A Message from the Alumni Association: Michael Graves '06, Ph.D.

A Message from the Alumni Association
Michael Graves ’06, Ph.D.
Chair, Pines School of Graduate Studies Alumni Association

Michael Graves '06, Ph.D.The Alumni Associaion of the Pines School of Graduate Studies sends its greetings to alumni and friends of HUC-JIR. We hope that each of you is meeting with success in your various endeavors–teaching, learning, writing, listening, leading, and serving in your spheres of influence. Most of us are still navigating challenges related to COVID in our work and personal lives. Major events in the news cause serious concern and sadness. We hope for blessing, health, and peace for all.

I want to offer my personal thanks to Chelsea Simon, who has served for more than two years as Alumni Program Manager at HUC-JIR. Although she remains connected to the College-Institute and will continue to be involved in graduate school life, she has stepped away from her position as Program Manager in order to accept a position at New York University. It has been my pleasure to work with Chelsea, and we wish her all the best in her new role.
The discussions taking place as part of the HUC-JIR strategic planning process have important implications for the PSGS. This planning process has attempted to address new economic realities, the changing state of higher education, and the needs of HUC’s constituency in the twenty-first century. Central to this process have been the strategic goals of educational excellence, strong student support, growing impact, fiscal sustainability, and cultivating a sacred and respectful culture.

As discussed at the HUC-JIR town hall meetings on March 14 and 16, a proposal has been made to the Board of Governors to restructure the Rabbinical School such that residential programs will exist only in New York and Los Angeles. The proposal does not address the future of the Pines School of Graduate Studies. If this proposal were adopted, and if the PSGS were to remain in Cincinnati, graduate students would no longer study on the same campus with full cohorts of rabbinical students. For many of us in the Graduate School who remember with fondness and gratitude our experience studying alongside rabbinical students, such an outcome would bring about sadness on behalf of future PSGS students who would not have this same experience. Members of the PSGS Alumni Association have expressed to HUC-JIR leadership the many benefits of having graduate and rabbinical students together in Cincinnati, in terms of both education and community building. I appreciate that HUC-JIR leadership has actively invited feedback. Many PSGS alumni have offered their strong support for the Graduate School and for the Rabbinical program in Cincinnati.

As for current and future PSGS Alumni Association activities:

We are still compiling a bibliography of Pines School of Graduate Studies alumni publications. A link to the publications we have received so far can be found here. For those PSGS alumni who have not yet submitted a bibliography of their published works, or who wish to update their bibliography from last year, feel free to send your bibliography to Dr. Hélène Dallaire at helenedallaire@denverseminary.edu.

The PSGS Alumni Association is looking to expand its leadership team, plan gatherings (perhaps remotely) beyond the fall gathering in conjunction with AAR-SBL, and invest in mentoring current and incoming graduate students. I would love to hear from alumni who are interested in one or more of these opportunities. If you are interested, please contact me at michael.graves@wheaton.edu. The Alumni Assocation exists to connect you with each other and with the College-Institute, and from there to expand our connections even further. Please let me know if you are interested and available to be part of this.