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Job Description: Dean, Cincinnati Campus

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THE OPPORTUNITY                                             

Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of Dean of its Cincinnati Campus.  The Cincinnati Dean will work in conjunction with HUC-JIR President Rabbi Aaron Panken, Ph.D. to fulfill the powerful mission of the College-Institute: to serve as the vibrant center for the education, religious formation, and professional training of Reform Jewish leaders and a vital resource to the Reform Movement and the larger Jewish and religious communities worldwide. 



Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation’s premier institution of higher Jewish education.  HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and communal service professionals, and offers graduate and postgraduate degree programs to scholars of all faiths.  HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise renowned library, archive, and museum collections, biblical archaeology excavations, and academic publications.  HUC-JIR invites the community to an array of cultural and educational programs that illuminate Jewish identity, history, and contemporary creativity, and foster interfaith and multiethnic understanding.

When Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, the founder of American Reform Judaism, came to America in 1846, he encountered a frontier Jewry of 40,000 people.  There was but one ordained officiating rabbi in all of America. Wise understood the urgent need for rabbinical training and standards for those who would provide progressive, enlightened, and modern spiritual leadership for the American pulpit.

At a time when Christian denominational colleges were springing up by the score, Wise was certain that an institution of higher Jewish learning would guarantee Jewish survival in America.  In 1873, with an American Jewish population exceeding 150,000, Wise was the catalyst for the creation of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, with its 28 congregational founding members, in order to support the establishment of a “Hebrew Theological Institute.”  In 1875, the Hebrew Union College was launched in Cincinnati, the first permanent Jewish institution of higher learning in the new world.

The liberal and pluralistic ethos of Wise’s seminary was amplified through its merger in 1950 with the Jewish Institute of Religion.  Founded in 1922 in New York by Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the renowned advocate of social justice and human rights, the Jewish Institute of Religion was conceived as an institution serving all streams of Judaism. A third center was opened in Los Angeles in 1954 to serve the growing Jewish community on the West Coast. The fourth branch was established in Jerusalem in 1963 to serve as a post-doctoral school for archaeological and biblical studies.  Since 1970, it has grown to serve as the center for the College-Institute’s Year-in-Israel Program and the Israel Rabbinical Program, and as the academic center for the Progressive Movement in Israel.

Today, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is an international seminary and university of graduate studies offering a wide variety of academic and professional programs.  In addition to its Rabbinical School, the College-Institute includes Schools of Graduate Studies, Education, Jewish Nonprofit Management, Sacred Music, and Biblical Archaeology.

Mission Statement

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) is North America’s premier institution of Jewish higher education and the center for professional leadership development of Reform Judaism. A multi-campus academic and spiritual learning community, HUC-JIR builds vibrant progressive Judaism in North America, Israel, and around the globe by:

  • Studying the great issues of Jewish life, history, and thought with an open, egalitarian, inclusive, and pluralistic spirit;
  • Educating innovative, visionary clergy and professionals who embody the sustaining values, responsibilities, practices, and texts of Jewish tradition to inspire future generations; and
  • Advancing the critical study of Judaism and Jewish culture in accordance with the highest standards of modern academic scholarship.

Shared Values

HUC-JIR is a Jewish religious community built on God, Torah, avodah, mitzvot, and tikkun ha-olam. The community:

  • Integrates Jewish tradition, academic knowledge, and professional competence in all of their endeavors;
  • Fosters high standards of scholarship, teaching, and learning in an environment of free inquiry, open-mindedness, and religious integrity;
  • Nurtures the concern for equality and inclusiveness that have long been hallmarks of Reform Judaism; and
  • Instills in their students exceptional leadership skills and spiritual growth, enabling them to become catalysts of transformation in the creation of vibrant Jewish communities.

More information about HUC-JIR may be found at its website:

Related websites of possible interest include:



While each of HUC-JIR’s four Campuses has a distinctive array of programs and facilities, there are significant common features among the programs.  All students must learn Hebrew and many have achieved high levels of proficiency before they enroll.  The Provost has led the effort to create a unified curriculum for the Rabbinical Studies Programs on all the Campuses; the new curriculum is in the final stages of design and beginning implementation, and is expected to lead, over a period of time, to a reshaped core curriculum in the other professional programs.

Students in the rabbinical, cantorial, and education programs must spend the first year of study at the Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, returning for the remainder of their programs to one of the U.S. Campuses.  HUC-JIR is unique among North American seminaries in this requirement, which provides an opportunity for students to study Hebrew and a wide array of subjects linked to their future vocations as klei kodesh (holy vessels) for the Jewish people as they foster lifelong relationships with the State of Israel that reflect the commitment of the institution to the State of Israel. 

