Auburn University dean named chair of Alabama Humanities Alliance


Contributed by
Carol Pappas

 Alabama Humanities Alliance elected Dr. Joe Aistrup, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University, as chair of its board of directors.

Aistrup joined the board in 2015, taking on leadership roles in various capacities, including serving as treasurer in 2020 before being elected chair.

“Joe’s leadership is so valuable,” said AHA Executive Director Chuck Holmes. “He understands the vital mission and passion of Alabama Humanities and brings his deep experience as a scholar and an administrator. The teamwork of the board, the staff and our many partners across the state is going to serve Alabamians in important ways.”

In the year ahead, Aistrup is looking forward to building on the organizational accomplishments, where the staff of AHA played pivotal roles. “I am very pleased with the ongoing development of Alabama History Days, the bicentennial celebration exhibit that toured every county in Alabama, and the distribution of over $500,000 in CARES Act funding to organizations throughout Alabama for humanities programming,” Aistrup said.

The year is expected to have a full agenda. Holmes, former general manager of Birmingham’s WBHM, a National Public Radio affiliate, has just taken the reins of AHA as its executive director, and a rebranding for the organization is underway.

“My goals are to help the AHA transition to the new leadership, the new branding initiative, changing our name from the Alabama Humanities Foundation to the Alabama Humanities Alliance and programming in a post-COVID-19 world,” Aistrup said. “As a long-term goal, I would like the staff to develop two major signature events for AHA to occur in the fall and spring of each year.”

Aistrup said he was honored to be a part of Alabama Humanities Alliance, recognizing its significance in the state. “Humanities plays a critical role for helping all Alabamians better understand the world in which they live,” he added. “Humanities helps us think about the way things are, the way things ought to be, and then how we might bridge the difference.

 “Humanities through literature, history and philosophy also helps us understand our past and how we can shape the future.

“The humanities, more so than any other set of disciplines, provide the foundations for our vision of ourselves.”

Aistrup came to Auburn University in September 2013 as dean of the College of Liberal Arts after serving as associate dean of Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University.

About the Alabama Humanities Aliance

As the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the AHA! strives to create and foster opportunities for scholars and the public to interact and explore human values and meanings through the humanities.


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