Update on the DLA for Fall 2017

Faculty Director Jason Mittell sent a version of this note to the Middlebury community at the start of the Fall 2017 semester:

I am writing with an update on the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative. As many of you know, in 2014 we received a 3-year grant from the Mellon Foundation to launch the DLA, seeking to support faculty exploring new frontiers of digital scholarship in their research and teaching through a partnership between the CTLR and the Library. Over the past three years, we have had a substantial impact on campus: working with more than 50 faculty members, funding 80 projects and faculty/staff development opportunities, supporting 75 student collaborators, hosting regular events and workshops, and (most importantly) creating a vibrant culture of collaboration and experimentation around digital scholarship.

While the Mellon money has been spent, this does not mean that the DLA is finished. Inspired by the high degree of participation and engagement across campus, the academic administration has agreed to sustain the DLA going forward through a combination of the re-allocation of existing funds, gift funding, and grants. In short, the DLA will continue to offer a wide range of programming, services, and support to faculty projects to faculty in all disciplines.

Concerning grants, we are pleased to announce that this summer, Middlebury received a grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to support a collaboration between four academic programs (American Studies, Film & Media Culture, History, and Sociology) to develop a series of courses teaching digital scholarship and methods, including significant professional development for faculty in those programs and beyond. Our goal is to train and support students to undertake digital capstone projects as an alternative to the established forms of senior work offered within these departments. Michael Newbury and Kathy Morse are leading these efforts, and we hope that this project will have ripple effects across the curriculum.

Moving forward, I will remain Faculty Director for 2017-18, after which I will go on leave. This fall, we will be searching for a new colleague (supported by gift funds) to join the leadership team for the DLA – the position is posted at http://apply.interfolio.com/44755, so please spread the word to any appropriate candidates you may know. This colleague will take over many of the duties that our former post-docs (Alicia Peaker and Kristy Golubiewski-Davis) performed. (If you are wondering, Alicia and Kristy have both moved on to permanent positions at Bryn Mawr and U California – Santa Cruz, respectively.)

I also want to note that the Library just hired a new librarian with expertise in digital scholarship, Leanne Galletly, who will be starting at the end of September. Leanne will be working with our strong team of librarians and academic technologists to provide comprehensive support for digital scholarship projects in collaboration with the DLA and CTLR.

While this fall is a transitional period for the DLA, we are eager to engage faculty on your digital scholarship efforts.  You can still subscribe to our newsletter to stay abreast of events and opportunities, email dla@middlebury.edu to inquire about funding and project consultation, and apply to be a DLA Faculty Fellow during your academic leave. Let me know if you have any questions.

-Jason Mittell