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AUM dean to spur interest in humanities
by Rebecca Burylo, The Montgomery Advertiser | Feb 15, 2016
Michael Burger, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of History at Auburn University-Montgomery, was named to Alabama Humanities Foundation Board of Directors.
Others named to the board include Carmen Burkhalter, Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Alabama; Kern Michael Jackson, Director of the African-American Studies program at the University of South Alabama, neurologist Daniel C. Potts and Trey Granger, Chief Deputy Clerk of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
Lynne Berry, vice president for Advancement for Hudson Alpha Institute of Biotechnology, was elected chair.
The nonprofit foundation's goal is to "foster learning, understanding and appreciation of different people, communities and cultures among the public through a variety of projects and grants." It also is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
"I was surprised when I found out ... I'm very honored," Burger said. "I value all the work that the foundation does. They do a lot of really great things for the humanities."
As a Dean at AUM, Burger has taught many cultural and historical courses, which fit in the board's overall mission. He has taught ancient, Medieval and modern European history, women's history and religious studies. He has also authored several books and articles.
Burger, who has had an interest in history and the humanities since high school, has spent decades in this field of study.
"It's tremendous for the community to broaden their interest," Burger said. "It's not just a university thing. AHF has been instrumental in bringing the humanities to the larger world."
The foundation is known for engaging rural communities and with mobile history exhibits, called Museum on Main Street, a partnership with the Smithsonian Institution. In March, they plan to kick of their newest exhibit, Hometown Teams.
The exhibit will feature local and national sports teams and the history of sports in America. The exhibit is scheduled to visit Anniston, Gadsden, Livingston, Breton, Enterprise and Haleyville.
The partnership with the Smithsonian allows the sharing of some of the institute's own artifacts and historical photos with the scheduled towns. Communities can then add their own local trophies and memorabilia to make the exhibit unique.
The foundation also offers Alabamians opportunities to explore the humanities through funded public seminars, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, documentary videos and films. Alabama Humanities Foundation is the primary source of grants for public humanities programs.