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Ruppin Academic Center

Social Academia with an Environmental Agenda

Campus Ruppin

Routine academic training is not sufficient for the Ruppin Academic Center. Rather, the Center strives to cultivate a new generation of leaders who possess moral conscience and environmental awareness. As such, the Center has raised two central banners - utilization of the sea as a powerful source of economic development and research regarding immigration and social integration in response to Israel's largest social challenge.

Upon entering the Ruppin Academic Center, situated in the Hefer Valley in the heart of the Sharon region, one passes green lawns scattered with environmental sculptures, all of which were designed by new immigrant artists. One might say that the sculptured lawn is meant as a message to visitors, combining the social aspect of promoting immigrants with the environmental element of cultivating a green campus as part of our environmental commitment.

Portrait, Dr. Arthur Ruppin
Sculpture - Sasha Server
Olim Sculpture Garden
In a nutshell, the message that the Center leaders wish to get across is this: We are here not only to equip students with standard educational content, rather to train a generation of morally conscientious leaders who have a social mission and are environmentally aware. The search for the roots of this moral mission leads to the man for whom this institution is named, Dr. Arthur Ruppin, one of the founding father of Jewish agricultural settlement in the Land of Israel and a well known sociologist. Since being founded as The Ruppin School in 1949, the Center has gone through various changes. In 2001 it became a public college, financed by The Council for Higher Education through its Planning and Budgeting Committee, and awards undergraduate (B.A., B.Sc.) and graduate (M.A., M.B.A.) degrees in a variety of fields.

The Center operates two campuses: The Main Campus, in the Hefer Valley, is ensconced among the orchards of the Sharon region, and the Michmoret Campus specializes in marine sciences and houses The School of Marine Sciences.

Although Ruppin Academic Center has occupied a respected place in the landscape of Israeli colleges in recent years, it retains its calm, rural character, possibly thanks to its kibbutz legacy and the pastoral atmosphere of the area. After all, this institution was initially founded as an agricultural training center for the members of the Jewish settlement movement in the Land of Israel.

Management Studies were first offered within an academic format in 1979, when the Kibbutz Settlement Movement's "farm coordinator" track at Ruppin received unprecedented authorization by the Council for Higher Education to award a full degree in Economics and Management, thus becoming the first academic track authorized to operate outside the existing universities.

Since then, other administrative and professional degrees have developed at Ruppin. Two additional schools currently operate alongside the School of Social Sciences and Management, accounting for a total of nearly 4,000 students who study in the academic center alone, with a growth rate of 5% in each of the last five years. (Some 2,000 additional students study at The Ruppin Technological College, a separate entity that includes the School of Practical Engineering).

Ruppin Academic Center awards graduate degrees (M.A., M.B.A.) and undergraduate degrees (B.A., B.Sc.).

As of the year 2007, Ruppin Academic Center has been authorized to award graduate degrees:
M.A. in Immigration and Social Integration
Global M.B.A.
M.A. inClinicalPsycology
M.A. inLogistics and Maritime Systems

Four schools also operate at Ruppin:
Campus Ruppin
The School of
Economics and Business Administrationawards degrees in:
Economics and Management
Economics and Accounting
Business Administration
Global M.B.A.
M.A. inLogistics and Maritime Systems

The School of Social and Community Sciences awards degrees in:
Behavioral Sciences
Bachelor of Sciences in Nursing
M.A. in Immigration and Social Integration
M.A. inClinicalPsycology

The School of Engineering awards degrees in:
Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Industrial Engineering
Computer Engineering
Medical Engineering

The School of Marine Sciences awards degrees in:
B.Sc in Marine Environmental Sciences
B.Sc in MarineBiotechnology

In each of the past five years, over 800 students have completed their studies at the Center - one of the highest rates in Israel. Ruppin embraces and nurtures its students and alumni and is consistently awarded the top rating in satisfaction surveys carried out among Israel's general student population.

The Latent Potential of the Sea

Campus Michmoret
The marine field is one of two core topics promoted by the Center. Prof. Shosh Arad, President of Ruppin, who is passionate about developing sea resources, leads a unique quest for economic utilization of the sea in Israel. She has made the Center a pioneer in the field of Marine Sciences and is determined to position the development of the sea as an economic resource as a national priority. "The State of Israel is not utilizing the sea in the broadest and deepest sense of the word. The sea is a neglected economic resource in Israel. I feel that this is an essential Zionist mission, especially in a country such as Israel which lacks natural resources".

The vision of developing the sea is substantiated by a comprehensive study that was ordered by Ruppin's administration and executed by the "Shaldor" firm. The study examined the leveraging of natural resources and the economic potential thereof. The central conclusion of the study was that the economic potential is inexhaustible. In other words, the State of Israel is squandering an opportunity to develop a significant competitive advantage that could be attained by developing the sea along its borders. Such development could yield the Israeli economy additional resources to the extent of 1.5% in terms of product and a potential employment infusion of some 35,000 new employees in the short term.

Llaboratory, Michmoret Campus
Plans for the construction of a new building on the Michmoret Campus, which will provide modern, innovative infrastructure for a variety of existing and future study programs in the marine field, are currently being completed. Mr. Udi Angel, Chairman of the Board of Governors and one of Israel's leading businessmen, has assumed an active role in the raising of funds for the campus. Mr. Angel, himself a man of the sea, is active in widespread and diverse public service. Concurrently, a center for marine research and development which will serve as a research center for water and marine researchers has begun operations at the site, establishing joint projects with multi-national corporations such as Veolia and startup companies in the realm of water and the sea.

