Priorities: Innovation and Change

The Evergreen State College

Running through all our priorities is a commitment to innovation and change. Bringing Theory to Practice was launched out of a concern that higher education had lost touch with its own purposes and values. Academic institutions and the student experience were becoming fragmented and transactional. Repairing a broken ideal of transformative learning meant transforming higher education itself.

From the start, BT2P has aimed to catalyze campus innovation. We support experimental curricula that broke out of disciplinary silos; pedagogies that blended experiential learning, real-world problem solving, and critical reflection; the launch of programs that bridged academic and co-curricular experiences; the development of centers that melded liberal learning with community engagement. Such grant making is also a strategy for leveraging broader change. BT2P has supported projects that align academics, student life, and administrative leadership in “campus cultures of change,” and we have curated and amplified campus- and program-level innovation through convening and publications.

In recent years, BT2P’s change strategy has evolved. We are now focused less on campus-by-campus innovation than on institutional collaboration. The unit of change in higher education, we’ve come to believe, is not the stand-alone campus, but the innovative network. In our collaboratories and multi-institutional grants, we seek to bring together communities of practice that can co-create, distill, and disseminate new models of education. What began as a grantees’ network is evolving, we hope, into a movement of change-makers.

Our projects database is replete with projects of curricular and pedagogical innovation, program design, and institutional change strategies. Here are several examples.

BT2P has also published significant work on the dynamics and strategies of change in higher education. Here are some key articles and essays.