African American Studies. He has been named the Virginia Center for Digital History director. The center is located in Alderman Library. U.Va. created the center in 1998. Founded by William G. Thomas III and Edward L. Ayers (history), VCDH has been a pioneer in the use digital technologies to encourage the teaching and learning history and transform the understanding, teaching, and access to American history. French has been involved since his U.Va. graduate student days in humanities computing. in the early 90’s. He was a part of a team which assisted Ayers, the current dean at U.Va. ‘s College of Arts & Sciences – helped to develop the groundbreaking “Valley of the Shadow” electronic project.
“Digital history, while still in its infancy, is not yet a mature field and there are no experts. Ayers explained that each person is finding their way, one step by one. Scot clearly has the necessary skills to lead VCDH. He is able to communicate effectively with many Scot French constituencies and has energy. French, on his part, recognizes Ayers pioneering efforts in establishing this field and demonstrating its tremendous potential to transform historical research, teaching, and scholarship through his scholarship regarding the Civil War/Emancipation. French stated that Ed Ayers was an influential figure in my intellectual development. He also created a model of collaboration which I have adopted.
From 1997 until this year, French served as assistant/associate/interim director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, where he developed numerous Web-based teaching and research tools for course work and workshops. French and Reginald Butler, the then-Woodson Institute’s director, developed the digital archive “Race and Place. An African American community in the Jim Crow South”. This project was developed to inspire emerging scholars and outstanding minorities students interested in pursuing advanced degrees. The digital archive includes oral stories, maps, census data, city records, personal papers and newspapers as well other materials related the the era when segregation was prevalent in the South. French and Butler designed “The Chesapeake Regional Scholars Summer Seminar for African-American Studies: A New Approaches in Teaching and Research In the 21st Century” to help students and faculty at historically black colleges and universities. The program ran annually from 1997-2000 and featured workshops, lectures, and hands-on training.