Lafayette College Rece

Lafayette is poised to become a national leader among liberal arts colleges in the area of digital scholarship thanks to a four-year, $700,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will support the training of faculty and students in digital humanities methods, fostering collaborative projects, and integrating the digital humanities further into the curriculum.

The grant corresponds with the beginning of Alison Byerly’s tenure as the College’s 17th president. A leading voice nationally on emerging forms of digital scholarship, the changing role of the humanities in the digital age, the importance of curricular innovation, and MOOCs (massively open online courses), Byerly has lectured widely on these topics at the Modern Language Association convention, the annual AAC&U convention, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Communications Forum, and other venues. Her essays have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed.

“The Mellon Foundation’s support of this initiative could not be more timely,” says Byerly. “Lafayette will have the opportunity to take a leading role in important conversations about the ways in which technology can expand and enhance scholarship and teaching in the humanities.”

The digital humanities combine the traditional methodology of the humanities (English, history, music, cultural studies, etc.) with computer technology.

The grant will help the College build on the innovative work it has been doing for years. For instance, programs like the EXCEL Scholars undergraduate research program will be enhanced, allowing more students majoring in the humanities and social sciences to engage in high-level collaborations with faculty. Many EXCEL projects result in conference presentations and peer-to-peer journal publications.

Faculty will increase their understanding of, use, and further development of the digital humanities through workshops, guest lecturers, and research and conference travel. Also, the grant will help recruit, through the Council on Library and Information Resources, a post-doctoral fellow who will bring expertise to Lafayette as well as collaborate with colleagues at other institutions.
Read more about Lafayette’s use of the Mellon Grant


Photo Caption: Eric Luhrs, center, head of digital scholarship services at Lafayette College, has helped the library develop the infrastructure it needs to support research in the digital humanities. Here, he works with Miguel Haruki Yamaguchi ’11 on MetaDB, a software program that Luhrs created to allow scholars and librarians to collaborate on the creation of metadata.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lafayette College; higher res available online,

Kathleen Parrish
Associate Director of Media Relations
Lafayette College
Communications Division
Easton, PA 18042