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 Tuesday, April 10, 2007 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Jewish Studies certificate program seeks director
by Melanie Massengale, Mailing Services

Zilla Goodman and Paul Shankman are looking for a director.

That is to say, the Jewish Studies Certificate Program has been approved to hire a director at the level of full professor. "Usually a new program gets to hire a junior faculty member," said Shankman, current program director and professor of anthropology who specializes in Holocaust studies. "The dean of Arts and Sciences had wanted a Jewish Studies certificate program since 2005, due to student and faculty interest, and they formed an advisory committee to set it up." This was the first full year of the new certificate program. As part of the hiring plan, the advisory committee quickly focused on naming a permanent director.

In the meantime, Goodman was hired as senior instructor to teach Hebrew and Jewish Culture. Previously, Jewish Studies courses had been offered through Continuing Education and Professional Studies. Goodman currently serves as associate director. She seconded Shankman's assessment of the director search. "The advisory committee has been wonderfully supportive," she said, "They moved very quickly."

Brandon Knaster, a junior in the program visiting Israel this semester, shares Shankman's and Goodman's enthusiasm about Jewish Studies. "When I was looking to attend CU, I saw that it did not offer a Jewish Studies major or minor," he said. "As an observant Jew, I was disappointed, because I want to learn more about my people and religion. Then I heard about the certificate program in the Hebrew class I was taking—it was exactly what I was looking for. I signed up after the first meeting."

Jewish Studies currently has 15 students enrolled, "which is quite good for a program in its first year," according to Shankman. To obtain the certificate, students must satisfy the requirements for a bachelor's degree in a recognized major at the University of Colorado. They must also complete 24 hours of courses within the Arts and Sciences curriculum that are approved for the program, with at least five of these courses (15 hours) selected from the upper division. An introductory and a capstone course are mandatory as well, with other courses selected from over 30 offered in anthropology, English, history, philosophy, religious studies, sociology, and the writing program, among other disciplines.

How can CU best grow the new Jewish Studies program? "We talked to faculty members in similar studies at state institutions around the country," answered Shankman, "and everyone recommended that we get a director." Jewish Studies is an interdisciplinary program and the director would be rostered in a traditional department. Community members, as well as faculty and students, have been supportive. Goodman and Shankman agreed that President Hank Brown encouraged the establishment of Jewish Studies at CU. Goodman said, "The committee was wonderful. Of course, we really pushed it, too." When do the two faculty members expect to have their new director on board? "Within the year—we are recruiting right now," said Shankman. "Zilla is our great recruiting tool—she teaches Jewish Culture and really gets to know the students."

For more information on the Jewish Studies certificate program, visit the website.

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