The Digital Scholars Initiative at Vassar College

In Fall 2022, Vassar launched a new signature program, the Digital Scholars Teaching Fellowship, a virtual “residency” program that draws on the new capacity for online collaboration developed during the pandemic. This teaching fellowship pairs displaced scholars (teaching virtually) with Vassar faculty members (teaching in person). Scholars offer guest lectures in Vassar courses and are introduced to the structure of a liberal arts classroom.

To date we have hosted 6 scholars — an Iranian political scientist, an Afghani political scientist, a Turkish scholar of gender and politics, a Ukrainian journalist and scholar of media studies, a Syrian sociologist, and a Yemeni poet and scholar of gender. These scholars have partnered with a variety of departments and programs at Vassar, including the Sociology Department, the Education Department, the History Department, the International Studies Program, the Media Studies Program, and the Women’s, Feminist, and Queer Studies Program.

Feedback from guest lecturers, host faculty, and students has been overwhelmingly positive. One professor who hosted multiple scholars in their course reflected that, “Both scholars spoke about their own intellectual journeys, beginning with childhood experiences and weaving their way up through undergraduate and graduate studies that took them away from their homelands. …This combining of the more traditional research presentation with the personal narrative was particularly effective, allowing students to connect with the scholars on a personal level as well.”

In 2023 we launched an extension of this program: the Digital Scholars Research Fellowship. This six-week summer engagement is modeled off of the successful Ford Scholars Program and pairs student research fellows with scholars who have already participated as a Digital Teaching Fellow. This intensive academic research experience allows for students to develop and hone research and library skills while allowing for visiting scholars to continue their work on academic projects in a range of humanities and social science fields. For more information on this opportunity please contact: