November 15, 2021

Cathy N. Davidson (Photo Credit: Paula Vlodkowsky)

Distinguished Professor Cathy N. Davidson (English), founding director of the Futures Initiative, and a leading scholar and innovator in education, was awarded the 2021 Arts & Sciences Advocacy Award by the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS) at its annual meeting in November.

The CCAS, a national organization of arts and sciences deans, presents the award annually in recognition of individuals and institutions for “their exemplary advocacy for the arts and sciences, flowing from a deep commitment to the intrinsic worth of liberal arts education.” Past recipients include Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College; Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago; and the American Council of Learned Societies.

“It is both humbling and inspiring that an organization representing 1,900 deans of arts and sciences has chosen me for its annual award,” Davidson said. “I’ve spent my career working to cross the silos of the arts and sciences and finding ways to connect disciplines, skills, perspectives, and expertise. I see this recognition as less about my contribution than about all of us, at this moment, thinking together about how we can redesign higher education to prepare our students to thrive in this extremely challenging and changing time.”

Davidson, who delivered the keynote, “Creating the Structural Conditions for Student and Faculty Success,” at the CCAS meeting, has published some 20 books, including the award-winning The New Education: How to Revolutionize Higher Education to Prepare Students for a World in Flux. She teaches in the master’s programs in digital humanities and data analysis and visualization and is the co-founder and co-director of HASTAC (“Haystack”), Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory, the world’s oldest academic social network. Davidson is also the R. F. DeVarney Professor Emerita of Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University and served as Duke’s, and the nation’s, first vice provost of interdisciplinary studies.

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