University of Montevallo senior and Huntsville native Christopher Hightower has been chosen to participate in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges’ (COPLAC) Digital Humanities “Century America” project. Hightower is one of only 10 participants chosen from the 27 colleges comprising COPLAC nationwide.
Funded by the Teagle Foundation of New York, the project will focus on COPLAC member campuses founded before 1914, the year when World War I began in Europe.
Using special collections and other library, campus and community resources, each student will research his/her college in the year 1914, its mission and its challenges, together with the life of the surrounding community just as Europe plunged into the Great War.
Hightower is working closely with Carey Heatherly, UM’s reference librarian and archivist, to assemble the historical materials used in the project. In 1914, the (now) University of Montevallo was Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute, an all-female school teaching young women skills with which they could earn their own living.
In addition to performing guided research on their home institutions, student researchers will contribute to the building of the multi-campus digital “Century America” site. Participants will work in a digital medium, developing skills in the areas of digital presentation and collaborative research and honing each of these skills for professional success in the future. The project will be launched in June 2014 at the annual COPLAC meeting, hosted by Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., and at the annual meeting of the Council on Undergraduate Research, also in June 2014.
Hightower also has had his undergraduate research project, titled “Unconventional Wisdom: Julia Tutwiler’s Writings on Women’s Education,” published in the first issue of Unconventional Wisdom: University of Montevallo McNair Scholars Research Journal. He is a participant in UM’s McNair Scholars Program, which prepares participants for doctoral studies, involving them in research and other scholarly activities.
Hightower plans to pursue a master’s degree in library science and a doctoral degree in history with a view to becoming an archivist.