Bringing Theory to Practice – Well Being Initiative

Syracuse University was one of 29 participating institutions in the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project’s Well Being Initiative:
Bringing Theory to Practice journal cover

“The intent of this collaborative learning community is to jointly gain greater understanding, and then to encourage practices and policies that demonstrate commitment as institutions, and as educators, to valuing and promoting the transformative promise of higher education for students—a promise much richer than what may prevail elsewhere; a promise and expectation of connecting rigorous and engaged learning to being a whole person.”

– Well Being Initiative (2014)

The Syracuse University project examined the relationship between civic engagement and student well-being for three academic courses – including Intergroup Dialogue – offered across academic departments and colleges. The multi-method approach includes surveys, interviews, and content analysis of student coursework in order to capture student perspectives on holistic education that embraces affective, cognitive, and experiential learning. For a brief summary on the Syracuse University and other BTtoP and well-being projects, see the BTtoP newsletter (Fall 2016).

In Fall 2013, Syracuse University (Lopez, 2013) also received a seminar grant from the AAC&U Bringing Theory to Practice Project to engage graduate students in discussions of the public role of higher education.

Multi-University Intergroup Dialogue Research Project

Syracuse University (IGD) was also one of the collaborating institutions in the Multi-University Intergroup Dialogue Research Project, a multi-method study of the educational benefits of learning through intergroup dialogue for college students, originally funded through the Ford and W. T. Grant Foundations. Collaborating institutions include:

  • Arizona State University
  • Occidental College
  • Syracuse University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Washington

An overview of the project and early results is available through Diversity & Democracy: Nagda, Gurin, Sorensen, & Zúñiga (2009). Evaluating intergroup dialogue: Engaging diversity for personal and social responsibility.

An article that provides the institutional context and significance of the project for two campuses is available through New Directions in Higher Education: Lopez & Zúñiga (2010). Intergroup dialogue and democratic practice in higher education.

Key findings, outcomes, and processes are summarized, with with contributions from researchers across campuses, in Dialogue Across Difference: Practice, Theory, and Research on Intergroup Dialogue. (Gurin, Nagda, & Zúñiga, Eds., 2013) NY: Russell Sage Foundation.

Research articles drawing from the Multi-University Intergroup Dialogue Research Project are included in a co-edited special journal issue Intergroup Dialogue: Engaging difference, social identities, and social justice.” (Zúñiga, Lopez, & Ford, Eds., 2012) Equity and Excellence in Education.

Publications & Presentations

For additional publications and presentations – from the Syracuse University Intergroup Dialogue team