Digital Scholarship at Bucknell University – It’s about Student Engagement
This Member Update was provided by Param Bedi, Vice President for Library & Information Technology, Matt Gardzina, Director for Instructional Technology, and Emily Sherwood, CLIR Postdoc for Digital Scholarship, Bucknell University.
At Bucknell University “Digital Scholarship” is defined as any scholarly activity that makes extensive use of one or more of the new possibilities for teaching, learning and research opened up by the unique affordances of digital media. These include, but are not limited to, new forms of collaboration, new forms of publication, and new methods for visualizing and analyzing data. We believe that applying these digital tools and methodologies broadens and deepens the learning experience for faculty and students alike, facilitating connections between research, coursework, and scholarly engagement that extends beyond Bucknell.
Our combined Library and Information Technology division has been central in the intentional advancement of digital scholarship across campus. While the library has anticipated the needs of the campus community by building the Digital Scholarship Center within the library, we have also acknowledged that infrastructure is nothing without the right people and partnerships. Over the last few years, we have brought together a dynamic team of practitioners including research librarians, instructional technologists, digital scholarship coordinators, GIS specialists, multimedia specialists, and a CLIR/DLF postdoc. Although we have made great progress in building a strong digital scholarship program and partnerships across campus, we quickly realized that the most dynamic and innovative ideas are developed in the spirit of collaboration, whether internally or as part of a broader discourse. To that end, in November 2014, Library and IT at Bucknell hosted our first annual Digital Scholarship Conference, “Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research.”
I don’t know what #BUDSC14 is, but based on the tweets and the people who tweet them, I’m definitely missing something.
— Scout Calvert (@windloochie) November 16, 2014
Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as part of a multi-year grant, #BUDSC14 brought together over 150 practitioners to discuss challenges, share working models, reflect on projects, and inspire new avenues for actively including students in scholarly pursuits, whether inside or outside of the classroom. Over the course of three days, faculty, administrators, instructional technologists, librarians, archivists, and graduate and undergraduate students from 47 institutions began a generative discourse that will continue to impact their scholarly, academic, and institutional practices moving forward.
Bucknell’s commitment to student engagement and the expansion of available learning environments for our students was evident in the conference theme. While other conferences emphasize large digital humanities projects, specific tools, or may touch on pedagogy, our focus remains student-centered. Repeatedly, back channel Twitter discussions praised the student presenters from various institutions. The broad range of skills students acquired, the professionalism with which they spoke about their subjects, and their enthusiasm for their research affirmed our beliefs that students are highly capable of and will greatly benefit from this type of work.
As part of our ongoing outreach, we look forward to furthering the conversations begun at #BUDSC14 at our second annual Digital Scholarship Conference on November 6-8, 2015. The CFP will be posted later this spring. Until then, for more on the conference–including, abstracts and keynote videos from Chris Long and Zeynep Tufekci – please see our website.