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Alumni Spotlight

Maud S. Mandel

President of Williams College

Professor of History; Program in Jewish Studies

M.A., 1993, Ph.D., 1998

Describe your job responsibilities:

As the President of a liberal arts college, I oversee all executive and administrative duties in connection with the school. This includes policy recommendations to the Board of Trustees regarding personnel, budgetary, and changes to the physical plant. Participating in an active system of shared governance, I partner with and support the faculty in reaching the school's curricular, co-curricular, and research goals. I also interact regularly with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to help articulate a shared vision for the college moving into the future, a role that includes considerable outreach to groups on and off campus as well as fundraising to support the school's core mission.

What is your work rewarding?
The work is rewarding insofar as I am able to play a role in helping faculty, students, and staff reach their highest educational and professional aspirations. Colleges and universities are made up of committed scholars, educators, and professionals who share a joint commitment to providing students with the tools they need to live fulfilling and enriching lives as well to extending the boundaries of knowledge as we know it so far. Supporting this work is exceptionally rewarding.

Tell us about studying at the Frankel Center:
I was at the Frankel Center many years ago. At the time, it provided a space for intellectual collaboration, scholarly exchange, and the in-gathering of those with shared interests. I went to numerous talks and symposia there and worked with the many dynamic scholars, visitors, and graduate students that made up the University of Michigan community. 

How did your education prepare you for your current job?
At the University of Michigan, I was trained as an historian. These research and analytic skills were the building blocks on which the rest of my career was based. Long before I was an administrator, I pursued the life of an educator and scholar. Without the years at the University of Michigan, I would not be where I am today.

What advice would you give to students who are considering studying Judaic Studies?
My advice is to seek breadth in the long history and culture of Jews across time and space while also mastering a discipline. In my own life, I have found much reward from learning the historian's craft, a skill set that has served me both in reaching my research goals but also, interestingly  in guiding my administrative life as well, as I spend much of my time thinking about the ways in which institutions change over time.