By: Kira Paley | News  | 

Yeshiva College and Syms First Year Writing Courses to be Combined

As of the Fall 2018 semester, the first-year writing courses for men in Sy Syms School of Business and Yeshiva College will no longer be separate; male Syms students will take First Year Writing in Yeshiva College. The Wilf Campus Syms course of study requires two communications courses, Business Communication and First Year Writing, which up until now both were taken in Syms.

The requirement for Syms students to take First Year Writing at Syms has been in place for the past three years, according to Sy Syms School of Business Interim Dean Michael Strauss. “The change in policy is largely because of the excellent English department at Yeshiva College,” said Dean Strauss. He also noted the similarity in curricula between the Syms First Year Writing course and the YC First Year Writing course. “Though taught by different professors, what was being taught in each course was roughly the same,” he said.

“Since First Year Writing is a particular strength of the YC English Department, and since there is benefit to studying in an environment where there is a mixture of students from different majors, combining business and liberal arts students in the same writing classes seems a win/win,” said Dean Karen Bacon, The Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “A derivative benefit is that with a larger number of YC FYW sections to accommodate the larger numbers, students will have more sections from which to choose in making their schedules.”

“In short, this will allow YC and Syms students to learn together in an academic context, which, especially with writing, benefits everyone by potentially deepening any classroom dialogue with more perspectives and experiences,” said Liesl Schwabe, Writing Program Director at Yeshiva College and Yeshiva College First Year Writing professor, in an email.

Syms Junior Ariel Axelrod said about First Year Writing at Syms, “The class covered both business and general writing skills. Some of our assignments involved composing business-relevant emails as well as corporate memos. Other assignments (i.e. our final paper) were more general and required us to delve into an ethical issue such as, in my class, the cooking of lobsters.”

Professor Schwabe noted the universality and versatility of the First Year Writing courses at YC. “In my own FYWR courses, we often explore both the tradition of college and the ways the 'purpose' of higher education is evolving,” she said. “We ask why literacy and critical thinking matter in a democracy and consider why writing in particular is so important to any kind of learning—on campus and off and regardless of major. In my past experience of teaching Syms and YC students together, this discussion was made all the more compelling when students reflected on their differences and, just as often, their similarities.”