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CAA News Today

Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, sent the following email on June 20, 2015.

Preparing for Possible Anti-NEH Amendments in the House

Hello All,

I am writing with an update on challenges NEH and NEA may face in the House in the coming week. As many of you know, the Interior appropriations bill has been scheduled to be considered on the floor of the House on Thursday. We are preparing for the possibility that an amendment cutting or eliminating funding for NEH and NEA may be introduced. The Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 5 pm, so we should know more after that.

In preparation. we are priming our members for a possible action alert and reaching out to specific organizations with ties to higher education institutions in strategically important Republican-held districts. We are asking them to be prepared to call on these institutions to reach out to the Members in support of NEH. I am attaching the list of 50 districts in case anyone has strong contacts to pursue if needed.

I know that many of you are already looped in through CAG and are already poised to act.

We’ll be in touch early in the week, and please let us know if you have any information.

Hopefully this will be much ado about nothing!

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend.

The United States Senate today voted to confirm William D. “Bro” Adams as the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Adams is expected to begin as Chairman in the coming days.

Founded in 1965, the National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making institution of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

Adams, president of Colby College in Waterville, Maine from 2000 until his retirement on June 30, 2014, is a committed advocate for liberal arts education and brings to the Endowment a long record of leadership in higher education and the humanities.

A native of Birmingham, Michigan, and son of an auto industry executive, Adams earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy at Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Santa Cruz History of Consciousness Program. He studied in France as a Fulbright Scholar before beginning his career in higher education with appointments to teach political philosophy at Santa Clara University in California and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He went on to coordinate the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University and to serve as vice president and Secretary of Wesleyan University. He became president of Bucknell University in 1995 and president of Colby College in 2000.

Adams’s formal education was interrupted by three years of service in the Army, including one year in Vietnam. It was partly that experience, he says, that motivated him to study and teach in the humanities. “It made me serious in a certain way,” he says. “And as a 20-year-old combat infantry advisor, I came face to face, acutely, with questions that writers, artists, philosophers, and musicians examine in their work — starting with, ‘What does it mean to be human?’”

In each of his professional roles, Adams has demonstrated a deep understanding of and commitment to the humanities as essential to education and to civic life. At Colby, for example, he led a $376-million capital campaign – the largest in Maine history – that included expansion of the Colby College Museum of Art and the gift of the $100-million Lunder Collection of American Art, the creation of a center for arts and humanities and a film studies program, and expansion of the College’s curriculum in creative writing and writing across the curriculum. He also spearheaded formal collaboration of the college with the Maine Film Center and chaired the Waterville Regional Arts and Community Center.

As senior president of the prestigious New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Adams has been at the center of the national conversation on the cost and value of liberal arts education. “I see the power of what is happening on our campuses and among the alumni I meet across the country and around the world,” he says. “People who engage in a profound way with a broad range of disciplines – including, and in some cases especially, with the humanities — are preparing to engage the challenges of life. They are creative and flexible thinkers; they acquire the habits of mind needed to find solutions to important problems; they can even appreciate the value of making mistakes and changing their minds. I am convinced that this kind of study is not merely defensible but critical to our national welfare.”

Adams, nicknamed Bro by his father in honor of a friend who died in World War Two, is married to Lauren Sterling, philanthropy specialist at Educare Central Maine and has a daughter and a stepson. He currently resides in Falmouth, Maine.

Deputy Chairman Carole Watson has served as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities since the departure of former Chairman James A. Leach.

Please join the conversation and offer your congratulations to Adams with #NEHBroAdams.

NEH and NEA Nominees Await Confirmation

posted by April 29, 2014

The American Alliance of Museums sent the following email on April 28, 2014.

Urge Congress to Confirm Nominees to Lead NEH and NEA

On April 10, President Obama announced Dr. William “Bro” Adams, president of Colby College, as his choice to serve as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Two months earlier, on February 12, Obama announced Dr. Jane Chu, president and CEO of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, as his choice to serve as the next Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

These two nominees must now be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Take two minutes to ask the U.S. Senate to confirm Dr. Adams and Dr. Chu today!

