Two groups of newly hired Schusterman International Center (SIC) employees spent time visiting nearby campus Hillels last month. The campus visits were part of a new human resources initiative to acquaint SIC staff with the field.
SIC professionals tour the University of Maryland campus as part of new HR initiative.
As Hillel's VP of Human Resources Scott Brown explains, "We know that the more our new professionals at the Schusterman International Center really understand the rhythm and music of the work done on campuses by our amazing Hillel professionals, the better we will be able to do our jobs."
On February 5, 15 SIC professionals met at the University of Maryland's (UMD) Hillel for a day-long immersion experience. A week later, a second group of professionals met at the Gerwirz Center on the George Washington University (GW) campus.
Both days began with introductions, both of the Hillel campus staff and the visiting SIC staff.
"It was great to meet the local professionals in person," said Rachel Gildiner, Innovation and Implementation Associate at the SIC. "So much of our interaction is over e-mail. They don't always know us, we don't always know them, yet we work together all the time."
The visiting SIC staff toured the respective campuses and were able to gain a better understanding of the campus layout, dynamics and day-to-day rhythm. For one SIC professional and recent American University alum, the experience was particularly unique.
"I lived on a college campus for four years, but I've never worked on one," says Micah Winograd, Israel education initiatives associate for the Israel on Campus Coalition. "Visiting GW as a Hillel employee gave me a totally different perspective."
In addition to their meetings with local Hillel staff, the SIC professionals met with high level university partners such as development and alumni relations professionals to discuss shared issues and challenges. Frank conversation between field staff and SIC staff followed.
"Our discussion at the end of the day was so informative," said Development Associate Elizabeth Posner. "As a new employee with no prior campus experience, I had a lot of questions about the work that's being done on the local level."
The SIC-field interaction was also helpful for the local campus professionals.
Rob Fishman, executive director of GW Hillel said, "The campus visit provided an opportunity for new employees to gain a more personal understanding of the current issues facing students, so they are more knowledgeable and sympathetic when dealing with issues that impact campus life."
Associate Director for Professional Development Jamie Schiffman and Robin Weber, associate in the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning, served as team captains on the field trips. Both Schiffman and Weber worked at local Hillels before coming to the SIC recently and therefore, also benefitted from the campus visits.
"As a recent transplant from the campus, this was a great opportunity for me to serve as a conduit for my colleagues at the SIC," said Schiffman. "It helped me to understand both environments and how we complement each others’ work."
Future campus visits for new SIC hires are planned for the Fall. For more news like this and up-to-date briefs about Jewish campus life, subscribe to our free eNewsletter Hillel Campus Report.