Reform president Rabbi Tony Bayfield has joined the elite band of rabbinical professors after being appointed to a chair of modern Jewish theology and thought at London's Leo Baeck College.
It is only the second time the Progressive rabbinic academy has made a professorial appointment since its establishment in 1956.
Rabbi Bayfield, who retired as Reform chief executive at the end of 2010, said the new post "couldn't have come at a better time. It feels very encouraging as I have been working for three years on what will be the first systematic account of Reform Jewish theology written in this country."
Additionally, three members of the faculty have been promoted. Dr Jeremy Schonfield becames Rabbi John D Rayner Reader in Jewish Liturgy; Dr Leslie Bash a reader in Jewish education and Rabbi Sheila Shulman a senior lecturer in theology and thought.
Leo Baeck principal Rabbi Deborah Kahn-Harris said the appointments recognised "the levels of scholarship and expertise on which the college draws to provide the best and broadest education possible for its students".