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EDU | VOLUME 02 | ISSUE 03

A 9.9 MEDIA PUBLICATION MARCH-APRIL 2011 WWW.EDU-LEADERS.COM

FOR

LEADERS

FOR LEADERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Latha Pillai Pro VC, IGNOU

IN

HIGHER

EDUC ATION

Amita Chatterjee VC, Presidency University

Latha Chakravarthy Director, ICFAI Business School

WWW.EDU-LEADERS.COM

What Women Want

Jancy James VC, Central University of Kerala

Women occupy just a handful of VC seats in Indian universities. Is leadership not in their sights? Pg 12

FACE-TO-FACE

S.B. MUJUMDAR, A PIONEER IN HIGHER EDUCATION, TALKS OF HIS JOURNEY P48

PROFILE

S.K. SOPORY “PREPARE LECTURES CAREFULLY” P60

Advancing Higher Education Through Best Practices in Technology


FOREWORD A Few Good Women

T

“THE CAPABILITY OF WOMEN LEADERS, PARTICULARLY IN HIGHER EDUCATION, HAS NEVER BEEN A POINT OF CONTENTION”

he numbers are stark. Sixty per cent of lecturers are women. Twenty per cent of professors are women. But, merely 13 of India’s 431 universities have women vice chancellors. That’s 3% of the total population of vice chancellors. Six of them lead women-only institutions. Of the 15 new central universities, guess how many have women vice chancellors? Two! International Women’s Day inspired us to ask why. Harvard and MIT have women Presidents. So do three of the seven Ivy League American universities – Brown, Princeton and University of Pennsylvania. Why are our numbers so skewed? EDU spoke to nine women leaders in the Indian higher education sector. Their views are captured in our lead story this month. Like all capable women, they present a balanced perspective. Unlike them, however, I firmly believe women are under-represented when it comes to leadership roles in Indian higher education. We do need strong women leaders in Indian colleges and universities. For me, the capability of women leaders, particularly in higher education, has never been a point of contention. I believe there are more than a few capable women who are available and willing to take on leadership roles. However, the glass ceiling in academia is, in fact, stronger than in other disciplines. Nearly 25 years ago, I was nominated as a postgraduate student to the Dean Search Committee of the engineering school where I was doing my PhD. There was a lone woman candidate. But, from Day-1 it was clear to me that the men on the committee were not ready to accept a woman as their leader. We went through the motions of interviewing her, but she was practically not in contention. In these 25 years, I suspect things have only improved marginally across the globe. In India though, we have a long way to go. And I am hopeful that more women will break the glass ceiling as the 13 women VCs of India have. EDU salutes these 13 pioneers and their peers. And we commit to nurturing and supporting many more women in the coming years to reach leadership positions in higher education. We are looking for a few good women!

Dr Pramath Raj Sinha pramath@edu-leaders.com

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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CONTENTS EDU MARCH-APRIL 2011

Latha Pillai

UPDATE

04 BUDGET 05 RESERVATION REPORT 06 SPOTLIGHT MAKEOVER 07 VIOLATION VERDICT

Jancy James

VIEWPOINT

08 RAHUL CHOUDAHA The six marketing mantras for admissions

62

ACADEMICS

24 CURING THE CURRICULUM The Medical Council of India is set to roll out a reformed curriculum By Aniha Brar 28 SAVING THE SCIENCES: IISC TO THE RESCUE IISc will open its doors to undergraduates. Will it be second-time lucky? By Smita Polite

tterjee Amita Cha

COVER STORY 63

35 TECHNOLOGY FOR QUALITY AND COLLABORATION Teacher or technology? Why not both?

If you are spending time not doing what you are paid for, it is also corruption”

STRATEGY

SOPORY, VICE CHANCELLOR, JNU

TECHNOLOGY

EDUTECH  March-April 2011

By Rohini Banerjee & Smita Polite

54

GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

EXPERTISE

2

12 WHAT WOMEN WANT Lack of opportunity, or interest? Why are there so few women leaders in the Indian higher education sector?

— PROFESSOR SUDHIR K.

38 INDUSTRYINSTITUTE LINKAGES Workforce improvement should be a key academic objective By R. Gopal

46 AARON B. SCHWARZ Campus design tips to break down departmental silos and allow cross-disciplinary mix

Latha Chak ravarthy

60

Learn more about what’s currently happening in institutions around the world. The Chronicle of Higher Education shares its perspectives with EDU


FOR LEADERS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

MANAGING DIRECTOR: Pramath Raj Sinha PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: Anuradha Das Mathur EDITORIAL DIRECTOR: Mala Bhargava GROUP EDITOR: R. Giridhar ASSISTANT EDITOR: Smita Polite ASSISTANT FEATURES EDITOR: Rohini Banerjee CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Aniha Brar SUB EDITOR: Ruhi Ahuja

FACE-TO-FACE 48 DR S.B. MUJUMDAR

Hailed by academics and administrators as the “pioneer of edupreneurship”, Dr Mujumdar speaks of his journey By Padmaja Shastri

EVENT

SALES & MARKETING VP SALES & MARKETING: Naveen Chand Singh BRAND MANAGER: Ankur Agarwal NATIONAL MANAGER-EVENTS & SPECIAL PROJECTS: Mahantesh Godi NATIONAL MANAGER EDU TECH: Nitin Walia ( 09811772466) ASSISTANT BRAND MANAGER: Swati Sharma AD CO-ORDINATION/SCHEDULING: Kishan Singh

32 EDUTECH-2011 Advancing higher education through best practices in technology

54 THE MAKING OF WORLD-CLASS UNIVERSITIES, OF THE CHINESE VARIETY By Paula Marantz Cohen

PRODUCTION & LOGISTICS SR GM OPERATIONS: Shivshankar M. Hiremath PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE: Vilas Mhatre LOGISTICS: M.P. Singh, Mohamed Ansari and Shashi Shekhar Singh

PERSPECTIVE

64 CREATING A WINWIN SITUATION By Chandar Sundaram

56 A WIKILEAKS CLONE TAKES ON HIGHER EDUCATION By Marc Perry

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60 SUDHIR K. SOPORY A teacher at heart By Smita Polite & Rohini Banerjee

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EDUC ATION

Amita Chatterjee VC, Presidency University

Latha Chakravarthy Director, ICFAI Business School

What Women Want

Jancy James VC, Central University of Kerala

Women occupy just a handful of VC seats in Indian universities. Is leadership not in their sights? Pg 12

FACE-TO-FACE

S.B. MUJUMDAR, A PIONEER IN HIGHER EDUCATION, TALKS OF HIS JOURNEY P48

PROFILE

S.K. SOPORY “PREPARE LECTURES CAREFULLY” P60

Advancing Higher Education Through Best Practices in Technology

Cover Art: DESIGN: P.C.ANOOP

Please recycle this magazine and remove inserts before recycling

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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at a glance 05 RESERVATION 05 REPORT 06 SPO TLIGHT 06 MAKEOVER 07 VIOLATION 07 VERDICT & MORE

CENTRE TO SET UP MODEL COLLEGES IN BACKWARD DISTRICTS The Centre will now provide one-third of the capital cost for setting up model degree colleges in 374 educationallybackward districts, where GER is less than the national average. However, the total cost will have to be limited to 26.7 million. According to the state MHRD minister, D. Purandeswari, all Northeastern states, along with Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, will be included in the scheme. The Centre’s share shall be 50 percent of the capital cost (which will be limited to 40 million for each college). During the remaining period of the 11th Five Year Plan, 200 model colleges will be established.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee waves to the crowd in front of the Parliament before presenting Buget 2011-2012

budget

24% Hike for Education in 2011 The Budget provides a fiscal stimulus to corporates–academia collaborations and aims to improve research competitiveness

F

inance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has allocated 520 billion for the education sector in 2011-12, an increase of 24 percent compared to the current year. “This is aimed at universalising access to secondary education, increasing the number of scholars in the sector and imparting training of skills,” he said. Mukherjee also mentioned that the National Knowledge Network (NKN), approved last year in March, will link 1,500 institutes of higher learning and research through an optical fibre backbone. In the current year, 190 institutes will be connected to the NKN. The core shall be ready by March 2011, and connectivity to all the 1,500 institutions shall be provided by next year. This year, the thrust of funding has been on existing institutions. IIT Kharagpur will get a grant of 2 billion, while IIM Calcutta is slated to receive 200 million to set up a financial research and trading laboratory. Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University, Kerala, has been granted 10 million.

