1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania hosts national seminar on liberal arts, digital technology

Attendees at Transylvania's Digital Liberal Arts Summer Institute

This week, Transylvania University is hosting the inaugural Digital Liberal Arts Summer Institute to foster national dialogue about the role of the liberal arts in the digital age. The initiative is sponsored by the school’s Bingham Fund for Excellence in Teaching. 

The Digital Liberal Arts Summer Institute’s goal is to advance a broader conversation about the role of technology in teaching at the college level, building on Transylvania’s commitment to preparing students to face the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. 

Participants include 17 faculty members from schools across the country, including Haverford, Davidson and Spelman colleges. Created in the model of the longstanding Transylvania Seminar, the Summer Institute seeks to contribute to a national conversation on the mission of liberal arts colleges in a digital age, as well as the potential pitfalls created by technologies.  

Attendees are expected to discuss various topics including how technologies are shifting the ways that we participate in and perceive the world around us, and whether colleges can prepare students (and ourselves) for the technological changes they will face in their lifetimes and what it means to do so.

Guest speakers at the seminar include Dànielle DeVoss (digital fluencies) from Michigan State University, Paul Hanstedt (design thinking) from Washington & Lee University and Meredith Clark (human-technology interaction) from Northeastern University.

This year’s selected attendees include:

  • Cali Biaggi, Doane University
  • Brett Boessen, Austin College 
  • Naji Bsisu, Maryville College
  • Sachith Dassanayaka, Wittenberg University
  • J. Lynn Gieger, Oglethorpe University
  • Freddie Harris, Bloomfield College
  • Kerri Hauman, Transylvania University
  • Steve Hess, Transylvania University
  • Neil Lerner, Davidson College
  • Eric Mohr, Saint Vincent College
  • Matt O’Hare, Haverford College
  • Xiumei Pu, Westminster College
  • Katrina Salley, Transylvania University
  • Katie Streit, Franklin College
  • Don Ulin, University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
  • JJ Wallace, Transylvania University
  • Cocoa Williams, Spelman College

The seminar’s co-directors are Emily Goodman, Julie Perino and Tim Polashek, all of Transylvania. 

As part of its commitment to educate students about the impact of digital technologies in a changing world, Transylvania launched a Digital Liberal Arts initiative in 2017. The goal of this initiative is to support student academic experiences with tools and spaces dedicated to cutting-edge digital technologies. The university also offers studies in digital arts and media.

Since 1987, the Bingham Fund for Excellence in Teaching has invested nearly $30 million to develop, identify, promote and reward excellent classroom teaching at Transylvania by funding faculty awards and providing financial support to develop teaching initiatives, including summer liberal arts seminars like the Digital Liberal Arts Summer Institute. The fund has also supported the creation of a digital learning program to provide encouragement and professional assistance to faculty in the use of digital technologies in classroom teaching, as well as ongoing faculty development and faculty and student research through the David and Betty Jones Faculty Development Fund.