“The best strategy in a time of uncertainty is not to seek or force the way forward, but to enter a cycle of experimentation.”

– George Siemens, LINK Research Lab

Davidson College has a long tradition of developing the whole person, ethically, intellectually, and creatively. We believe this hallmark of the liberal arts, which focuses on critical thinking and problem solving, best prepares students to navigate a complex world.

However, the high degree of uncertainty around the growing knowledge economy, rising costs of a college degree, and a rapidly emerging ecosystem of alternative pathways is generating skepticism about the value of a traditional liberal arts education. In response to these change pressures, Davidson is creating a safe-to-fail, inclusive space for experiments that question our value assumptions and institutional structures. Doing so will help the college maintain a position of strength – adapting and responding strategically to disruptive innovation.


Every R&D project starts with a story and idea for change. Learn about the types of projects we look for + submit a story and proposal here.


Once your idea is submitted and accepted, DLRD guides you through a design process to better understand the problem we are trying to solve.


DLRD provides the credit bearing space and partnerships to move your project forward, and the experiment begins! Read about our current projects here.


Using a tool called Sensemaker, the DLRD team collects data to manage and measure success. What worked? What didn’t? What might we take forward for curricular suggestions?



Kristen Eshleman, Director of Digital Innovation

R&D lead, focused on the design and research of experiments that explore new models of a liberal arts education in the digital age. Research on higher ed as a complex adaptive system to foster and account for emergent learning.

Hannah Levinson, Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship

External partnerships with alumni and community in entrepreneurism; connecting the liberal arts theory to practice and preparing students to lead, serve, and innovate in the quest for new knowledge and solutions within our rapidly changing, interconnected world.

Fuji Lozada, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies

Providing credit-bearing spaces for the integration of knowledge through interdisciplinary and high impact courses, student-driven majors, and multi-modal research and scholarship.

Mark Sample, Associate Professor and Director of Digital Studies

Critical analysis and creative discovery through digital studies; connecting scholarship and critical theory to applications of digital technology; enhancing the scholarship of teaching and learning.