YCSA's New Initiative Bridges the Gap Between Students and Deans
YCSA (Yeshiva College Student Association), one of the student councils on campus, has been working closely with the deans of Yeshiva College, and recently launched “Mission: YC Listens.” A brand-new medium of communication between students and the academic administration, this new student-run initiative hopes to significantly amplify the voice of the Yeshiva College student body.
Like most student-run initiatives at YU, the process begins by opening a creative Google form, located on the YCSA webpage and in y-studs sent out on a regular basis. Once the form is opened, a variety of categories are displayed, each one corresponding to a different academic concern. The student may choose to report broader issues pertaining to whole departments and programs or to voice his or her concerns on specific issues regarding courses or professors. Once submitted, the form is carefully reviewed by the YCSA. If the same issues recur numerous times from different students, the problems are noted. Large bundles of issues are brought to the respective academic departments and ultimately the YC Deans. "With this new initiative, we hope to hear concerns and issues from students on a wide range of issues and concerns,” says YCSA Vice President Benjamin Kohane. “Oftentimes students feel like they do not know where to turn; we can certainly field such issues and hope to resolve them on a case-by-case basis."
Until now, the system by which students interacted with the College’s administration had been extremely inefficient and disorganized. Concerns weren’t streamlined or categorized. Questions would pour in from all over and the Dean’s Office had to address every individual student concern, which were often repetitive and sometimes inappropriate, Many students were hesitant to speak their minds about courses and professors, afraid to compromise their academic reputations. The system was leaving too many students in the dark about legitimate problems. Something had to be done.
The dire need for Mission: YC Listens became apparent to everyone soon after YU introduced the new core curriculum. Mixed feelings were issued almost immediately. Some enjoyed the new well-rounded approach while others found it quite counterproductive. In particular, one requirement of the core, The Natural World (NAWO), had a particularly rough start and continues to frustrate students. Science majors found the courses too rudimentary, while non-science majors found the material too difficult and tangential to their academic pursuits. The curriculum was lacking a necessary balance and grievances were filed on an individual basis; Mission: YC listens seeks to prevent similar scenarios.
So what does this really mean for YC students? How will this new system smooth out the rough patches? Despite its small size, YU is still a pretty complicated place. On the one hand, it offers tremendous opportunities for learning and personal growth. For newer students, however, YU can seem like quite the intimidating environment. Mission: YC Listens operates as a simple survey. It is an excellent way for student to interact with their elected student government, as well as allow the administration to hear the concerns and suggestions from its students. The better the administration understands the needs of the students, the better job it can do to help them. Furthermore, Mission: YC Listens operates as a handy “4-1-1” for newer students, making those first steps on campus a tad easier for new students.
YCSA’s agenda is clear. Its goal, as indicated on their website, is to”maximize the potential of each student by enhancing their experience at Yeshiva College” and provide the student body with the proper tools to voice their legitimate concerns and suggestions. By launching this new initiative, students will be better served and, in return, the university will be able to facilitate an ideal academic environment for YC students.
The Mission: YC Listens form is located at http://bit.ly/1pR9y0n.