Faculty Members, Students — New and Veteran — and all Members of the University of Haifa Family,
This year we begin the new year with great joy and excitement but also with some fear due to the recent events in our country. As is the case every year, we are excited about what’s to come and we are full of hope for the coming year; hopes for a productive, challenging and fruitful year.
I wish to send our sincere condolences to the mourning families, a speedy recovery to those wounded and our sincere wishes for better times. We shall do everything in our power to make certain that our campus will continue to be a place where students and faculty of all populations will study and research together in an atmosphere of excellence and tolerance.
As a result of the situation and according to instructions issued by the Police we have increased security throughout the campus and are in constant contact with the police.
As is the case every year, this year will also see many new students who face a new challenge of a new place and a new environment. Adapting to a new place is not always easy. Thus, it is important to us that you know that we are here for you.
The 2015/16 academic year will commence with over 18,000 students – a record number. The University of Haifa offers its students a diverse range of programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. This diversity includes 20 international programs taught in English targeting international students who come to study here and live on campus. This fills us with great pride.
In order for us to continue to develop our research, allow high quality of teaching and to assist in the national directive to stem the “brain drain”, this year we absorbed 20 new, young and excellent researchers from the best universities and research centers around the world.
They will continue their important work here on campus and share their knowledge and know-how with our students.
Recently, one of our faculty members, Prof. Guy Bar Oz, received a prestigious grant (ERC) from the European Union. This week we also received news of another win: Dr. Jonathan Ben Dov received a large grant from the German Israel Fund (GIF). We have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a large university in China as well as an agreement of cooperation with the University of Texas in the area of the marine sciences, an area of research led in Israel by the University of Haifa. These are just a few examples of our award winning research.
We have invested many resources in improving the facilities and infrastructures supporting teaching and research. There is of course always room for improvement but we strive to do our best in this area. In the past year we begun the planning for the new home of our Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, we continued with the construction of new research laboratories and classrooms both on campus and in our Port campus and we inaugurated the new pedestrian bridge which has been constructed to keep the University community safe. We aim to continue with our development and construction projects this year as well.
All that is mentioned in the last paragraph is made possible through generous gifts received from our friends and supporters both in Israel and around the world as well as investments in applied research through our associated company “Carmel- Haifa University Economic Corporation Ltd”.
As mentioned, our main directive as a Research University is academic excellence both in teaching and research. however, the University of Haifa has two more directives which are of strategic importance to the continued existence and prosperity of the State of Israel.
The first stems from our location in Northern Israel. We are the largest research university in the Northern part of the country and this has great impact on the strength of this region, the Northern periphery.
The second stems from our diverse student and faculty population. More than any institution of higher learning in Israel, our students and faculty population mirrors the composition of Israeli society. At the University of Haifa you will find Jews, Arabs, Druze and Circassians studying and researching together, soldiers alongside civilians, religious people alongside secular people, new comers alongside Sabras, and more.
We strongly believe that regardless of any political affiliations, creating a common denominator for all groups represented in Israeli society is an essential component for our continued prosperity as a country. Sometimes this cultural diversity creates tensions. However, we must not be afraid of them. Tensions are part of a democratic and liberal society and we must learn from these instances. We believe that being exposed to cultural diversity on campus makes our graduates better equipped in the workplace and the global marketplace of the 21st century.
We can assume that the events of the past weeks will challenge the fabric of relations on campus and, therefore, we must all do our utmost to see our university continues to be a place of academic excellence and tolerance.
It is important for us to hear from you, our students and faculty. In addition to meetings scheduled throughout the year we also conduct satisfaction surveys whose results we regularly publish and address. The last survey was conducted in April 2015 and it results were published in September 2015.
We wish to take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to the academic and administrative faculty, the Student Association, and our students for their contributions to our beloved University and for their cooperation. Without you we would not be able to achieve what we have so far.
To summarize, the University is first and foremost an excellent research and teaching university and we do that from our prominent location in the Northern periphery of the country in an atmosphere of openness and tolerance. All of these factors combine to making our university strategically important for our country.
We wish you all a productive and enjoyable year. Sincerely,
Amos Shapira Prof. David Faraggi