In a column in The Chronicle of Higher Education William Pannapacker, Associate Professor of English at Hope College in Holland, MI, argues that teaching-focused institutions have much to gain from partnerships with research universities on the digital humanities, and vice versa.
"This is at the root of the Visiting Faculty Fellowships being offered through Humanities Writ Large," says Srinivas Aravamudan, Dean of Humanities at Duke University. "Starting in Spring 2012, we have been able to partner with faculty at six colleges and universities that have different missions -- and require of faculty a greater portion of time spent teaching undergraduates. We will be extending this collaboration with five additional institutions next year, and will be looking for additional partners for the following two years."
The partnerships that have been formed during these Fellowships have enriched the work of Duke faculty and have led to sustained collaboration after the individual Fellowship is completed. To cite just two examples:
"The library is one of the few academic organizations with a core mandate to embrace both past and future," said Joshua D. Sosin, associate professor of classical studies and history at Duke. "That's heaven for an ancient historian, whose focus is ancient documents and the modern technologies we bring to bear on them."
Professor Sosin has been appointed as the faculty director of the "Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing (DC3)," where he will lead a team in enhancing Duke's existing digital papyrology projects and designing new technological experiments with broad applicability within and beyond the field of classics. The DC3 will act as an incubator for innovative humanities scholarship and complement Duke's other initiatives to re-imagine the role of the humanities in higher education.
DC3 is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read more on DukeToday.
Humanities Writ Large projects will be well represented at the CIT Showcase on Friday, April 26. If you want to learn more about Visiting Professor Adeline Koh's Trading Races game, the Fantasy Art Collecting game used in art history and economics classes, the Rivalrous Masculinities course and project, or the GreaterThanGames Lab's ARG Speculat1on, you'll find them all in one place.
The Center for Instructional Technology has a great line-up of opportunities to learn more about resources available to Duke faculty and students.
"Humanitarianism in Haiti: Vision and Practice," is underway. The first panel addressed the lack of transparency about the use of both taxpayer and donor dollars, and the lack of lasting accomplishments, since the January 2012 earthquake.
Read more in DukeToday.
The conference continues tomorrow at Smith Warehouse.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities has brought together 160 employers and 107 college presidents around a compact, released on Wednesday by AAC&U. The signatories pledged "to help the public understand the importance of a '21st-century liberal-arts education,' comprising broad and adaptive learning, personal and social responsibility, and intellectual skills."
The Chronicle of Higher Education report notes that "as president for Massachusetts of a gas and electric utility called National Grid, Marcy L. Reed has found that new employees must have strong collaboration, communication, and problem-solving skills. 'I have to be sure the people we hire today are fit for tomorrow,' said Ms. Reed.
Read the entire article here.
One sign of the success of Duke's Haiti Lab is that students at Duke will soon be able to study Tibetan. What do an island in the French Caribbean and a language spoken in central Asia have to do with each other? Starting in Fall 2013, Duke students will be able to study the Tibetan language with faculty and students at the University of Virginia, and UVA students will be able to study Haitian Creole with faculty and students at Duke. At Duke, Creole language courses have gained a foothold due to the success of the Haiti Lab. At UVA, the Tibetan Center was founded in 2008 to examine that language and culture.
Dean Laurie Patton of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences explained that "we're protecting languages that are very much a part of our global culture but aren't necessarily the first you would take in a Western academic curriculum" and that "in this economic climate, might not otherwise be sustained."
"Less commonly taught languages are no less important for being infrequently taught," said Meredith Jung-En Woo, UVA's Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences. "This is an example of the type of intellectual leadership universities can offer that is cost effective and therefore isn't driven only by the single criteria of enrollment."
Duke officials hope to expand the program to include other languages and other interested universities.
Read the entire story in DukeToday.
Duke's PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge (PhD Lab) is designed to help PhD students develop digital skills for teaching, research, and publishing / production. Because of this interest in helping PhD students develop these skills -- which will be useful for an academic career, an "alt-ac" career, or a career outside the academy -- Duke has signed on as one of seven members of the recently formed Praxis Network.
