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Lycoming College has been awarded $150,000 over two years from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in support of the College’s Center for Humanities Research, which opened in January 2022 to support undergraduate humanities research and experiential learning opportunities. The HRC identified expanded digital humanities capacity as an immediate priority to strengthen humanities education for enrolled students and to attract more humanities-oriented students to the College.
Lycoming received one of the 29 NEH Humanities Initiative grants recently awarded. This particular grant has a funding rate of 13.5 percent, making Lycoming highly competitive among the other applicants.
Lycoming sought funding to develop a collaborative faculty- and student-researched digital history of the College as a pilot project to establish the procedural groundwork and technical platforms for future, expanded undergraduate digital humanities research. Rather than a comprehensive, linear history, the pilot project will feature important moments and movements in the history of the College, especially as they relate to their local and national historical contexts.
“This NEH grant provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to explore Lycoming’s rich past through collaborative research with faculty. Intensive summer internships, digital training, and podcast development will provide the kind of experiential learning for our students that contributes to their future careers in diverse fields,” said Andrew Leiter, Ph.D., director of the HRC and professor of English. “We are grateful that the NEH has recognized Lycoming’s commitment to innovative education in the humanities, and we look forward to sharing compelling stories of Lycoming history with the broader community.”
Project topics were chosen to engage a wide spectrum of faculty and student research interests, but particular emphasis was placed on subjects that resonate with contemporary issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The topics were organized into three key areas: Mapping Lycoming History and Identity, Gender and Diversity in Lycoming History, and Campus Life. The project will be a focal point of academics at the College for several years, with robust participation expected.
The goals of the Lycoming’s digital history project are to establish the resources necessary for sustained digital humanities production and an open-access digital repository or digital commons as part of the College website to maintain and disseminate that research. A portion of the NEH funding will allow the College to establish a one-button studio — a professional-grade, user-friendly, digital audio/video recording and editing studio.
The initial phase of the project will occur in spring 2023 and will include installation of digital resources, initial curricular engagements with the project, and final planning for the summer research component of the project. The second phase will recur in the summers of 2023 and 2024 with half of the research teams engaging their subjects and participating in summer seminars. The third phase will ensue in the 2023-24 academic year. Research teams will develop their podcasts, and the project director will coordinate with College Archives to finalize the digital exhibit that will accompany individual podcasts.
“Lycoming College has long provided student research opportunities across our many fields of study, from STEM to humanities to the social sciences and business. The NEH grant affirms the value of humanities study and research and amplifies opportunities for our students,” said Phil Sprunger, Ph.D., provost and dean of faculty.
To learn more about Lycoming College’s Humanities Research Center, visit www.lycoming.edu/humanities-research-center or follow the HRC on Facebook (@LycomingHRC).