Looking back, looking forward

2023 is coming to an end, giving us a chance to celebrate and reflect on all that has happened this past year in the Office of Digital Humanities. Among the many notable events, here are a few to remember:

  • University Conference awards: ODH brought home two major university awards this year, as Bonnie Bingham was given the Fred A. Schwendimann Performance Award, the top honor given to university staff employees, and Jeremy Browne was given the Karl G. Maeser Professional Faculty Excellence Award, the highest honor given to professional faculty.
  • WordCruncher changes: Monte Shelley, one of the founding members of the WordCruncher project, retired earlier this year, and Jason Dzubak was appointed as the new director of the Research Technology Group. With Jesse Vincent’s departure for a different job a few months later, two additional people are now part of the WordCruncher team: Lauryn Wilde and Spencer Young. It’s been wonderful to get to meet them, and they’ve already become invaluable members of our office.
  • New babies! Congratulations to Tory and to Lauryn, both of whom welcomed new babies into their families this year.
  • On a sober note, we remember the passing of John’s father this summer. John, our hearts are with you and your family.
  • Promotions: this spring, Brian Croxall and Rob Reynolds were awarded Continuing Faculty Status and promoted to the rank of associate professor. This is a welcome recognition of their inspiring teaching and dedicated service to the university.
  • Faculty hiring: we were particularly fortunate to have Kathie Gossett join us this summer as our newest faculty member, and we’re grateful for her decision to come and lend her considerable talents and expertise to the students, faculty, and fellow office members here at BYU.
  • The Wall of Compliance (and its cameo appearance at our annual college meeting)
  • Brad dominating the Turkey Bowl. Again.
  • Mark’s wassail—the perfect introduction to the Christmas season
  • Bonnie’s wedding!
  • Russell’s amazing Luigi costume for Halloween—best costume this year, hands down.
  • And, last but not least, our ODH Christmas in March party that featured a mysterious and memorable gray sauce that still gets brought up regularly.

With the closing of the year also comes the closing of my time with the Office of Digital Humanities. I have been serving as the interim director since December 2021, but with the new year, ODH will once again have a director drawn from its own ranks, as is only proper. I am grateful for the wonderful camaraderie that the members of the office have extended to me during my time here. I have felt supported and strengthened, and have been reminded of what a wonderful place BYU is to work at, thanks to exceptional colleagues who demonstrate such professionalism and human warmth in their day-to-day interactions. I will always count my time at ODH as a joy and a rare professional privilege, and I will deeply miss the daily contact with the members of the office (although I do not intend to be a stranger!). As I step away, though, I am excited to think about what the upcoming year will mean for ODH. There are a number of fascinating developments underway, thanks to the innovation and energy of the members of our office. 2024 is set to be a banner year and I will look forward to hearing about all the office’s future adventures and achievements. Thanks for everything and happy new year!