RIC and Israeli Educators Present Full Day of Forums

Clockwise, from right to left: Gerri August, RIC associate professor of educational studies; Orly Haim of Beit Berl College, Israel; Elizabeth Henshaw, RIC associate professor of elementary education; Lilach Lev Ari of Oranim Academic College, Israel; and Andrés Ramirez, RIC assistant professor of educational studies.

Clockwise, from right to left: Gerri August, RIC associate professor of educational studies; Orly Haim of Beit Berl College, Israel; Elizabeth Henshaw, RIC associate professor of elementary education; Lilach Lev Ari of Oranim Academic College, Israel; and Andrés Ramirez, RIC assistant professor of educational studies.

How is multiculturalism defined in Israel and the U.S., and what are the challenges of meeting the educational needs of multicultural populations?

Education experts from Israel, along with RIC professors of education, held a full day of forums on issues ranging from academic success among multilingual immigrant students to cross-cultural perspectives on early childhood education as part of the World View Lecture Series.

The keynote was delivered by Jack Pastor, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Oranim Academic College in Israel. It was titled “The Israeli Educational System: Frameworks, Challenges and Opportunities.”

Following Pastor’s address, a panel discussion titled  “Preparing Teachers for a Diverse Society: A Conversation with Israeli and U.S. Teacher Educators” was held by two Israeli faculty from Beit Berl Academic College and Oranim Academic College, and two RIC faculty members from the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. Special lectures were presented by faculty from the three colleges on multiculturalism in Israel and the U.S., science education, informal education, Holocaust studies, early childhood education, and special education and counseling psychology.

The World View Lecture Series is offered by the Project Rhode Island–Israel College Consortium (RIICC) and is sponsored by Rhode Island College’s Feinstein School of Education and Human Development in association with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo initiated the collaboration between RIC and the Israeli institutions during a trade mission to Israel in 2011. She was the only college president in the state to take part in this mission sponsored by Governor Chafee and the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. At that time, Carriuolo fostered and developed ties with Beit Berl Academic College and Oranim Academic College.

Upon her return, she asked faculty to begin to develop ties with the faculty of the two colleges. In response to her request, Ezra Stieglitz, RIC professor of elementary education, led a delegation of nine RIC faculty to Israel to visit the institutions in January 2013. Since then, the three colleges have developed activities to strengthen the ties between their faculties.