As of the stroke of midnight on December 31, 2012, I stepped down as Chair of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and became Associate Director of CGIS for Jewish Studies. In actuality, however, I had already started work on the Program in late November, conducting a series of interviews and meetings, calling together the first faculty meeting, finding out if JS students could study abroad in Israel (yes!, starting in the Spring 2014), planning strategies for improving the JS minor, and hiring a new Program Assistant (Brandi Miller - come meet her!). We also moved the JS offices from the tight closets of Wescoe 4024 to the more spacious suite of four offices just down the hall, in Wescoe 4028-4031.
We're now involved in revising the requirements for the minor and descriptions of the JS courses, plus applying for new "real" course numbers for those courses taught regularly but always under the rotating rubric of JWSH 300 Topics in ...
A great help are the new hires in Religious Studies (in the area of Judaism) and in Germanic Languages and Literatures (in literature of the Age of Enlightenment and the "Goethezeit"). With these new hires Jewish Studies will be able to increase its course offerings and broaden the scope of the Jewish Studies minor.
Our goals over the next three years are to make Jewish Studies more attractive
and useful to the KU student body, to increase the number of JS minors, to present opportunities for study abroad both in Israel and in other countries (e.g., the Czech Republic and the Ukraine), to hire more faculty and increase our course offerings, and to find funding for student scholarships. To do all this, we are working in close cooperation with Hillel in downtown Lawrence, with the Lawrence Jewish Community Center, and with the Kansas City Jewish Community Center.
While all of this may seem ambitious, much of it has already been accomplished. Come check us out, both on 4th floor Wescoe and on our (continuously) revised website:jewishstudies.ku.edu
- John Younger, Associate Director of CGIS for Jewish Studies