By: Ben Strachman | News  | 

Yeshiva College Associate Dean Joanne Jacobson to Retire After Spring Semester

Yeshiva College Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Dr. Joanne Jacobson will be retiring and leaving the university after the Spring Semester. The search for her replacement has begun, led by Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Selma Botman.

Dr. Jacobson described that when she took the position in 2015, she signed a three-year contract, similar to other Yeshiva College Associate Deans in the past. She stated that at the time, “I wasn’t necessarily looking for something longer at this point in my career.” “We accepted her decision [to retire] reluctantly because of her many contributions,” Dr. Botman said.

According to an online listing of the job opening, the new Associate Dean will begin their tenure on July 1. The listed responsibilities of the position include overseeing the curriculum, preparing the semesterly course schedule, and managing the process of promotion and tenure. In order to qualify for the position, applicants must possess a doctorate, three years of leadership experience in an academic institution, and “an understanding of how academic programs are built, launched, and sustained, and the imagination to think outside the box about the future of small liberal arts colleges in the 21st century,” among other requirements.

Dr. Botman stated that individuals from both inside and outside the university are invited to apply to the position. “We will set a time period for the contract with the hope and expectation that the incumbent will continue beyond the initial period.” She also welcomed student participation in the hiring process, saying, “we want YU students to have a voice and an opinion about the candidates.”

Dr. Jacobson currently serves as one of two Associate Deans of Yeshiva College alongside Associate Dean of Operations and Student Affairs Dr. Fred Sugarman. Both work under Dr. Karen Bacon, Dean of Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who oversees both Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women.

Dr. Jacobson first came to the university in 1990. During her 28 years on campus, she has served in a number of faculties in the university, including as a professor in the Yeshiva College English Department, Chair of the English Department, and Director of the Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein Honors Program at Yeshiva College. She has also served two terms as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, first gaining the position in 2006 for a three-year term. Dr. Jacobson rose to the position for a second time in 2015.

Reflecting on her accomplishments as Dean, Dr. Jacobson stated, “I am extremely proud of the new faculty whom I’ve helped to hire over the last decade at Yeshiva College—and of the intellectual vitality and richness, and commitment, that these new faculty have brought to the College. I’ve also been proud of our development of the CORE curriculum at YC—and of the innovative teaching in the CORE that our faculty has done.”

Dean Jacobson also expressed gratitude for her colleagues and students. “Students who are constantly asking hard questions—working to make their lives spiritually and intellectually whole—make the classroom here a uniquely compelling, challenging place...Over my years at YU I have had wonderful faculty colleagues, who have consistently supported and encouraged my own evolution as a teacher and a writer in a very new direction...and I have been—so—lucky at YU to work with and learn from a group of administrative colleagues whose generosity and kindness to one another, and decency, is unfailing.”

“Dean Jacobson approaches every issue that comes her way with care and concern,” Dr. Karen Bacon noted. “Intellectually honest and superbly humane, she champions the best interests of students and faculty. I truly value her as a partner, and I feel so fortunate also to know her as a friend.”

Dr. Sugarman also praised Dr. Jacobson for her tenure as Dean. “Dr. Jacobson, a gifted teacher, scholar and writer, is also a superb human being...her huge and deep heart helped humanize the Deans office, making it a salon for faculty and students who would sit and discuss their issues with her. Now, after her return some years ago to the Associate Dean position, I still share a large office with Dr. Jacobson. It is a privilege and a pleasure; a gift of wit and wisdom that has sustained and improved faculty, students and fellow administrators.”