The digital scholar
The digital scholar

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The digital scholar

1 Adopting a digital scholarship approach

Throughout The Digital Scholar Weller argues that higher education will need to make changes in order to adopt digital scholarship. This video discusses the changes made by the Graduate Center at City University, New York (CUNY) to incorporate a digital approach to PhD studentship.

Skip transcript: Changing the face of doctoral studies in the humanities

Transcript: Changing the face of doctoral studies in the humanities

Matthew Gold
At the Graduate Centre, we've taken to calling our digital initiatives the Digital GC, which describes the ways in which the Graduate Centre is incorporating technology into its research and teaching missions. What we're interested in thinking through is how students, from the moment they enter the institution, can start learning about the landscape of digital humanities, and the digital social sciences.
And for that reason, we have begun with something we're calling the Digital Praxis Seminar. It's a two semester course that introduces students, first, to the wide variety of ways in which they can introduce digital technology into their research. We do readings in theory and we do practical workshops. We get students involved from the moment they come in with these tools.
Steve Brier
I would only add one thing to Matt's very good summary. And that is that one of the hallmarks of the Digital Praxis Seminar, and the entire Digital GC initiative, is its unrelentingly interdisciplinary nature and quality. This is a really great occasion for students, in particular, to meet and work with students from a range of other academic disciplines.
So doctoral students benefit from the Digital Praxis Seminars, specifically because they get an orientation early on in their doctoral careers. And we hope and expect that they will take Digital Praxis either in their first or second years. That will give them an opportunity to understand the range and diversity of digital tools available to them. So that when they get further along, and they get closer to their research for their dissertation, they can already be thinking about new and creative ways to use digital technology to enhance the scholarship that they're producing.
This is better accomplished early on in their careers. It's not like we wouldn't take doctoral students in their third or fourth year. We do and will. But we believe that it's better for students to start early to get a real sense of the broad array of possibilities in digital technology, whatever their doctoral discipline is, and apply that technology in the work that they're going to do on their dissertations.
Matthew Gold
One of the best parts of the Digital Praxis Seminar is that our GC Digital Fellows serve as TAs helping new students at the GC to learn about these digital tools. And the Digital Fellows are especially exciting as a part of the course because they are doing very creative, interesting projects around digital technology that mirror our commitment to not simply instrumental uses of technology, we want to think creatively about how technology and data can be used to rethink scholarship. And we are especially committed to creating projects that have a dimension of social justice, that build on the commitment of the City University of New York as a public institution, publicly funded by the citizens of New York to serve the city.
So we are excited not just to produce projects that mirror and reflect those concerns, but also that take advantage of the wide array of cultural and political and social offerings within the city. Because of that, we have wonderful partnerships with the New York Public Library, with museums, and other cultural institutions. And we are continuing to broaden those efforts to ensure that the Graduate Centre is working in concert with these other wonderful institutions in the city.
Steve Brier
I want to add just one thing to what Matt said about this. We're interested in an engaged scholarship. And digital technology is a way to extend and enhance our larger mission of being of service to the citizens of the city and the state. And the digital technology is a way both to do that in new and innovative ways and also to communicate those messages out to a broader audience. We're very interested and committed to what happens in CUNY. We're very interested and committed, also, in what happens in the larger city of New York and the state.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
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Matthew Gold and Steve Brier use some vivid terms to describe their work at CUNY. It is ‘unrelentingly interdisciplinary’ and they are ‘rethinking’ and ‘enhancing scholarship’. They have brought about major changes in the way the Graduate Center works and those changes, driven by the adoption of digital technologies, span all postgraduate programmes offered by the university. The following section borrows the resilience metaphor from the field of ecology to offer a methodology for assessing an organisation’s ability to respond to digital challenges.

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