equipping students for forward-looking scholarship & meaningful humanities careers

Praxis Network programs are allied but differently-inflected humanities education initiatives, mainly focused on graduate training, and all engaged in rethinking pedagogy and campus partnerships in relation to the digital. Among other elements, the initiatives emphasize new models of methodological training and collaborative research. Each program exists within a particular ecosystem of disciplinary expectations, institutional needs, available resources, leadership styles, and specific challenges.

Scroll down to see how these emerging models compare across a number of categories, or select a single program to read an in-depth profile.

Mission

Each program's mission varies depending on factors that include disciplinary alignment, institutional context, philosophy of teaching, and leadership. All emphasize the importance of preparing students to become outstanding scholars, while simultaneously equipping them to excel in humanities roles outside the professoriate.

Praxis Program (UVa) To equip the next generation of knowledge workers for faculty positions and alternative academic careers at a moment when new questions can be asked and new systems built; additionally, to serve as the key node and nurturer of a broader "Praxis Network."
CHI Initiative (MSU) To equip graduate and undergraduate students with the technical, creative, and practical skills necessary to apply information, communication, and computing technologies to cultural heritage materials and questions, influence the current state of cultural heritage informatics, and become thought leaders for the future of the field.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) To encourage scholarly collaboration among arts and humanities students and faculty; to strengthen engagement with digital humanities on the institutional level; to foster collaboration with other institutions; and to provide experiences and opportunities that will equip students for a variety of career options.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) To develop and highlight a broad range of digital projects and resources at the CUNY Graduate Center, and to foster institutional change at the Graduate Center by heightening the public presence of its digital initiatives.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) To equip students to work on problems that are interesting and challenging scholarship—both from a humanities perspective and from a computer science/engineering perspective.
PhD Lab (Duke) To provide an arena in which PhD students in the humanities and interpretive social sciences can learn about new digital scholarship, engage with its challenges, and see its promise for their own research and professional lives within or outside the university.
IASC (Brock) To combine theory and practice so that students can study how and why new media are emerging, as well as create their own integrative digital media projects.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) To create Digital Humanities pathways from undergraduate and graduate study to work-based internships, offering students the opportunity to apply their skills in real-world contexts while also increasing digital capabilities across the humanities and social sciences.

Structure

What do these programs look like from day to day? Explore Praxis Network teaching styles, curricula, selection criteria, and more.

Praxis Program (UVa) This one-year funded fellowship features weekly meetings, a single, collaborative project common to all fellows and staff, and iterative, public sharing of outcomes and teaching materials.
CHI Initiative (MSU) The two key programs are graduate fellowships, year-long funded opportunities to develop digital projects and skills; and fieldschool, a five-week theme-based immersive program for instruction and collaborative project development.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) This six-course program includes a variety of modular options, including seminars, high-level courses with individual mentoring, collaborative digital projects, and individual capstone projects. Students are encouraged to present their work at conferences and online, to seek grant support for their work, and to connect their research with a variety of career paths.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) The program provides a one-year renewable fellowship with an expectation of 15 hours of work per week; fellows meet weekly to gain skills and discuss projects.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) Depending on background and goals, students work towards an MA or MSc degree during three terms of study. The first two terms consist of taught modules, while the third focuses on coursework, exams, and work placement. The remainder of the year is spent on an independent research project or dissertation.
PhD Lab (Duke) The one-year renewable program includes courses, workshops, and public events centered around two or three overarching topics; scholars meet informally every two weeks as they work toward the development of an e-portfolio, which they present to one another at the end of the year.
IASC (Brock) Students take a few core courses, and then craft their own cross-disciplinary path based on their interests. Many students also participate in internships at companies based at nGen, an area business incubator that partners with IASC.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) The basic model is in place and working well. The team is now focused on building out existing pathways, identifying new businesses in need of student interns, and helping develop the approach across all arts, humanities and social science disciplines.

Research

These programs are about much more than methods and skills: they also contribute new knowledge to the field and equip emerging scholars and humanities practitioners to develop their own agendas for productive research. A few of the most exciting projects and research outcomes are highlighted below.

Praxis Program (UVa) The first cohort prototyped Prism, a digital humanities tool for collective reading, or "crowdsourcing interpretation." The second cohort is rethinking, revising, and extending the Prism framework.
CHI Initiative (MSU) Fellows create innovative and vibrant digital projects that contribute new knowledge to their field of study, while also advancing the broader developments in cultural heritage informatics. Details about individual projects can be found on the CHI Initiative blog.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) Participating students have completed capstone projects on a wide range of topics and presented them to the community, both within the institution and at broader conference settings. Future cohorts will have many options for the kinds of projects and research they undertake.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) While the program is still in the early stages of development, the first cohort of fellows are leading a variety of innovative projects to advance the digital initiatives of the Graduate Center.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) Because the modules are brief and varied, students build a body of knowledge rather than focusing on a single project. As a whole, the Centre produces an impressive range of intellectually rich work products.
PhD Lab (Duke) The capstone project for participating scholars is an e-portfolio that integrates approaches the students have learned about online self-presentation and more specific thematic topics, such as peer-to-peer teaching. Scholars also develop collaborative projects.
IASC (Brock) Alongside their studies, many students participate in public projects, such as the Niagara 1812 historical project, which allows them to apply the skills they learn to projects with immediate public relevance.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) The core of the program is a year-long Honours degree blending the student’s home discipline with digital humanities methods. UCDH is also developing non-degree programs for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students wishing to incorporate digital approaches into their work.

People

In every case, these programs are exceptional because of creative, thoughtful, and dedicated faculty, students, and staff. From the directors that guide them to the students that are their lifeblood, each program takes on distinct characteristics depending on the people involved.

