NU increases course offerings, bringing Israeli teaching fellows

Michelle Ma

Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences will recruit up to two post-doctoral fellows each year to teach undergraduate courses on the modern Middle East.

Tel Aviv University will partner with NU to identify the most qualified applicants from universities in Israel. NU will make the final decisions to bring fellows to teach courses at NU. The first fellow could arrive as early as Fall Quarter, Weinberg Dean Daniel Linzer said.

“This is an academic initiative,” Linzer said. “This is adding talented people and adding courses in areas that are rigorous and exciting.”

The fellowship program would create more undergraduate courses in different departments with a focus on the modern Middle East. Depending on each fellow’s area of study, class offerings could range from economics to the social sciences.

Two fellows — who would each instruct one class every quarter — will teach courses that will add to NU’s existing curriculum, Linzer said.

It is difficult for tenured professors who specialize in one area to shift focuses and teach in new fields, he said. Post-doctoral fellows will bring new perspectives to developing academic fields at NU.

“Fields are now developing in part because of these post-doctoral fellows,” Linzer said. “With this new initiative we think we’re playing a part in helping grow the pool of talented people who work on the modern Middle East.”

The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago helped to form the partnership between NU and Tel Aviv University. The federation is working to promote Israeli studies at area universities, said Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. The NU and Tel Aviv connection is the first the federation has helped established, Kotzin said.

“We determined this was something desirable and important to do,” he said.

The program will begin with one post-doctoral fellow. One year into the program, a second fellow will be added. Each fellow will work at NU for two-year terms.

— Michelle Ma