12:05 PM

YIEP Program Offers Access To Underserved Community

YIEP Program Offers Access To Underserved Community

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Access to education can open up all kinds of doors. Bellevue University’s partnership with Yeshiva Initiatives Educational Programs (YIEP) was designed to open doors for Orthodox Jews. The customized programs, administered through the University, allow Orthodox Jews to continue their education in an environment that does not conflict with their lifestyle demands and cultural customs.

YIEPThe program began in 2005 after Rabbi Pesach Lerner contacted the University seeking to develop a program compatible with the Orthodox Jewish community’s beliefs. A meeting with lead faculty, Dr. Mary Hawkins (provost at the time) and others was arranged and an agreement sprung from the meeting. The Master of Arts in Educational Leadership was the first program offered through the partnership. Other degrees available through the partnership include bachelor’s degrees in business and human services, an MBA, and a Master of Science in Clinical Counseling.

“We currently have about 200 students – across a variety of YIEP programs – in the system,” said Dr. Stephen Linenberger, who oversees the program on the University’s end. “It’s the longest running educational partnership in Bellevue University’s 50-year history. Clearly the program has been very sustainable.”

Students pursue a number of paths following graduation and a majority of graduates have advanced their careers, started a career, or have gone on to pursue additional education at Ivy League institutions.

Doni Silverstein earned his MAEL from Bellevue University in 2006 and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University in 2014. He is currently a Staff Therapist at the Center for Applied Psychology at the Bikur Cholim organization in the greater New York City area.

“I had always wanted to pursue a master’s degree, but with restrictions on time and location, I could never find the right fit until Bellevue University came into my life,” Silverstein said.

Working with professors who promoted interaction and a group of highly-motivated peers made for a wonderful learning experience, Silverstein said. The format also allowed Silverstein to manage his school responsibilities in addition to his job and family obligations.

“I really enjoyed the content and subject matter of each course, the University afforded me an interesting and fun learning experience making sure I never felt overwhelmed getting back into the swing of attending graduate school,” he said. And when it came time to tackle Columbia and Ivy League academic standards, Silverstein felt prepared.

“Bellevue University prepared me for Columbia University in a myriad of ways,” he said. “I would say the importance of learning and perfecting the ability to manage my time properly (time management), the ability to synthesize, analyze, and integrate information into graduate level writing, and the self-confidence to not only pursue my degree at Columbia University, but also succeed at an Ivy League school level.

Bellevue University has continued to impact Silverstein’s life beyond Columbia as well.

“Bellevue University has impacted my life and career on multiple levels. First, there is no question that without my degree I never would have had the ability to apply to Columbia University and pursue my career as a therapist. Second, earning my MAEL offered me a graduate-level education about topics such as: leadership, education, non-profits, psychology, and group dynamics, subject matter that I deal with in my current career on an almost daily basis,” he said. “Finally, my degree has also given me the opportunity to become an adjunct professor at the University and give back to the student body.”

Lerner has been pleased with the quality and growth of the program over the years.

“The partnership is successful because everyone really cares for the student, they want the student to learn and be successful. And it shows!” he said.