“Dr. Adams will bring a vast array of experiences to the National Endowment for the Humanities, including as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and as president of Colby College, home of the AAM-accredited Colby College Museum of Art,” said Alliance President Ford W. Bell.

“Dr. Chu has dedicated her life to the arts, from her early days as a pianist and music educator to her leadership at one of the nation’s finest performing arts centers,” said Bell. “It will be a great asset to have an NEA Chairman who instinctively understands the economic impact of the arts in our communities, recognizes the value of arts education and aspires to bring great art to all Americans.”

Please urge the U.S. Senate to confirm these nominees swiftly so these talented leaders can get right to work supporting our nation’s cultural and educational treasures.

“These two accomplished leaders will be terrific additions to the cultural landscape in Washington, DC and I urge the U.S. Senate to confirm them without delay,” said Bell.

Read Ford Bell’s complete statement on President Obama’s nominees to lead NEA and NEH.

Since the December 2012 departure of Chairman Rocco Landesman, NEA has been led by Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa. Since the May 2013 departure of Chairman Jim Leach, NEH has been led by Acting Chairman Carole Watson. Read the American Alliance of Museums’ issues briefs on NEH and NEA.

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. William “Bro” Adams as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

President Obama said, “Bro brings demonstrated leadership and decades of experience as an administrator at major universities and liberal arts institutions.  His clear dedication and lifelong commitment to the humanities make him uniquely qualified to lead the nation’s cultural agency. I’m proud to nominate Bro as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and look forward to working with him in the months and years to come.”

Dr. William “Bro” Adams is President of Colby College, a position he has held since 2000.  Previously, he was President of Bucknell University from 1995 to 2000.  Dr. Adams was Vice President and Secretary of Wesleyan University from 1993 to 1995, and was Program Coordinator of the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University from 1986 to 1988.  Earlier in his career, he held various teaching positions at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and the University of North Carolina.  Dr. Adams served in the Vietnam War as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  In 1977, he became a Fulbright Scholar and conducted research at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France.  Dr. Adams is a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Film Center and the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation.  Dr. Adams received a B.A. from the Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Visit the Virtual Jefferson Lecture

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites you to join us online for a gala national event featuring Walter Isaacson, the biographer of Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein, speaking on The Intersection of the Humanities and the Sciences.

Isaacson will be delivering the 2014 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. The date is 7:30 p.m. May 12th at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

NEH will make a free, high definition, live stream of the lecture available for national viewing. Read more.

Watch Walter Isaacson

Isaacson is one of the preeminent biographers, journalists, and intellectual leaders of our time. He conducted more than 40 interviews with Steve Jobs to write his definitive biography, getting  Jobs to describe his own legacy in both the humanities and in technology. His biography of Albert Einstein defined unconventional thinking; his work on Benjamin Franklin and others describes The Intersection of the Humanities and the Sciences in human terms. As president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, he gathers the intellectual elite in a policy powerhouse. Read more.

Convene Film Nights and Start New Conversations

NEH will make the Jefferson Lecture instantly available to very community in the United States with a high speed internet connection. We hope that hundreds of groups will sponsor Jefferson Lecture nights and film discussion groups to consider The Intersection of the Humanities and the Sciences within their schools, communities, and states. Read more.

Catch Up Later

Busy on May 12th?  The lecture will be available on www.neh.gov for a year to spur reading and discussion of the Humanities and STEM—science, technology, engineering and math.  America needs both the sciences and the humanities to be competitive, innovative, and strong. Read more.

What Do I Need To Do?

Find a venue. Invite an audience. Plan a program.  Go to http://www.neh.gov/jefferson-lecture/event-form.  Let us know of your plans so people can find a nearby location. Read more.

