Season Finale: Professor Rachel Mesch’s Last Year at YU
Over the past 16 years at Yeshiva College, Professor Rachel Mesch has shaped the character of the English department. An expert in 19th century French literature and a scholar in gender studies, she taught classes such as “Parisian Views” and “France and its Others” which were staples of YU’s English class offerings. These classes, in addition to her media studies classes and French language classes that she taught at the beginning of her stint at YU, became many students’ favorites, and greatly impacted students.
This past year, however, was Mesch’s last teaching at YU, as she accepted a position at the Romance Languages Department in Boston University. There, she will teach classes in French to Ph.D students, utilizing her scholarship in gender studies, and will conduct research on 19th century France. Her departure closes the curtain on the general studies classes core that she had been teaching to YU students and allows her to teach more specialized classes.
Mesch, who earned her Masters in French literature and language from Columbia University and her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, was initially brought on at YU to teach French classes and build a language, literature and cultures department in 2007. This led to her going on trips to France with students and teaching classes exclusively in French. However, when budget cuts led the languages department to drop its Arabic, Yiddish, Spanish and French offerings, she transitioned to the English department. Her passions for teaching literature and ideas led her to also teach many of the freshman honors seminars and literature courses on both the Wilf and Beren campuses.
Reflecting on her move to Boston University to The Commentator, Mesch expressed excitement about working with graduate students beginning to pursue scholarship in her area of expertise, but stated that she will miss teaching on the undergraduate level at YU. One aspect of YU that she appreciated is the intellectual community that can be cultivated through Torah U’Madda, where students come into secular classes ready to learn and analyze with the dedication that they have towards their religious studies.
When questioned about her parting wishes to the YU community, Mesch told The Commentator how much she appreciated the passion of the secular studies faculty, and wanted to inform students that every professor at YU has an immense passion towards education and connecting with students in the classroom. She also encouraged students to enroll in many of the great classes in the English department that are available for students.
Photo Caption: Professor Rachel Mesch taught at YU for 16 years.
Photo Credit: Rachel Mesch