PEP (Philosophy, Economics, Political Science) PROGRAM | האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
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PEP (Philosophy, Economics, Political Science) PROGRAM


The integrative program on Philosophy, Economics and Political Science (PEP) was established in 1998. Following the decision of the Rector and the Standing Committee of the Hebrew University, a Review Committee was called to review the program and assess its success.
The members of the Review Committee were: Prof. Russell Hardin (NYU, Department of Politics); Prof. Shlomo Avineri (the Hebrew University, Political Science); Prof. Menahem Yaari (the Hebrew University, Economics); Prof. Sarah Stroumsa, the Pro-Rector (Chair). Prof. Michael Waltzer of the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, was unable to attend.
The Committee convened for three intensive days (26-28 Oct.), read and discussed material prepared by the program directors and other faculty involved and interviewed the program director, the program's academic committee, the deans of the two faculties and the chairmen of the relevant departments. The Committee also met separately with a group of third year students and a group of program graduates.
The Committee members have been very favorably impressed with the program: The program attracts bright students to the Hebrew University, and offers them a unique, integrative program. It cultivates their talents and fosters their ability to think critically and independently, providing them with the necessary substantive tools. While some students undoubtedly would have achieved high records in the separate departments, the program is geared to direct the students and give them close guidance, so as to ensure such achievements. 
The selective character of the program creates an esprit de corps, which in turn translates into added intellectual stimuli. The program has been blessed with a fine director who admirably fulfills his roles in administration, teaching and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with students. 
The students we met were very enthusiastic. The faculty, both those involved directly with the program and those further away from it (Deans and heads of departments), generally regard it as very successful academically and a major asset to the Hebrew University. The students' grades are generally high, and many are recognized institutionally for their excellence, making the Dean's and Rector's lists. Many of the program's graduates continue their studies. 
This program is emblematic of the Hebrew University's aspiration to encourage excellence and to foster elite programs. It may well be a successful item on the University's list of programs being proposed to donors. 
Although the Committee was asked to focus mainly on the academic level of the program, budgetary issues could not be avoided. The program, which fulfills the University's aspirations, suffers from not having its own designated faculty and it seems ill-served by the present internal allocation system.
To various degrees, the two deans (of the Social Sciences and the Humanities) and the heads of the three departments all evaluated the program highly. This success, however, is precarious in so far as the program is dependent on the continuous good will of the departments and the ongoing struggle of the head of the program to secure teachers.
The Committee is unanimous in its appreciation of the achievements of the program as highly successful. There is no doubt that the program should continue to exist, and that the University should uphold it as a model for excellence. 
In order to ensure the continuous successful existence of the program, it should receive solid institutional backing:
  • 3 half positions through joint appointments should be added, one being that of the director.
  • The selection of teachers in the program should be made in consultation with the respective departments.
  • Secretarial services should be independent from the good will of other units.
  • Adequate office space should be designated.
  • The combined and integrated nature of the program and the high quality of its students calls for differential criteria for financial support and program-specific scholarships.
  • Finally, the committee suggests that the program consider raising the overall course load to at least 130 credit points (at no extra cost to the student), opening the way to additional program-specific courses.
PEP (Philosophy, Economics, Political Science) PROGRAM