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SYMBIOSIS APPOINTS NEW VICE CHANCELLOR Dr Bhushan Keshav Patwardhan has been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of Symbiosis International University. The selection committee consisted of Dr R.A. Mashelkar, scientist, IISc; Dr Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of Delhi University; and Dr Venkat R. Gunale, nominee of the Chancellor, Symbiosis International University. Patwardhan has spent over 20 years in university governance at the University of Pune. He has been a member of the National Knowledge and Planning Commission, a member of the Karnataka Innovation Council, and a consultant to WHO Geneva and SEARO.

DCE, DTU LAUNCH JOINT ALUMNI NETWORK The Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and Delhi Technological University (DTU) have jointly launched a “PAN DCE-DTU” network to strengthen their alumni network and help students connect with former students. Students can also use this network to seek guidance for their projects, research and placements concerns.


UPDATES reservation

Jamia Gets Reservation Right After Commission Verdict The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions grants ‘minority institution’ status to the premiere university

D

elhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University received “minority institution” status from National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), giving the institution the right to reserve up to 50 percent of seats for Muslims, annulling all other reservations. “We hold that Jamia is a minority education institution,” ruled a three-member quasi-judicial body of the commission headed by Justice M.S.A. Siddiqi. The other two members were Mohinder Singh and Cyriac Thomas. “Jamia was established with the purpose of keeping Muslim education in Muslim hands and free from external control. History leads to one conclusion that the institution was established by the Muslims, for the Mus-

Jamia to breathe easy after positive verdict

lims, though non-Muslims could be admitted,” it added. The judgement has put an end to the five-year case on a PIL filed by Jamia Students’ Union, Jamia Old Boys’ Association and Jamia Teachers’ Association in 2006, contending that the

institution was a minority one and not obliged to implement any other quotas following a Centre decision to implement 27 percent reservation for OBCs. “The Article 15(5) of our Constitution says that there cannot be any reservation in minority institutions. And Jamia is a minority institution as defined by the Article 30,” stressed Amber Qamaruddin, the lawyer representing the case on behalf of the Confederation of Muslim Education Institutions of India. “The verdict opens a way for other minority institutions. It will help educate Muslims and bring the community into the mainstream society,” said the convener of the Jamia Minority Status Co-ordination Committee, Illyas Mallik.

report

Harvard Gets ‘Most Respected’ Tag ACCORDING TO TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION (THE) survey, Harvard tops the list of the world’s “most reputed universities”. The rankings were compiled by Ipsos Media CT that conducted an Academic Reputation Survey of 13,388 academics in 131 countries for THE, using 2010 data from Thomson Reuters. Responses to the survey are regularly considered in THE’s world rankings, but this is the first time that the survey has been used for “reputation rankings”. On an average, scholars questioned had spent at least 16 working years at a university and published at least 50 research papers. They were asked to select universities that they believed to be the “best in teaching and research”. Rankings were then determined according to an overall reputation score, which was compiled according to which school got the most votes for “best” and weighed research over teaching at a rate of 2 to 1. Harvard is followed by MIT, Cambridge, Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Princeton, University of Tokyo, Yale, Caltech and Imperial College.

GLOBAL UPDATE

96.1

points is Harvard’s score, the highest in the survey

Source: Times Higher Education, UK

13

performance indicators were designed to capture the range of varsity activities

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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UPDATES spotlight

Task Force to Assess Status of Former Deemed Universities The MHRD is to examine the claims of former deemed-to-be-universities that they have overcome flaws

T

functioning of ‘deemed-tohe Union Ministry for be-universities’ and ensure Hu m a n Re s o u r c e that their deemed status Development has was justified. The Review appointed a task force to Committee had submitted examine applications from its report to the Government institutions that need to take in October 2009. corrective measures to satisfy After assessing the the deemed university status. ‘deemed-to-be-universities’, The members of the task the Committee had categoforce are P.N. Tandon, Profesrised 44 institutions as sor, AIIMS, New Delhi; institutions deficient in Goverdhan Mehta, National some aspects. These instiResearch Professor, Universitutions were given a time ty of Hyderabad; M. Anandaspan of three years to trankrishnan, Chairman, IIT sit into the category of Kanpur; and Mrinal Miri, forMHRD Minister Kapil Sibal addresses the audience at the event ‘institutions satisfying mer Vice Chancellor, Northmost of the criteria for the Eastern Hill University, Shillong. T h e Ce n t r a l Go v e r n m e n t h a d deemed university status’. These instituS o m e o f t h e ‘d e e m e d - t o - b e appointed an expert committee in June tions have not been allowed to work on universities’ under the scanner are 2009 after the new Minister of Human their expansion plans as the government claiming that they have overcome the Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, will give a go ahead only after the instituflaws and want the deemed status. The c a m e i n t o p o w e r, t o r e v i e w t h e tions overcome their flaws. task force will also look into these claims.

makeover

IIT Kharagpur to Use Budget Grant to Renovate Institute, Upgrade Laboratories, Start MBBS Programme IIT Kharagpur will use a one-time grant of 20 million from the central government to upgrade facilities and boost nano-science research THE INDIAN INSTITUTE of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur), welcomed the special budgetary grant of 2 billion in the 2011-2012 Budget. The grant will help the IIT realise its ambition of starting a medical college. “I presume this amount has been sanctioned following our request to the HRD ministry for a major grant. It will help us in renovating old buildings,” said A.K. Majumdar, deputy director, IIT Kharagpur. “We welcome this grant as this institution will be celebrating its diamond jubilee from August 2011-2012.” The grant will also

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

be used to upgrade laboratories. “We need modern equipment and technologies to conduct research in a subject as cuttingedge as nano-science. The money will help IIT Kharagpur to conduct tests in different segments of high-end researches,” added Majumdar. The IIT administration will need an investment in excess of 5 billion for the proposed medical school. In 2009, the institute had signed an MoU with the University of California, San Diego, as a partner for its 350 to 800-bed medical college.


UPDATES violation

UGC, AICTE Blacklist Colleges

State governments have been asked to take action against the institutions under the Indian Penal Code

D

Purandeswari, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development, recently revealed that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has identified 21 fake universities and institutions functioning in different parts of the country. Similarly, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has also identified 350 unapproved institutions running technical and management courses in violation of its regulations. Out of the 21 institutions violating the UGC Act, eight are in UP, six in Delhi and one each in Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Bengal.

Also, of the 350 institutions that have been identified by the AICTE, 75 are in Delhi and Maharashtra, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 34 in Bengal, 30 in UP, 27 in Karnataka, 17 in Haryana, 14 in Tamil Nadu, nine in Chandigarh, four in Gujarat, three in Punjab, two each in Bihar, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Goa, and one each in Uttarkhand and Kerala. The names have been put on the list maintained by the UGC and AICTE, respectively. A proposal for the prohibition of unfair practices in higher educational institutions has also been introduced in the Parliament.

verdict

Now a Common MBBS Test for All

VOICES

====

IT IS A BLOT BOTH ON OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM AND ON OUR society that so few young people from deprived backgrounds manage to fulfil their educational potential. —RAJEEV DUBEY President (HR), Mahindra & Mahindra

IN TERMS OF THE MOST SELECTIVE COURSES, IT REMAINS THE CASE THAT SOME under-represented students often do not have the grades required. It is therefore critical that the sector continues its outreach work with schools, as well as working with young people to raise their aspirations and their awareness about higher education. —NICOLA DANDRIDGE, Chief Executive of Universities, UK

MCI’s notification had been in abeyance because of stiff opposition from the Tamil Nadu government

S

upreme Court has given its nod to a Medical Council of India’s (MCI) notification to start a common entrance test for MBBS programmes. A bench consisting of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik, while giving the go-ahead, said that anyone aggrieved by the notification, can challenge it in the court. “If you (MCI) think you are independent and don’t require any approval from the Centre, then you can go ahead with the implementation,” the court said. On October 21, 2010, the MCI issued a notification calling for a pan-India common entrance test for undergraduate medical courses. However, the notification was kept in abeyance due to stiff opposition from Tamil Nadu government, which subsequently obtained a “stay order” against the notification from the Madras High Court.

