A View From the World of Tomorrow
WILF CAMPUS, Aug. 2027 — The beginning of the academic year is a time defined equally by prospect and retrospect. As wide-eyed freshmen tread unfamiliar grounds and schedules with the hope of transforming the mysterious into something workable and productive, experienced seniors see the same objects of academic routine, cast in history’s revealing light, both for what they are and for how they have changed over the semesters.
In the vein of historical assessment, this fledgling Commentator editor shall take the opportunity to mimic the individual’s reflection with a broader analysis. On the occasion of the tenth year since the investment of Yeshiva University’s newest administration, this editor will deliver praise where praise is due. And praise, certainly, is due.
Since taking charge of the helm in 2017, this administration has truly ridden the positive wave of history. It is thanks to our shrewd administrators that Sy Syms School of Business now comprises nearly 85 percent of the undergraduate student body, reflecting the seriousness with which the university takes the essential task of any school of higher education, namely, to prepare its young adults for the market economy.
Whereas Yeshiva University was once chained by anachronisms like humanities and writing requirements, this administration last decade tested the tranquil waters of “optionality,” and has since embraced this more sensible academic approach fully. No longer tied down by silly Core or Jewish Studies requirements, students have been able to focus instead on pursuing those courses that will actually advance their careers. Single-faculty liberal arts departments still exist for the rare student who wishes to pursue academia, but for the most part, YU has succeeded in consolidating its undergraduate priorities to the more fundamental departments like Accounting, Marketing and Computer Science. Nonsense departments like Philosophy, Music and Art, whose courses are undoubtedly antiquated wastes of marketable time, thankfully have fizzled out in this bright world of tomorrow.
Aside from championing the needs of twenty-first-century students, this administration has masterfully addressed the financial instability that carried over from the previous leadership. Ten years ago, Yeshiva University employed six vice presidents in its senior administration. These past few years, YU has invested in five more crucial vice presidents, and several new upper administrators as well, who have collectively paved a path of wise spending. Among many brave decisions, these policy-makers have skimmed down on excess spending, notably by persisting to freeze faculty salaries and by hiring new faculty only when absolutely necessary, for example, when professors were needed for the newest Katz School associate degree programs. Additionally, YU has cut Honors scholarships and cultural events, both of which were relics of a bygone academic era that focused on character rather than checkbooks. Instead, the university has invested in sensible spending that clearly serves vocational purposes.
As the Office of Marketing has made clear with its abundant advertisements printed throughout the tri-state area, Yeshiva University’s raison d'etre is to prepare students for the demands of the global market. To serve this end, Yeshiva University currently boasts several thriving Innovation Labs across its campuses where students can connect with pioneering entrepreneurs and startups via tangible cutting-edge pathway programs and incubators. It is a testament to YU’s values that these necessary labs have become the beating hearts of the institution.
Of course, this administration has not forgotten its Torah roots, which is why those 100 or so students who so desire still have the option to spend their mornings studying in the beit midrash. And Israel remains a central value as well, earning prominent mention with robust synergistic partnerships, as well as with the annual Yom Haatzmaut barbecue. Thankfully, though, these religious outlets, once upon a time considered integral as per old mantras like “Torah Umadda,” are no longer forced upon students. The minuscule minority of intellectually-minded students aside, the vast majority of YU students have been able to finally gain access to a college experience that is graced with optionality, and not burdened by taxing religious requirements that once drained precious hours out of every busy day. Now, YU more closely mirrors peer colleges, where religious obligations are relegated mostly to Shabbos and mealtimes, allowing for the workweek to be spent focusing on schoolwork and socializing.
So, on the brink of the tenth anniversary of Yeshiva University’s newest administration, this editor extends many salutes. Thank you to our president, who has shaped a relevant vision for students entering the global market. Thank you to our deans, for creating lighter requirements to accommodate the needs and schedules of the modern young adult. Thank you to our vice presidents and marketing team, for ensuring finances that invest in the right areas and for promoting our institution’s best features to the public eye.
We have sacrificed nothing. We have achieved everything.