North Carolina Humanities Council Selects New Board Chair

North Carolina Humanities Council Selects New Board Chair

Neva J. Specht of Deep Gap has been elected Chair of the board for the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She assumes leadership from Cynthia (Cindy) Brodhead of Durham, who served as Chair from October 2012 to October 2014 and will continue as a council trustee for another year.

“The humanities offer a means for seeing what we have in common and for providing a space to discuss and question larger issues where we might disagree.  I see the humanities council as a willing partner in providing opportunities for those types of discussions through it partnerships with other organizations and through its statewide public humanities programs. I look forward to working with the North Carolina Humanities Council’s trustees and staff to promote the humanities in North Carolina as the new board Chair.”

Currently Specht is the Senior Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Appalachian State University. She joined the North Carolina Humanities Board of Trustees in 2009 and has been active in the Council’s programming and evaluation committee, serving as co-chair for the last two year.  Specht first learned about the council in 1996 when she received a grant from the council to fund Appalachian State University’s first Women’s History Month film series. Specht also was the Program Director for the National Endowment for the Humanities landmarks in American History and Culture grants that focused on the Blue Ridge Parkway for high school teachers.

A native of Iowa, Specht received her B.A. from Grinnell College with a double major in History and American Studies. She holds a M.A., in American History, with Museum Studies Certification, as well as a Ph.D. in History from the University of Delaware.  As a public historian, she and her students have worked with a number of community partners. Specht has served on the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum’s Board, Blue Ridge Parkway 75, BeanStalk Community Theatre Board, and currently sits on the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resource Advisory Board and oversees the University’s Humanities Council.

Specht has received the Transforming North Carolina Faculty Research Award; ASU Board of Governor’s Teaching Award; Jimmy Smith Service Award; and the Communal Studies Association Starting Scholar Award. In 2014, she was nominated for the Rennie Brantz Freshman Teaching Award.