TO CHANGE THE DIMENSIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION in the country, we need a whole new crop of teachers who are responsible and willing to teach from their hearts. —KAPIL SIBAL, MHRD Minister, India

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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VIEWPOINT

Rahul Choudaha

The Six Marketing Mantras for Admissions

F

ull-page advertisements might not grab our attention anymore, but they remain a major, and sometimes the o n l y, m a r k e t i n g i n v e s t m e n t institutions make for admissions. They assume that marketing colleges is the same as marketing cars, cell phones or cola. But institutions are not fast-moving consumer goods or even white goods, and leaders and marketers need to recognise that.

The result of such advertising is undifferentiated positioning, overpromising of offerings, poor delivery of programmes and disengaged customers, i.e. the students and alumni. To effectively market universities and educational institutions, one needs to understand the key characteristics of higher education services and implement a marketing strategy that maps the needs of targeted student segments with the institutional program offerings. This creates better value and a strong brand.

Characteristics of Higher Education Services Higher education is a significant investment not only financially. Smit and Cavusgil note, “Colleges are selling highly intangible products with many costs other than money. The college student pays greatly in terms of time,

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

loss of other potential income, psychological costs and inconvenience costs. A college education obviously calls for an extreme level of involvement from its consumer.” The intangible nature of higher education services makes it difficult to measure and communicate institutional quality. Mourad, Ennew, and Kortam state, “…higher education is a professional service characterised by a high level of experience, qualities which make the purchase risky and mean that branding is important as a source of reassurance to students about the quality of what they will receive”. The information gap between prospective students and institutions compels students to seek several other channels of information about institutional quality, such as alumni performance, placement figures, rankings, faculty and campus infrastructure. Higher education marketing should focus on reaching out to and communicating with the targeted segment of prospective students. It should bridge the information gap and engage prospective students for a mutual fit. l Recognise the role of admissions: In the United States there are professional associations dedicated to university admissions. For example, the National


VIEWPOINT

Rahul Choudaha

Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals has more than 1,500 members who work in graduate admissions and recruitment. In India, admissions offices have the very limited role of selling admissions brochures or forms and conducting entrance exams. They have not yet recognised and integrated the concepts of student counselling, enrolment funnel management, stakeholder engagement and event-based marketing. l Marketing is not advertising: Educational institutions bought the most print advertising in 2010, according to AdEx analysis. These advertisements are very expensive and often highly undifferentiated. At one end of the scale, there is a type of bland admissions notice with no excitement, at the other, blatant “buy one get one free degree” approaches. Both these approaches are ineffective as they assume that marketing is all about advertising. Of course, advertising has its place in higher education marketing - to create aspiration, excitement and action among prospective students - however, it should be coupled with other credible channels of information dissemination , such as press releases, content and engagement. l Students are the best brand ambassadors: Students play an important role in long-term reputa-

A

marketspace, there are opportunities to focus on segments based on industry clusters, demographics or students’ academic ability. Consider the case of Azim Premji University, which is focusing on education professionals, or NIIT University, which is leveraging its expertise in technology education. l Internet and word-of-mouth matters: Students scour the internet to seek information about their higher education options. Apart from the traditional bulletin boards and forums, they also frequent social networks like Facebook. Facebook has more than 20 million users in India, nearly half of them in the age bracket 18-24. These networks provide real-time, peer-to-peer advice, which students regard as more trustworthy and authentic. Institutions should leverage this for generating positive word-of-mouth by engaging current students and alumni in online activity. Social media also happens to be a very cost-effective way of reaching the target segment without the constraints of geographical limitations. l Think talent supply chain and partnerships: Higher education institutions are part of a talent supply chain where they source students from schools and deliver them to society. So institutions

dvertising has its place in higher education marketing, however it should be coupled with other credible channels

tion-building. They are a “quasi-product”, not only the consumer of a service but also the transformed product ready for the workforce. Marketing strategies should not just aim to fill seats but also try to continually improve the quality of student intake and adopt a relationship management approach with alumni and current students. l The value of segments: Many institutions try to be everything to everyone. This might have worked five years back when there was limited competition, but not anymore. Institutions need to clearly articulate what is unique about them and which segment they serve best. For example, with the strong preference for work experience, ISB focused on a segment different from freshers straight out of college. Even in today’s cluttered

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need to collaborate and communicate with stakeholders on both the supply and delivery sides. While several organisations have placement offices to build employer relationships, they have neglected the potential in of building relationships with feeder schools and the community at large to create positive word-of-mouth and a bigger impact. Higher education marketing is complex. Thus instead of merely emulating the models of, say, Harvard, institutions have to differentiate themselves. An approach that recognises the key characteristics of higher education services would certainly create a long-term competitive advantage. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at http://edu-leaders.com/content/newsletters

Rahul Choudaha A higher education specialist based out of New York, Dr Choudaha specialises in strategic management of higher education, institution building, collaborations and market development. He holds a PhD in higher education from the University of Denver, an MBA from NITIE, Mumbai and BE from Jabalpur University. He can be reached at rahul.choudaha@eduleaders.com


Latha Pillai,

Pro VC, IGNOU

Jancy James

VC, Central University of

Kerala

Amita Chatterje

e, VC, Presidency Un iversity

Latha Chakravarthy

Director, ICFAI Business School

12

EDUTECH  March-April 2011


COVER STORY

What

Women

Want In a month when International Women’s Day brought equality to centre stage, EDU decided to seek a “fairer” picture of the fairer sex’s role in higher education’s halls of power. We were shocked by the results, finding that just 3% of the country’s vice chancellors are women. Industry leaders told us that hurdles including female academics’ own reluctance to take on higher duties were stopping women from reaching the top. But they also said the tide was turning and women could excel in leadership positions if given a proper chance. Will India’s academic sisters do it for themselves??

Women occupy just a handful of VC seats in Indian universities. Is leadership not in their sights?

BY ROHINI BANERJEE & SMITA POLITE

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

13


et’s start with the good news – the positive figures on women in leadership. When it comes to occupying senior administrative posts in higher education, women have been there, done that. They have been vice chancellors, pro-vice chancellors, heads of panels and committees and registrars and examination controllers. Now for the bad news. The percentage of women leaders in the sector is, at best, tiny. According to a December 2009 UGC study, of the country’s 431 recognised universities, only 13 have women vice chancellors, or just 3% . Of these 13, six are from womenonly colleges. The 15 newly created central universities have appointed a sum total of two women as vice chancellors and Banasthali Vidyapeeth, one of the 10 women’s universities, has a male vice chancellor. Last time we checked, women vice chancellors were mandatory at a women’s colleges or universities. EDU spoke to prominent industry leaders to find out what stops female leaders smashing through the glass ceiling and ascending to the uppermost echelons of the tertiary hierarchy. Jaya Indiresan, former professor of organisational behaviour at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and member of the UGC’s National Consultative Committee on Capacity Building of Women Managers in Higher Education, says that while 60% of Indian lecturers are women, the number goes down to 40% at reader level and slumps to 20% at professor level (According to a 1996 report, the average percentage of women administrators vis-a-vis their male colleagues is 33.8% in Commonwealth countries. Later reports were unavailable)

The Indian Example Women make up: n

88% of arts, science and commerce students n

n

4% of law students

1% of engineering students

Source: Dismantling the Barriers for Women in Computing: An Indian Experience, Dr M. Suriya, Carleton University, Canada

