H
EBREW
U
NION
C
OLLEGE
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J
EWISH
I
NSTITUTE OF
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ELIGION
2000-2001
Annual Report
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Page 10
harged with creating a new core curriculum for the Rabbinical
Program that would integrate the acquisition of Judaica knowledge
and professional skills with religious growth, an international
committee of faculty, administrators, and expert consultants met
throughout 2000-2001 to develop the framework for the first three
years of study toward the M.A. degree. The impetus for curricular
change resulted from College-wide strategic planning completed in
1998,
which recommended a variety of strategies for strengthening
teaching, learning, and collaboration among faculty.
Initial support from The Nathan Cummings Foundation enabled planners
to shape a new curriculum focusing not only on what information
students learn, but how they may apply their knowledge and skills to
articulate a clear vision for Jewish life — for themselves, their
congregants, and their communities. To help students to achieve the
curriculum’s clear benchmarks for learning, HUC-JIR will offer a variety of
new educational experiences, such as intensive seminars, community
dialogues, and an intensified mentoring program. New methods of
assessing students’ progress in relation to curricular goals, including the
creation of portfolios, have also been developed.
Faculty at each site are now designing local plans for implementing
the new Rabbinical Program curriculum, which will be launched in
2002-2003
for students completing the required first year in Israel
at the Jerusalem School. Hebrew language will be emphasized
throughout the curriculum, with the main focus on reading and
interpretive skills. The College-Institute is also creating preparatory
courses for applicants who need to improve their Judaica knowledge
and Hebrew language skills prior to matriculation.
To help prepare faculty for the new curriculum, especially newly-
appointed professors, the College-Institute sponsored a three-
day colloquium that explored participants’ assumptions about
teaching and learning, personal reflections on teaching
practices, and assessment as a vehicle for student growth. The
colloquium was made possible by a grant from the Wabash
Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. The
College-Institute’s faculty will continue the dialogue and self-
reflection on teaching as well as the curriculum planning at an
all-faculty retreat in June 2002.
New Rabbinical
Core Curriculum
Strengthens Teaching,
Learning, and
Congregational Impact
Year-in-Israel students Stephanie DePorte, Rick Kellner, Janet
Roberts, and Charlie Cytron-Walker meeting with recent Ethiopian
immigrants employed at the Lod Absorption Center embroidery and
pottery workshops.
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