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January 12, 2022

SFC Receives $150K NEH Grant to Enhance Digital Humanities Courses

St. Francis College (SFC) today announces that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded the college a $150,000 grant to fund a project that expands support for the digital humanities. The project, “Digital Humanities Across the Curriculum (DHAC),” will redesign eight General Education courses across English, History, Communication and Interdisciplinary Studies to enhance the digital humanities in introductory writing courses, as well as offer comprehensive development opportunities to all faculty interested in incorporating digital humanities into their courses.

NEH Grants

Throughout the 24-month grant period, a group of faculty members will redesign their courses and participate in an intensive faculty development workshop designed to provide a foundation for digital humanities and the tools they need to develop curriculum materials related to the courses.

“The world needs the humanities and interdisciplinary thinking more than ever to better understand, process, and contribute to civic discourse about topics including global health, climate change, and racial justice which align with SFC’s Franciscan roots,” said Dr. Jennifer Wingate, associate professor of Fine Arts and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies.

Dr. Wingate and Dr. Athena Devlin, associate professor of English at SFC and chair of the Department of Literature, Writing and Publishing, authored the grant proposal. The college started its integration of digital humanities into the curriculum five years ago in the Literature, Writing, and Publishing Department. Through the new Interdisciplinary Studies Department, (SFC) aims to expand digital integration across all disciplines. “By bringing technology closer to the humanities, St. Francis is helping students acquire the skills they need both academically and technically to succeed,” said Devlin. “This project will allow us to show more students how integrated critical and analytical thinking can be and really needs to be integrated for a constructive and meaningful digital world.”

The goal is for students to have greater access to new visualization and mapping tools, such as text mining, gaming, augmented reality, data scraping and digital archiving to develop online projects that demonstrate and underscore the connection between the humanities and other disciplines.

“These skills are particularly important and empowering for SFC students, many of whom are from historically excluded communities who are coming to SFC in the hopes of achieving economic mobility,” Wingate said.

Working with Drs. Wingate and Devlin to implement the project are Dr. Molly Mann, director of the Center for Advancement of Faculty Excellence (CAFE) and Dr. Emily Edwards, assistant professor of Digital Humanities and Educational Technologist.

“Incorporating Digital Humanities approaches ensures students hone the digital skills necessary to make them competitive and successful in their career path,” said Edwards. “Through the building of collaborative, interactive, and interdisciplinary digital projects students not only become more technically skilled, they become knowledge creators.”

Students will learn to harness the digital and the power of data and visualization to identify new opportunities for inquiry across the humanities. Mapping in conjunction with digital timelines, for example, is one way to draw correlations between public art and socio-economic demographics, real estate speculation, and urban history.

For more information on the DHAC project at SFC, email Dr. Jennifer Wingate at [email protected] or Dr. Athena Devlin at [email protected]

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