Join the National Conversation

Share your thoughts and comments with viewers across the country using the Twitter hashtag: #JeffLec2014.

The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on April 1, 2014.

Act Now: Paul Ryan Calls for Elimination of Funding for NEH

Dear Humanities Advocate,

This morning, Paul Ryan called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities in his FY 2015 budget resolution.

Help defeat the Ryan Proposal today by urging your elected officials to join a bipartisan effort to support NEH. By signing on to the Senate Dear Colleague letter, your Senators can demonstrate support for NEH funding to the appropriations committee members that hold the agency’s future in their hands.

Click here to send our message to your Senators today. They are waiting to hear from you.

If you sent a message last week, thank you. If you haven’t sent one yet, it is critical that you act now. The deadline for Senators to sign on to the letter is Friday, April 4.

Thanks for your help!

Stephen Kidd, Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Humanities Alliance
(202) 296-4994 x149

Humanities Advocacy Day 2014, sponsored by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), took place in Washington, DC, on Monday and Tuesday, March 10 and 11, 2014. As a member of NHA, CAA supports that organization’s advocacy efforts and sends representatives to its annual meeting each year. CAA’s participation in these activities allows the association to promote the visual arts and to persuade others—in this case the members of both houses of Congress—to embrace the value of the humanities in education and in daily life.

The annual meeting on Monday included an opening welcome by George Washington University’s president, Steven Knapp, followed by a presentation by Stephen Kidd, NHA executive director, outlining the alliance’s advocacy agenda for the year. Knapp introduced additional speakers whose interests and projects intersect with the NHA’s four-pronged argument for stressing the value of the humanities: promoting opportunity for all Americans, fostering innovation and economic competitiveness, ensuring productive global engagement, and strengthening civic knowledge and practice. Knapp also identified two initiatives outside Congress to promote the humanities in the public sphere: Humanities Working Groups for Community Impact (see item 5) and Call for Videos. Aimed directly at the public rather than elected officials, these initiatives will help to establish to those outside the academy that the humanities are an area worth funding.

David Scobey, executive dean of the New School for Public Engagement, presented a talk called “E Pluribus Anthology: Why American Communities Need the Humanities,” which advocated a return to civic engagement as a way of reigniting the humanities. Carol Muller, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, discussed a community project that she directs, West Philadelphia Music, which amplified Scobey’s argument. Other speakers during the day included Elva LeBlanc, president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College, who spoke on the relevancy of higher education and the importance of preparing students for change and complexity; and Francisco G. Cigarroa, chancellor of the University of Texas System. In the afternoon, Humanities Advocacy Day participants received issue briefs and background material concerning proposed funding levels for federal humanities programs and position papers that were helpful in preparing for congressional visits.

On Tuesday, six NHA delegates from the state of New York (listed in the next paragraph) visited the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Tom Reed, and José E. Serrano. In each instance, the group urged senators and representatives to support specific fiscal-year budgets for the National Endowment for the Humanities ($154.4 million), the Institute for Museum and Library Services ($226.5 million), and the Library of Congress ($593 million), and to properly fund the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and Title VI/Fulbright-Hays international programs. NHA delegates also asked their legislators to sign “Dear Colleague” letters in support of these budgets based on the alliance’s funding recommendations, which are higher than those proposed by the Obama administration.

The New York delegates from NHA were: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, director of scholarly communication for the Modern Language Association; Peter Berkery Jr., executive director of the Association of American University Presses; Jennifer Steenshorne, junior associate editor for Columbia University Libraries; Jonathan Gilad, program assistant at the American Political Science Association; Michael Fahlund, CAA deputy director; and Betty Leigh Hutcheson, CAA director of publications.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on February 27, 2014.

