Saturday, October 06, 2012

Digital Humanities in American Universities: A Report From CIC Universities in the US

Headquartered in the Midwest, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) is a consortium of mid-Western public and private universities including the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Indiana University, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It understands itself this way: "For more than half a century, these world-class research institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs. Governed and funded by the Provosts of the member universities, CIC mandates are coordinated by a staff from its Champagne, Illinois headquarters.!" About CIC.

The CIC was pleased recently to announce the report by the CIC Digital Humanities Committee that is the product of the first CIC Digital Humanities Summit, held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in April 2012. The paper is said to reflect the consensus reached by the sixty faculty, librarians, and administrators attending that there are significant shared requirements necessary to foster thriving Digital Humanities communities, and a common belief in the importance of interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and open access and open source models. 
This post includes the executive summary of that report.  It is the intention of CIC to host a meeting of university administrators to discuss this further. Its is to take place in Minneapolis and is to produce a report and recommendations.  No current plans for involving university faculty governance organizations have been made.  Perhaps that is unnecessary to the project, though no one has asked.Still, it is also understood that those involved with the report will also present at an international conference on digital humanities next summer. 
The CIC encourages responses to local administrators (but not faculty governance unit heads; again another puzzlement) or to Amber Elaine Marks, Associate Director, Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), 217-265-8106 OR

Executive Summary:   

Committee Members:

Angela Courtney, Indiana University Dean Rehrberger, Michigan State University Christopher Long, The Pennsylvania State University Katherine Walter, University of Nebraska-­‐Lincoln, Martn Mueller, Northwestern University, Jon Winet, University of Iowa

Introduction: The following report by the CIC Digital Humanities Committee is the product of the first CIC Digital Humani8es Summit, held at the University of Nebraska-­‐Lincoln in April 2012. This paper reflects the consensus reached by the sixty faculty, librarians, and administrators a:ending that there are significant shared requirements necessary to foster thriving Digital Humani8es communi8es, and a common belief in the importance of interdisciplinarity, collabora8on, and open access and open source models. Through collabora8ve and coopera8ve rela8onships, from individuals to ins8tu8ons, many of these needs can be realized.

Background: An initial CIC Digital Humanities Environmental Scan suggests that approximately 200 CIC humanities faculty are involved in the digital humani8es, leveraging technology methodologically as they pursue their innovative and increasingly collaborative scholarship. Across the CIC, projects are wide-­‐ranging and diverse endeavors including (but not limited to) the crea8on of open source tools; the development of freely available online research collections across disciplines; the integration of geographic information systems (GIS) to develop geo-­‐spa8al and temporal visualizations of our cultural history; and building large scale digital libraries focused on topic or era, in addition to larger initiatives with emphasis on new media, virtual environments, and gaming, to name a few.

Setting the stage for excellence: In addition to their dedication to innova8on and collabora8on, digital humanists in the CIC recognize and celebrate the impact that their work can have on public scholarship and community engagement. They believe that now, in order to bring the highest quality faculty and graduate students to the CIC, we need to welcome, value, and support digital scholarship in the humanities through a sustainable technological backbone and a forward thinking approach to promotion and tenure criteria. The CIC must also nurture the training of graduate and undergraduate students or risk losing them. We need sustainable labs and centers to support the communities that will use them, and we should adhere to current standards and best practices while being leaders for future developments. Scholars, librarians, archivists, and technologists should be partners in digital initiatives current accessibility and future sustainability.

Promotion and Tenure: The Modern Language Association and the American Historical Associations have spoken in favor of digital scholarship being evaluated fairly and evenly for promotion and tenure cases. The CIC campuses should also develop a joint statement on the impartial and unbiased assessment of digital scholarship and the acceptance of team and cooperative projects in the humanities. 
Scholarly Communication: The digital environment makes research more easily accessible. Open access publishing is becoming the responsibility of libraries, and intellectual property and copyright issues continue to present difficulties to those who are participating in digital humanities projects.

Branding and Shared Access to Information: The digital humanities in the CIC should take advantage of potential partnerships within the CIC, such as the HathiTrust or the CIC Data Storage Committee to advance their mutual concerns and shared large scale problems. Additionally, the CIC could look toward consor8al branding of CIC products and shared access across campuses.

Summary and Recommendations: The CIC Digital Humanities Committee and Summit attendees believes that CIC institutions should be world class illustrations of universities that foster and reward digital humanities risk taking, collaboration, and exploration.

We recommend, in summary: Larger investments:

1. Negotiate for non-­‐consumptive use of data from vendors; investigate rights clearance for HathiTrust; share special collections holdings (Libraries);

2. Fund seed grants for multi-­‐institutional digital humanities projects;

3. Cultivate shared consortial branding and federated identity;

4. Strategize and act on cyber infrastructure issues;

5. Update classroom technology;

6. Develop learning opportunities (seminars, boot camps) on standards and best prac8ces;

7. Host residencies and fellowships;

8. Foster grant development at a high administra8ve level;

Smaller investments:

9. Expand the CIC Digital HumaniFes Environmental Scan;

10. Lead initiative to educate campuses on evaluation of digital humani8es work for promotion and tenure;

11. Exploit available resources to engage faculty and students in digital humanities conversations;

12. Partner with or join national and international digital humanities groups;

13. Develop curriculum: distribute teaching among campuses; offer certificate programs through shared distance teaching; share teaching methods among faculty; and offer small start-­‐up grants for teaching and class development.

1 comment:

Srk said...

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