We envision bringing top researchers in the field from around the world to the center and providing them with the appropriate research conditions. Over the past number of years a data gathering system has been established and an extremely sophisticated research ship is available for researchers and students. Diverse research is in progress at the campus and continues to grow each year as researchers from universities around the country and the world come to The School of Marine Sciences in order to move forward with their research and utilize the existing infrastructure and/or to participate in seminars and conferences.

Immigration and Social Integration

Furthering research in the fields of immigration and absorption is an additional banner raised by Ruppin Academic Center. Just as we consider the sea to be an untapped natural resource, the realm of immigration encompasses a high quality human reserve that has not yet been properly integrated into Israeli society and constitutes a social issue of the highest priority. Ruppin's administration has implemented a social statement in this area by establishing "The Institute for Immigration and Social Integration". Surprisingly, until 2005 no serious academic research institution of this sort existed, despite being geared toward an issue that seems inevitable in an immigrant society such as Israel.

Ruppin Academic Center's decision to devote an entire institute to the study of immigration, absorption and social integration in Israel emphasizes its commitment to one of the most critical social issues, as well as one of the central challenges, faced by Israeli society. The Institute combines studies, teaching,
Students Campus Ruppin
research and training from all of the professional aspects related to immigration, absorption and social integration faced by Olim. A graduate program was opened in 2007, awarding an M.A. degree in Immigration and Social Integration. This is a unique, multi-disciplinary program and the first of its kind in Israel, the aim of which is to train skilled professionals in the realm of immigration, absorption and social integration. In addition to academic studies, the Institute holds seminars and conferences addressing various aspects of immigration and absorption in order to create a basis for public and professional debate around these issues. The Institute also aims to host continuing education programs in these fields through workshops, training programs and certification studies in order to prepare a generation of leaders who will deal with the issues of absorption and immigration with an emphasis on social integration.

The vision led by Prof. Shosh Arad, Ruppin's president is "for each student to learn about the immigration issue. We hold social initiative seminars featuring students who are involved in the community and the sparkle in their eyes is indescribable. These two realms, environment and society, are linked. Increased environmental and social awareness not only creates more educated and skilled leaders, who fit into the most updated global trends, but also better citizens for Israel".

A Green Campus

In order to translate our environmental vision into action, it was decided that both of Ruppin's learning centers would become green campuses. The new campus that is to be built in Michmoret will be based entirely on bio-climatic principles and will embody clear environmental principles. Comprehensive conservation work is already being practiced at the Emek Hefer campus, including comprehensive electricity saving actions (the institution's electricity consumption has decreased by 27% despite a 40% increase in the number of students), recycling, including economical utilization of paper and water and preservation of ground water (all lawns are watered with purified water which is reabsorbed into the ground).

All of this activity is channeled from the administrative level into the field in order to, among other things, set a personal example for the students, who have accepted the challenge and work to implement environmental principles. Thus, for example, the students have initiated widespread recycling activities and established a branch of "The Green Course" students' environmental organization.

Green principles have also trickled into the study content. The Business Administration Department, for example, offers courses such as "Green Industry" and holds prize winning contests encouraging students to think creatively in this realm. The Economics and Accounting Department emphasizes the accounting aspects of clean-tech industries.

There is vast activity in the realm of environmental protection and conservation within the School of Marine Sciences, such as beach cleaning campaigns, care for injured sea turtles and educating the next generation through the "The Ruth and Yuly Offer Marine Sciences Youth Program" program. Students play an active role in all of these activities, supported and encouraged by academic faculty members. Ruppin's objective is to shape a generation of graduates who are not only conscious of climatic problems and environmental solutions, but who are also aware of the immense business leverage that exists in the development of environmental solutions.

Prof. Shosh Arad - President, Ruppin Academic Center

Fromright to left (October 2007):
Mr. Udi Angel, Chairman of the Board
of Governors, Professor ShoshArad, President,
Mr. Henri Frogolio, Veolia President

Professor Arad was appointed president of Ruppin Academic Center in February 2004. She holds a degree in biology from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, completed a Master's degree at Ben Gurion University (with honors) and a doctorate at The City University of New York. Prof. Arad founded the Institute for Applied Biosciences at Ben Gurion University and was among the founders of the Department of Biotechnological Engineering. Over the years she has been active in the Council for Higher Education and was a member of its Planning and Budgeting Committee.

Prof. Arad has headed the Heads of Public Academic Colleges Committee since June 2006 and works to strengthen these colleges within the higher education system. She believes in a division of labor between the traditional academic institutions and the colleges and asserts that each has its own role to play, although she does not reject research being implemented within the colleges as well.

Arad is an esteemed researcher specializing in the biotechnology of algae, from the initial idea development stage through to the industrial product. A number of her developments, which were based on her algae research, are in fact utilized in more than 100 products in the cosmetics industry and in some of the world's leading medications.

Ruppin Academic Center's administration faces an immense challenge. The Center's strategic development plans include the introduction of graduate degrees in clinical psychology, marine resource management and engineering alongside the constant addition of graduate programs such as social work, logistical international commerce and life sciences.

"The new age belongs to the colleges", states Prof. Arad. "The majority of Israel's undergraduate students already attend these colleges. This is a rapidly growing and extremely competitive market. We must be unique and include relevant content that will provide our students and graduates with a high quality learning experience as well as with tools of the highest level".

 
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