Last chance to register for NHA Annual Meeting and Humanities Advocacy Day

Registration deadline: Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 10–11, 2014
George Washington University’s Marvin Center and Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Advocating Locally for National Impact

The 2014 NHA annual meeting will look beyond broad arguments for the value of the humanities to make the case that fostering and demonstrating impact in local communities is critical to increasing support for the humanities among elected officials and the general public. The meeting will feature a series of speakers who will explore: ways to engage local communities in humanities research, teaching, preservation, and programming; the benefits of publicly engaged work to institutions, students, and communities; the role that the humanities can play in the lives of students as they pursue a variety of career paths and goals; and ways to involve elected officials in this work.

Over the last five years, the humanities have faced particular challenges on the state level, as governors and state legislatures have sought to direct funding and students to other courses of study. This year’s annual meeting will feature two speakers from Texas who can speak to the importance of expanding the role of the humanities in their communities amid the challenging state context.

Participants will also learn about efforts to foster increased collaboration between academic institutions and public humanities organizations with the goal of increasing connections with the broader public.

Click here for a preliminary program.

Registration

Click here to register today.
Registration: $100
Deadline: March 1, 2014

Featured Speakers

Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor, University of Texas System, and a Member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

One of ten children, Francisco Cigarroa is a third generation physician. He graduated from Yale University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and earned his medical degree in 1983 from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. Cigarroa joined the faculty of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1995, where he served as director of pediatric surgery before serving as president of the institution from 2000 to 2009. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed him to serve on the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. In 2009, Cigarroa became the first Hispanic to be named chancellor of the University of Texas System. As chancellor, he oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation, which consists of nine universities and six health institutions. President Barack Obama has appointed Cigarroa to serve as a commissioner on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also serves on the academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.  Cigarroa is a nationally renowned transplant surgeon and continues to perform liver and kidney transplant surgeries.

Elva Concha LeBlanc, President, Northwest Campus, Tarrant County College District

Elva Concha LeBlanc is president of the Northwest Campus of Tarrant County College District (TCCD). Northwest Campus is one of five campuses of TCCD, a multicampus, single college district of over 50,000 enrollments. Previously, as president of Galveston College, she led the transformation of that institute into a “learning college” with a focus on student learning, assessment, and outcomes. Prior to serving Galveston, LeBlanc was executive vice president for instructional affairs at Austin Community College. A former Tarrant County College student and alumna of the University of North Texas, LeBlanc served TCCD as professor, faculty chair, director of institutional effectiveness, and dean of instruction.

Carol Muller, Professor of Music, University of Pennsylvania

The South African–born Carol Muller is professor of music and current director of the Africa Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published widely on South African music, at home and in exile. Her intellectual interests are in issues of gender, religion, music, diaspora, and postcolonial studies, and her most recent is a book coauthored with South African jazz singer, Sathima Bea Benjamin, called Musical Echoes: South African Women Thinking in Jazz (Duke University Press, 2011); another book, Shembe Hymns (University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2011), was edited by Muller and translated by Bongani Mthethwa. Muller was topic director for the Penn Humanities Forum (2003–4) on subject of Belief. She has done pioneering work in ethnomusicology on issues of civic engagement, community partner and student research in West Philadelphia, and has experimented with online learning over the last decade—her Coursera–Penn course Listening to World Music attracted 37,000 students in its first iteration—it was one of the first humanities courses offered as a MOOC. Muller is also a gumboot dancer.

David Scobey, Executive Dean, New School for Public Engagement

David Scobey is a national leader in developing innovative methods to engage institutions of higher education with communities outside the academy. He was previously director of the Harvard Center at Bates College in Maine, established to bring together community-based learning and research, cocurricular work, and environmental stewardship. He is the founder and former director of the University of Michigan’s Arts of Citizenship program, an initiative to integrate civic engagement and the liberal arts. He serves on the boards of Project Pericles, an organization that encourages universities to include civic engagement as an element of undergraduate education, and Bringing Theory to Practice, a project that links education as a public good with civic engagement and concern for the well-being of individual students.