Occidental Awarded $700,000 Mellon Grant for Digital Scholarship
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year, $700,000 grant to Occidental College to integrate digital resources into student and faculty learning, teaching, and scholarship as part of Occidental's new effort to re-imagine its library as an academic commons at the center of campus life.
The grant will make it possible for Occidental to:
- Bring several post-doctoral fellows in the humanities and social sciences to Occidental to stimulate new thinking about the creation and use of digital content and resources to increase their use in teaching, learning and research;
- Design and deliver three week-long summer institutes to help faculty integrate digital technologies in their courses and build a base on which future course and curriculum development can build;
- Develop an existing pilot program in open access scholarly publishing, known as OxyScholar, into a fully realized digital platform for work created by Occidental faculty and students;
- Train current library staff in the use of specific digital technologies and techniques applicable to academic work; and
- Define the basic elements of digital fluency for Occidental students that include digital, information, visual and technological competencies, as well as a process through which they can be integrated across the college's core curriculum.
"The Mellon Foundation's generous support will play a critical role in helping Occidental create a leading edge of practice and innovation needed to transform the library into an academic commons - one that makes our fundamental commitments as a 21st-century college of the liberal arts and sciences visible to everyone," said President Jonathan Veitch.
While the physical space and some of the services of Occidental's Mary Norton Clapp Library have been relatively untouched since a new wing was added in 1970, the learning patterns of students have changed dramatically and will continue to do so, Veitch said.
The Mellon grant will make it possible for Occidental to explore the digital resources and technologies that have shaped these patterns and pursue complementary efforts to cluster academic support services in a renovated and reconfigured library building - a dynamic one-stop shop that will better meet the needs of faculty, students, and staff.
"Our ultimate goal is simple but ambitious: to create a new focal point for our academic community," Veitch said.
Occidental will immediately begin to recruit post-doctoral fellows and plans to hold its first digital summer institute for 10 faculty members this August, said Pamela McQuesten, vice president for information resources.