We would first like to thank our community-based partners and acknowledge those who contributed their work to this volume. This book is for you, and this book is because of you.
We also want to acknowledge the dedication of the faculty, staff, and students who made the projects possible and whose reflection, insights, and knowledge will inspire future projects. Successful digital community engagement (DiCE) initiatives often demand work across silos and depend upon the behind-the-scenes efforts of civic engagement professionals, librarians and archivists, and technology personnel. Integrating DiCE into scholarship, teaching, and service can also entail risk for faculty members, especially if their institution’s tenure, promotion, and reappointment policy does not reward community-engaged work. We hope that the case studies included in this volume will strengthen and encourage faculty who are doing this work, and make a small contribution to the movement to value engagement in higher education.
The catalyst for this volume was a DiCE symposium hosted by Macalester College’s Jan Serie Center for Scholarship and Teaching, where Rebecca Wingo served as a postdoc in Digital Liberal Arts. The postdoc position and subsequent symposium were funded through a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation designed to bring together faculty and staff from Macalester and the University of Minnesota around issues in digital research and pedagogy. In addition to Wingo and Paul Schadewald, the planning team included Alexis Logsdon, Brooke Schmolke, and Chris Wells from Macalester, as well as Jennie Burroughs, Rebecca Moss, and Ben Wiggins from the University of Minnesota. We are grateful to the faculty and staff at the Serie Center, including Britt Abel, Adrienne Christiansen, Jacqueline Huppert, Theresa Klauer, Marga Miller, and Chris Wells. For Chris’s unwavering support for the harebrained ideas of a wide-eyed postdoc, we will always be indebted. Terri Fischel’s strategic support in time, space, and food from the library also helped launch the symposium. We would also like to specifically thank the contributors that helped us shape our vision at that symposium: Ariel Beaujot, Julia Brock, Karlyn Forner, Allison Schuette, Amy Sullivan, Megan Telligman, and Liz Wuerffel. Many of the ideas that we batted about at the conference room table are in our introduction.
There are a number of additional people to whom we owe thanks for their support and time. We want to acknowledge Macalester’s Civic Engagement Center within the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship for their generous support of Schadewald’s contribution to this project. Early in the process, Teresa Mangum provided advice and encouragement, as did Chad Gaffield. Liz Scarpelli, Sarah Muncy, and Sean Crowe at the University of Cincinnati Press have been masterful at shepherding this project, especially in thinking through the open access platform. Our open access mission would have been far too costly without the support of Associate Provost Keisha Love and her office’s Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) grant. We are also grateful for the press’s careful choice of our peer reviewers, who saw the value of our work and provided valuable feedback.
The students in our classes inspired our projects and were key conversation partners. We especially want to thank students in Wingo’s graduate public history seminar who helped frame some of our advice for community engagement: Robbie Due, Alysha Federkeil, Phuong Le, Jack Raslich, Kevin Rigsbee, Tony Russomanno, Aidan Shackleford, Jason Sorn, and Corey Swearingen.
Finally, this volume would not have been possible without our contributors who were—without fail—timely, flexible, and responsive to edits. Their belief in the project sustained us even as we all navigated the rather murky waters of what it means to publish open access. The projects in this volume are inspirational. They show us a future pathway for community engagement and higher education by helping to form and inform a cohesive practice of digital community engagement.