I have always wondered if anyone actually takes the time to read the “Message from the President” that is included on almost every college website. But if you are reading this now, then I guess the answer is “yes”! And since you are reading this message, the least I can do in return is to try and make the experience as painless as possible!
You won’t be surprised to find out that I consider American Jewish University a rather wonderful place. After all, what else would the president of a university say about the school he leads? But in my case, I think I have extra credibility, since I actually attended AJU for several years as an undergraduate, as a graduate student and then as a continuing education student, too.
What is so wonderful about AJU? More than anything else, it is the atmosphere we have created here. This is a place where each student is truly cherished. Our small faculty to student ratio means that every student gets a great deal of personal attention. An AJU professor is not some remote person lecturing to a class of several hundred students, but instead, someone who will know your name, spend time talking to you outside of class, and take an interest in what you have to say.
As the name AJU implies, we are an institution of the Jewish community. Our student body consists primarily, but not exclusively, of members of the Jewish faith. Our Jewish students represent the full range of Jewish belief and practice, from fully observant to fully secular, and we do our best to make everyone feel comfortable at AJU, regardless of their personal faith.
AJU students who finish our undergraduate program go on to attend some of the nation’s finest graduate programs. Our graduate students take positions as rabbis, Jewish educators, and executives in nonprofit organizations. Not only do our students have regular opportunities to interact with AJU scholars, but they are also offered mentoring programs that can ease their way into the fields of their choice. AJU has been able to sustain one of the lowest student-faculty ratios in the nation at 7:1, while maintaining one of the most affordable tuition rates of a private university in Southern California. We are also proud of our record of 90% placement of graduates seeking enrollment in graduate programs and professional schools.
In addition to our undergraduate program, we have three different graduate schools: the Graduate School of Nonprofit Management, the Graduate Center for Education, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. AJU made history when we opened the Ziegler School in 1996, as it was the first independent rabbinical school west of the Mississippi. Today our rabbinical and education graduates serve congregations and schools throughout the United States and Canada. Graduates of our nonprofit management program go on to careers as executives of some of the most important nonprofit organizations in our community.
For the adult learner, we have our Whizin Center for Continuing Education, the largest Jewish continuing education program in the United States with over 12,000 participants each year. We offer courses in Jewish history, Israeli society, literature, Bible, rabbinics, philosophy, current events, arts, entertainment, personal development, Yiddish, and Hebrew.
Of course, I could go on and on about the many programs at AJU. With our Ziering-BCI collegiate summer program and our Alonim summer camp, we are quite unique, both as a university and as an institution of the Jewish community. I promise that you will be surprised and pleased as you learn more about the range of things we do at AJU.
As you visit our website, you might have questions or even suggestions. Do you need more information, an application or a brochure? We would love to hear from you. So please e-mail us with your inquiry or comment, and we promise to respond to you as promptly as we can. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Okay. Now I am done. I hope I have given you at least a “taste” of AJU. As you can tell, this place means a great deal to me. And if you decide to join us here at American Jewish University, I promise it will mean a great deal to you too!
Dr. Robert Wexler