Swarthmore Projects for Educational Exploration and Development (SPEED): Promoting Public Scholarship in the Liberal Arts

Nabil Kashyap and Roberto Vargas (Swarthmore College)

Swarthmore Projects for Educational Exploration and Development (SPEED) is an initiative jointly administered by Swarthmore Libraries and Information Technology Services. Loosely based on the agile development model, SPEED provides dedicated staff and student intern support for accepted proposals during an eight-week summer period in order to design and build digital resources that extend pedagogical possibilities and promote undergraduate research.

The program is inherently collaborative. In addition to pooling the resources and skills of librarians and academic technologists, SPEED has worked alongside faculty from across campus, Engineering to Russian, Linguistics to Music. Beyond the gamut of administrative and academic partners, the program works with students from a range of majors and provides substantial scholarly and professional development.

SPEED projects actively push beyond the limited time and space afforded to the traditional classroom to put student and faculty research in conversation with broader publics. Examples like a web-app for generating Navajo verbs, a digital book for the hearing-impaired, 3D modeling of ancient Roman topography and a visualization of Latino Immigration in the USA allow associated courses to engage broader audiences, both those intended and sometimes ones we had not imagined.

Through outlining our processes, touching on issues that have emerged during particular projects and sketching out some of what we have learned, we will present the possibilities and perils of such a model for exploring just what public scholarship can look like in a liberal arts context.

Presentation materials