Director, Schusterman Center

Center Overview

The mission of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies is to advance the study of Israel in all its rich complexity for a wide variety of audiences, and to build a corps of knowledgeable scholars and educators who will contribute to and substantially enrich public discourse.  The Center grew out of the Summer Institute for Israel Studies, a 10-year old immersion program for faculty from other universities.  The current Center was established in 2008 with founding grants from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Jacobson Family Foundation, and the Morningstar Foundation.  It occupies the top floor of the new Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis, with a fabulous view of the entire Brandeis campus.

The Center fosters the study of modern Israel at Brandeis, enhancing and fostering academic collaboration across the University and throughout the world.  The founding vision for the Center includes a wide range of activities in pursuit of this mission, including bringing visiting faculty and other scholars to Brandeis, supporting students in multiple Brandeis PhD programs, organizing seminars, conferences and other public activities, publishing scholarly work, and training faculty from other institutions to prepare them to teach Israel Studies at their own institutions.  To date, the Center has implemented this mandate through:

  • Graduate Students, Visiting Faculty and Scholars supported by the Center, currently from Canada, China, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, and the U.S., in collaboration with the Departments of Anthropology, History, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Politics, and Sociology. Within the overall program, the Schusterman Scholars Seminar provides a biweekly forum for multidisciplinary discussion and debate.
  • Visiting Artist and Authors Program regularly brings leading Israeli artists and authors to Brandeis for student workshops, lectures, and public events.
  • Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS) has hosted 184 professors from 160 universities worldwide for a three-week immersion program at Brandeis and in Israel. Following attendance at the Summer Institute, the SIIS Fellows have designed and taught 388 Israel studies courses that have reached thousands of students around the globe.
  • Israel Education Institute (IEI), to be launched in 2013, is devoted to educational outreach beyond the university. In partnership with a number of other community and educational organizations, the IEI will develop curricula and teaching programs on Israel for public schools, as well as for Jewish schools and other organizations.
  • Publications:  The Schusterman Series in Israel Studies publishes a wide range of books on Israeli history, social life, art, and culture, as well as a leading journal, Israel Studies.

Job Description of the Center Director

The Director, reporting to the Provost, has primary oversight responsibility for the strategic direction, programming, fundraising, and budget of the Center.  S/he supervises the Center staff, including the Associate Director, the Assistant Director, the Director of Publications, and others.  The Director is the primary university liaison with the Schusterman Foundation, ensuring that the shared vision, goals and metrics for the Center are achieved and that the Foundation stays apprised of and engaged with Center activities.  The Director is also a member of the Brandeis faculty, engaged in teaching and scholarly research appropriate to her/his interests, and consistent with the administrative time commitment of the position.

Specific responsibilities of the Director are to:

  • Identify academic priorities for teaching and research and develop means to implement the goals of the Center within the context of the University’s vision and strategic plan;
  • Recruit faculty and visiting scholars;
  • Solicit grants and gifts on an annual basis to supplement existing funds, and to support specific Center initiatives;
  • Initiate and support courses relevant to the Center’s mission;
  • Coordinate with other university departments, programs and research centers to further the Center's goals and integrate the Center within the academic fabric of the University;
  • Oversee graduate student recruitment and selection in coordination with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and relevant departments;
  • Initiate and oversee Center activities such as conferences and other public events, identify and invite speakers, and solicit and evaluate publications;
  • Chair the Schusterman Fellows Seminar and oversee its program;
  • Mentor Center-sponsored graduate students;
  • Direct the Israel Summer Institute academic program and recruitment strategy;
  • Construct the annual Center budget, and interface with the University Budget Office;
  • Represent the Center in its interactions with the rest of the university and the broader public;
  • Communicate with the external Advisory Council and the internal Advisory Committee regarding the overall goals and programming direction of the Center;
  • Oversee the writing of grant proposals, annual center reports, and donor reports.

The successful candidate for this position will have:

  • An outstanding record of scholarly achievement and teaching in Israeli history, government, society, or culture;
  • Appropriate administrative experience demonstrating the ability to manage successfully a large, complex, interdisciplinary center;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, and the ability to work creatively with people from many different disciplines, and from academia, government, the non-for-profit sector and the public; and
  • The ability and inclination to work with Center faculty and staff to raise additional funds, through grants and philanthropy, to advance the goals and mission of the Center.

About Brandeis University

Founded in 1948 to embody the highest ethical and cultural values, Brandeis is the only nonsectarian university in the nation founded by members of the American Jewish community.  Located on a 235-acre campus just outside Boston, the University has approximately 500 faculty, 3500 undergraduate students and 2000 graduate students.  It is the youngest member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an invitation-only organization of 60 elite research universities in the U.S. and Canada.  Named for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, Brandeis University celebrates a commitment to academic excellence and social justice, and strives to reflect the heterogeneity of the United States and of the world community.


April 2014