Dr. Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, Named Acting Dean

May 20, 2022
Deena Grant Profile Image


Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, will become Acting Academic Dean of Hartford International University for Religion and Peace (formerly Hartford Seminary) as of July 1, 2022. She is believed to be the first Jewish dean at HIU, which was established in 1834.

Dr. Grant will take over for Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton, who has served as Academic Dean since 2018. Dr. Grafton will return to his role as Director of the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations.

“Dr. Grafton’s remarkable leadership has put the institution in excellent stead, and his continued leadership among our faculty and the MacDonald Center, as well as his commitment to support Professor Grant in her new role, are things I cherish,” President Joel N. Lohr said. “That we now can also benefit from Dr. Grant’s incredibly sharp intellect, business acumen, and strategic thinking is paramount for the future of our growing and groundbreaking university. I’m delighted about this strategic development, and I look forward to observing the fruits of our collective work.

An observant Jewish scholar, Dr. Grant has been at HIU for five years. She values studying and teaching the Hebrew Bible from a historical-critical perspective as well as how it is interpreted and lived out by faith communities. Her book, Divine Anger in the Hebrew Bible, explores varying expressions of God’s anger across major biblical collections. In addition to many academic articles and conference contributions, she is a sought-after speaker at community events and workshops. 

Dr. Grant received her BA from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies and her Ph.D. from New York University in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She also studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and Hebrew University’s Institute for Advanced Studies, both in Jerusalem. 

She received the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture International Doctoral Scholarship for Studies Specializing in Jewish Fields, as well as the Dorot Award at the 37th Annual Conference for the Association of Jewish Studies.

Among her activities during her time at HIU, Dr. Grant has organized Jewish holiday celebrations, including  Passover Model Seder. A highlight of each fall is when students of many different faiths join together to build a Sukkah on HIU’s front lawn.

Dr. Grant co-chaired HIU’s Strategic Planning 2025 Committee, helping to lead the institution in a bold new direction with redesigned degree programs, new centers of learning, and a name change. For the past year, she has led the strategic area of Global and Community Partnerships.

"I’m very excited to be serving HIU at this particular moment," Dr. Grant said. "Our faculty has worked extremely hard to construct and launch academic programs that speak to the specific needs of today’s religious leaders and peacebuilders. I’m eager to support our faculty and students as we continue to realize our vision."




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