Certificate Program Goals
Students are challenged to synthesize conceptual knowledge and methodological skills in three distinct areas spanning the humanities and social sciences:
- language and literature, both classical and modern Hebrew;
- cultural history, both secular and religious; and
- socio-political history, both pre-modern and modern, in the West and in Israel.
The abilities to integrate factual knowledge derived from diverse disciplines, to discern with the help of theoretical frameworks the continuities and discontinuities over time in a single culture or civilization, and to understand patterns of adjustment to new circumstances are among the most vital goals of higher education. To read primary and secondary sources critically, to analyze material artifacts, to write clearly and forcefully, to master the art and science of comparative studies, to appreciate the dynamics of cultural hybridity and exchange, and to understand the supreme value of dispassionate understanding as opposed to passing partisan value-judgments are no less vital to the educational mission of the Certificate Program in Jewish Studies.
In keeping with the overall mission statement and specific program goals of this Certificate Program, students will
- develop their critical awareness of the complexity of Jewish societies and cultures over the ages;
- discover the power of critical, inter-disciplinary scholarship to fathom the circumstances and motives shaping Jewish life in the past and in contemporary times; and
- discern the irreducibility of Judaism, or any other religious tradition, to any one single essence.
Indicators or Outcomes of Goals/Learning Objectives
Tracking student course selection to assure the fulfillment of proper distribution requirements (e.g., the gateway and capstone courses, and not more than three courses offered by the Department of Religion) during advisement sessions is the major barometer indicating whether the necessary, if not sufficient, conditions for realizing the Certificate Program’s educational goals are being met.
In collaboration with Director and Associate Director of the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will prepare an annual report to be delivered to the Center’s Executive Committee that outlines the number of students enrolled in the Certificate Program, discusses the configurations of their course selection, and recommends modifications and improvements to the course offerings. In this annual cycle of evaluation, the Director of Undergraduate Studies will rely on several measures of achievement, including
- course evaluations;
- enrollment data supplied by the Registrar; and
- an informal exit interview, based on a questionnaire completed by students prior to graduation, in which students indicate the extent to which they have mastered the three goals outlined above under "Learning Objectives"