Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, Vice Provost for Educational Strategy, Director of the School of Education, and Associate Professor (blended track) at Hebrew Union College, has been selected as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Senior Fellows Program through the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.
The Mandel Center’s Senior Fellows Program invests in and nurtures senior scholars of Jewish education who have the unique and valuable vantage of directing programs, organizations, or institutions. The program invites scholars to share their rich and abundant insight and contribute their unique talents and expertise as director-scholars. Throughout the 10-month program, Dr. Stern and fellow inaugural cohort members will participate in immersive retreats that provide them with the collegial partnership, time, framework, and cross-constituency discourse to critically analyze the state of the field of Jewish education, its work, and its potential.
Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, stated, “Dr. Miriam Heller Stern has been selected as a prestigious Mandel Senior Fellow at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University for the many of the same reasons she recently was appointed as Vice Provost for Educational Strategy at HUC-JIR: because of her experience, expertise, and insight about education and the contemporary Jewish world. We look forward to seeing how the fellowship will help Dr. Stern to advance her scholarship and broaden her strategic thinking for the College-Institute and the field.”
In Dr. Stern’s role as Director of the School of Education, she leads the School’s team of program directors and faculty. Through her recent appointment as Vice Provost for Educational Strategy, she helps guide strategic visioning with an eye toward educational excellence and innovation in the College-Institute’s academic programs. She is passionate about empowering Jewish educational leaders and teachers to engage in their work intentionally, skillfully, and creatively. Her graduate courses include Charting the Future of Jewish Education, Teaching for Our Times, and Understanding Learners. She is the founder of Beit HaYotzer/the Creativity Braintrust, an initiative based at HUC designed to catalyze creative thinking and artistic expression through Jewish education and leadership, funded by the Covenant Foundation.
Dr. Stern’s current research and writing focuses on designing Jewish education as a tool for building a creative society. Her peer-reviewed article, “Jewish Creative Sensibilities: Framing a New Aspiration for Jewish Education,” received the “Best Article of the Year Award,” 2019 from the Journal of Jewish Education. She recently co-edited “Revelation is Just the Beginning,” a collection of insights on navigating complexity, with the artists of Beit HaYotzer/the Creativity Braintrust. She has published widely in various academic and professional journals and popular media outlets and is a frequent presenter at academic and professional conferences, on webinars and podcasts. She is called upon as a strategic thinker on national task forces across the sectors of Jewish education, including Prizmah-the Center for Jewish Day Schools, the Jewish Education Project, and early childhood initiatives. A coach, mentor and advisor, she is committed to championing and elevating the work of Jewish educational leaders, institutions and initiatives across the US and Israel.
Dr. Stern writes, “I am honored to join this cohort of distinguished colleagues and thought partners to advance our individual and collective work on pressing issues in Jewish education. I am grateful to the Mandel Center for creating what promises to be a generative space with incredible potential.”
Dr. Stern is joined in the inaugural Senior Fellows Program by Rabbi Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, MAJE ’00 ’02, former Sara S. Lee Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at HUC and currently Director of Curriculum and Research at the Wexner Foundation; Dr. Shira Epstein, Dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary; and Dr. David Bryfman, Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Education Project.