Jewish Education at The Davidson School

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Faculty Focus - Dr. Meredith Katz

Posted by Danny on April 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Today's Faculty Focus profiles Dr. Meredith Katz, who is the Jim Joseph Senior Scholar of Jewish Education at Davidson. 




 What do you find most exciting about the way in which Jewish Education has been evolving in recent years?


There are many exciting new paths, but one in which I am directly involved is in creating meaningful online learning experiences. So far I have adapted existing courses from “face to face” to online and next year I will offer an online course that I am designing myself. There is so much to think about in terms of the best way to reach people and build community online at all the different “ages and stages” of learning.


What is your greatest challenge as a professor of Jewish Education?


Jewish education means so many things to so many people. It is a challenge to differentiate each class and often each assignment to reflect goals and needs for professional development that each student brings to class, but it’s a challenge that a good constructivist embraces!


(For more on constructivism, see this article by Brooks and Brooks in the journal, "Educational Leadership," published by ASCD.)


What do you enjoy most about working with the JTS student population?

 

I am constantly amazed by the variety of experiences JTS students bring to their studies, and how much they continue to do outside of academic work as they progress toward their degrees. I have learned about so many interesting opportunities in Jewish education and Jewish communal service from my students, and am always looking for ways to incorporate their backgrounds into class discussions.


What is your current area of research?


All of my research so far has emerged from my practice as an educator. I explored curriculum development around Israel education when I worked in a day school, and am currently working on two studies related to my teaching at JTS. One looks at roles and strengths of Jewish educators in regions that are relatively isolated from Jewish resources. This project stems from my work with our online students. I am also working with some of my colleagues to explore how we help students make connections between the different aspects of their Davidson experiences, particularly between classes in pedagogy and classes in Jewish content.


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