what’s next

As we end an amazing 11-year run of the Mellon Foundation-supported Scholarly Communication Institute (the last six years of which it was my privilege to witness, learn from, and help to engineer at UVa), I am looking forward to new chances and challenges. Today, CLIR, the Council on Library and Information Resources, announced my appointment as a Distinguished Presidential Fellow. (I’m still a little stunned.)  A couple of days ago, I accepted an invitation from our wonderful Provost to join his office in the part-time role of Special Advisor, assisting at the institutional level in the advancement of digital humanities scholarship at UVa.  And on Tuesday I turned forty!  Quite a week.  

I’m immensely honored and touched at the welcome I’m receiving into the CLIR family, where I’ll join the company of past Distinguished Presidential Fellows Paul Courant, Mike Keller, Sayeed Choudhury, and Elliott Shore. Among its many progressive initiatives, research activities, sponsored awards, and programs, CLIR is especially recognized for supporting and growing the next generation of leaders in libraries, cultural heritage institutions, and higher ed. In the past few years (since the launch of #Alt-Academy and attendant wildfire conversation by and about alt-ac professionals, I have become increasingly interested in issues of generational succession and institutional governance as they relate to changing career paths for scholars, librarians, archivists, and technology staff. I hope to be thinking carefully about this subject, publishing on it, and participating in or even convening related conversations over the two years of my CLIR appointment.  I’m grateful to Chuck Henry and CLIR for this wonderful opportunity!

On the homefront, as Special Advisor to UVa’s Provost, I will help frame overall institutional strategies for enabling digital humanities scholarship, engage with faculty colleagues and leadership in priority-setting, coordinate initiatives, and assist with the recruitment of new scholars to our institution. I am eager to assist, and here, too, will bring a particular interest in faculty and staff governance to bear over the three-year appointment. My hope is to foster approaches that allow the research questions and intellectual directions set by scholars and expert practitioners at Virginia drive our institutional decision-making and the evolution of our academic support structures.  I’ll have much more to share on this work later!

It’s fair to say that humanities computing had its first blossoming of this hemisphere at the University of Virginia. We’re about to get serious again, folks, and I’m excited at what we may accomplish.

As I take on these new roles and challenges (while sustaining existing commitments in the UVa Library, General Faculty Council, at the Association for Computers & the Humanities) I am feeling particularly grateful for good mentorship and strong collaborators. To name just a few (you are so many!), Karin Wittenborg, Martha Sites, Abby Smith Rumsey, and John Unsworth have been essential guides for me to Libraryland and its surrounding waters–and the whole staff of the Scholars’ Lab make every day in the office a satisfaction and delight. I am so very lucky.