Barnard College President Debora Spar announced today that the College has received an $800,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support a major new academic initiative: Barnard Teaches: Real Place + Digital Access. Over the next four years, this program will allow Barnard faculty to collaborate with curators, archivists, and collection specialists at New York City cultural and scientific institutions to co-develop courses to be offered through Barnard College to Barnard and Columbia undergraduates. Coursework will include on-site learning instruction at partner institutions and digital design training at the International Center of Photography (ICP), Barnard’s institutional partner for this initiative. Students will be given special access to the partnering institutions’ resources, such as high-resolution digital photographs and archival objects that are largely unavailable to the public. Students will use their newly acquired digital design skills to illuminate and explore topics through “visual storytelling” and other digital technologies uniquely suited to the space and place in which they learn.

“With world-renowned museums, libraries, and other places of cultural importance, Barnard’s New York City location has always been a tremendous asset to our students’ academic experience,” said Barnard College President Debora Spar. “Digital technologies are quickly becoming critical components of these institutions and the ways in which scholars, students, and visitors can experience and learn from art objects and scientific artifacts. Through Barnard Teaches, our students and faculty will have an unparalleled opportunity to be part of this transformative moment for scholarly work.”

“Barnard Teaches will bring local places and historic artifacts to life for our students, and will integrate digital design into course curricula in unparalleled ways,” said Provost Linda Bell. “Our faculty is extremely excited about this program’s potential to expand access to some of New York City’s most important places and their collections—for Barnard students in the classroom, and also for students elsewhere who may not have the ability to visit and interact in person with our local wealth of objects and historic artifacts.”

“These courses will also serve as prototypes for incorporating local cultural resources into the liberal arts experience,” Bell added.

Over the next five years, Barnard Teaches will add a minimum of four courses to the College’s catalogue, each with at least one partner institution and major digital component. The first Barnard Teaches course will be offered in Spring 2015, with additional courses to roll out in subsequent semesters. Other aspects of Barnard Teaches include a competition for summer internships for Barnard students at partnering institutions and a new "Digital Fellows Program" where students will conduct peer tutoring in digital technology and design.