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Looking at the skewed ratio, two questions arise. Why are there are so few women administrators in the Indian higher education sector and what can be done to change the situation? An internet search for the “role of women leaders in the Indian higher education sector” throws up, well, nothing. It offers many links to articles, blogs and papers on such topics as how women act as agents of change when they are educated, but none of these specifically talk about how qualified administrators are encouraged to participate in a process that has the power to shape Gen-Y women leaders. Dr Armaity Desai, also a member of the UGC capacity-building committee, says she experienced the imbalance first hand while at the Commission. “It was during my stint at the UGC, for which I travelled the length and breadth of the country, that I saw the truth,” she says. “During my travels, I met few women leaders. The ratio was so lopsided that I was shocked. At that point, I was a member of the Standing Committee for Women’s Studies in the UGC,” Desai adds. “When I discussed the matter with the committee members, we thought of c o n t a c t i n g t h e Co m m o n w e a l t h Secretariat in London that conducts t r a i n i n g p r o g r a m m e s . Ev e n t h e Secretariat members agreed that the issue was problematic.” Which brings us to another question: Where are the women who can lead?


COVER STORY

“Most women academics prefer to concentrate on pure academics rather than switch to the management side of the sector” Latha Pillai,

Pro Vice Chancellor, IGNOU

BY SUBHOJIT PAUL

And why are they not out there at the helm of universities? Are they unwilling to shoulder the burden of management and additional responsibility? Dr Lata Chakravarthy, director of IBS Bangalore feels that many times women themselves are to be blamed for their standing in the educational hierarchy. “Often, they are not ready to take on the responsibility,” she reveals. So does the fear of longer works hours, additional accountability and the prospect of throwing their work-life balance keep women away from management? Dr Latha Pillai, pro-vice chancellor of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), agrees that most women “prefer to concentrate on pure academics rather than switch to management”. Indiresan says women set themselves apart from men in the way they deal with personal issues, and this affects their ability to take up leadership positions. “I have noticed that most women academicians take time off whenever their children are appearing for the Board exams,” she says. “Do the men ever do that? By taking that two months off, women limit themselves in a way.” Clearly the message they are sending is that they’re willing to put their professional responsibilities on hold if they interfere with their family duties. “When my son was taking the IIT-JEE March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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COVER STORY exams, I was away at a workshop. He still got the fourth rank,” Indiresan adds. But Pillai says the issue must also be seen in the context of women’s education at all levels. “Social factors adversely affect girls’ education,” she says. “Gender discrimination exists from primary education level and there is a gap in male-female literacy. The number of women who reach the corridors of higher education is small because there’s a lack of opportunity. Mostly boys are encouraged to continue their education. While social factors pressure women to take up home and family responsibilities.” Pillai adds that gender stereotypes and an old boys’ club attitude drive men to “push out” meritorious women, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Missing in Action But could it be that there are few women at the top because they are not qualified to handle administrators’ responsibilities? Professor Amita Chatterjee, vice chancellor of Presidency University, points out that the statistics are against women at the most basic level. “Some 67% of Indian women are not educated, 43% are skilled in some unorganised sector and only 7% fit in the upper echelons of the skilled sector,” she says. “So the percentage of women who are educated and capable of handling the organised sector is less.” UGC committee member, Desai, pulls no punches. She blames the situation on Indian society. “Our society is largely a patriarchal one,” she says. Desai goes on to say, “Because men headed most important universities and institutes at one point of time, women are not considered capable (of the responsibility). Women are dismissed on flimsy grounds - family and private responsibilities. People start questioning whether a woman leader can function both in her private and professional space. We have to break the glass ceiling.” Her feelings are echoed by Pillai, who points out the 2001 Census showed only 64% of Indian women were actually literate. “It is essential that women be empowered through education,” Pillai says. (continued on page 18)

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

What Needs To Happen T

here is absolutely no basis to the belief that women leaders in the higher education sector cannot deliver. There is no lack of potential or ability, but there exist practical difficulties – women biologically and socially inherit responsibilities (such as taking care of the family). Many of them opt out of careers that may draw out the best from them and may test their potential. It is a painful choice that women make – knowing fully well that they are not going in for the maximum use of their potential.

The Changing Trend To some extent, a change is already happening – especially in the higher education sector. For example, consider the “rotation of headship” in university departments. Women in a particular stage of their career, especially professors and readers, find themselves compulsorily facing the opportunity and responsibility of being the head of the department, which is by itself a good opportunity and training in administrative duties in the academic field. In Kerala, women teachers outnumber men teachers. If you look into the university structure (departments) in Kerala, you will find that more women find themselves becoming heads of departments. But it was not easy. Teachers’ organisations have had to fight to put rotational headship into practice. The UGC allows women teachers to submit proposals to start centres, which are specialised institutes. My exposure to academic administration was through the Centre for Comparative Literature under the Central University of Kerala, where I was a professor of English. After research, I embarked on a specialisation (comparative literature). I was given charge of a centre where I was the founder director and which was my first exposure to administrative duties. And I think I did justice to both administrative and academic duties. The scenario has brightened, and women are taking up both administrative and academic duties with ease. When it comes to encouraging women to take up administrative jobs, there is hesitation and resistance at a societal level from people who have a say in the matter. It happens when it is time to appointing women in the higher education sector or to make them a part of the decision-making process. Orientation and training for teachers in the field of academic administration is lacking, for both men and women. Teachers should be trained from the beginning of their careers to orient and motivate teachers to take up jobs that have some component of organisation, administration, decision-making and planning.

Orientation And Incentive Programmes The UGC has taken a few steps, but I see no consolidated effort. When you talk of UGC or education departments, then giving leadership to women in academic administration is never a priority. It is more of an accident. I am the first woman vice chancellor in the state of Kerala and I am thankful about the fact that the people of Kerala finally took the decision (to elect a woman leader) as late as 2008. But I am concerned about why it took so much time as this is a relatively liberal state known for its egalitarian treatment of women. I am also aware of the fact that my appointment did not have any thought or plan behind it. My name met with no opposition, so I was selected. My concern is that my appointment was not a conscious effort on the part of the government or powers-that-be to change the status quo.


“As far as the UGC is concerned, it has taken some steps, but not many. Though certain discussions are coming up, I see no consolidated effort. When you talk of UGC or education departments, giving leadership to women in academic administration is never a priority. It is more of an accident. I am the first woman vice chancellor in the state of Kerala and I am thankful for the fact that the people of Kerala finally took a decision (to elect a woman leader) even if it was as late as 2008” Jancy James,

BY SUBHOJIT PAUL

Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala

I inaugurated a UGC programme on capacity building for women, which is doing great when it comes to spotting potential principals. Teachers, who basically lack confidence, have gone back feeling positive about their capacity to perform in administrative silos. It should be drilled into young people involved in this sector that they will have to perform an administrative job, at some point in their career. Such programmes should be a part of teachers’ orientation programmes and a part of their ‘refresher’ courses. Irrespective of the fact, whether they are men or women. Often, gender insensitivity deprives women leaders of the chance to function. In such a situation, it is very difficult for a woman to operate. But despite all odds, some women leaders succeed in deviating from the existing structures and guidelines. There are opportunities, but women need to become visible by their participation in forums where their beliefs are shared or countered. March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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COVER STORY Indiresan says that poor access to higher education and a clustering of women in “traditional female studies” of the arts, humanities, languages, education, nursing and medicine also limits options. A 1996 UNESCO paper, Women and Management in Higher Education: A Good Practice Handbook, concluded that “women’s access to higher education demonstrates that much still needs to be done in many developing countries to enable women to achieve equal access to higher education, a prerequisite for them to pursue better opportunities in the academic labour market”. It appears as if the issues of education and aspiration are directly proportional to each other. As the number of educated and capable women rises, so will the possibility of some of them aspiring to something bigger. But Dr Jancy James, vice chancellor of Central University of Kerala, believes that it could be a problem of malaise and recruitment. “Women teachers often fall into the trap of feeling that they have the security of remaining idle once they reach a specific point in their career,” she argues. She adds, “Also, I believe that the teaching profession does not attract the best in the country as brilliant students get absorbed in other fields. Teaching is a calling. Participants should be given

BY DRISHTI

“Sometimes it is believed that women are not able to take hard decisions, or even make rational ones, because they are guided by emotions. I believe that when it comes to science and engineering, there are even less women who become professors, lecturers or readers. That is perhaps because those are seen as ‘empirical’ or ‘rational’ disciplines where women are accepted as students but not as teachers”

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Amita Chatterjee,

Vice Chancellor, Presidency University

EDUTECH  March-April 2011


COVER STORY incentives to better themselves. It’s not just about becoming a vice chancellor or a registrar. Even a class teacher in charge of 30 students should be a brilliant m a n a g e r, o r g a n i s e r, l e a d e r a n d information manager.” James says, in the globalised scenario, there are several opportunities for women to prove their mettle: “I look up to the new generation of women who can respond to new challenges, perhaps even better than the men. The IT-enabled systems that we have today can help them to do so.”

