ASU and Nexus Lab Becomes New HASTAC Partner

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) has announced Arizona State University as its partner institution after a competitive, nation-wide search. HASTAC is a leading organization in the pursuit of innovative modes of research and education, with over 15,000 members and 400 affiliated organizations around the world.

The announcement comes at the conclusion of a competitive nationwide search in which three semi-finalists were invited to submit detailed proposals offering their vision for HASTAC. ASU was chosen as a partner uniquely positioned to advance HASTAC’s core mission and values: innovative, collaborative, open, transdisciplinary research and teaching made stronger by diversity. HASTAC’s Steering Committee made the final selection.

At Arizona State University, HASTAC will be embedded within the Nexus Lab for Digital Humanities and Computational Informatics. The Nexus Lab was created by Dr. Michael Simeone in 2013 as a hub for digital humanities collaborations at ASU. In the past three years, the Nexus Lab has created new research collaborations and pathways both on campus and off, played a key role in several major research grants, and attained national prominence by hosting the HASTAC 2016 conference in Tempe.

Dr. Jacqueline Wernimont, Assistant professor of English and Interim Director of the Nexus Lab at ASU, will be HASTAC’s new co-director. Wernimont has more than a decade of experience in digital humanities and digital cultures. She is a nationally recognized leader in digital archives, feminist digital media, histories of quantification, and technologies of commemoration. Wernimont also has a long track record of working with HASTAC, having received a Digital Media and Learning grant in 2015, administered by HASTAC.

Filling the role previously held by prestigious institutions such as Duke University and Stanford, ASU will divide HASTAC’s central administration with the City University of New York (CUNY). HASTAC Co-Founding Director Cathy N. Davidson (Director of the Futures Initiative, CUNY Graduate Center) explains that ASU was chosen from a highly competitive pool because “ASU's proposal was a model of vision, practicality, and innovation with an emphasis too on access, inclusion, and diversity.” She added that “this should come as no surprise… ASU has distinguished itself as one of the most forward-looking universities in the United States.”

In tandem with CUNY leadership, Wernimont will now oversee and further develop HASTAC’s significant sources of data, research, technology, and social networking expertise, as well as its cutting-edge website. HASTAC is considered the world’s first and oldest academic social network, and serves as a virtual commons for everything from creative collaboration opportunities to the latest news on pioneering educational technology. Wernimont feels “deeply honored” to be working with Cathy Davidson and the HASTAC community, explaining that “this partnership allows CUNY and ASU to work together to continue transforming higher education and research such that it is inclusive, of public value, and assumes responsibility for the care of our communities.”

The Nexus Lab, a project of ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research aimed at growing the digital humanities alongside interdisciplinary collaborations among the humanities, science, and technology. In the three years since its inception, the lab has grown to become one of the leading centers for innovative modes of research at ASU. Such work is key to addressing the mounting “wicked problems” faced by humanity. “The grand challenges that the world faces today, including issues related to water, energy, security and food, cannot be solved by just one discipline,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, executive vice president of Knowledge Enterprise Development and chief research and innovation officer at ASU. “Researchers from across disciplines have to work together to find comprehensive and sustainable solutions for these challenges. ASU is one of world’s leading universities in driving innovative, interdisciplinary research and discoveries. The partnership with HASTAC will help us have a wider, more transformational impact.”