From the Archives (May 12, 1987; Volume 52 Issue 8) — Syms School Sets Standards
Editor’s Note: With the Sy Syms School of Business annual Gala Awards Dinner around the corner, taking place exactly 30 years after the school completed its first year in 1987-88, The Commentator has decided to take a look back with this article.
Next fall will mark the opening of the much heralded Sy Syms Business School (SSSB). The school will occupy the fourth floor of the Science Hall, with renovations currently taking place to make room for classrooms and administrative offices. Aside from the physical presence of the new school, many jarring changes will greet the returning and new students interested in a business-related career; changes regarding his choice of majors, course selection, degree, and teachers.
The first, and most apparent change confronting the student will be in the majors to be offered by the business school. The economics department in Yeshiva College will no longer encompass a finance, business, and economics track. Instead it will emphasize economic theory and grant a degree for the pure economics student, though still recognizing courses taken in the business school. The business school will take over the finance major, as well as offer new majors such as Management Information Systems (dealing with the application of computers to business systems), and Marketing and Management. The accounting department will also be under the auspices of the business school, and together with these other majors, will lead to a B.S. degree.
Dr. Schiff, the new Dean of the Sy Syms Business School, was careful to point out that students already enrolled in an economics or accounting major will be allowed to continue under the old program. In fact, every new student will initially be enrolled in YC and only in their sophomore year will they be required to make the decision of whether to enter the business school. The introductory economics courses will remain accessible to all as they are taught by the economics department, which will retain its individual identity.
But perhaps the greatest effect the business school will have on the students is not the new majors or curriculum, but the new faculty. One of Dr. Schiff’s main goals for the school is to become accredited, or at least achieve a level of academic excellence equivalent to AASCB standards, within five years. This involves, among other requirements, to have a percentage of full-time teachers, that is, those who hold a Ph.D. or its equivalent, yet have proven teaching prowess, have actual business experience, and are engaged in research projects. This necessarily entails a restructuring of the accounting and economics faculty. As to the problem of the validity of degrees issued by a non-accredited school, it must be explained that SSSB is only unaccredited as a business school; as a college, with genuinely transferable qualifications, it is recognized, being a division of Yeshiva University. Thus, until the school becomes a separate entity, all degrees will enjoy the same status that they held when courses were no more than a division of YU.
According to Dr. Schiff, all full-time teachers will be asked to return next year, however, this would not be applicable to part-time instructors. Three new full- and part-time teachers have been hired, including a new business law professor, a finance professor, and a computer applications instructor. Another important faculty change is the elimination of Professor Colchamiro’s position as chairman of the accounting department, with his current responsibilities being shouldered by Dean Schiff. This change is because the integration of all business departments into one, as yet small school, renders individual chairmen unnecessary. Professor Colchamiro will continue as a faculty member of the business school.
In a meeting with the accounting students, Dean Schiff promised that the current placement success of the accounting department will not be curtailed in any manner. In fact, Dr. Schiff stated that plans have been made to hire a professional placement director to handle the growing ranks of accounting students, as well as those graduating from other business school majors. The placement office will remain separate from the YC placement, and will be handled through the office of the Dean.
The brochure for SSSB states that the school will “offer a complete program which will nurture and cultivate business and entrepreneurial talent within the framework of a technical and theoretical business education. Such an ambitious plan will only be realized through the dedicated efforts of the administration working together with and meeting the needs of its student body.