By Gail Hairston
Janice Fernheimer recently added another title to her long list of accomplishments for the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences. Fernheimer, director of UK’s Jewish Studies Program, was recently awarded the Zantker Charitable Foundation Professorship in Jewish Studies.
“We are delighted to support a faculty member whose work embodies a diverse range of study and commitment to Jewish studies,” said Mark Lawrence Kornbluh, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Fernheimer is most deserving of this professorship and her passion and enthusiasm is evident in the great strides she has made as director of the Jewish Studies Program.”
With her academic background and interests, the Zantker Charitable Foundation Professorship in Jewish Studies seems a perfect fit for Fernheimer. It was established to support Jewish studies in the UK academic community, encompassing the study of the history, literature, philosophy, culture, institutions and traditions of the Jewish people.
"I am thrilled to receive this great honor, and I look forward to continuing the growth and development of Jewish studies at UK," said Fernheimer.
It’s impossible to put Fernheimer in a box. Her interests and influence flows through many disciplines, across many departmental boundaries of the college.
The enthusiastic and energetic associate professor received her doctorate in English, with a concentration in rhetoric and writing, from the University of Texas at Austin 10 years ago. Her master’s degree was in American literature; her bachelor’s degree in English and Jewish studies. Along the way, she developed an abiding curiosity in history, cultures and human rights.
“Jan Fernheimer is an energetic and engaged scholar who works tirelessly on behalf of the University of Kentucky’s Jewish Studies Program. Her outstanding leadership has opened up many new vistas for (that program). She is an asset to the University of Kentucky’s College of Arts and Sciences as a teacher, scholar and community builder,” said Professor Karen Petrone, chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of History and contributor to the college’s Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.
Fernheimer’s affiliations within the College of Arts and Sciences include director of the Jewish Studies Program, associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies and an affiliate member of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies. You can also find her consulting with colleagues in the departments of history and English, as well as the Peace Studies Program.
Fernheimer’s most recent books include “Stepping Into Zion: Hatzaad Harishon, Black Jews, and the Remaking of Jewish Identity” and “Jewish Rhetorics: History, Theory, Practice,” co-edited with Michael Bernard-Donals.
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