Harvey Teres named SU’s Judaic Studies director
Harvey Teres named SU’s Judaic Studies directorJune 01, 2009Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
Harvey Teres, associate professor of English at Syracuse University, has been named director of The College of Arts and Sciences‘ Judaic Studies Program, effective July 1. The appointment was announced this week by Arts and Sciences Dean George M. Langford. Teres is an expert in Jewish-American literature and literary anthropology, as well as 20th-century American literature and culture.
Teres succeeds Ken Frieden, who has directed the Judaic Studies Program since 1995 and holds the B.G. Rudolph Chair in Judaic Studies. Frieden will remain a full professor of religion, English and languages, literatures, and linguistics.
“It is a great honor to lead the Judaic Studies Program,” says Teres. “I will build on the foundation laid by my friend and predecessor, Ken Frieden, and will seek opportunities that bring distinction to the program and to the college.”
As director, Teres will oversee the program’s course offerings and budget; organize public events, including the B.G. Rudolph Lecture; and enhance the presence of Jewish history, culture and religion on campus. His ultimate goal is to raise the program’s scholarly and intellectual profile. “I want to include more core-faculty courses that, in turn, attract more students,” he says. “I also want to engage donors from across the country, so we have resources to become a distinctive program with a national reputation.”
Teres admits that such repositioning, while potentially long and arduous, begins with building bridges with students, with Hillel at SU and with the surrounding Jewish community. “Expanding Judaic studies will be a challenge, given the current economic climate,” he says. “I want to go forward with as much support and solidarity that we can muster.”
Teres is no stranger to university-community partnerships. In his more than two decades of university service-seven years at Princeton University, 16 at SU-he has served on more than 30 major committees. Most recently, Teres was a member of the University Senate’s Academic Affairs Committee, through which he helped usher in the new University tenure policy, encouraging publicly engaged scholarship. Teres has chaired the college’s Humanities Council and the Imagining America National Conference Organizing Committee, as well as served on SU’s Faculty Senate and the college’s dean’s search committee.
“To be right for a Jewish person, a job must be stressful, necessitate argumentative meetings, have ironclad deadlines that are never met, and involve tiers of people who contradict each other’s instructions,” jokes Teres, invoking the words of fellow Jewish author Molly Katz. “But seriously, I look forward to my new responsibilities.”
A recent Fulbright Scholar, Teres is the author of “Renewing the Left: Politics, Imagination, and the New York Intellectuals” (Oxford University Press, 1996) and of two forthcoming books, “The Word on the Street: Linking the Academy and the Common Reader” (University of Michigan Press) and “American Beauty: Dialogues on Aesthetics With Americans” (in process). Teres has published numerous essays and articles, as well as delivered dozens of scholarly papers, lectures and media presentations around the world, including one on the Holocaust and Jewish-American fiction in Krakow, Poland, in 2001. A longtime resident of Central New York, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Cornell University and master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago.
“I am thrilled that Harvey Teres has agreed to lead the Judaic Studies Program,” says Langford. “He is a highly regarded scholar, teacher and administrator whose professionalism embodies our vision of scholarly excellence.”
The Judaic Studies Program at SU exposes students to Jewish and Israeli history, culture and traditions. In addition to a minor degree, the program offers a variety of courses leading to further education or to careers in social work, education and communal service. More information is available at http://thecollege.syr.edu.