Michigan State University Domains: “No Scholarly Activity without a Digital Artefact”

I have been dying to catch up with the good folks at Michigan State University and talk about the work they’re doing on the ground with their domains project. I was quite struck by Chris Long‘s ability to so brilliantly frame the importance of building scholarly community around these online tools. What’s more he regularly practices what he preaches with posts on his blog The Long Road, enhanced digital texts, the Digital Dialogue Podcast to name just a few elements of his extensive online vitae. He has been publicly building and sharing his scholarly work online for more than a decade, so when he talks about “Digital Scholarly Presence” (he has also called it “Online Scholarly Presence” on his blog in 2014) it comes from a position of vast experience. He’s been walking the long road of his own digital scholarly presence since he was a Philosophy professor at Penn State until his recent deanship of the College of Arts and Letters (CAL) at Michigan State. 

I’ve been following Chris’s work for almost that long, ever since his time at Penn State working with Cole Camplese as a faculty fellow in 2007 or 2008. I was immediately struck by his willingness to openly narrate his scholarly and personal life online through all kinds of media, be it text, audio and/or images—a definite inspiration for me. What’s more, it provided a great example I could point faculty at UMW to. So, it was a real pleasure to finally get to speak with him about his work then and now, and to see how he frames this as academic administrator at one of the largest public campuses in the U.S.

And, as is often the case, it takes a team of folks to build a community, and working side-by-side with Chris on this initiative (as well as on this radio discussion) are Digital Humanities Coordinator @CAS Kristen Mapes and Assistant Dean for Academic and Research Technology Scott Schopieray.* Kristen and Scott have been running a seminar for faculty and graduate students that introduces them to philosophical and practical implications of a scholarly digital presence, wherein the domain is one of many tools faculty use to explore their online presence. Both Scott and Kristen have really thought through the process of on-boarding their community, and I was truly struck by just how intentional, strategic, and robust MSU’s approach to their domains project is.  All three of them can speak quite eloquently about the importance of thoughtfully integrating a vision for digital scholarly presence into the value system of the land grant university. It’s a brilliant marriage, and I came away from this conversation freshly excited about the work I often take for granted these days. Thanks to Kristen, Scott, and Chris for a fun, inspired conversation, and the quote in the sub-title is just a taste of the many gems you’ll in this audio discussion. What’s more, they will all be joining us at the Domains 17 conference in June, you should really come

Chris Long, Kristen Mapes, and Scott Schopierry from Michigan State University talks Digital Scholarly Presence

N.B. — The recording was captured using audacity, and at moments there is some digital noise, particularly during the last 10 minutes.  I’ll see if I can get help cleaning it up, but for now better to get it out there. 


* Professor Bill Hart-Davidson is another regular collaborator who was not part of the discussion.

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