The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has named geography professor Jess Porter the executive director of its Center for Arkansas History and Culture.
Porter takes over for Deborah Baldwin, associate provost of collections and archives. She has taken a position as interim dean of the College of Business, Health and Human Services
The center, which is housed in the Bobby L. Roberts Library downtown Little Rock, explores and promotes Arkansas' history by identifying, collecting and preserving records of enduring value to the state.
Porter now also oversees UA Little Rock Downtown and the Sequoyah National Research Center, which the university describes as the largest assemblage of Native American expression in the world. Porter supervises around 25 full-time employees, interns, and student researchers.
The center's recent projects include an archive of former state Rep. Vic Snyder's congressional collection. UA Little Rock said future projects include the collection of the late Raye Montague, an engineer with the U.S. Navy who is credited with creating the first computer-generated rough draft of a U.S. naval ship.
The center is also a resource for teachers and educational partners.
"I was absolutely thrilled at this opportunity," Porter said in a news release. "This is a job that I would argue may well be the best at the university."
Porter holds a bachelor's in geography and environmental studies from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in geography from Oklahoma State University.
Porter joined UA Little Rock as an assistant professor of geography in 2009 and has served as the chair of the Department of History since 2017.