Inside Higher Ed recently featured the network, noting particularly that "common themes uniting [the seven programs] include not just interdisciplinary cooperation and a desire to explore how new technologies affect research, but also the mentality that their students should broaden their understanding of the sort of career options an advanced degree in the humanities can lead to."
The Praxis Network is part of a larger effort undertaken by the U.Va.-based, Mellon Foundation supported, Scholarly Communication Institute to evaluate how graduate programs in the humanities prepare students for life after graduation.
In a global economic and political environment, "only the humanities and the social sciences give one access and entrée into the store," said Karl W. Eikenberry, former United States Ambassador to Afghanistan and a member of the American Academy Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, speaking at the National Humanities Alliance meeting in Washington this week.
Inside Higher Ed reported that Eikenberry, along with Brown University President Christina H. Paxson, argued that supporters of the humanities must clearly communicate the benefits of their academic fields or risk losing the war of words on how higher education funding should be appropriated.
Professor Caroline Bruzelius (Art, Art History & Visual Studies) and Professor Carlo Tomasi (Computer Science) led a team of Duke undergraduate students on a research trip to Naples over Spring break. They used the opportunity to test a new data capture system for use with medieval masonry. They worked primarily in the church of San Lorenzo, a Franciscan basilica in the heart of medieval Naples.
The students are experimenting with an analytic system for the study of historic buildings through pattern recognition, data mining, and texture analysis. Their research works with computational analytics to examine the shapes, textures, materials, sizes, and colors of the stones used in medieval structures in order to extract information on the technology of stonecutting, and possibly identify the work of individual masons (tool marks are like signatures), as well as potentially provide educated estimates on the size of the labor force.
The undergraduate team has been invited by Professor Carlo Ebanista of the University of Molise (Campobasso) to provide their expertise on the analysis of chisel marks as part of an on-going research project in the Catacombs of San Gennaro in Naples. While on-site this summer, they will be able to co-ordinate chisel marks with the gradual expansion of the catacombs between the 3rd and 6th centuries c.e. This exciting initiative will involve Duke students as part of a graduate-level research team working in Naples.
One of the inaugural Emerging Humanities Networks funded by HWL, Rivalrous Masculinities, has just launched a virtual exhibition. The seven students who completed Professor Ann Marie Rasmussen's Fall 2012 course, Rivalrous Masculinities: Changes in Images of the Male Body Over Time (GERMAN390-1, MEDREN390, WOMENST290, ARTHIST390) , began a project that has considerable reach into the future. As one of the core assignments for the class, the students researched objects in the collection of the Nasher Museum of Art, built a database of this information, and have now provided the virtual "wall text" for an online exhibit.
When the course is offered again in Fall 2013, the students in that section will add to this exhibit while also curating a physical exhibition at the Nasher to be mounted in Spring 2014.
Visiting Faculty Fellow Joshua Nadel and his students in "Humanities in Humanitarianism: the Haiti Project," a joint Duke/NC Central course, have organized a conference that will bring together grassroots activists and donors, international NGO workers and theorists to critically assess both the aims of humanitarian and development aid and the efficacy of aid design and delivery. Humanitarianism in Haiti: Visions and Practice, is hosted by Duke's Haiti Lab. The conference will be the highlight of a year of exciting events that merge research, education, and practical applications of innovative thinking for Haiti’s disaster recovery and for the expansion of Haitian studies in the U.S. and Haiti.
Registration is open for the April 11-12, 2013 conference.
When you hear that Brain Awareness Week begins this Saturday, March 2, you may think that means there is going to be lots of complicated scientific and medical information coming to the local news. And there will be scientific and medical information coming your way. But the coordinated efforts by scientists, teachers, students and service organizations are open to the public, and welcome audiences of any age and level of expertise. Several of the events will be held in locations around Durham, including a talk by Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow Ralph James Savarese on "Poetic Potential in Autism." Come to Fullsteam Brewery on Tuesday, March 5 at 7 p.m. for this fascinating look at neurodiversity. And check out the other events, too.