Gender-specifics The last report on women’s college principals filed by the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA) and SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, found both male and female principals suffered from similar problems and had similar training needs. However, some gender-specific problems were also identified, such as mobility, the ability to visit government offices or the capital city for administrative matters, and an inability to socialise as much as men. Several women leaders admitted to being worried that they were less informed on relevant issues because they heard less office gossip as a result of their limited socialisation. Problems such as exercising authority over sexist males or women who expect greater sympathy, political pressures and balancing responsibilities as principals and homemakers, were also raised. “As I see it, a woman in this job has to prove herself all the time,” Pillai says. “She is always under scrutiny. She has to work harder be considered an equal. Despite doing a full day’s work, she is always expected to multitask, to manage her home and her job. For some sort of change to take place society’s thinking also has to change.”

‘Gender-Blind’ Government? What role does our government have to play in improving things? And what about the fact that India is one of the few countries in the modern world that has had a woman prime minister and a president?

Skewed Ratio: How & Why Poor access to higher education Lack of participation in higher education management Absence of enabling conditions Discriminatory salary scales and fringe benefits Lack of publishing productivity Recruitment policies Segregation Cultural and structural barriers ‘Chilly climate’ for women in universities

The ABC Of Leadership The women EDU spoke to gave us a list of leadership qualities: Have a vision Know your strengths Strive for excellence Sometimes, be willing to stand alone Be ready for resistance Set an example for your staff Be ethical Find a mentor willing to inspire you

“How many women have been appointed as the registrar or the chief accountant or controller of examinations in universities?” asks Indiresan. Unfortunately, no collated database to provide this information was available. Desai says the Ministry for Human Resource Development is gender-blind: “I wrote to them when the selection for the new central universities and JNU was being done. JNU is supposed to be a trend-setter. It has a history of strong women teachers who are experts in their fields. Yet they have not had a single woman vice chancellor.” Desai says that,

whenever she writes to the Ministry, she hears there is a lack of choice. “Apparently there are very few capable women out there who can take up this mantle,” she says. “However, I take hope from the fact that there have been cases where women have been taking up posts of key examiners, registrars and pro-vice chancellors. If people in key positions are gender-blind, then the pattern (of men being selected) will never be broken.” James says, the government has too many things on its plate to concentrate solely on the skewed ratio in the administration, especially in the higher education sector. But the government once mandated reservation for women at the panchayati level because it translated into clever politics. What if it did the same again? Would women leaders in the education sector like to get power on a platter? Indiresan is emphatic in her reply: “Nowhere in our workshops do we mention the ‘reservation’ word. We don’t ask for it in our panel meets. We don’t w a n t i t . We a r e s e e k i n g e q u a l opportunities for men and women in the administrative sector,” she says.

Are Women Better Leaders? Higher education is the traditional training ground for society’s leaders and specialised manpower. Given this, you could argue the education of a graduate constitutes an investment for every country. If so, this investment should be returned through the person’s sound contribution to the social, economic and cultural development of the nation. In this respect, men and women have equal responsibility. “My experience shows that women who do pick up challenges, especially in the higher education sector, do extremely well,” James says. “The way they manage to combine academic work and administration is commendable. They pragmatically put into application some of the best practices in the higher education sector.” Indiresan believes that women do better in women-only institutions. Having said that, she adds, they are equally capable of accepting the challenges in the real world, minus perks and benefits. March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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COVER STORY But, setting aside ideological arguments, there are practical reasons for institutes to seek out women in leadership positions. In this global world, the term leadership is often seen in a relational perspective. Leadership, in its new form, is no longer a “doctrine” that creates a following; it is a dialogue. It’s more valuable to be able to “engage” than “influence”. Command and control has shifted to collaboration and empowerment. With that being the case, women should make better leaders, because they are better at relating. “I believe women are more sensitive to issues and problems – an efficient and a professional woman leader will give this sector a better focus and shed light on both men’s and women’s problems, better equipping the sector to deal with any sort of challenge,” James says.

A Question of Desire

“Women don’t enter this sector with ambition, especially thinking they would climb up to the peak of the managerial positions. Take me, for instance. From the beginning I was put into leadership positions, rather than really being ambitious, or wishing to be there” Latha Chakravarthy,

Director, ICFAI Business School

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

BY SUBHOJIT PAUL

Why should female academics care about top jobs, especially those in the tertiary sector? After all, most of them manage to make a strong point through papers, publications and effective classroom lectures. On this question, the answer is clear: because women should be able to determine their own careers. After all, that right to self-determination is not limited by gender or sex. This is not about equality of the sexes. If women do not participate in the governing processes, then they allow themselves to be governed and the voice of one section of society becomes silent. As Helen Keller said, “The only thing


COVER STORY worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Desai says women can change their circumstances: “When it comes to the panel we run, we have been fortunate to have quite a few who decided to change the ‘perception’. And, as such, there has been a remarkable change in the way people perceive women. The UGC’s committee has been doing it across all verticals and disciplines.” Even as the experts envisage the presence of more women in the higher education sector, how can the government aid in making this a reality? Pillai puts forward a list: “The government needs to open up opportunities for greater participation in decision-making processes and provide avenues for training in educational administration. It needs to ensure greater participation of women in higher education by taking into account the needs of women students, by opening up open- and distancelearning universities that allow a woman to pursue her studies at her own convenience, and by providing a safe working environment for women through better transportation facilities.”

The US Example Considering that India resorts to the “US example” whenever there is a dialogue on an aspect of quality, let us also compare India and the US on equality in higher education equality. At first glance, there is little difference between India and the US? However, of late, women have begun to assume top offices in Ivy League institutions. In 2009, Harvard University declared female history professor Drew Gilpin Faust its next president. The move was applauded around the world as an indicator of a “trend” in US higher education to open its leadership posts to women. According to US government data, more women are applying to and attending universities. As many as 56% of undergraduates in 2007 were women. The US Census Bureau also predicted that by 2010 7.76 million men and 10.72 million women would be enrolled in post-secondary institutions. A study released by the American Council on Education (ACE) in 2009

Of Leadership Roles, Issues and Problems Armaity Desai, Co Chair, UGC’s National Consultative Committee on Capacity Building of Women Managers in Higher Education, talks to EDU about how and why the Committee was set up

