Roger Brooks

Roger Brooks, Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, Dean of the Faculty

Elie Wiesel Professor of Judaic Studies, Department of Religious Studies
Dean of the Faculty
Joined Connecticut College: 1991

B.E.S., University of Minnesota; Ph.D., Brown University

Strategic planning and curricular renovation
Liberal arts and higher education
Judaic studies
Rabbinic law

Contact Roger Brooks:

As Connecticut College’s chief academic officer, Roger Brooks is passionate about how academic leadership can mobilize diverse interests in the common service of liberal education. He is a scholar of Judaism, and holds the first endowed professorship created to honor Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel.

As dean, Brooks’ leadership has reached all aspects of campus life, from curricular design and institutional planning to budgeting. A strong advocate for faculty excellence, Brooks works closely with faculty leadership and oversees all academic departments and programs.

Over the past six years Brooks has led efforts to significantly raise faculty salaries and increase salary equity; in 2007 he crafted new recruitment and retention policies that have resulted in a remarkable cohort of new faculty of such diversity as to make a lasting impact on the institution and its curriculum.

Under his guidance, the College is constantly working to increase academic challenge, in terms of the faculty’s consistent expectations of excellence and our community’s aspirations to significant achievement.

Brooks has helped to shape the discussion of higher education in the state of Connecticut, serving in 2004 on the Connecticut Department of Higher Education’s Taskforce on General Education Reform and from 2005-2009 as a member (2007-2008 chair) of the DHE’s Advisory Committee on Accreditation. On a regional level, he is the College’s liaison to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), and led the College’s efforts at self-study and reaccreditation in 1996-1997 and 2006-2007.

Author and editor of 6 books, Brooks' academic writing has focused on the relationship between nascent rabbinic society and Roman imperial power, especially as expressed in Judaic law in late antiquity. He is author of The Spirit of the Ten Commandments: Shattering the Myth of Rabbinic Legalism (HarperCollins). He has published several volumes of translation and commentary on foundational Jewish texts, including The Talmud of the Land of Israel: Tractate Peah (on poor relief) and Tractate Maaser Sheni (on second tithe) (volumes 2 and 8 in the University of Chicago Press series). He has also published a text commentary on the Mishnaic tractate Peah, and the early midrash compilation Sifre, and is a contributor to the Yale University Press translation, The Mishnah.

He is the recipient of Connecticut College’s highest teaching honor, the John S. King Award for Teaching Excellence.

Brooks has a long-term relationship with The Holocaust Educational Foundation ( ). Since 1995 he has served as a faculty member for the Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization (at Northwestern University), where he holds the Mills Family Chair. The Institute helps prepare professors and advanced graduate students to teach college courses on the Holocaust.

View the religious studies website and the Dean of Faculty website.