In January, I, Steffen Kaupp, had the pleasure of visiting our current (University of Bamberg) and future (Humboldt University Berlin and University of Hamburg) overseas collaborators for our Rivalrous Masculinities Emerging Humanities Network. In Bamberg, I joined our sister seminar--we had met with Prof. Bennewitz's class twice via video-conferencing in the fall semester--and was amazed by the high quality of the German students' research on the objects that will go into their virtual exhibition. In Hamburg and Berlin, I met with Prof. Claudia Benthien and Prof. Andreas Kraß to discuss our collaboration for the fall 2013 Rivalrous Masculinities class; it will be the first experience for all participants with a three-way collaboration and we are all excited about the productive moments that will emerge from the broad range of research expertise.
The most memorable impression from my three weeks, however, was the exponential rate at which I was able to expand our humanities network. On a walk through Berlin, I discovered that the Humboldt University has a specialized Gender Library. Two emails and three hours later, I met with Dr. Karin Aleksander, the head librarian at this fine institute library. They have an outstanding selection of books, journals, and digital media that cover a broad range of topics relating to gender, queer and sexuality studies. Their advanced catalog system allows users to even find individual essays from journals and edited volumes through a sophisticated tagging system, which is an immensely helpful research tool. Since our students work with a lot of art objects from German speaking lands, she offered to function as a support person for our fall 2013 class. In Hamburg, Prof. Benthien and I started planning several visits of German students to Duke in the fall, which will allow our students to expand their own networks and it will give them insights into a university system that is fundamentally different from their own. In Bamberg, among many other things, I was invited to give a lecture on my dissertation research, which deals with the representation of masculinity in the works of contemporary Turkish German authors, and which is thus closely linked to our Rivalrous Maculinities project. This 45-minute presentation led to many follow up meetings with professors and doctoral students from fields as diverse as English Literature, German Literature, German Medieval Studies, Turkology, and Islamic Studies. Not only did they have helpful comments for my dissertation research, but they were all eager to find out more about the Rivalrous Masculinities project, which puts us on the radar of a broad network of international scholars.
This trip has shown that there is an added value of traveling to Germany, and physically – rather than virtually – meeting with scholars from different fields. It allowed me to make new connections, and to introduce our project to many people in only three weeks. Doing this virtually would have either not led to any substantial interactions at all, or it would have taken months to do so. I can safely say that our Rivalrous Masculinities network has grown, and thus broadened its expertise.
Steffen Kaupp is a graduate student in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies and is also working toward a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies. He is a co-convener of Rivalrous Masculinities.
Professor Laurent Dubois, one of the co-directors of the Haiti Lab, was interviewed for Faith & Leadership, an offering of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity School. He described how the Haiti Lab came to be and the importance of having freedom to experiment, paired with resources to support that experimentation.
One of the foci of the Haiti Lab was to consider, as he explained, "what are we training undergraduates to do, exactly? Since most undergraduates are not going to go into academia, we want to impart to them skills that could be used and applied to lots of different areas. A collaborative research context really helps in identifying the problem, figuring out what resources you need to resolve it and connecting it to other things out there."
Read the entire article here.
“I am constantly saddened to see bright college students and their parents confuse choosing a major with launching a career, taking, say, business over their passion in English or philosophy solely because they can look on Monster.com and see job posts for one and not the other” writes Richard Greenwald, Dean of St. John’s College in New York in a Huffington Post blog. He does not lament that students are thinking about how their investment in college will enable them to achieve their professional goals. Rather, he challenges humanities faculty to do a better job of connecting what they do to challenges students will face after college.
