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Guardian of the Humanities

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 26/10/2015 Tom Fox
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William Adams is the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that awards grants to researchers and cultural institutions to preserve America's heritage. Adams was previously president of Bucknell University and Colby College, taught political philosophy at Santa Clara University and the University of North Carolina, and coordinated the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University.
In an interview with me, Adams discussed his mission at NEH and his views on leading his federal organization. I am a guest writer for On Leadership, a vice president at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and head of the organization's Center for Government Leadership. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Q. What is your approach to promoting the humanities and leading your government workforce?A. A lot of my time is spent traveling around the country talking about the state of the humanities now and about the future direction. With respect to the agency, it really has to do with engaging the people who work here in the fullest articulation of our vision and its execution. A critical part of leadership for me is hiring good people and then setting them loose with guidance and encouragement. Our 150-member NEH staff works all year to provide funding that is the lifeblood behind many of the museum exhibitions, library programs and documentary films that encourage and enrich our nation's cultural dialogue.
This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.

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