Dr. William Pannapacker, associate professor of English and director of the Mellon Scholars Program at Hope College, is one of only 14 scholars nationwide appointed to the Digital Humanities Council of the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE).
Appointed to two-year terms, the council members were selected to represent a wide variety of institutions (liberal arts colleges, state institutions, research universities and digital humanities centers), disciplines (history, literature, classics and new media) and roles (librarians, faculty members and technologists). All have played an active role in the digital humanities community.
The council will promote the value of the digital humanities in higher education, especially for undergraduates. Council members will help develop and maintain connections between digital humanists at small liberal arts colleges and the larger digital humanities community; work with and advise NITLE staff members on NITLE activity in the digital humanities; and advise the NITLE community on appropriate resources and opportunities in the digital humanities.
A member of the Hope faculty since 2000, Pannapacker is active on campus, regionally and nationally in discussion and promotion of the use of digital technologies in scholarship in the arts and humanities.
He is the founding director of the college's "Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities," established in 2009. The three-year program involves select students in coursework and research in areas of scholarly interest with faculty mentors from a variety of academic disciplines, with a particular emphasis on teaching the students how to use new and emerging digital technologies in pursuing and sharing their work.
In October, he co-organized the conference "Workshop on the Digital Humanities: A New Directions Initiative," hosted by Hope and supported through a grant from the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA). The event was attended by scholars from throughout the GLCA, which is comprised of 13 private, liberal arts colleges in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
A regular columnist for "The Chronicle of Higher Education," he has written multiple times about the use of digital technology in the arts and humanities, including in June 2008 ("Summer Camp for Digital Humanists") and most recently in the two-part series "Big-Tent Humanities, A View from the Edge," published on July 31 and September 19 of this year. He has also made multiple presentations at professional meetings regarding the use of digital technology in teaching and faculty-student collaborative research.
In addition to the digital humanities, Pannapacker's research interests include American cultural studies with a focus on the historical contextualization of literature and the visual arts, especially works produced in the 19th century.
His publications include the book "Revised Lives: Walt Whitman and Nineteenth-Century Authorship" (Routledge, 2004). He is also the author of numerous shorter publications on American literature and culture, has been a contributor to the "New York Times" and "Slate," and from 2005 to 2010 was a contributing editor to "American Literary Scholarship."
Pannapacker holds a doctorate in the history of American civilization from HarvardUniversity, and master's degrees in English from both Harvard and the University of Miami. He completed his undergraduate degree in English at St. Joseph's University.
Established in 2001 and based at SouthwesternUniversity in Georgetown, Texas, NITLE is the key organization for liberal arts colleges and universities seeking to engage students in the unique learning experience that liberal education provides and to use technology strategically to advance the liberal arts mission. NITLE's strategic initiative in the digital humanities focuses on finding pockets of innovation in the liberal arts community and connecting them into a coherent, collaborative effort. Its goal is two-fold: to advance the development of digital humanities at liberal arts colleges, and to promote the valuable contributions that such colleges make to and within the broader digital humanities movement.
Note: The June 2008 and July and September "Chronicle" articles mentioned earlier in this story are available online at