I

started my academic journey at the College of Social Work, Mumbai University. Our departments were filled with women – students, teachers and administrators. Then I shifted to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). By the time I left TISS, there were more women in its academic and administrative positions. So, you could say that I remained oblivious to the fact that as a society, we were blind to the reality that capable women were being denied their place in the Indian academic landscape. It was during my stint at the UGC, for which I travelled across the country, that I saw the truth. During these travels, I met very few women leaders in higher education. The ratio was so skewed that I was shocked. As I was a member of the UGC’s Standing Committee for Women’s Studies, I and other committee members contacted the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. The Secretariat, which had faced this problem in other Commonwealth countries, had started a small committee with administrators and professors. We decided to implement

showed that the rate of diversification in the university president’s office was steadily increasing. “In academe, there’s no greater symbol than president of Harvard,” said Nancy Hopkins, biology professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in a published report. “It sends a very powerful message.” MIT, incidentally, is led by Susan Hockfield, its first woman president. Three other Ivy League

something similar here and asked them to come to India for a demonstration. They had some manuals that defined leadership, governance and roles women played. We realised that the manuals needed modifications and appointed a sub-group to define women’s roles and involvements in India. We came up with five manuals – they looked at women’s studies and what can be learnt from the department, at leadership, governance, professional and personal roles (of women) in the academic sector, and research. Our manual authors were Indira Parikh, Jaya Indiresan, Sushila Kaushik, Hansa Parekh, Karuna Chanana and Helen Joseph to name a few. Today, the programme has developed beyond my imagination. We have covered around 4,000 women in middle and higher levels of higher education and have about 300 trainers. Everyone who is in it shows enthusiasm and it has created a network of women in higher education. Hope it will make an impact in due course. We are now undertaking an evaluation to see its impact.

institutions – Brown, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania – have women presidents. The eight Ivy League private colleges and universities are considered among the most prestigious of all higher education institutions in the US. According to a 2006 ACE study, 23% of college presidents were women, an increase from 9.5 per cent in 1986. A 2009 study showed that of the 450 state colleges March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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COVER STORY and universities that fell under the aegis of American Association of State Colleges and Universities, there were 26 women presidents and vice chancellors – 6% of the total. The report showed that, while the percentage was low, it had doubled on the previous decade and, at that rate, half the universities and colleges would have women chief executive officers by the year 2056. If the United States can do it, can’t we?

Translating the Potential Pillai feels that young women have a bright future in the sector: “With a little support, they will go a long way. But we need more flexible education providers like IGNOU, which will allow more girls to take up education on their own terms. The media also has a role to play,” she says. Anjali Raina, executive director of HBS India, agrees. She says that putting the spotlight on women leaders will ensure that younger women find role

advts.indd 56

Women should want to be leaders. They need to have the drive to breach the management barrier and seek high-level appointments in academia models or mentors who will inspire them to strive higher. Vidya Yerawadekar, Director, Symbiosis, says, “My father jokes that there are more women work-

ing in Symbiosis now. But, it was never a conscious decision to appoint more women. I wanted people who were capable. Slowly women are demanding attention and coming out of their shells to claim their rightful place.” Our contemporary female graduates face exciting choices. Increasingly, they will be strongly pushed to assume their rightful place in the decision-making process, both in the systems and institutes of higher education and also in the various professions for which they have studied. The dual roles are of the greatest importance to society, and women merit strong encouragement in these endeavours. But the fact remains that women must first want to be leaders. They need to have the drive to breach the management barrier and seek high-level appointments in academia. Until that happens, women will continue to stay on the fringes even if the higher education sector throws its doors wide open.

12/22/2009 3:02:47 PM


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March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011


ACADEMICS

Medical Curriculum

Curing THE CURRICULUM

Physicians heal themselves as the Medical Council of India begins the first important revision of medical education in the past 60 years. The aim is for future doctors to have more hands-on training. BY ANIHA BRAR

BY PHOTOS.COM

AIIMS

AIPMT, AFMC, BHU-PMT, CMC, JIPMER, DUMET, PGI ... a cloud of acronyms casts a shadow over students when they decide to take the entrance exams for medical colleges. For most, these exams are the culmination of years of stress and study, with the odds stacked against them. Since numbers often speak louder than words, here are some figures: the All-India Pre-Medical and Dental Test for filling up just 15% of the MBBS seats in India has an intake of about 2,500 students – chosen from over 200,000 applicants. The situation is tougher for those entering the world of postgraduate medicine, with the number of seats being roughly half of those available for undergraduate study. In a situation like this, clearing the exams becomes an end in itself and more than half the potential doctors in the country fall by the wayside, or leave for foreign colleges if possible. But after the struggle and strife, what do students study when they finally get into medical colleges? What is the quality of education they receive and is it relevant to the medical needs of the country?

POINTS TO PONDER A THEORETICAL APPROACH to teaching, with an emphasis on rote learning and little focus on clinical or practical training, has hit the quality of medical education in the country MCI PLANS TO RESTRUCTURE the MBBS course, work at increasing the poor doctorpopulation ratio and convert conventional education into competency-based modules A STEP HAS BEEN TAKEN BY MCI as second year students will now start ward visits and help in managing patients

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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ACADEMICS

Medical Curriculum

The Medical Council of India (MCI) has also taken a hard look at these questions and is busy trying to find the answers. By the end of March 2011, MCI intends to roll out a reformed curriculum which aims ‘to make undergraduate education competency-based, open and participatory’. In this atmosphere of selfassessment and improvement, academicians and leaders from the top medical colleges are warming up to the idea of reviving the curriculum. Dr A.K. Agarwal, Dean of Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), says, “An MBBS in India should be able to look after the common elements of human suffering and should know when to refer and where. These common ailments vary in different regions of the world. He should also be equipped with basic skills to handle an emergency. While we are working to achieve this goal, it is important to know that we are imparting all this knowledge to students theoretically.” This theoretical approach to teaching, with an emphasis on rote learning and knowledge rather than aptitude, is at the heart of the matter. At the entrance level, students are tested for their knowledge of the sciences and little else. Given the sheer number of applicants, testing aptitude and attitude through interviews may seem impractical, but there is also no attempt to include life skills or ethics in the test. Professor S. Mahadevan, of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), says, “If you have a good capacity for rote learning, you can come out with flying colours at the entry level. But we need to find out whether a candidate has an inquiring mind or is skilful. I don’t think we do any of those things.” Once in college, the syllabus focuses almost exclusively on increasing scientific knowledge further, with only sporadic time and attention given to other areas. On the other hand, a quick survey of medical curricula in American and European colleges reveals the inclusion of subjects such as clinical and problemsolving skills, team management, ethics and legal responsibilities, areas that the curriculum in India tends to neglect.

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

Mahadevan, who believes in the need for such courses along with practical exposure, rues the current state of affairs. “The western world looks at the quality of each module that is adapted and whether or not the objective for which a module is formed is fulfilled. So an evaluation is inbuilt into the curriculum. But here, evaluation is an option. It is a luxury probably,” he says. However, the future looks brighter as many medical colleges are now getting innovative with their curricula and working to ensure that graduating doctors possess the skills necessary to do their job. MAMC, for one, has identified some key areas and is using technology to fill in the gaps wherever possible. “Life support is an important area so we have started a surgical course to train undergraduate and postgraduate students. Nobody gets a completion certifi-

“The goal of the curriculum is to develop selfdirected learners who will grow into caring physicians during graduate training and practice” —K. RAMNARAYAN Vice Chancellor , Manipal University

cate unless he passes the course. We also started simulation of basic surgical skills – how to pull sutures in a cut or wound, for example – and other areas where simulations are useful,” Agarwal says. Manipal University (MU) has also revised its approach to medical education. Dr K. Ramnarayan, Vice Chancellor of MU and a man deeply committed to medical education in the country, feels a need for reform in the pedagogy. Of the curriculum in MU, he says,“Students are introduced to ethical and behavioural science principles, and basic cardiac life support. Problem-based learning (PBL), OSCE (Objective Structure Clinical Exam) and OSPE (Objective Structured Practical Exam) are regular activities within the curriculum. Research in medical education and the presence of a large number of Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) Fellows in Manipal ensures that the curriculum is revisited regularly,” he says. Manipal University also introduces students to aspects of humanities, social and behavioural sciences that are relevant to medicine. While these individual efforts are laudable, the need for binding measures and change at the national level is being felt. Taking the biblical injunction “Physician, heal thyself” to heart, MCI recently introduced a flurry of new initiatives. While some proposed measures (like a common entrance test for all medical colleges) have met with opposition in a few quarters, most heads of colleges see the MCI’s involvement as a good thing. Reiterating the need for change, Agarwal says, “There is no element of value addition in our system. Keeping this in mind, MAMC took the initiative and added subjects such as practical skills, ethics, doctor-patient interaction, etc. But instead of this being optional, I hope the MCI makes it mandatory so that students and colleges fall in line.” The governing body of the MCI has, meanwhile, set itself a clear mandate for the future. Some of the key points include: g Increasing the current intake in medical colleges to target a doctor-population ratio of 1:1,000 by the year 2031 (at pres-


