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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Ivy League’

‘Reputation Always Lags Behind Reality By Several Years’: A Conversation With Touro College’s Future President

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

At 94, Dr. Bernard Lander, Touro College’s founder and president for 39 years, is finally ready to pass on the leadership mantle.

Last month Touro announced that Dr. Alan Kadish, formerly professor of medicine at Northwestern University, will succeed Dr. Lander as president in the near future with Dr. Lander set to become the university’s chancellor. Meanwhile, Dr. Kadish will serve as the college’s senior provost and chief operating officer.

Dr. Kadish, born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, received his medical degree from Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine and postdoctoral medical training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (an affiliate of Harvard Medical School) and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Bergenfield, New Jersey with his wife and four children.

The Jewish Press recently spoke with Dr. Kadish.

The Jewish Press: Northwestern University is one of the best universities in the country. What made you leave that institution to come to Touro?

Dr. Kadish: I believe, and I came here with the belief, that Touro is on its way to becoming an outstanding academic institution. It’s a relatively young school but we have over 17,000 students in 29 schools. There are outstanding faculty members. It takes time to develop a reputation, but what I saw when I visited Touro was evidence of academic quality throughout the institution which far exceeded its reputation.

Of New York’s two Jewish colleges – Yeshiva University (YU) and Touro College – Touro has a reputation among some for being the less “serious” of the two. How do you regard this characterization?

I don’t think that calling something serious or not serious is really useful. What I would say is that Touro and YU have different goals. YU has a particular philosophy, [Torah U'mada], that it tries to inculcate in its students and it directs its education accordingly. And that’s great.

But Touro feels there’s a role for another kind of education. In fact, the kind of education that Touro offers is really the kind of education most universities in the world offer. Most universities in the world don’t promulgate a particular political philosophy, at least not on paper. They provide education, and that’s Touro’s philosophy. We provide education.

Perhaps the fact that Touro’s education in some of its schools is more goal- oriented rather than philosophically motivated leads people to perceive it as less serious. But we certainly don’t view it that way.

How about Touro’s reputation, in certain circles, for providing a decent rather than a great education?

I think that reputation always lags behind reality by several years.

If you look, for example, at Touro’s undergraduate colleges right now, these are actually outstanding institutions with tremendous faculty and world-class deans educated at Ivy League schools who have tremendous commitment to education. I think our goal in the short term actually is not so much to change all that much in these institutions, but rather to get the word out.

It’s also true that because Touro is such a complex institution with many components to it, sometimes there can be some spillover effect [reputation-wise] if one component is not working so well. That’s why one of my goals is to increase quality throughout Touro.

What are some of your other goals?

The first goal, like I said, is to continue to strengthen the academic quality throughout the institution. It’s a large institution with 29 different schools, and there’s excellent education throughout. But there are some places where it can be made better.

A second goal is to solidify the health sciences programs. We want to increase integration and coordination among these programs to help cross-fertilize ideas and educational opportunities.

And a third goal that Dr. Lander has, which I fully support, is to try to help grow the international programs at Touro, which he views as outposts of Touro and Yiddishkeit for a variety of different communities throughout the world.

Any other goals?

No, those will take a couple of years!

Who’s Watching The Kids?

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

A good friend of mine, “Sarah,” recently shared her concern over her two year old grandson’s health. As far as she could remember, he was always coming down with a cold, ear infection, or stomach virus. It seemed as if every other week, the little boy had to be taken to his pediatrician. Since her daughter-in-law worked and took college classes, Sarah often had to use her own personal and sick days at work to be available to watch him when he was sick and home from day care.

Sarah strongly felt that her grandson’s frequent illnesses were due to a combination of being exposed to other ill children at his day care center and the fact that it was unlikely he was napping properly while other babies and toddlers were crying and screaming nearby. He was run down and therefore his immune system was not up to par. And the fact that the boy was in day care, she angrily insisted, was her son’s fault.

Her son, a brilliant young man, had decided after he came back from his year in Israel that he was not going to attend the Ivy League college where he had applied and had been accepted. Instead, he would become a full time learner, and then go into chinuch. His rebbes and friends and applauded this decision. Many expressed how envious they were that they had a son who was such a talmid chacham.

While she and her husband took pride in their son’s Torah study, they were also somewhat concerned. Both were college graduates and they had expected him to be one as well. Though they both had well-paying jobs, they barely managed to pay their mortgage, tuition and camp for five children, insurance and maintenance of their minivan and car, plus all the extras that are part and parcel of raising a frum, middle-class family. How would their son manage to support his family?

Their concerns were realistic. While their son learned, their daughter-in-law, whom they loved and admired, held the fort. “Leah” went to college with the goal of graduating in the health sciences so that she would have a career that paid decently. She also went to work because the bills had to be paid. When she had the baby, she had no choice but to hand him over to a woman in the neighborhood who watched several babies at her home. Both her own mother and her husband’s mother worked and were not available for full time baby-sitting. And staying home with the baby was out of the question.

At one point, Sarah had considered quitting her job for the baby’s sake, but part of her paycheck went to subsidize her son’s expenses and truthfully, she loved her job. She had been a stay-at-home mother until her youngest was in pre-school. She believed in the theory, backed by research, that the first three or four years of a child’s life form the foundation for the future.

A child who felt loved and had his/her mother’s attention and encouragement would likely grow up to be a confident, competent adult. She believed those children who were lacking emotional nourishment grew up to be insecure and unsure of themselves, and easy prey for abusive or manipulative people – whom, she felt, had also been emotionally neglected children.

Those years at home had been draining but fulfilling. When her youngest went off to school, Sarah was ready to join the world of working (out of the house) adults and to make use of her hard-earned education and skills.

Now, Sarah couldn’t understand this new world of barely-home-mothers and barely-home-babies. She blamed it on the barely-home non-working fathers. Whatever happened, she wondered, to men who earned during the day and learned at night and in their spare time? Weren’t the gedolim from the Talmudic times wage earners? Some were royal court doctors, some were shoe-makers and milkmen, but all worked. The great and venerable Chofetz Chaim had a grocery store.

The only solution, as unfair as it sounded, was for only the children of the wealthy to be full time learners, supported by their parents so that their wives could stay at home with their babies. Or perhaps a Yissachar and Zevulun arrangement could be made where a wealthy friend would support the learning family and share the learner’s zechus of learning Torah.

Sounds good, but was it realistic? All I could do was listen. And to say a quiet mazel tov when she called last week to let me know her the young couple was expecting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/whos-watching-the-kids/2004/12/29/

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