The Cincinnati Campus (3101 Clifton Avenue) comprises eight buildings on a 13-acre Campus.  It is adjacent to the Campuses of the University of Cincinnati, and there are some joint programs with that institution and with nearby Xavier University.

The New York Campus (One West Fourth Street) is housed in a five-story building adjacent to the Campus of New York University in Greenwich Village.  There is some joint programming with New York University.

The Jack H. Skirball Campus in Los Angeles (3077 University Avenue) is housed in a building adjacent to the Campus of the University of Southern California; there are many joint programs between HUC-JIR and USC, and HUC-JIR serves as USC’s Department of Judaic Studies through the Jerome H. Louchheim School of Judaic Studies.  This relationship provides a substantial flow of students—more than 600 students enroll in the Louchheim School courses each year—and tuition revenue to HUC-JIR, as students enrolled at USC often cross-register for HUC-JIR’s programs.

  • School of Rabbinical Studies:  The Jack H. Skirball Campus for many years did not provide the final two years of study for the rabbinate, sending students to Cincinnati or New York for ordination.  In 2001, the Campus was authorized to provide the full program of study leading to ordination.  The first Ordination class was 2002. 
  • Rhea Hirsch School of Jewish Education:  Programs leading to the Master of Arts degree in Jewish Education, with many students matriculating for dual degrees in Jewish Nonprofit Management and/or rabbinical ordination.
  • Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management: Most of the students in these programs take dual degrees with USC in the Schools of Social Work, Public Administration, Communications Management, and Fine Arts Management, and Business Administration.
  • The Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies offers the Doctor of Hebrew Letters, Doctor of Hebrew Studies, and Master of Arts in Judaic Studies.
  • Resources available to the community include Torah study, conferences, Shabbat services, and lectures.

The Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem (13 King David Street) is the newest of HUC-JIR’s locations, built in 1963.  It is a striking modern Campus that serves as the location for the Year-In-Israel program for U.S. students, the Israel Rabbinic Program, and as the focal point for Reform Judaism in Israel.

HUC-JIR is accredited by the Middle State Association (MSA).



Because HUC-JIR has four Campuses, each Campus has a distinctive culture that reflects its location, history, particular group of people who work there, and student body.  

Governance of the institution as a whole is the responsibility of the Board of Governors.  The Board has 56 members, including 11 alumni representatives, 1 faculty representative, the President, and the remainder who are selected by the Nominating Committee and recommended for approval by the other members of the Board. 

In addition to the Board of Governors for the institution as a whole, each of the four Campuses has a Board of Overseers that plays an advisory and supportive role for its particular Campus.  The Central Region Board of Overseers (see complete list of members) is chaired by Joan Pines, who is also on the Board of Governors.  The national administration, led by President Panken, includes (as of 7/1/2018):

  • Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., Provost
  • Elizabeth Squadron, Vice President for Business and Program Development
  • Lissie Diringer, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Barbara Telek, Vice President for Finance
  • Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, Vice President for Special Projects

The Deans of all the Campuses report to the Provost.  In Cincinnati, the school directors and chief program staff report to the Dean.  


HUC-JIR has generally run a balanced budget and succeeded in fundraising thanks to the efforts of alumni/ae, Board supporters, and generous donors. In 2016-17, the College-Institute had an overall budget of approximately $42 million.  The budget for the direct programs and operations of the Cincinnati Campus is $6 million. 

The sources and uses of the College-Institute’s budget are depicted below:



Successful fund raising is essential to the success of HUC-JIR as a whole, and of each Campus.  Rabbi Panken has provided vigorous leadership and personal commitment to attracting additional resources.  A capital campaign was completed in 2008 with an achieved goal of $135 million: $40-45 million for the annual operating budget, $65-70 million to double the endowment, and $25 million for Campus and infrastructure enhancements.  The College-Institute plans to develop a new capital campaign that will begin its quiet phase next academic year. Campaign goals will follow the strategic plan, and will likely include: supporting the recruitment of students of great academic promise in greater numbers; recruiting, supporting, and retaining renowned scholars to the faculty; developing innovative programs and curricula; supporting the libraries, museums, and archives; enhancing the academic program through new technology; and maintaining and improving the physical plant and infrastructure. 

The College-Institute’s Endowment now stands at $225 million as of 12/31/17. It also receives a regular percentage of Reform congregational dues that provides approximately $8.3 million per annum.



Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion has embarked on a Strategic Planning Process in order to:

  • Create and establish a plan for the future of the College-Institute.
  • Focus priorities for the College-Institute's programs and resources to enhance the impact of the College-Institute.
  • Clarify fund raising priorities as we plan our next campaign.

The general parameters of the planning process are:

  • The strategic plan will be supported by a financial plan that will ensure a balanced and sustainable budget.
  • All aspects of the College-Institute will be included in the strategic planning process.
  • The planning process will include consideration of new initiatives and programs or technology, taking advantage of technological advances while acknowledging regional differences and strengths.

As a member of the President’s Cabinet the Dean of the Cincinnati Campus will be responsible for:

  • Reviewing strategic plan documents and findings.
  • Actively participating in determining the goals and/or themes that frame the plan.
  • Contributing to online and in person discussions to form strategies that promote the goals of the plan.
  • Along with national staff, leading conversations about the plan with Cincinnati staff, faculty and students and possibly others.
  • Implementing strategies articulated in the plan, as appropriate.



The new Dean of the Cincinnati Campus will address the following leadership opportunities:

  • Building community recognition and support for the Cincinnati Campus:  The Cincinnati Campus of HUC-JIR plays an important role in the Jewish community of greater Cincinnati and throughout the Midwest and the South, and the new Dean will be the face of HUC-JIR in this region, striving to expand its visibility and prominence.  Working with the Overseers, who function as a support and advisory group and as the primary liaison to the community, the Dean will seek out opportunities to attract students and resources to the Cincinnati Campus.  The Vice President for Institutional Advancement and the development staff for the Central Region on the Campus are also key participants in this process. 
  • Enhancing Campus governance and planning:  The Cincinnati Campus strives for inclusive and non-hierarchical leadership, and takes particular pride in having created an environment in which community can flourish in ways that reflect history yet move toward an innovative future.  While the Dean may want to review the organization and operation of the Campus, he or she will want to foster the fundamental inclusivity of the Campus’s culture.
  • Participation in strategic planning:  The HUC-JIR strategic planning process now underway has focused the attention of all the Campuses on the need to use resources wisely in support of carefully selected strategic priorities.  The Dean represents the Cincinnati Campus in this process, and it is his or her responsibility both to advocate for the needs of the Campus and to be part of the institution-wide leadership team, working closely with the Deans of the other Campuses to support the fulfillment of HUC-JIR’s highest aspirations. 
  • Maintaining and enhancing relations with University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and University of Dayton:  These local universities have been outstanding partner institutions for the Cincinnati Campus of HUC-JIR.  All are in the process of significant growth in stature and strength.  The relationship between the institutions has brought many benefits to all participants, and it will only grow richer in years to come. Students from each institution cross-register at the other, scholarly collaboration is encouraged, and faculty from each institution participate in various deliberations at the other institution.   Although the President of HUC-JIR works directly with the presidents of these institutions, it is the Dean of the Campus who nurtures the relationship and serves as the primary liaison on a daily basis.  The new Dean will want to sustain the strong bonds built by the outgoing Dean.



The Dean of the Cincinnati Campus serves as its chief academic and operating officer.  The position carries the following responsibilities:  

National Leadership Role for HUC-JIR

  • Exhibit a breadth of vision that includes HUC-JIR as a whole as well as the Cincinnati Campus;
  • Participate actively with the other Campus Deans and the Provost as part of the President’s leadership team for HUC-JIR;
  • Collaborate with other HUC-JIR leaders on matters of strategic planning, fiscal priorities, and institutional advancement.

Leadership for Faculty and the Academic Program 

  • Articulate the vision for the Campus, reflecting the mission of the College-Institute and fostering academic excellence;
  • Serve actively in Strategic Planning and work collaboratively to guide the College-Institute as a whole;
  • Oversee the procedures governing the selection, appointment, assessment, development and advancement of faculty, and participate in these processes in order to continue building an outstanding faculty;
  • Foster the vigor of faculty research, scholarship and other activities;
  • Lead curriculum and program planning, in coordination with the provost and the other Campuses;
  • Communicate and consult with the Provost to evaluate and review academic progress in conjunction with the President, Provost, Board and Committee on Academic and Faculty Affairs;
  • Participate on the Academic Advisory Council;
  • Assist with accreditation, and implement the recommendations of accreditation bodies and of the strategic planning process;
  • Supervise the directors of all schools and programs on the Cincinnati Campus.

