and to learn more, please visit Questions can be directed to: [email protected].


In the spirit of the season, we want to extend our deep gratitude for the BTtoP community of friends and colleagues, old and new. Global and local politics, natural disasters, violence, and stark polarization are a sobering reality – which gives us all the more reason to be thankful for that which brings us growth, warmth, and joy. A dear friend of the project once described BTtoP as the “umbrella under which people huddle to imagine what may be.” The description is an honor, and a privilege. That we can work toward that goal each day is only possible through the generosity of spirit of all those willing to stand in the rain with us. Thank you for your friendship, your support, your criticism, your passion, and your work.

With warm wishes for the holiday and much gratitude,
David, Caitlin, & Mercedes