Faculty Selected as Digital Initiatives Fellows

Four members of the St. Lawrence University faculty have been selected for the Fall 2015 cohort of Digital Initiatives Faculty Fellowships, a pilot program designed to advance the use of digital tools and approaches in classroom settings.

The faculty fellows include Caroline Breashears, associate professor of English, Jessica Prody, assistant professor of performance and communication arts, and Mary Jane Smith, associate professor of history and coordinator of African American studies, while Stephen Barnard, assistant professor of sociology, continues his fellowship as the program’s first senior fellow.

“The courses proposed by these faculty members exemplify the program’s core values of innovative pedagogy, interdisciplinary research and integrative learning,” said Leila Walker, assistant director of the Crossing Boundaries Mellon Humanities grant. “We are excited to develop digital components for these courses in a collaborative environment, and we expect that the resulting projects will be models for ongoing engagement with the digital humanities at St. Lawrence University.”

The Digital Initiatives Faculty Fellowship Program represents a partnership between the Crossing Boundaries Mellon Humanities grant and Libraries and Information Technology, including individuals from Digital Initiatives, the GIS program and Educational Technologies.

The program was designed as a way for faculty to experiment with digital tools such as interactive timelines, GIS web-based mapping and data visualizations without feeling like they had to possess individual expertise in these areas. Fellows will meet regularly as a cohort and individually with the appropriate digital partners to develop their projects over the course of the semester.

Additionally, the fellowship program will offer a series of hands-on workshops as brown bag lunches open to the St. Lawrence community. Topics will vary, but they will largely be tailored to address the needs and interests raised by fellows at our preliminary meeting. A schedule of these workshops will be announced shortly.

The Crossing Boundaries initiative was made possible by a $700,000, five-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation beginning in Fall 2012. Focusing on the humanities at St. Lawrence University, stakeholders associated with the grant are working to transform learning in three important ways:

  1. Integration in teaching and learning;
  2. Advancement of multi-modal literacy (making use of the many tools of the humanities—both analog and digital);
  3. Increasingly rigorous experiential and/or off-campus learning.

“Now in its third semester, the DIFF program includes faculty colleagues from a wide range of disciplines and with a similarly diverse range of technical skills,” said Judith DeGroat, director of the Crossing Boundaries Mellon Humanities Grant. “Participants are transforming their teaching and sharing that experience with others in a collaboration that only increases as time goes on.”

This semester’s four faculty fellows have a range of interests, including a senior seminar on adaptations of Jane Austens’s novels, an environmental communication course on the oral history of global climate change activism, a history course on non-canonical visual culture from the Civil Rights Movement, and a sociology capstone course on Twitter and society.

For more information on individual fellows, visit

“This group represents a wide spectrum of perspectives and methodologies,” said Eric Williams-Bergen, director of Digital Initiatives. “In order to support increasingly ambitious digital projects with varied goals, we need to keep refining our models of support and collaboration. The Digital Initiatives Faculty Fellowship Program is a major part of that effort.”  

Partnerships established in the fall will continue into the spring semester. Fellows will also work with Walker to create a shared digital portfolio in order to promote a culture of pedagogical exchange and collaboration.

For more information about the fellowship program or to apply, visit