Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

New Humanities Research Center builds upon Lycoming College’s academic program

New Humanities Research Center builds upon Lycoming College’s academic program

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At a time when many institutes of higher education are eliminating humanities programs, Lycoming College is showing its commitment to the humanities with the launch of the Humanities Research Center (HRC), a dedicated center that supports collaborative student-faculty research, internships, guided scholarship, global study, and more.

Located at the heart of the campus’ academics in the Academic Center, the HRC houses offices for the inaugural director, Andrew Leiter, Ph.D., professor of English, and Lycoming’s arts and humanities career advisor, Shanin Dougherty. The HRC offers a casual space for students and faculty to socialize and work, as well as a place to host student and faculty research presentations, professional workshops for students, reading series, guest speakers, seminars, research receptions, honors induction ceremonies, and much more.

“The HRC will benefit enrolled students by expanding experiential learning opportunities, instituting an undergraduate humanities research conference, and publishing a student-edited undergraduate research journal,” said President Kent Trachte, Ph.D. “This design is expected to raise awareness of Lycoming’s excellence among our peer institutions, provide a highly marketable model that attracts more top-ranked students, and engage the Williamsport, Lycoming County, and Pennsylvania communities to exchange expertise, expand educational opportunities, and promote cultural literacy.”

Combined with a liberal arts and sciences education, students studying the humanities (English, history, modern languages, philosophy, religion) and related disciplines at the College have long enjoyed impressive achievements and experiential learning opportunities in terms of collaborative student-faculty research, internships, guided scholarship, study abroad opportunities, education certification, digital humanities, graduate school placement, scholarships, and fellowships.

Plans for introducing a new interdisciplinary humanities conference focusing on undergraduate research is a top priority for the HRC, and such a conference will target the humanities programs of colleges and universities in the region. In addition to participating in research panels, Lycoming students will be involved with several aspects of the conference planning, such as initiating calls for papers, evaluating submissions, establishing panels, and organizing the events.

As an extension of the conference, the HRC plans to institute and publish a new journal for undergraduate humanities research. The articles for the journal will be solicited from the best research presentations of the conference.

“As with the conference, the journal will feature further professional opportunities for Lycoming students as editors and publishers,” said Leiter. “For both the conference and the journal, we anticipate student internships as important components. In conjunction with the conference and journal, we are considering the possibility of a new editing and publishing course that would appeal to students working on the new research journal or The Tributary, as well as anyone interested in professional writing in various disciplines.”

The HRC aims to facilitate student-centered digital humanities education with clear pedagogical and professional outcomes. As part of this, it will look to establish a digital humanities lab that, in addition to traditional digitization technology, will feature recording, videocasting, podcasting, and digital publishing resources among other possibilities.

Digital humanities projects at Lycoming have been driven by faculty research and teaching interests for some time and will continue. The HRC is currently developing a collaborative, institutionally-driven digital research project featuring an oral history of the College to eventually be released as a podcast series. Rather than a comprehensive, linear history of the College, the project would feature a collection of targeted investigations into important aspects or moments in Lycoming College history, drawing on an interdisciplinary appeal.

A humanities space showcasing student research, internships, and international opportunities, as well as graduate outcomes, will make tangible the strength of Lycoming’s humanities programs, the diversity of educational opportunities at the College, and the successful careers our graduates enjoy.

When asked how he anticipates the HRC to affect prospective students and families, Leiter shared, “In short, we believe the HRC will provide a crucial enrollment tool for recruiting the brightest young minds–and more of them–to Lycoming.”

In an effort to continue strengthening the College’s relationship with Williamsport and its surrounding communities, the HRC will host a variety of talks–both traditionally academic and more community-oriented, such as interviews and book readings–and symposia and conferences. Furthermore, it will provide a contact point for collaborative possibilities with local libraries, museums, and historical societies, and to work with the local school systems on programming that brings students to campus.

More information on the Humanities Research Center at Lycoming College is available at:

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