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#Alt-Ac: A CALS Symposium

Sep 15, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 05:00 PM

Foster Auditorium (Paterno Library)

For an event summary, photos, and a recording of the #Alt-Ac symposium, please click here.


Please join Penn State faculty, students, and staff in a discussion focused on the alternative academic (#alt-ac) careers in which a growing number of scholars trained in the liberal arts, including literary studies, are employed.  Six invited speakers—scholars working in alternative academic careers on and off university campuses and faculty who have been leading voices on issues affecting contingent, non-academic, and alternative academic labor—join an equal number of Penn State presenters to explore what this new reality means in a rapidly transforming information age, university environment, and labor market.

Opening Session: 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

A Discussion with Bethany Nowviskie

Bethany Nowviskie, Director of Digital Research & Scholarship, University of Virginia, and Founding Editor of the open-access publication #Alt-Ac Academy <>, will lead us in a discussion of her online publication, “Two & A Half Cheers for the Lunaticks”                                                               <>.  Our goal will be to come away with a set of questions on the symposium topic that we hope will be addressed during the course of the symposium.  All audience members should read Dr. Nowviskie’s essay in advance of our discussion.

Roundtable One: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

What Does #Alt-Ac Mean?

Featured Invited Participants Include:

Paul Erickson, Director of Academic Programs, the American Antiquarian Society, an independent research library in Worcester, MA.  Dr. Erickson has worked previously in publishing, in the field of international relations, and in management consulting and has written widely on popular print culture in antebellum America.

Timothy B. Powell, Director, Digital Partnerships with Indian Communities (DPIC), Penn Museum, and Senior Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania.  Professor Powell is also Director of Native American Projects for the American Philosophical Society.

Rebecca Schuman, Freelance Writer, Academic Consultant, and Adjunct Professor at  Pierre Laclede Honors College, University of Missouri, St. Louis.  Professor Schuman has contributed many columns on higher education to publications such as Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Education.

Penn State Participants Include:

Patricia Hswe, Digital Content Strategist and Head, ScholarSphere, Penn State University Libraries


Daniel Tripp, Digital Humanities Specialist, Associate Director of Digital Education, and Managing Director of the Digital English Studio, Department of English


Roundtable Two: 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

(Re)Training for an #Alt-Ac Future

Featured Invited Participants Include:

Brian Croxall, Digital Humanities Strategist, Robert W. Woodruff Library, and Lecturer of English, Emory University.  Professor Croxall is helping to establish the Mellon Foundation-sponsored Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC).

Megan Doherty, Program Officer, Transatlantic Leadership Initiatives, German Marshall Fund.  The GMF is a non-partisan public policy and grant-making institution.

Penn State Participants Include:

Michael Bérubé, Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature

Rosemary Jolly, Weiss Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Comparative Literature, English, African Studies, Bioethics, and Women’s Studies

Christopher Long, Professor of Philosophy and Classics and Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education, College of the Liberal Arts

Wrap-up Session: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

For additional information, please contact symposium organizer Sean X. Goudie, Director of the Center for American Literary Studies (

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