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Southwestern University Receives $800,000 Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Grant will support NITLE initiatives in the humanities

Southwestern University has received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will be used by the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) to support new initiatives in digital humanities.

NITLE, which is headquartered at Southwestern, supports a network of 118 small colleges across the country.

“Thanks to digital technology, networked information systems and new media, humanities scholars are developing methods and resources that emphasize openness and collaboration as drivers of innovation and knowledge creation,” said Joey King, executive director of NITLE and vice president for innovation at Southwestern. “Liberal arts colleges have an opportunity to use these digital methods and resources to remodel undergraduate humanities education.”

King said that until recently, most digital humanities initiatives have been concentrated in larger research universities.

“Liberal arts colleges need support in translating the gains made in this emerging field to their institutions,” King said. “We want to provide that support so that faculty, staff and students at these colleges can realize the full potential of the digital humanities.”

In 2011, NITLE formed a Digital Humanities Council to connect liberal arts colleges with the broader digital humanities community.

Over the next two years, the Mellon Foundation grant will enable NITLE to establish programs and services that help liberal arts colleges establish strong foundations for integrating digital methods and resources into undergraduate humanities education. The program will help build connections between faculty, instructional technologists, librarians and administrators within NITLE’s network of member colleges and with outside experts who can offer fresh perspectives.

Building on a series of digital scholarship seminars that engaged almost 600 participants from 170 institutions from September 2010 through June 2012, NITLE will use the grant funds to offer seminars on topics related to digital pedagogy and scholarship, libraries, and scholarly communication. In addition, the organization is starting a new series of colloquiums that will provide access to leading thinkers who would otherwise be inaccessible to small colleges.

NITLE also offers an annual summit that focuses on emerging trends with significant strategic implications for liberal arts colleges, such as the rise of the digital humanities.