In an organization-wide effort to sharpen its mission, Chicago’s Spertus Institute is changing its name to Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership. The new identity accentuates the nearly 90-year-old institution’s commitment to providing dynamic learning opportunities for adults.
“The addition of the words ‘and Leadership’ following ‘Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning’ highlights our conviction that a vibrant Jewish community and a world-class city require first-rate education and training for organizational leaders. Spertus is educating and training executives and volunteer board members, as well as fundraisers, programming specialists, clergy, educators and academics with the skills they need to transform nonprofit organizational life now and for generations to come,” said Spertus President and CEO Dr. Hal M. Lewis.
Spertus Institute currently offers a number of accredited graduate-level degree programs: Jewish Studies programs that immerse students in diverse Jewish content; Jewish Professional Studies programs that enhance the contributions leaders bring to Jewish organizations; and Nonprofit Management programs that prepare students for leadership roles in organizations that serve community needs. While Spertus has long been recognized in these areas, new program initiatives have been fostered in recent years including the Certificate in Jewish Leadership, a professional development program Spertus launched in partnership with Northwestern University in December 2011. That program combines Jewish scholarship with leading ideas from the contemporary business world to enhance the effectiveness of Jewish leaders. A unique and essential aspect of the program is its focus on the mentoring of students by seasoned leaders – an important component that will be expanded in future offerings.
In recent years Spertus has also expanded its Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies beyond Chicago, now serving students in Pittsburgh and Canada. Going forward, Spertus will introduce academic concentrations to teach leadership to educators, youth workers, camp counselors and early childhood professionals. Curricula are being developed for new programs in social entrepreneurship and lay leadership training, with announcements of new initiatives expected in the spring.