Publication Date

October 1, 1993

Perspectives Section

From the Executive Director

The October issue of Perspectives is always a special one for this column. Deadlines mandate its preparation before Labor Day at a time when the busy fall cycle of the Association’s committees has not yet begun and while summer tans are still unfaded. Our members across the country have returned from their summer activities and—since most of our members are in academia—are starting a new academic year and are too busy to write or call.

For AHA headquarters staff the end of summer brings its own flurry of activities. The final frenzy of activity putting the annual meeting Program to bed and off to the printers takes place; the auditors are completing their hard-nosed, eagle-eyed scrutiny of the past fiscal year’s activity; and the mailing of renewal notices to a large number of members whose anniversary dates are in the fall is being prepared.

The late summer of 1993 also saw an important visit to the Association by the new director of the AHA-sponsored History Teaching Alliance and National History Education Network (acronymically rendered as HTA and NHEN), Dr. Christine Compston. Dr. Compston’s schedule in Washington, worked out by the AHA, included visits to almost every educational mover, shaker, and (most important) funder in Washington involved in history or its support.

As members recall, the History Teaching Alliance was based for several years at the University of Florida and recently moved to the University of Tulsa. There Dr. Compston, as HTA’s fourth director, added the fresh responsibility of heading the newly established NHEN. Both coalitions are funded by contributions from history organizations and by foundation grants. Both are focused on the encouragement and improvement of precollegiate history education. HTA has a successful record of sponsoring local collaborative alliances between history faculty members in the schools and in the colleges and universities, while NHEN expects to work in the field of advocacy with state governments in support of history education. NHEN’s mission will include monitoring state-level governmental activity that impinges on history education and selective advocacy where history organizations can make a positive impact.