The HASTAC Scholars program is an innovative student community anchored at hastac.org, with the following mission statement (coined by Fiona Barnett): “Difference is our operating system.” Each year a new cohort is accepted into the program, and the Scholars come from 75+ universities and dozens of disciplines. HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) is building a community of students working at the intersections of technology and the arts, humanities, and sciences. HASTAC Scholars host online forums, blog, develop new projects, and organize events. Much of their work centers around rethinking pedagogy, learning, research, and academia for the digital age.
From 2011 forward, a cohort of HASTAC Scholars has been active at the University of Victoria, and—after opening its doors in September 2012—the MLab committed to supporting those Scholars. Support assumes the form of not only research training and education in digital methods but also opportunities for professionalization, including opportunities to present research at UVic and the annual HASTAC conference. Importantly, in 2013 the HASTAC Conference took place—for the first time—in Canada (at York University, with Maureen Engel and Caitlin Fisher acting as lead organizers).
Contributors, Support, and Partnerships
Aside from partnering with HASTAC Central, the MLab collaborates with other groups on the UVic campus—including the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab and the Department of English—to support our HASTAC Scholar cohorts. Additionally, English Department faculty members, Janelle Jenstad, Stephen Ross, and Ray Siemens, have acted as HASTAC mentors for undergraduate and graduate students at the University. Since the MLab’s principal investigator, Jentery Sayers, was actively involved in the HASTAC Scholars program as a graduate student (from 2008 until 2011), he is especially invested in extending the HASTAC experience to students at UVic. He also serves on HASTAC’s Steering Committee, of which he was the first graduate student member.
Six student cohorts (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17), totalling seventeen HASTAC Scholars, have received support at UVic. MLab members also presented at HASTAC 2013 (York University), 2014 (Lima), and 2016 (Arizona State University). The MLab plans to continue its support of and involvement in HASTAC.