The National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a coalition of associations (including the AHA) that advocates for the advancement of humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs, announced last week that NHA Executive Director Jessica Jones Irons will be stepping down. Irons is leaving the NHA because her family is moving to New York. Duane Webster, executive director emeritus of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), will serve as interim director of the NHA. The organization is grateful the years of service rendered by Irons, as detailed in an excerpt from its press release:
Irons was appointed NHA Executive Director in 2005, and has served in a number of roles since first joining the Alliance staff in 1999. During her tenure, Irons has helped lead NHA through a significant expansion in the Alliance’s activities. “I am particularly proud to have contributed to the growth of NHA’s membership base, and its grassroots advocacy capacity over the years. It has been an honor to serve this community, and to work with the members and staff of the Alliance,” said Irons.
Led by Irons, the Alliance has worked to foster a unified voice in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and other critical federal programs, coordinating closely with a broad range of Alliance members and stakeholders with diverse interests in the humanities. The Alliance plays a lead role in advocating for NEH funding, and its efforts in this area have been especially critical during the recent period of extreme pressures on the federal budget. Working together over the last year, Alliance members and other NEH supporters have been successful in helping to minimize cuts to NEH funding, fighting proposals in Congress to dramatically cut or eliminate funding for the agency, and enabling NEH to maintain its range of grant competitions for the 2011-2012 fiscal years.