The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education of The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), the largest academic Jewish-education program outside of Israel, is pleased to announce that it has received a grant from the AVI CHAI Foundation for the purpose of strategic and business planning that will enable it to strengthen its mission implementation and long-term financial position.
The Davidson School is at a pivotal point in its history as it approaches nearly 20 years as a leading institution in Jewish education. It has achieved a wide scope as a nondenominational school, and has attracted significant philanthropic resources to initiate and run innovative in-service programs across the field of Jewish education—for educators in day schools and congregational schools, as well as for educational leadership.
"We at AVI CHAI believe that a strong and sensible strategic business plan will assist Davidson in accomplishing its very important work now and long after AVI CHAI sunsets," says Yossi Prager of the AVI CHAI Foundation.
Barry Holtz, dean of The Davidson School, says, "It will challenge us to think creatively and boldly, not simply about how to replicate or scale the programs we have today, but also to articulate what vision and innovations we will offer that will keep our institution relevant, attract the best talent in the field, and be sustainable."
The new grant will enable The Davidson School to hire and work with consultants to produce a strategic business plan for increased institutional strength and sustainability. This plan will build on the success of previous Davidson School education projects geared toward professional development and curriculum design, and will provide the school's leaders with a strong framework for cultivating future project ideas from inception to fruition—thus helping The Davidson School to further meet the needs of Jewish educational communities. This framework will include parameters to ensure that projects are sustainable for both JTS and the communities it serves. The plan will also identify ways that JTS can foster improved internal collaboration, so that all JTS faculty, staff, and students can be more actively involved with Davidson School projects. This grant is one of several that AVI CHAI intends to give over time as part of its capacity-building strategy, prior to its 2020 spend-down.
A team of higher-education experts from Eduventures and ALC Consulting has been selected to develop the strategic plan during the first half of 2012. Led by Abigail Callahan of ALC Consulting, the two groups will work with Dr. Zachary Lasker, JTS's newly appointed director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education and Education Projects, to evaluate internal competencies, aggregate relevant market data, and design a viable implementation plan for The Davidson School. Both Boston-based consulting organizations bring significant content expertise and skill sets that will provide unique and critical value to The Davidson School's strategic-planning process, including the Eduventures team's specialized content knowledge in development and schools of education, among other areas.
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