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Recently Funded Initiatives

Tech for Humanity Pathways Minor

Sylvester Johnson meets with students in Newman Library

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $665,000 to Virginia Tech to enable its Center for Humanities to lead the creation of a new Pathways minor, Tech for Humanity. This minor will focus on the intersection of humanities and technology by emphasizing humanistic, human-centered approaches to technology. The curriculum will include emphases on technology policy, inclusion and diversity, the ethics of artificial intelligence, historical and cultural knowledge, democratic outcomes, and the role of social justice in making technology accountable to the public good and public interest.


Ensuring the Searchability of the Nation’s Digital Records

National Archives Building in Washington, DC

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Virginia Tech a planning grant to explore using artificial intelligence to search the digital records of the National Archives and Records Administration. Led by University Libraries and the Center for Humanities, the grant will enable a two-day workshop to convene Virginia Tech librarians, archivists, and humanities faculty researchers with deep-subject experts in the fields of digital libraries, machine learning, archives, information retrieval, document analysis, natural language processing, computational linguistics, and deep learning.

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In “Do You Trust This Robot” — the special report of Illumination, the annual magazine of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences — Virginia Tech experts explore the intersection of technology and humanity. Sylvester Johnson, director of the Center for Humanities and executive director of Tech for Humanity, authored one of the features in that report and is included in another.

Opportunities for Support

The Center for Humanities advances research based on humanistic methods of scholarship among faculty and students in arts, human-centered social sciences, and humanities fields working in their disciplines and collaborating with faculty across Virginia Tech. Supporting scholarship this way is essential to realizing the center’s objective of foregrounding the overarching relevance of the humanities that will be broadly impactful both within and beyond the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.