Founded in the pre-state era as an institution for continuing education, Beit Berl College (BBC) became a teachers college in the 1960s and was fully licensed as a multi-disciplinary academic college in 1979. Renowned for academic excellence and innovation, BBC sees education as a vehicle for social mobility, equality and justice for all sectors of Israeli society. Its faculty of 700 professors, lecturers and field professionals include leaders in their fields.
Beit Berl Colleges graduates comprise 20% of all Israeli secular public school teachers in both the Jewish and Arab sectors, and hold prominent positions in Israeli national and local government, private and non-profit sectors, as well as in the global arts community.
The College is expanding its strategic network of relationships with universities and colleges in Europe and North America, offering faculty and student exchanges, as well as joint research, publications and projects.
Education, culture and art
With an enrollment of 10,000 students, BBC offers an extensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certificate programs, in three major faculties.
The Faculty of Education is known for its rigorous and entrepreneurial approach to teacher education and community education. BBC graduates are valued for their mastery in all aspects of an educators job – from classroom teaching to creating innovative learning environments to collaborating with the community in the educational process. The Faculty serves the pre-service and professional development of teachers from early childhood to secondary education, as well as in informal education, at-risk youth and special education. The Faculty includes the Arab Academic Institute of Education, which trains teachers for the Israeli Arab education system with instruction in Arabic, and conducts research and public education focusing on Arabic language and culture. In all graduate degrees in the honors B.Ed. programs, Jewish and Arab students and faculty members study and teach together. BBCs unique programs in English-Hebrew translating, and in teaching and tutoring English as a second language, attract English-speaking immigrants.
The Faculty of Society and Culture offers interdisciplinary studies in the social sciences and humanities, including criminology and law enforcement, gender studies, public administration, social policy, information and knowledge management. The degree programs are carried out in cooperation with the Open University, providing an opportunity for those who lack formal qualifications to achieve higher education and participate more fully in the Israeli workforce.
The Faculty of Arts: HaMidrasha was established as the center for a unique Israeli voice in conceptual art, using simple materials identified with the frugality of the establishment of the state. The faculty includes some of Israels leading artists, including Michal Naaman (see sidebar) and recently retired Tsibi Geva, who was chosen to represent Israel at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Graduates consistently win prestigious prizes in local and international competitions. In October 2014 graduates Avi Levi and Avi Belkin won the prize for best documentary film at the Haifa International Film Festival for their film Winding. The Faculty offers undergraduate studies in fine arts, art education, film and digital design, as well as graduate degrees in art education and art therapy. In addition, a preparatory program is available for promising young Arab artists, most of whom continue their undergraduate studies in the Faculty.
Beit Berl College is proud of its commitment to pluralism and community involvement, advanced in all facets of the Colleges life, as well as in programs and centers expressing the Colleges values. These include:
- The Martin Buber Beit-Midrash for Dialogue-Education – Created in cooperation with the alumni of Israels leading youth movements, the program prepares hundreds of community activists living in development towns and Arab villages in Israels periphery. The degree prepares graduates to stimulate critical thinking and a culture of activism in marginalized communities. Using the experiential techniques of the dialogue-education model, the College is designing BSod HaSiach, a semester in Israel for North American young Jewish leaders.
- HaYarkon 19 – Gallery and Center for art, culture and education. Located at the nexus of Tel Avivs gallery district and neighborhoods of marginalized populations, the Gallery highlights young artists as well as the avant garde, with exhibits, installations, performance art, video and film, as well as lectures and seminars. The Gallery creates a space for educational activity, works with the surrounding communities, and is a focus for the Israeli art community.
- Support to the Ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) educational system – BBC recognizes the importance of providing professional development to educators and counselors of the Haredi school systems, in order to allow the growing Haredi population the opportunity to interact and work in all aspects of life in Israel. Starting with a pilot program in 2013, the College provides an M.Ed. in educational counseling for Ultra-Orthodox women, as well as B.Ed. and teaching certificate programs for prospective and practicing educators in Ultra-Orthodox schools.
- Cross-Cultural Oral History – Developed at Beit Berl, the Time Tunnel project teaches contemporary history to Arab and Jewish students together in a way that recognizes and bridges conflicting narratives of the countrys modern history. Students, teachers and community members gather oral histories and the objects of daily living, focusing on the history of everyday life. The College has inaugurated a national data base of the oral histories of all populations of Israel.
- At-risk youth – Synergizing its strengths in informal education, youth development and criminology, BBC runs a number of programs focused on at-risk youth, including a distinctive undergraduate degree program for the staff of boarding schools who work with at-risk youth, a national project allowing recovered drug addicts to earn a degree, a special degree program for dealing with marginalized youth, and a unique graduate degree program.
- Professional Development School Network – Using the American PDS model, BBC created a network of 236 Arab and Jewish schools to work with the Colleges Faculty of Education to raise their level of teaching and curriculum development, and to facilitate hands-on supervision of student teaching in field experience.
- National Diagnostic Service – Students and graduates in the Masters program in education for those with learning disabilities provide pro bono assessment services for low-income children whose families cannot afford private diagnostic services.
Professor wins Israel Prize
Beit Berl College Professor Michal Naaman was the recipient of the prestigious Israel Prize for Fine Arts for 2014. Professor Naaman is a groundbreaking artist in the field of post-conceptual painting. She built an intellectual and passionate world that clashes and unites language and imagery, logic and mysticism. She shaped many students and influenced the development of art in Israel, the Israel Prize Committee explained.
Born in Kibbutz Kvutzat Kinneret in northern Israel, Naaman holds degrees from Beit Berl College Faculty of the Arts–HaMidrasha and Tel Aviv University. She began exhibiting her works in the 1970s in Tel Aviv and later in New York, where she also attended the School of Visual Arts. In 1982, she presented at the Venice Biennale. Naaman has inspired a generation of young artists over the last decades of teaching at Beit Berl Colleges Faculty of Arts–HaMidrasha.
Beit Berl College will honor Prof. Naaman in a special reception at the opening of her new exhibition Mickey-Mouth at HaYarkon 19 on November 25th. Those interested in attending may contact Sarah Kreimer: email@example.com.
For more information about Beit Berl College, please visit: www.beitberl.ac.il.