Rightsizing and Downsizing: Analyzing Trends in Yeshiva College Course Offerings

Date: September 9, 2015 1:46 pm
Author: Yechiel Schwab and Shlomo Friedman

A former version of this article was published late last year. We expanded the scope of the article from 2012 to 2009, among other changes, for this re-publishing.

It’s no secret that financial and curricula changes abound at our University, specifically in Yeshiva College. We decided to track the changes in course offerings over the last couple of years, to better contextualize these turbulent times. We started with 2009, the beginning of the financial changes at this university, and used only Fall offerings to try to give a more stable picture.

Method: We copied the Myyu schedules into excel, and then separated them by subject and year, demonstrated in the charts below.

We did not include research offerings or directed studies.

Recitations, or course sections which counted as zero credits, (i.e. problem seminars in math) were similarly discounted.

No Colloquiums in any department were counted.

In the Music Department, 1 credit courses were discounted.

Individual Lab sections were all counted as individual courses (except for zero credit labs, like Computer Science Lab).

Note the changes in 2012 with the implementation of the Core. Instead of EXQM and NAWO, similar one semester courses were offered for non-majors in the Chemistry and Physics Departments, and account for part of those reductions, and for significant changes in the offerings in the English Major.

Note also, that until 2012 General Chemistry I still had a required lab, with five sections. Those are counted below, and partially explain the change from 2012 to 2013

All crosslisted courses were counted for both (or in one scenario, three) departments.

art

french

math

To illustrate the overall changes, we created a chart displaying the total course offerings, of each year. Note, that since we originally counted crosslisted courses twice, in the chart below we have a separate line denoting individual courses. The data for crosslisted courses only begins in 2012, so the second line begins there. In addition to an overall decrease in courses, we saw a significant increase in cross-listing in 2015 (2012=7, 2013=7, 2014=9, 2015=20)

total

The chart below examines the Humanities in specific, in conjunction with Core offerings. Note that in 2012, English offerings decreased significantly, as the general requirements were taken out of the major. In the table below, courses crosslisted from the Core English or Sociology are only counted within their Core Sections. After an original decrease with the implementation of the Core, this semester has seen further serious decreases in these departments.

cores and humanities

Summary: Over the last seven years we have seen a drop of over 80 total courses in the Fall semester, from 280 (approximating for cross-listing) in 2009 to 198 this Fall, almost a 30% drop. We have seen these reductions spread across a large number of departments. Additionally, cross-listing increased dramatically (from 7 in 2012, to 20 in 2015), masking what have been large reductions in courses offerings in English, Sociology, and others.

Though this year, for obvious reasons, shows a sharp decrease in many areas, the decreases in course offerings is a multiple year trend, possibly due to Yeshiva’s hiring freeze, where professors from various departments have left, or retired, on their own volition, and no replacement was hired in their stead. Though we saw intense public outcry from students about last year’s cuts, this issue clearly predates the University’s most recent actions. The multi-year trend of decreased course offerings raises the question of whether 2015 represents the turning point of this graph, or just one more year in this continued downward trend.

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This post was written by Yechiel Schwab and Shlomo Friedman

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