21st century humanities

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten touted programs associated with the Willson Center’s Digital Humanities Lab in an online posting May 11.

From her blog, Written by Whitten:

The University of Georgia is making bold strides in the humanities in ways that benefit our students as well as our state and nation.

This summer UGA will open DigiLab, a state-of-the-art instructional space located on the third floor of the main library. Many of our faculty members are on the leading edge of the digital humanities, an interdisciplinary field that explores how digital technologies impact humanity and how digital technologies can advance scholarship and make it more accessible to the public.

UGA is home to the Linguistic Atlas Project, for example, the oldest and largest American research project on how people speak differently across the country. The Linguistic Atlas Project has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, and its findings have implications for everything from voice recognition technologies to analyzing communications in order to enhance security.

Our students are heavily involved in the Linguistic Atlas Project and other DigiLab projects, and beginning this fall they’ll have even more opportunities to create digital projects through UGA’s new interdisciplinary certificate in the digital humanities. Through courses such as “digital storytelling” and “history in the digital age,” our students will gain hands-on experiences collecting, analyzing, interpreting and conveying information—skills that are absolutely critical in today’s knowledge economy and that will serve our students well regardless of what career path they choose.

Globalization has made working across cultures more important than ever, and this fall UGA also will launch a new dual degree program that will strengthen this state’s ties to Europe’s largest economy. Through UGA’s new dual degree in German and engineering, students will complete a one-year study abroad program in Germany while on their path to earning a degree in mechanical, biological, agricultural, civil, electrical or computer systems engineering. In their fourth year, they’ll study at one of Germany’s top technical universities—the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology—  and complete a semester-long internship with a German company.

This innovative program will position students for success after graduation and help strengthen our state’s economy. More than 450 German companies are doing business in the Peach State, and Germany is Georgia’s fifth-largest trading partner.

Regardless of what major they choose, students across our campuses receive a broad-based, liberal arts education through a curriculum that is one of the nation’s most rigorous and comprehensive. Today’s cutting-edge technology will soon become tomorrow’s 8-track player thanks to the rapid pace of technological change, but the core competencies that our curriculum emphasizes—the ability to solve problems and think critically, to communicate effectively, and to contribute to the betterment of our state and our global society—are timeless.