Yeshiva University News » 2010 » October » 13

The Center for Ethics at YU Launches New Online Essay Series

To advance its mission of promoting thoughtful, informed discussion of contemporary ethical issues throughout the University and beyond, the Center for Ethics is initiating a series of online essays on Ethics in Public Life.  The series will feature relatively brief opinion pieces by faculty and other members of the YU community.  Some will be based on talks given at Center events.  Others will be written expressly for this online forum.  Original essays will be supplemented on occassion by articles previously published elsewhere.  Topics for discussion will include public leadership, academic integrity, business conduct and professional ethics.

The objective of the online series is to serve as a lively forum for discussion among various YU constituencies: undergraduates, graduate professional students, faculty, alumni, families, staff and others.  It aims to advance several important goals:

  • To show how ethical problems arise in many areas of contemporary society and how ethical analysis can aid our understanding of crucial issues in our public life.
  • To tap the into the rich intellectual resources of the Yeshiva University community, including but not limited to distinguished members of the faculty.
  • To promote the exchanging of ideas, not merely across disciplines, but across the University’s diverse schools, campuses and constituencies.
  • To demonstrate the unique contributions that Jewish law and ethics can make to broader public discussion of contemporary social issues.

Visit the Center for Ethics Web site to learn more about the new series and to read the inaugural essay by Chancellor Dr. Norman Lamm on The Ethics and Character of Leaders – From Biblical Sources.

There are also several essays based on a March 2010 panel discussion, hosted by the Center for Ethics, examining “Is the Financial Crisis a Moral Crisis?” Articles include The Global Recession and Jewish Law by Aaron Levine, the Samson and Halina Bitensky Professor of Economics and chair of the economics department at Yeshiva University; Financial Meltdown and a Crisis of Values by Moses Pava, the Alvin Einbender Professor of Business Ethics at Sy Syms School of Business; and Ethics and the Jewish Community: A Challenge by Leonard Shaykin, managing partner of Lambda Star Infrastructure Partners, LLC.

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Azrieli Adds New Requirement to Master’s Program

As the worldwide educational community places increasing emphasis on the heterogeneous nature of the classroom, Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration has added a new requirement to its master’s program: a course in differentiated instruction.  “We want our graduates to be fully armed and prepared to provide for an array of needs in Jewish education,” said David J. Schnall, dean of Azrieli, “and the first step is to sensitize teachers to this diversity and equip them with the tools and technology to respond.”

The course, which has been taught at Azrieli for the past five years by Scott Goldberg, director of its Institute for University-School Partnership, trains teachers to manage multiple experiences for students within the same classroom. “Students engage with the instructor in different ways, and the instructor provides different scaffolding for each student based on his or her level,” Dr. Goldberg explained. The variations are often subtle. For example, Dr. Goldberg described a classroom in which a casual observer would detect nothing unusual: a teacher lecturing from a blackboard as the class listens and take notes. However, in a differentiated environment, these students may all be listening for—and learning about—different information. One group might need to fill in the blanks in a copy of notes prepared by the teacher, while another might have a list of the day’s main topics, and still another may be required to deduce the topics individually.

The Differentiated Instruction course, which is differentiated itself, is offered in tandem with another course, Diverse Learners, to hone teachers’ ability to recognize the complex needs of a varied student body. The course in differentiated instruction builds on this understanding to train teachers to develop curricula goals and materials, classroom experiences, assessments, and environments, which can be tailored for a variety of students at once, according to Goldberg.

The new requirement is a major investment for the graduate school. Of the 36 credits comprising the master’s degree in Jewish education, six are dedicated to meeting the challenges of diverse needs within the classroom. Yet Dean Schnall felt that this only served to emphasize how critical it is for today’s teachers to possess these skills. “The single most important function of the Jewish community is providing Jewish education to the next generation,” he said. “Numerous studies indicate that day schools are key to that process and we are committed to making them the most meaningful and responsive institutions they can be.”

In addition to the newly-required course, the Institute is developing programming to train Judaic Studies teachers across the globe. With support from the Jim Joseph Foundation, online certificate programs will be launched in January, including one in differentiated instruction, to share the knowledge and experience cultivated at Azrieli with the larger community of Jewish educators.

For more information about advanced study at Azrieli, visit www.yu.edu/azrieli. To learn more about the online certificate programs in differentiated instruction, contact Naava Frank, director of Continuing Education and Professional Development at the Institute for University-School Partnership, at naava.frank@yu.edu.

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