Harriet Sepinwall, a veteran educator at the College of Saint Elizabeth, is beginning the new academic year as professor of Holocaust studies.
Since 1980, the Pine Brook resident has been a professor of education and history at the campus in Convent Station and a founder of the school’s Holocaust Education Resource Center.
Her new role will end her involvement with Saint Elizabeth’s teacher education program and her service on academic committees.
“I now will have more time to focus on study and teaching about the Holocaust as well as leadership of our Holocaust center,” Sepinwall told NJ Jewish News in an e-mail interview a week after her promotion was announced on Aug. 17.
Teaching about genocide and the Shoa have been Sepinwall’s key educational interests since she began teaching a world culture studies course early in her career.
Her goals expanded after a 1991 summer fellowship program in Poland and Israel.
Together with Sister Kathleen Flanagan, a professor of theology, she founded the resource center in 1994.
Sepinwall said she is proud that the school’s administration “is determined that we teach with integrity about Jews and Judaism, the Holocaust, and Israel at our Catholic university.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 6, she will host a statewide teacher training course on educating students about the Holocaust.
And from Nov. 8 to 13 Sepinwall, along with Flanagan, will head the college’s annual Kristallnacht Commemoration and Week of Holocaust Remembrance, as she has since its founding in 1991. The event opening will feature a Holocaust-themed presentation by the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company. The program at the Dolan Performance Hall on campus is cosponsored by the Holocaust Council of MetroWest and will be free of charge to the entire community.
In the year’s second semester, Sepinwall is planning to teach an honors section on the history of the Holocaust and a new course on the Holocaust and genocide.
“So many students really want to learn about this terrible time in our history so that we can learn, remember, and commemorate what took place,” she said, “as well as to use the lessons of the Holocaust to end anti-Semitism, encourage respect for diversity, and help make this a better world, where all people are respected and valued.”