Medical Curriculum

“The curriculum should be relevant and practical” We need to re-examine our approach to undergraduate education, says Dr A.K. Agarwal, the Dean of Maulana Azad Medical College

What is your opinion about the medical curriculum in India? The first medical college in India was started in 1835 and we are still following the same system of study. The body and its diseases are the same but we still need to re-examine ourselves as far as undergraduate education is concerned. The curriculum should be based on relevance because an undergraduate is not expected to look after rare conditions; he is expected to look after common ailments. We also have to make him practically sound and include courses on ethics, team spirit and communication. These should be compulsory because if it is optional, nobody will take it seriously and will only be focused on what comes in exams.

Do you think our doctors-in-training get enough hands-on exposure at the undergraduate level? I think emphasis on subjects should based on what is required most in our society. Being attached to a hospital is important to expose the students to various medical conditions. Students in the hospital take the patient’s history, do an examination, give a diagnosis and then present the case for discussion. If we need to give an injection, drain an abscess or do a minor surgery, we train students only as observers. Hands-on training is given only during internship. This practical skill-building can be improved. One such area is life support. If someone is dying, can you do something to save her life? Basic life support and cardiac life support are taught to students theoretically but we must include practical skills.

While skill levels are one aspect, there are also courses in problemsolving, ethical and legal responsibilities. Are these relevant? A fresh MBBS student is happy only for 24 hours after clearing the exam. But the student soon starts questioning himself, “What next? Am I complete? Can I deliver the services expected of me?” Through all our teaching, we did not try to raise the confidence of that student. How can we do that? By imparting management skills, team spirit, leadership programmes and communication skills. We need elements of these in the curriculum so our students emerge as confident as their counterparts who are MBAs. We are incorporating some of this at MAMC, but it should be made mandatory for all colleges.

Do you think that technology can assist medical education? Technology is a good teaching tool, but never a replacement. If you have to demonstrate something to a student, you use technology for simulations, get practical experience under supervision and then allow him to touch. You get the best outcome if you follow these three steps.

ACADEMICS

ent the ratio in India is 1:1,700 as compared to a world average of 1.5:1,000) g Restructuring the MBBS course g Converting conventional education into competency-based modules to develop basic skill sets for a doctor g Clinical teaching from first year onwards to ensure early clinical exposure g Focus on integrated modular teaching Of course, achieving these goals would mean surmounting another major obstacle in medical education – a dearth of good teachers. Lack of good teachers has become a refrain in many medical colleges as some qualified people prefer to practise in private hospitals and earn higher salaries, while others stagnate and don’t keep up with the changing medical environment. As administrators deliberate over routine upgrading and assessment of teachers, technology might prove to be an invaluable ally when it comes to dealing with the abysmally low numbers. Dr Ramnarayan says, “E-learning is now an established method at Manipal University. Teachers can produce learning materials that use a wide range of media for maximum impact. For students, it provides the ability to direct their own learning and explore teaching materials in a manner that is most efficient for them. Computers are a part of life for today’s generation of students, and barriers to the use of computerassisted education are almost nil. Also, a lot of the equipment used in hospitals, pharmacy practice or engineering needs expertise in computer-based technology for their operations.” Technology can not replace the teacher, but it can be a timesaving device and learning tool. It is clear that the medical fraternity in the country is aware of the challenges it faces. What remains to be seen is whether this awareness can translate into action so that aspiring doctors receive the education that they deserve. Mahadevan cautions, “We have models from other parts of the world and I think some of that will filter into our teaching and evaluation. But if we want things to look up, it should not stop with people in a meeting discussing all this over a cup of tea and then forgetting about it.” March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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ACADEMICS

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Undergraduate Programme


Undergraduate Programme

ACADEMICS

Saving the Sciences: After a hiatus of almost two decades, IISc will open its doors to undergraduates again. And this time, they hope to strike gold BY SMITA POLITE

IISc

to the Rescue

POINTS TO PONDER 100 YEARS ago IISc was established as a research institute SOUGHT AFTER in the ‘50s and ‘60s IISc’s undergraduate programme in the ‘80s and finally closed down

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

BY SUNEESH K

I

t has been more than ten years since the faculty at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) first heard the murmurs about a proposal to re-start the undergraduate programme. At that time, it had barely been a decade since the institute severed all its ties with students fresh out of high school, and most thought it was insane to revive a dead issue. Then, it had seemed like a good idea to continue as a research-focused, ‘serious’ institute. The institute did not want to dilute its standing by trying to compete with engineering and medical institutes that were luring students away from pure sciences with the promise of immediate jobs. "Our research depends a lot on good students and the number of good students going into science education has been declining over the years,” says Chandan Dasgupta, the Dean of undergraduate studies at IISc. “So we decided to do something about it. We also realised that the people who had been in research should also participate in teaching, and our institute, of course, is a very good place for research.” IISc’s undergraduate programme in the ‘50s and ‘60s was highly sought after. It declined in the late ‘80s, mainly because of a shift in preference towards professional courses. This time around the institute is taking no chances. The programme is proposed to be a four-year course in Bachelor of Science (BS). For the first three semesters, all students will take the same courses in the basic sciences – physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and some engineering courses. “We’d like to give them educa-

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ACADEMICS

Undergraduate Programme

tion which is not very specialised in the first place. Many interesting problems have some component of physics, biology and chemistry,” says Dasgupta. “So, it’s good to have people who are comfortable in all these areas and don’t want to specialise in single direction. After the first three semesters, people can take one of the sciences as their major.” Courses in the humanities have also been added to make the programme more holistic. Since this is not an area of expertise for IISc, faculty will be invited from outside. To make students

employable, the course has a special feature of compulsory courses in engineering in the first three years. This will allow those who do not want to pursue academics as a career to opt for jobs in the industry of their choice.

Mixed Opinions Some faculty members are worried about the increased workload. They argue that the principles on which the institute had been set up have not been fulfilled. According to those opposed to this move the institute has not done

“People who have worked in research should also participate in teaching” To get researchers to also take up teaching seriously is a bold move. Why did you think it would work?

CHANDAN DASGUPTA

Dean, Undergraduate Studies, IISc

In India, we have separated teaching and research. There are institutes and laboratories where there is not much of a teaching component. If you go to a college or university, they do not have much of a research component. This is a problem because both lose their vitality. The best solution would be to bring the universities to a level where they are doing some amount of research. About 5 years ago, 15-20 started discussions, sent emails, debated it in various senates and joint faculties and so on. At that point, there was not much support. Over the last 2-3 years, the support has grown.

Losing the focus on research has been a cause for concern for your faculty. How do you see them balancing research and teaching? I taught for several years in the US. There, everybody teaches at some point in their academic career. Even at Harvard, a Nobel Laureate has to teach undergraduates. I did not feel that it affected research . It certainly takes some time getting used to it. There are some rewards to interacting with young bright people. You get ideas that can also help in research activities.

Why are you integrating humanities with sciences? It’s not a new idea. IITs also have humanities. Education is not complete if it is completely cut off from the social sciences. So in the first three semesters, everyone will take a course in humanities. There is one course on economics for science and technology professionals, another course on science and culture. The third one is on the history of scientific study and scientific traditions in India. There will also be seminars and lectures.

Do you see students from undergraduate programmes staying to take up a PhD? That’s certainly one of the gains that we expect from this programme. We hope that they will be trained better. And if some of them stay, we will get better students.

