Students getting digital domains, new courses, expanded programs.

One digital project was to create an community asset map for Orange, N.J.
One digital project was to create an community asset map for Orange, N.J.

November 2017 – The drive to apply digital tools to teaching humanities at Drew University is accelerating, thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The $410,000 grant enables Drew to advance a digital push that began two years ago, also with support from the Mellon Foundation. Under that push, the university established the Digital Humanities Summer Institute and developed a long-term plan for creating an interdisciplinary digital humanities program. Now Drew can implement the plan.

“This initiative further strengthens inclusive, integrative, project-based digital pedagogies across the institution,” Drew Provost Debra Liebowitz said. “In addition, we hope to use the pedagogical focus of this grant to help us launch a Center for Teaching and Learning.”

Core to the plan is establishing a research, teaching and publishing platform that gives students the tools to “chronicle, interpret and archive portfolios of their unique learning experiences,” as explained in Drew’s grant proposal.

More specifically, the platform will enable students to create and curate their own websites; this part of the project is called Drew Domains. “Building these digital identities will engage students, faculty and staff in the creation of original works for public use,” the proposal notes.

Professor John Muccigrosso and Alexis Ruark C'18, who's developing a digital map of ancient Roman temples
Professor John Muccigrosso and Alexis Ruark C’18, who’s developing a digital map of ancient Roman temples

The grant will also fund several key efforts, including:

– Developing new courses and enhancing existing courses to ensure that they integrate the domains

– Providing technology training to professors, students and staff

– Expanding the Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Past projects include digitally mapping ancient Roman temples and the community assets of Orange, N.J. and creating digital displays for last year’s exhibit of Shakespeare’s First Folio at Drew.

The university initiative, known as Digital Drew: Remapping the Humanities for the 21st Century, is being led by professors Wendy Kolmar and John Muccigrosso. Kolmar teaches English and is director of both Women’s and Gender Studies and Drew Summer College and Muccigrosso chairs the Classics Department.

“I’m honored and excited to be co-directing this grant,” Muccigrosso said. “Faculty and students across the university have been taking steps toward integrating digital humanities into their courses and research and this grant will give us the ability to support them more fully.”