Regarding the article “YU ‘No-Confidence’ Vote Spurs Internal Battles” (March 20), I would like your readers to understand that student success is the focus of our work, and that academic excellence at Yeshiva University is assured. YU is a unique, caring, and vibrant community that is intact and strong.
Our work has been informed by dozens of meetings with faculty and deans, which have provided a forum for ideas. We organized these meetings because we care deeply about collaboration, we listen to faculty concerns, and we welcome the ideas of deans. It is the faculty who drive academic decisions, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that classes are staffed in the most exciting, creative, and cost-effective manner.
Non-academic units of the institution were scrutinized first, in an effort to right-size the university. Thereafter, we addressed the academic core, including the faculty of the institution. In these discussions, we neither proposed nor intended to eliminate any departments. We are increasing academic options and flexibility for students by unifying the undergraduate arts and sciences faculties at Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women. This was the subject of “Y.U. To Merge Stern, Yeshiva Colleges Faculties” (online March 19). Unified departments will add strength and depth, and will expand curricular offerings for the students we serve. This new model will improve the way we function and enhance the student experience.
It is true that there were those who opposed a change to the first year writing requirement — going from two semesters to one while at the same time ensuring intensive writing is embedded in other courses in the curriculum. This would put Yeshiva College in line with Stern College for Women and with many of the highly desirable colleges through the United States. When the question of the restructured writing curriculum was posed to YC’s faculty, 81 percent of those voting agreed. This is quite different from that which was reported in articles appearing in this publication.
Change is difficult, but it in no way means that we are stepping back. On the contrary, it means we are stepping up. Change provides opportunity to be self-reflective and to improve. We are doing just that at Yeshiva University.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Yeshiva University