ASU selected as institutional partner for renowned transdisciplinary organization

By

Susan Anderson

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) has announced Arizona State University as its partner institution after a competitive, nationwide 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.   

“HASTAC is one of the premier international organizations for the Digital Humanities and Web literacy,” explained George Justice, ASU dean of humanities, “it also embodies many of our design aspirations as well as ASU's Charter.”

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). Jacqueline Wernimont, interim director of ASU's Nexus Lab for Computational and Digital Humanities, will act as the new co-director, alongside HASTAC co-founding director Cathy N. Davidson (director of the Futures Initiative, CUNY Graduate Center). 

Davidson explained 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.” 

HASTAC logo

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory is a leading organization in the pursuit of innovative modes of research and education.

Wernimont joins the ranks of over sixty internationally-known leaders who have guided HASTAC since its inception in 2002. In addition to directing the Nexus Lab, she also teaches as an assistant professor of English, directs ASU’s new Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate, and is the founding co-director for the Human Security Collaboratory. In her ten years of professional experience she has become a nationally recognized leader in digital archives, feminist digital media, histories of quantification, and technologies of commemoration.  

Wernimont will co-direct HASTAC through 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.”