Honoring Our Founding Values

Seventy years ago, Brandeis was founded as a nonsectarian university by the American Jewish community to serve as an antidote to bigotry and anti-Semitism. And from its roots, Brandeis has been committed to the ideals of inclusion, truth and justice, and to providing service to the Jewish community. This task force was asked to identify the actions that should be taken and the priorities that should be adopted in the coming decades to honor and fulfil these founding values in contemporary society. It provided recommendations to the president in the spring of 2019.

One working group of the task force determined what steps Brandeis must take in order to increase its visibility as the university to which American Jews may reliably turn for guidance in addressing their most pressing questions and concerns. In addition to positing new initiatives, the group was charged to identify ways that Brandeis can leverage and coordinate its many existing centers, institutes, scholarship and academic programs devoted to Jewish history, culture, and people to achieve this goal. The group should also evaluate Brandeis’s pedagogical leadership in the study of modern Hebrew. The group determined how best to invigorate the university’s efforts to prepare preeminent Jewish leaders in all walks of life.

A second working group was charged to articulate how our founding values should guide our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. A goal of this task force was to determine how to ensure access to the full richness of the Brandeis experience to historically under-served student populations. The group evaluated what steps we must take so that our passion for justice and inclusion, together with excellence in our classrooms, will shape our students into responsible, engaged citizens with the skills, values and tenacity needed to repair the world.

Read the reports



Ronald D. Liebowitz
Ronald D. Liebowitz
781-736-3001 Irving Presidential Enclave 113

Vice Chairs

Jon Levisohn
Jon Levisohn
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Associate Professor of Jewish Educational Thought
781-736-2941 A. Shapiro Academic Complex 125
Chad Williams
Chad Williams
Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History
Associate Professor of African and African American Studies
781-736-3250 Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for the Humanities, 220


Mark Brimhall-Vargas
Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sylvia Fuks Fried
Executive Director of the Tauber Institute for the Study of European Jewry

Anita Hill
University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Mindy Schneider
Member of the Brandeis Board of Trustees

Leah Rosovsky, Consultant
Zachary Kasdin, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff

Working Groups