Announcing Our New Executive Director

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Humanities Montana is proud to announce that Randi Lynn Tanglen will be our new Executive Director effective June 1, 2020. Randi is currently an associate professor of English and director of the Robert and Joyce Johnson Center for Faculty Development and Excellence in Teaching and director of the Gender Studies program at Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

Born in Sidney, Montana, Randi received degrees from Rocky Mountain College and the University of Montana where she wrote a master’s thesis on Montana women writers. She taught English at Billings West High School and received a fellowship grant from Humanities Montana (previously named Montana Committee for the Humanities) in 2002 to research the cultural, literary, and historical significance of Montana women’s community cookbooks. She used that grant to travel the state visiting local museums and archives and giving presentations at libraries and to civic organizations.

Randi earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Arizona and has taught at Austin College since 2008. She teaches classes on U.S. women and minority writers, and her co-edited volume with Brady Harrison of the University of Montana, Teaching Western American Literature, will appear from University of Nebraska Press in June. Randi regularly speaks on academic conference panels about public humanities engagement and publishes opinion articles on literature and culture in the Dallas Morning News and Texas Tribune. As director of the Johnson Center at Austin College since 2015, her innovative and creative leadership has transformed the center into a model faculty development program by focusing on inclusive teaching practices and faculty community outreach.

“Randi Tanglen rose to the top in our nationwide search,” said Interim Executive Director Scott Crichton. “She is a real find for HM– an academic with experience in program administration, public humanities advocacy, and donor relations and philanthropy. Her demonstrated commitment to humanities engagement, especially in small communities, in order to support an inclusive, democratic society makes her perfect for this job.”

“The Humanities Montana mission to promote a pluralistic society through public humanities programming, Tribal community outreach, and community conversations speaks to my values as a person, a citizen, and a professional,” Tanglen said. “I am thrilled to return to Montana and will take great pleasure in traveling the state to advance the message and programs of Humanities Montana.”

Tanglen continues, “As a faculty member, I have benefited from National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and local foundation philanthropy to enhance my teaching and research. I am eager to work with the Humanities Montana staff and board of directors to ensure the continued vibrancy and support of humanities outreach in my beloved home state.”

“We are simply delighted that Randi is coming back to Montana to share her leadership and vision with HM,” said Aaron Pruitt, chair of Humanities Montana’s board of directors.