Development of Relationships and Fundraising

  • Cultivate and foster strong relationships with the Central Region Board of Overseers and donors;
  • Cultivate relationships and partnerships throughout the community that have the potential to enhance fundraising, including new donors to the college and Cincinnati Campus;
  • Maintain regular communication with and identify key alumni donors and their contacts;
  • Regularly communicate and consult with the vice president for development to review and initiate strategies to identify, recruit and retain donors;
  • Ensure that fundraising initiatives are in accordance with National Development Guidelines;
  • Work closely with the regional director of development and development staff on all activities in the Central region.

External Relations

  • Strengthen and extend the relationship between HUC-JIR and partner universities;
  • Serve as the College-Institute’s representative and ambassador to the greater-Cincinnati community and as its liaison with academic, civic and business organizations.

Leadership and Management of the Campus 

  • Oversee the hiring, retention, and management of non-academic staff;
  • Plan, manage, and monitor all Campus resources, including the budget and physical plant;
  • Maintain and enforce personnel policies (in collaboration with our Human Resources staff) with regard to hiring, compensation, professional development, discipline, and termination;
  • Manage, communicate, and enforce the College-Institute’s policies and procedures;
  • Ensure strong, rigorous, and innovative student recruitment efforts as well as appropriate use of scholarships;
  • Oversee retention of outstanding students, maintaining appropriate assessment of students and counseling when appropriate;
  • Ascertain that disciplinary processes and appeals are appropriately addressed and managed
  • Communicate and consult regularly with the Chief Financial Officer to review and implement policies and procedures;
  • Participate in the Administrative Advisory Council with appropriate staff;
  • Ensure Campus security.


  • Serve as the chief spokesperson for the Cincinnati Campus, articulating the vision for the Campus and the mission of the College-Institute, collaborating with the President in these matters;
  • Communicate regularly with the national marketing and communications staff to review, assess, and discuss public communications before they are distributed;
  • Communicate and meet regularly with members of the Central Region Board of Overseers and inform them of Campus developments;
  • Communicate regularly with appropriate members of the partner universities’ faculty and administration, ensuring strong and enduring relationships;
  • Communicate and build relationships with local rabbis, educators, alumni, and lay leadership;
  • Oversee staff coordination for annual Board of Governors meetings.



The ideal candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:

Academic Accomplishments

  • A distinguished record of scholarship and teaching;
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence in scholarly activities with particular familiarity with Jewish studies; and
  • Ph.D. in a discipline related to Jewish studies and/or rabbinical ordination is required, although the Ph.D. is strongly preferred.

Leadership and Vision

  • Clear, creative, and strong educational vision for the Jewish community and for HUC-JIR, focused both on the Cincinnati Campus and on the institution as a whole;
  • Ability to engage others in the HUC-JIR vision and its implementation;
  • Responsiveness to the needs of faculty, staff and students;
  • Ability to promote collegial relationships and build consensus; and
  • Ability to serve as an effective and forceful advocate.


  • Successful experience in fund raising and working with donors and trustees; and
  • Eagerness to make a substantial commitment to continued fund raising activities.

Administrative Experience

  • Significant academic administrative experience, including familiarity with complex organizational structures.


  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, including demonstrated sensitivity to concerns and interests of faculty, staff, and students.

Campus Leadership

  • Responsiveness to the needs of faculty, staff, and students; and
  • Ability to maintain and promote collegial relationships and build consensus.

Board Relations

  • Adept and skillful at working effectively with Board members and donors.


  • Ability to serve as an effective and forceful advocate of HUC-JIR’s mission and role within the Reform Movement and beyond; and
  • Demonstrated commitment to living HUC-JIR’s values.


  • Knowledge of religious institutional dynamics; and 
  • Understanding of HUC-JIR’s unique structure as one university with four Campuses.

Willingness to travel

  • Willingness to travel extensively in the region as well as nationally and internationally. 

Personal qualities

  • Integrity;
  • Confidence;
  • Humor;
  • Leadership, vision, and ability to inspire others;
  • Team player; and
  • Ability to form strong collaborative relationships.



Submission of materials by email to using MSWord or PDF attachments is strongly encouraged.  Items that cannot be sent by email can be mailed to Dean Search Advisory Committee, c/o Nicole Vandestienne, at HUC-JIR, One West Fourth Street, New York, NY 10012. Candidates should provide a resume, a cover letter describing their interest in and qualifications for the position, and the names, titles, telephone numbers and email addresses of at least three references; candidates will be notified before references are contacted.  For full consideration, materials should be submitted by February 23, 2018. 

HUC-JIR is an Equal Opportunity Employer.