Blog Post

What is HASTAC@Duke?

Well, a new academic year is beginning here in North Carolina and it is customary for me to write a blog about what "HASTAC" is.   I've blogged many times about what HASTAC is and the different and evolving ways that, since 2002, we've been promoting the three interconnected themes of new media, critical thinking, and participatory learning.   We are a network of networks.  Leaders arise and define different emphases and areas of excitement and interest.   We partner with wonderful foundations, universities, institutions, and businesses.   And, mostly, we serve as a vibrant communications node for anyone who wants to be part of our aggressive "knowledge-networking."


The MacArthur Foundation, as everyone knows, early on recognized HASTAC as a visionary force for the future of higher education and we hope that our indebtedness to the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative--led  by Vice President Julia Stasch and Director of Education Constance (Connie) Yowell--is evident in the work we do and how we do it.   Administering the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition has been one of our greatest accomplishments.  It is hard to imagine anything more exciting than helping to find and reward so many brilliant projects, year after year, and we remain humbled to have been chosen for this role.


Of late, we've also been "chosen" by the Mozilla Foundation.  One of their officers dubbed HASTAC the "Mozilla of Higher Education," no doubt for our insistence on the Open Web and, even more, the way we take the Open Web as the inspiration for all of the ways we've been imagining "the future of thinking" and "the future of learning institutions."  We are so proud to be partnering on the upcoming first, international Mozilla Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona, Spain, creating the "Crowdsourcing Academe" thread of a conference dedicated to "Learning, Freedom, and the Open Web."   You can register for that conference now, at

But today, as we begin a new academic year here at Duke, I want to give credit to an institution that has, generously, stayed behind the scenes in order that we can promote HASTAC's international network of networks.  I teach at Duke.  Duke pays my salary.   The main infrastructure for running the HASTAC website and communications network is supported by Duke.  So many other projects and programs are decentralized--like the amazing HASTAC Scholars program--but it is also time to thank our administrators at Duke for believing in HASTAC from the beginning and being willing to give us time and space and modest support to keep the network thriving.


HASTAC hosts many @ events.   We have HASTAC@conferences, where HASTAC Scholars blog and tweet the events so that we can all "attend" virtually.   We have local and regional conferences and workshops that go out both under the institutional name and the HASTAC name.   HASTAC@Wayne State or HASTAC@UCHRI or HASTAC@USC or HASTAC@Texas or HASTAC@UIUC, or HASTAC@Washington and on and on.  


This year, we encourage all HASTAC members to blog about and to report their HASTAC@events on the main HASTAC site.  We, as always, will then tweet and blog and facebook and do all we can to get out the word, to extend your reach throughout our network of networks.  Soon, as an example, we'll post our recent letter to the Duke community about HASTAC@Duke events.   There are a lot of them this Fall.   We hope you will follow this example and post your own and let us get out the word about all the good you do in the worlds of new media, critical thinking, and participatory learning.


Happy academic year to all of you on the semester system.  To you lucky ones on the quarter system, enjoy these last few weeks before your new year begins.  And, to all, may you enjoy a very energetic and inspiring year!





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