Dr. Henry Abramson Appointed Dean Of LAS
Henry (Hillel) Abramson, Ph.D., has been appointed academic dean of the Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush (LAS). Dr. Abramson has served as dean of academic affairs and student services for Touro College South in Miami since 2006.
“Over the last eight years, Dr. Abramson has demonstrated his ability to improve the student experience while strengthening the academic quality at Touro College South,” said Dr. Alan Kadish, president and CEO of the Touro College and University System. “We look forward to seeing Dr. Abramson bring those same talents to LAS.”
In his new role, Dr. Abramson will be tasked with improving the overall educational product at LAS. Initially he will concentrate on academic issues, in particular faculty development and training, working closely with Dr. Robert Goldschmidt, executive dean of LAS and Touro’s vice president for planning and assessment.
“I welcome Dr. Abramson to our leadership team and look forward to his assistance in expanding our programs and introducing new honors options at our campus,” said Dean Goldschmidt. “LAS has transformed the lives of thousands of men and women over the past 38 years, enabling graduates to support Torah families with dignity. Together with Dr. Abramson, we look forward to extending our reach and continuing to serve the educational needs of the Jewish community.”
Dr. Abramson will remain at Touro College South through the 2014–15 academic year and assume the position of dean at LAS in July 2015. Besides tending to his responsibilities at Touro College South, he will use the year in between to learn more about LAS and ensure a smooth transition.
At Touro College South, Dr. Abramson served as the founding chief academic officer of the branch campus, supervising faculty and staff in six majors and several pre-professional disciplines. He designed, implemented, and supervised all aspects of student services on campus, instituted an innovative first-year information seminar for new students, and fostered growth among members of the faculty in research and teaching, placing a special emphasis on utilizing new teaching technologies. He will bring many of those experiences and innovations to LAS.
“The opportunity to work with Dean Goldschmidt is a rare honor and a privilege,” said Dr. Abramson. “With singular determination and focus, he has dedicated himself to developing the Lander College of Arts and Sciences, literally from the ground up, tirelessly working for the benefit of his students. I am proud to add my efforts to bring Touro College to even greater levels of achievement for Klal Yisrael.”
Dr. Abramson earned his Ph.D. in history from the University of Toronto in 1995, writing a dissertation on the Jews of Ukraine. Before joining Touro College as the dean of the Miami Beach campus, Dr. Abramson held post-doctoral and visiting appointments at Harvard, Cornell, Oxford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was a tenured associate professor of history and University Scholar of Judaica at Florida Atlantic University of Boca Raton.
He has published several books on Jewish history and thought, including A Prayer for the Government: Ukrainians and Jews in Revolutionary Times, 1917–1920 (Harvard, 1999); Reading the Talmud: Developing Independence in Gemara Learning (Feldheim, 2006); and the forthcoming The Kabbalah of Forgiveness: The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy in Rabbi Moshe Cordovero’s Date Palm of Devorah. Dr. Abramson has received many distinguished awards for his research and teaching, including fellowships from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he received the Excellence in the Academy Award from the National Education Association.
The only child of the last Jewish family in a small milling town in northern Ontario, Dr. Abramson has been married to Ilana Abramson for more than 25 years. They will be moving to New York with their six children: Raphaela, Danit Malka (both Touro graduates), Aliza, Alexander, Boaz, and Aryeh.
The Lander College in Flatbush, with separate schools for men and women, enrolls 2,500 students annually in fall, spring, and summer semesters. It offers a choice of 25 majors and pre-professional programs in disciplines including accounting (CPA program), finance, management, computer science and multimedia Web design, pre-medicine/pre-dentistry/pre-pharmacy, the allied health sciences (occupational and physical therapy, physician assistant, nursing), education, psychology, biology, political science/prelaw, mathematics/actuarial studies, and speech language pathology. ϖ
Representatives Visit Moscow Campus
Last month, Dr. Robert Goldschmidt, Touro’s vice president for planning and assessment, and Rabbi Dr. Simcha Fishbane, executive assistant to Touro President and CEO Dr. Alan Kadish, touched down in Moscow to visit the local Touro campuses, the Lander Institute of Jewish Studies and Moscow University Touro.
During the two-day visit to the Russian capital, they assessed the schools’ compliance with the accreditation standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and they met Rabbi Berel Lazar, the chief rabbi of Russia. The administrators’ primary focus was academic oversight, but they said the most gratifying aspect was hearing about Touro’s impact on the local Jewish community.
“Touro’s presence helps advance Jewish education in the former Soviet Union, which, in effect, fosters awareness of the Jewish heritage to many unaffiliated Jews,” Rabbi Lazar said during an official dinner meeting with the Touro representatives. The chief rabbi also expressed his strong support for the mission of Touro College, which he considers essential and central to Jewish continuity in the Russian Federation.
Dean Goldschmidt, who serves as Touro’s liaison to Middle States, and Dr. Fishbane, as liaison to the Moscow campuses, also made the trip to assist the leadership, faculty, staff, and students in Moscow. “Much of our effort was on reviewing and improving the standards required of Touro College, and offering guidance on reaching those goals,” said Dr. Fishbane.
Of all the meetings they attended, Dean Goldschmidt said that those held with the students were the most worthwhile. The students spoke of their professional aspirations, which included careers in Jewish education and Jewish communal service, as well as establishing their own businesses or working for foreign companies with branches in Moscow. By earning American degrees through Touro, they believe that they can present themselves as the best candidates. Dean Goldschmidt also appreciated that the students were enthusiastic about their programs of study and praised their educational experience.
Among the students who made a strong impression on the administrators was a woman whose home is a 27-hour train ride from the Lander Institute of Jewish Studies.
“I marveled at the fact that she was seeking out the education that we offer,” said Dean Goldschmidt. “To me it’s an indication that Touro is doing something of value in Russia. The contribution we are making is a very significant one to the continued survival and, hopefully, the blooming of the Jewish community.”
Touro has had a presence in Russia since the early 1990s.
“We were, I believe, the first and only American institution to give students in Moscow the opportunity to pursue and earn a U.S. accredited college degree,” said Dean Goldschmidt. “These credentials are crucial to empowering students in the local job market.” ϖ
Dr. Tipsuda Bahri Nominated For AMA Award
Dr. Tipsuda Junsanto-Bahri, chair of basic biomedical sciences at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in New York City, has been nominated to receive the Inspirational Physician Award presented by the Women Physicians Section of the American Medical Association. The prestigious award recognizes physicians who have contributed to the achievements of women in the medical profession.
Dr. Bahri said she was honored to be nominated by more than a dozen medical students who attend her classes at TouroCOM. “This is an award not just for me; it represents female medical students everywhere,” she said, adding that she expects her nomination will bring additional recognition to deserving medical students at TouroCOM and to the entire Touro academic community.
Dr. Bahri holds several faculty positions at TouroCOM, including course director of pathology. In acknowledging her nomination, Dr. Robert B. Goldberg, dean of TouroCOM, said, “Dr. Bahri deserves this recognition because of her tireless work with the students here on campus and throughout the Harlem community.” Dr. Bahri is also a representative on the American Medical Schools of New York Committee on Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
All nominees will be listed on the AMA website during Women-in-Medicine month in September. The final winner will be announced at the Women Physicians Section Interim Business Meeting in November. ϖ