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GW Receives $1.47 Million Grant to Fund New Joint Program in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts

Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences to Collaborate on First-Ever Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts Program

October 01, 2013

202-994-5631; [email protected]
Angela Olson
202-994-3087; [email protected]

WASHINGTON—The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences received a $1.47 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation to fund a new program combining experiential education and Jewish cultural arts. The program, the only one of its kind in the country, offers an interdisciplinary curriculum of coursework from GSEHD’s Museum Education Program and the Columbian College’s Judaic Studies Program to provide a master of arts in experiential education and Jewish cultural arts.

“This exciting initiative brings together what is arguably the foremost museum education program in the nation and the first-ever degree program in Jewish cultural arts,” said Michael J. Feuer, dean of GSEHD and professor of education. “With this new program, we can be a key agent of change in the Jewish cultural community and prepare a new generation of interdisciplinary scholar-practitioners; more broadly, by bridging research to practice we will be advancing one of GSEHD’s visionary goals.”

The program will begin in summer 2014 and will be built on the platform of experiential education in which educators engage with students to not only provide  knowledge but first-hand experiences outside of a traditional academic setting. The initiative will offer a series of intensive summer institutes and community collaborations designed to take advantage of GW’s location in the nation’s capital, with its vast array of institutional and human resources.

“We are delighted to work with GSEHD on this important initiative,” said Tara Wallace, Columbian College’s associate dean for graduate studies. “At Columbian College, we are committed to the philosophy that professional training and intellectual scholarship are inextricably linked, and this program represents an innovative approach to advancing that mission.”

Jenna Weissman Joselit, Charles E. Smith Professor of Jewish Studies and director of the Columbian College’s Judaic Studies Program, led the development of the program with Feuer. Dr. Joselit said that through interdisciplinary collaboration with GSEHD, the Judaic Studies Program is uniquely positioned to ensure the ongoing vitality of the Jewish cultural arts. Dr. Joselit will serve as co-director of the program with Dr. Carol Stapp, professor of museum education at GSEHD.

“One of the foundation’s strategic priorities is to increase the number of Jewish educators and to develop educators with a skill set to provide compelling learning experiences beyond the classroom,” said Al Levitt, president of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Jewish cultural arts in particular appeal to young Jewish adults, who often want to experience Judaism in unique ways that touch their personal Jewish identity. The joint program from GSEHD and the Columbian College is an incredibly forward-looking initiative that will help create innovative and dynamic educators, ready to engage Jewish youth and young adults in this important space.”

About the Graduate School of Education and Human Development 
The Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University is a community of learners who strive to bring the best scholarship to bear on the improvement of policy and practice at all levels of education and to prepare leaders for a rapidly changing world. Located at the hub of local, national and global forces that are shaping the 21st century, the school plays a special role in the complex intersection of research, policy and practice, and is committed to equity, social justice, innovation and the civic good.

About the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
Established in 1821 in the heart of the nation’s capital, the George Washington University Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is the largest of GW’s academic units. It encompasses the School of Media and Public Affairs, the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and more than 40 departments and programs for undergraduate, graduate and professional studies. The Columbian College provides the foundation for GW’s commitment to the liberal arts and a broad education for all students. An internationally recognized faculty and active partnerships with prestigious research institutions place Columbian College at the forefront in advancing policy, enhancing culture and transforming lives through research and discovery.

About the Jim Joseph Foundation
By investing in promising Jewish education grant initiatives, the Jim Joseph Foundation seeks to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States. Established in 2006, the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded $270 million in grants to engage, educate, and inspire young Jewish minds to discover the joy of living vibrant Jewish lives.