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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 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

Act Now to Support Humanities Funding

posted by March 25, 2014

The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on March 25, 2014.

Act Now to Support Humanities Funding

Dear Humanities Advocate,

Last year, the House Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities in its budget resolution. By sending messages to elected officials, advocates like you helped to defeat the proposal and preserve critical funding for the humanities.

Now, you can help ensure a brighter future for federal humanities funding by urging your elected officials to join a bipartisan effort to support NEH. By signing on to House and Senate Dear Colleague letters, your Members of Congress 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 elected officials today. They are waiting to hear from you.

It is critical that you act now. The deadline for Representatives to sign on to the House letter is Monday, March 31, and the deadline for Senators to sign on to the Senate letter is Friday, April 4.

Best regards,

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.

NHA Memo to Members

posted by January 16, 2014

Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), sent the following email on January 15, 2014.

NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

Please click here for a new Memo to Members. This edition features:

  • Capitol Hill news, including an overview of humanities funding in the proposed omnibus spending bill
  • National Endowment for the Humanities news
  • Studies, reports, and initiatives
  • A compendium of humanities news articles and essays
  • Federal grant opportunities

We encourage you to share this memo with your colleagues. If you have information to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at emosley@nhalliance.org.

The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on October 30, 2013.

Oppose Devastating Cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities!

Now that the government shutdown is over and Congress is beginning new budget negotiations, the proposed 49 percent cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities is back on the table. Just last week, one of the budget negotiators invoked the cut as he questioned the appropriateness of NEH grants. You can make sure that his are not the last words that our elected officials hear on the value of NEH by sending a message today.

We need you, your friends, and your colleagues to send messages in support of renewed investments in the humanities. Thousands of messages from advocates helped to put the proposed cuts on hold this summer, and by sending this new message, you can oppose the cuts and help restore NEH’s critical support for the humanities.

Lend your name to the effort by sending a message to your elected representatives.

Click here to send a message.Help us reach more advocates by sharing this message with your friends.

Background

In its FY 2014 budget resolution, the House of Representatives Budget Committee called for the complete elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, writing that the programs funded by NEH “…go beyond the core mission of the federal government, and they are generally enjoyed by people of higher-income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier citizens.” The House subcommittee that oversees the NEH’s appropriation has followed through on the spirit of this resolution by approving a 49 percent cut to the agency’s budget.

Funding for NEH is already at just 29 percent of its peak and 62 percent of its average.

After years of deep cuts, the Obama Administration has proposed restoring some of NEH’s capacity with a 12 percent increase in funding.

Click here to send a message.

Share with your friends!

New NHA Memo to Members

posted by October 28, 2013

The executive director of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on October 25, 2013.

New NHA Memo to Members

Dear NHA Member Representatives,

I am writing with the first edition of NHA’s new Memo to Members. Please click here for:

  • a legislative update that includes a discussion of Senator Sessions’ recent letter to Acting NEH Chair Carole Watson;
  • follow-up to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Science’s The Heart of the Matter;
  • resources for advocates;
  • studies, reports, and initiatives pertaining to the humanities;
  • a compendium of humanities news articles and essays;
  • federal grant opportunities; and
  • upcoming humanities policy and advocacy events.

We hope that this monthly memo will provide you with tools to aid your advocacy efforts and help you and your organization stay abreast of policy and advocacy news. If you have information to to suggest for a future edition, please contact Erin Mosley at emosley@nhalliance.org.

Click here to download the briefing in pdf.

The National Humanities Alliance sent the following email on August 1, 2013.

Speak Up Now! 49 Percent Cut to the NEH Stalled in the House

By acting now, you can help to ensure that this devastating cut doesn’t move beyond the committee room.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee considered a 49 percent ($71 million) cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). After a lengthy debate, the committee adjourned for the August recess without acting on the proposal but with the intent to take it up again in September. We must use this recess to make our voices heard in order prevent these devastating cuts from being enacted. Please send messages to your elected officials today by clicking this link.

If you sent a message last week, please send this new message to both your Senators and Representatives. Click here to send a message today.

This battle will continue into the fall, as this bill moves toward a vote of the full House of Representatives and as the Senate considers its own spending bills. During this period it is important that your elected officials hear from you and your friends and colleagues. Click here to learn about six steps that you can take to oppose these cuts and preserve the NEH during this time. Please take these steps and circulate them widely.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Please share this message with your friends.

Click here to download “Six Steps to Oppose cuts to NEH.”

The NEH desperately needs your help.

Click here to send a message to your elected officials.

The National Humanities Alliance (NHA) sent the following email on July 22, 2013.

Oppose devastating cuts to the National Endowment for the Humanities

The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its FY 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill this morning with a 49 percent ($71 million) cut for the National Endowment for the Humanities. If enacted, this funding level would devastate an agency that has already been reduced by 19 percent since 2010.

This drastic cut would end programs that provide critical support for humanities teaching, preservation, public programming, and research, and result in positive impacts on every community in the country. Programs supported by the NEH teach essential skills and habits including reading, writing, critical thinking, and effective communication that are crucial for ensuring that each individual has the opportunity to learn and become a productive member of society. Further, NEH’s programs strengthen communities by promoting understanding of our common ideals, enduring civic values, and shared cultural heritage.

Click here to send a message today to urge your Representative to vote against these devastating cuts.

Please share this message with your friends.

The NEH desperately needs your help.