Praxis Program (UVa) An annual cohort of six students from a variety of disciplines, directed by Bethany Nowviskie. Fellows receive mentoring and instruction from Scholars’ Lab faculty and staff.
CHI Initiative (MSU) Directed by Ethan Watrall, the CHI Graduate Fellowship Program comprises a small cohort of graduate students from disciplines related to cultural heritage, while the CHI Fieldschool is open to graduate and undergraduate students, as well as existing professionals.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) A highly selective undergraduate program directed by William Pannapacker, the Mellon Scholars Program also involves faculty representatives from all departments in the Arts and Humanities division of the college.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) Directed by Matthew K. Gold under the purview of the Provost’s Office, the first cohort of digital fellows are doctoral students from a variety of backgrounds.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) This master’s-level program is highly interdisciplinary; students enter with a range of backgrounds and participate in modules across the faculties. The program is directed by Simon Mahony, with input from all of the UCLDH team.
PhD Lab (Duke) Directors Cathy N. Davidson and David F. Bell bring together a diverse cohort of approximately twelve PhD and MFA students from disciplines across the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences.
IASC (Brock) Under the direction of Kevin Kee, the program includes a number of core faculty members and cohorts of approximately 25 undergraduates pursuing majors or minors.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) Students from a wide range of fields in the humanities and social sciences participate in various aspects of the program, from jointly-taught courses, to internships, to honors degrees and thesis work. The program is directed by James Smithies.

Support

Funding and support are crucial considerations for any emerging program. Praxis Network programs are able to do what they do thanks to a variety of different funding models—some rely on grants, others function on a fixed budget line within a department, and still others bring together pockets of funding from various sources.

Praxis Program (UVa) Supported through a two-year pilot period by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program will be sustained by the University of Virginia Library, which also houses SCI and the Scholars’ Lab.
CHI Initiative (MSU) Supported by internal funding from the MSU Graduate School, the College of Social Science, the Department of Anthropology, the Department of History, the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, and University Outreach and Engagement.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) The program is currently funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supplemented by internal funding to support faculty development.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) Financial support for the program is completely internal to the Provost’s Office, which signals a strong institutional commitment.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) While initial funding for the program has been provided by the university, the Centre for Digital Humanities—including the MA/MSc program—is now self-sustaining through student fees and research grants.
PhD Lab (Duke) The program operates on internal funding provided by Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke Graduate School, and the Franklin Humanities Institute.
IASC (Brock) As an academic program within Brock’s system, IASC has a hard budget line and is not supported by grants. At the same time, some of the program’s research activities are funded through a separate research allocation.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) While the program is still too new to have many completed research projects, students have already been deeply involved in the development of the UC CEISMIC Archive and UC QuakeStudies Repository.

Directions

Some of these programs are pilots with future plans that hinge on flexibility and short-term impact. Others have been structured for longevity within their institutions since day one. Discover below how long-term goals affect program structures (and vice versa).

Praxis Program (UVa) The curriculum will be adjusted continually, based on participant interest and the potential of various projects to make meaningful interventions in contemporary digital humanities discourse—which is construed as including both DH theory and praxis.
CHI Initiative (MSU) The program will be refined continually based on each year’s successes and challenges, as well as current best practices and development in the field, in order to create a sustainable and rigorous program in which fellows complete robust projects in their areas of interest.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) Signs of success would include: deeper faculty engagement with collaborative research and digital approaches; increasingly strong pool of applicants; a growing variety of high-quality projects and presentations; and successful placement of graduates in appropriate career paths.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) This new program is experimental, so many successes and challenges are anticipated. One hope is to retain some students in subsequent years to build up a base of knowledge and expertise.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) As the program progresses, it will expand collaboration to include a broader range of faculty and students while sustaining high enrollment.
PhD Lab (Duke) With a mission that is largely student-driven, this experimental program will change according to student needs and feedback. While students do not receive funding, several teaching assistantships may be available to participating students in future years.
IASC (Brock) The program may undergo a number of structural changes in the coming years, including launching a new stream specifically for game studies, in order to serve student needs as the program continues to evolve.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) Support for the program is provided internally by the university, and is based on student enrollment.

Nuts & Bolts

Interested in developing an innovative graduate training program of your own? Here are a few things to keep in mind about each of the programs featured in the Praxis Network.

Praxis Program (UVa) Keys for success include an investment of significant staff time for high-quality mentorship, adequate space for collaborative work, and flexibility to accommodate the various backgrounds and skill levels of the fellows.
CHI Initiative (MSU) Consider how to evaluate process-oriented work, and how the credits that students earn will counted by their departments. Also, keep in mind that certain disciplinary methods and paradigms may be unfamiliar for students.
Mellon Scholars (Hope) Faculty investment is among the most important factors for success, and helps ensure a successful student experience as well as institutional support. Other important variables are demonstrated success of projects and effective career development.
Digital Fellows (Graduate Center, CUNY) The experimental nature of the program means that it is highly flexible, but also means that frequent evaluation and possible course-correction may be needed.
MA/MSc in DH (UCL) As in any program that works across multiple departments and schools, it is critical to ensure that expectations for participation are clear from the outset.
PhD Lab (Duke) A program that is as flexible and experimental as this requires a good deal of institutional understanding in order for the program to evolve according to student needs.
IASC (Brock) Though it can be challenging, creating relationships across the university and the broader community opens up valuable opportunities and amplifies the strengths of each partner.
UC Digital Humanities (Canterbury) Interdisciplinarity and collaboration are the keys to the University of Canterbury approach.