A Warm Reception
All good things must come to an end, even an enjoyable Sukkot vacation. After spending time with my family in Los Angeles and Melbourne, Australia, the transition back to school was not easy. I was reminiscing on the break while walking to my first accounting lesson when one of my professors suddenly called my name and welcomed me back to college. This encounter cheered me up and got me thinking about what makes Yeshiva University such a special place.
I believe there is one aspect about Yeshiva University that is greatly overlooked; namely, the personal relationship one can create with the professors and deans. This relationship is predicated on the relatively small student body. According to U.S. News, the student-faculty ratio at Yeshiva University (YU) is 7:1, and approximately 60% of the classes contain fewer than 20 students, with only 1% of the classes containing more than 50 students. The national average for student-faculty ratios, in comparison, is 18:1, and the average college class size is about 30 students. One can ascertain that the average YU student is able to interact with his or her professor or dean on a personal level more frequently than in other colleges.
To emphasize the distinction, I would like to cross a few state borders and share the experiences of a friend of mine at the University of Pennsylvania. He and I are almost exactly the same age, and we both started college this past fall. In the few weeks that I have been on campus, I have had the privilege of meeting with the Dean and Associate Dean of the Sy Syms School of Business (SSSB). Alternatively, my friend at Penn has had a “few back and forths with professors; nothing with deans though.” This minimal interaction is typical. The professors and deans simply do not have enough time to meet with their students, let alone form personal bonds.
Unlike the University of Pennsylvania and other colleges that boast massive enrollments well over 20,000 students, the small student body at YU expressly enables these opportunities. After my first accounting class of the year, I introduced myself to the professor. He invited me to tag along with him to meet Dr. Noam Wasserman, the Dean of SSSB. Dean Wasserman warmly invited me into his office, and we ended up schmoozing for more than half an hour. He inquired about my upbringing, how college was going and my current career aspirations. I was even able to ask him for guidance and advice on how to navigate the college experience. On a totally different occasion a few weeks later, I had the privilege to sit down with SSSB Associate Dean Michael Strauss. I once again personally interacted with a dean. These are experiences unique to YU.
Why are these interactions significant? For one thing, respectful two-way relationships are always better. Knowing one’s place and proper boundaries of respect are of course necessary, but the students in particular benefit when the conversation is free-flowing and mutual. Students can glean guidance and expectations. They have the forum to ask questions and provide suggestions, and the deans are often even inclined to take these proposals to heart. Above all, they make the student feel welcome and valued as a member of the YU family.
Photo Caption: YU students speaking with a mentor.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University