He proposes several things humanities departments should do. “Rather than see this as a liberal arts vs. (pre)professions, we need to see it from a student's perspective and look for the connections. Second, let's stop measuring ourselves by the number of majors in our departments and start instead looking at us the way students do. Our students require layers of skills and acquired knowledge and search it out regardless of department. Third, let's partner with neighboring disciplines and professional areas to provide a total education for students regardless of their declared major.”
He concludes that “We [owe it to ] our students and society to provide the best, engaged education we can, one that broadens their minds and provides employable skills because both are desirable.”
Read the full post here.
In a recent Washington Post opinion column, Danielle Allen, professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., called on the Education Department to challenge states “to build curricular and pedagogic innovations that will allow them to succeed at meeting the new Common Core State Standards,” rather than simply challenging them, as President Obama indicated in his 2013 State of the Union address, to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.
She explains that “the Common Core standards recognize that literacy, the humanities and history are as important as math, science and technical subjects in preparing students for jobs and college. They will also improve our ability to prepare students for citizenship. They should, in other words, help us achieve not only college and work readiness but also participatory readiness.”
Read the entire article here.
During Science Week on WUNC's "The State of Things" a team of faculty from Duke and other universities discussed empathy in its various forms (cognitive, motor, and emotional) as it relates to people with autism, as well as to sociopaths. Ralph James Savarese, Humanities Writ Large Visiting Faculty Fellow and Associate Professor of English at Grinnell College, brings both a literary and very personal perspective to the conversation with others who specialize in psychology and neuroscience, philosophy, neurobiology, and law. Listen to the conversation here. Professor Savarese joins the conversation at about 26 minutes.
One of the projects underway in the Wired! Lab is the development of interactive projects for an exhibition to celebrate the first 10 years of the Nasher in 2015. Caroline Bruzelius, A. M. Cogan Professor of Art and Art History, and Mark Olson, Assistant Professor of Visual and Media Studies, have produced this video to highlight what can come from the interaction between technology and displaced objects from the past, such as the sculpture in the Brummer Collection at Duke.
"What we love about applying technology to historical materials is that it offers a unique capacity to engage with the 'lives of things,'" says Bruzelius. "How can we imagine this sculpture with color? How can we imagine it as part of something larger, such as a portal or facade, or in a chapel, or on an altar. How can we help the public engage with the meaning, context, and function of these objects?"
A set of articles in University Business magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel features small colleges that are successfully upholding their commitment to a traditional liberal arts education. The common thread in these articles is the practical value of an education that imparts a broadly applicable skill set. For instance, from University Business:
A liberal arts education provides training to develop skills that transcend any one discipline, such as problem solving, critical thinking, technical and quantitative expertise, verbal and written communications, an appreciation of aesthetics, and the ability to conduct research, says Lori Kletzer, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty at Colby College (Maine). "Many of today's graduates are likely to be practicing disciplines that we know nothing about at the moment. That's the dynamism of the workplace and our world in general. These skills will help them acquire and master those disciplines, long after they have left our classrooms."
This is how we see things at Duke, as well, where we believe that we offer the best of a liberal arts college education. But because Duke is a major research university, students at Duke learn from faculty who are not only knowledgeable, they are creating knowledge and inviting students to join them in the process. Duke students also have access to an exceptionally broad range of subjects, to extraordinary resources in our libraries and laboratories, and to a rich set of opportunities for study abroad and community engagement.
Duke University’s founding was predicated on the conviction that education ought to be grounded in meaningful scholarship concerning society’s most significant challenges. Many of the core problems of our time – climate change, financial crises, addiction, and social inequality – arise from individuals and their choices. As part of the "Brain & Society" theme in the newly announced Bass Connections, brain research on cognition, emotions, expression, and decision-making will be translated to address collective challenges and increase understanding of what makes us human. Bass Connections will provide a range of new educational pathways for Duke's undergraduate, graduate and professional students and bring them together on project teams with faculty and others to address issues that require the expertise of educators and researchers with diverse backgrounds. Read more about how this initiative will prepare students for society's challenges on Duke Today and on the Interdisciplinary Studies website.