Shalem College
September 19, 2017

It’s Official: Shalem Receives Accreditation from the Council of Higher Education

It’s Official: Shalem Receives Accreditation from the Council of Higher Education
Shalem College, Jerusalem

In a move that Shalem President Isaiah Gafni called “deeply gratifying, and a wonderful start to the new year,” the Government of the State of Israel  announced this past week that it has ratified the Council for Higher Education’s July decision to recognize Shalem College as an accredited institution of higher education. This step enables Shalem to award its graduates a dual-major Bachelor of Arts in both its innovative Program in Humanistic Studies and either the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies or the Department of Philosophy and Jewish Thought.

The Council’s decision followed a lengthy evaluation of the college’s curriculum, academic leadership and faculty, governance, and financial management and sustainability, and is the climax of a process that began eight years ago, when Shalem filed an application for a permit from the Council in March of 2009.

“From the moment we were granted a permit in January of 2013 to the opening ceremony in October of that year, we were ‘like dreamers,’ never quite believing that we were about to welcome our first academic class,” says Shalem Executive Vice President Daniel Polisar. Now, four years and four full classes later, he continues, the Council’s decision to accredit Shalem provides a welcome opportunity for reflection. “For everyone who believed in the vision of Shalem College from the very beginning, this milestone can serve as an important reminder of the value of dreaming big.’”

Shalem, which for the past two years was ranked among Israel’s leading institutions of higher education by the National Union of Israeli Students’ Annual Student Satisfaction Survey, drew its inspiration from the Anglo-American model of a broad-based, interdisciplinary education, with an emphasis on direct engagement with the great ideas of civilization as well as with real-world challenges outside the classroom. “The founders of Shalem believed that this model can play an important role in developing leading citizens in a society,” Polisar explained. “Now that Shalem is accredited, we hope to make a more meaningful contribution both to Israel’s academic community and to the country as a whole.”

With its first cohort of graduates making their way into positions in government, diplomacy, education, academia, journalism and the nonprofit world, among other areas, the effects of Shalem’s educational approach will soon be put to the test. “With the power to grant academic degrees comes the responsibility to ensure that our graduates have indeed been prepared to take on meaningful, influential roles in our society. So while we’re taking a moment to enjoy the accreditation announcement,” finishes Polisar, “it’ll be just a moment. A new year is about to begin; it’s right back to work.”