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enough to establish itself as a prominent research centre internationally. Limiting the institute to postgraduates is a better way to focus on research, they believe rather than also including teaching undergraduates. More so, because most would inevitably leave for regular jobs on graduating. These academics believe that for every Berkeley there is a Rockefeller. On the flip side, most of the scientific community seems to be in favour of IISc's decision. “World-class institutions have blended high quality research with exceptional undergraduate courses. I see no reason why IISc cannot,” says R.A. Mashelkar, CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow and Chairman of National Innovation Council. “The research culture should be imbibed at the undergraduate level. I was a visiting professor at University of Delaware in the US. I found that the senior undergraduate students’ research projects yielded papers in international journals. While at National Chemical Laboratory, I had the fortune of getting senior undergraduate students from IITs do research during their summer holidays. They became co-authors in papers published in prestigious journals such as the Proceedings of the Royal Society.” C.N.R Rao, National Research Professor and Linus Pauling Research Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) echoes this sentiment and says, "Undergraduates add tremendously to the vitality of the system. Teaching good undergraduates helps in many ways in creativity.” Another frequent argument of academics against IISc's undergraduate programme is that a mere increase of 500 students is “too small a number to matter”. To this, the academics who support the move say that adding 500 students in an Elite Research Instititute of IISc's repute is far better than adding 5000 in a sub-standard institute. Many also feel that it is possible to strike an ideal balance between research and teaching with a small undergrad population – the students ensure that teachers are constantly challenged, while the low number of students reduce demands on time. In 2005, at the height of the debate


Undergraduate Programme

ACADEMICS

Why The Programme Will Work - C.N.R. Rao I am delighted that the IISc is starting an undergraduate programme. It is high time that it did so. No outstanding, world-class higher educational institution has thrived without undergraduate students. Take the examples of MIT, Harvard, Berkeley or Cambridge, for instance. I have always enjoyed teaching undergraduates. This course will provide an opportunity to the youth to study science and inter-disciplinary topics in a reputed institution. As far as research is concerned, please remember, a strong research institute will make use of undergraduates for research. Undergraduate research is an important part of all research endeavours. In some of the US institutions, undergraduates do outstanding research and publish good

“I have always enjoyed teaching undergraduates”

on whether IISc should start the undergraduate programme, T.A. Abinandanan, Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering, had sent a mail to around 100 colleagues. Putting for-

ward arguments in support of the programme, he initiated a discussion on whether the programme should be introduced. Abinandanan posted this e-mail on his informative and passionate blog nanopolitan.blogspot.com. In it, he said, “India's progress needs an effective higher ed system, it is clear that more and more of our institutions must be transformed into ‘real’ universities that do both research and UG teaching. This means that colleges will be asked to do (more) research; more importantly, our universities (and research institutions like IISc and TIFR) will be asked to do UG teaching.” Incidentally, Abinandanan graduated from one of the last undergraduate batches that IISc had in the ‘80s.

“World-class schools have blended highquality research with exceptional undergraduate courses”

Setting a Trend

—R.A. MASHELKAR CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow

At the outset, the programme looks like it is going to be a success. Within the first three weeks alone, the institute had received 6000 applications and plowing through the huge number of applicants is the only challenge that the programme seems to be facing. “It’s going to be tough–6,000 students in a

papers. Even here in India, I have undergraduates working in various laboratory projects. Undergraduate studies should not considered as a diluting factor it enriches research efforts. Productive teaching is done in a research environment. I can’t comment on whether other institutions that should consider similar science programmes. All I can say is that the IITs should strengthen their integrated BS and MS. I was associated with the first-such programme started by IIT Kanpur. Personally, I prefer a five-year integrated MS to a four-year BS. The five-year programme is equal to four-year BS and a year long MS. A five-year MS allows students of all levels of expertise contributing to research and it is good for the institution.

month and 120 seats. We are expecting more than 10,000 to 15,000 applications by the end of March when we close admissions,” says Dasgupta. So, does this imply that the rest of the stand-alone research institutions will follow suit? Probably. According to Abinandanan, it will not be long before the government insists on undergraduate programmes in institutions of higher education. He feels this is the true meaning of ‘real universities’; where research and teaching go hand-in-hand. When asked if there are other research institutes which should follow the IISc example C.N.R. Rao said, "I do not know other institutions which should start undergraduate science courses." But commenting on the institute he is currently associated with, he said, "JNCASR has now Integrated Ph.D programmes but it is too small an institution to have an undergraduate science programme. If it becomes sufficiently large, it should certainly consider it." By taking this initiative, IISc has positioned itself as the leader, and could soon be seen “as showing the way to others”.

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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EDU TECH 2011

Advancing Higher EducationThrough Technology

On February 18, higher education leaders met at Bengaluru to share ideas on how to use technology effectively to develop and promote education to its next level. Stay Rooted In Values The Founder of Global Creativity Corporation and former Head Innovation Management at the Stanford Research Institute, William Miller, on ‘enabling values-centered innovation through technology’.

Edu Tech-2011, held at Taj Westend, Bengaluru, had VCs, deans, directors and heads of departments sharing the platform and voicing concerns regarding technology issues. They also ideated on how to harness technology for the maximum benefit of the sector.

Go Wireless To Govern Better Pramath Raj Sinha, Founding Dean of ISB and Founder and MD of 9.9 Media; V.B. Nanda Gopal, Head, TEL Team, Jain University; Lata Chakravarthy, Director, IBS, Bengaluru; Nanda Gopal, Cisco; and Yedunandan S., Principal Consultant, Cisco System, at the panel discussion on wirelessenabled Gen-Y campuses.

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EDU TECH 2011 Enable Teachers To Use Technology IGNOU Vice Chancellor Rajasekharan Pillai set the day’s agenda with his inaugural address on reality and aspirations. In his address, he listed out the major tech initiatives in higher education that have been undertaken by the Centre. He deliberated on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning and IGNOU initiatives such as FlexiLearn. Pillai stressed that since the percentage of students using technology for educational purposes was higher than that of teachers, capacity-building programmes for teachers (ICT) were the need of the hour.

Use ICT To Make Education Accessible To All

Quick Round Of Q&A A participant asks the MD of Aruba Networks, Alok Kothari, on connected campuses, and their impact on the future.

The President of education services at Manipal Education, Sivaramakrishnan V., believed that Indian higher education has restricted itself to the elite, by making itself accessible to 14% of the country’s students. The answer for him lay in distributed learning and distance education, with technology acting as the enabler. He added that Indian faculty’s reluctance to adopt technology was a major concern.

Leverage Language Labs Principal, CIIL ,V. Saratchandran Nair, Mysore on going beyond books and learning languages with language labs.

Taking A Technical View One of the EDU sessions. March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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EDU TECH 2011

Reaching Out To Remote Sections Jancy James, VC, Central University of Kerala (extreme right) sheds light on challenges faced in trying to set-up new campuses and how technology helps.

Use The Web Satyajit Hange, Director of technology at Bharati Vidyapeeth, on using the web to provide online services in higher education.

Technotised Women leaders, both from technology and academic sectors, attended the event.

Keep It Simple Please Furqan Qamar, the VC of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, spoke on the need to ‘simplify information’, technology uses in higher education and tried to de-mystify the terms ‘open technology’.

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For Tech’s Sake Shankar Venkatagiri, Head Technology Initiatives, IIM Bangalore on adopting best technology practices.


BEST PRACTICES

Madan Padaki, Co-Founder and CEO, MeritTrac Services; B.S. Satyanarayana, Principal, RVCE; Jancy James, VC, Central University of Kerala; Furqan Qamar, VC, Central University of Himachal Pradesh; S. Sadagopan, Director, IIIT Bangalore; K.S. Subramanian, Director, SCMHRD.

Technology for Quality and Collaboration

A session on how to use technology as an enabler, rather than as a crutch

T

he teacher, or the technology? In today’s world, both. Technology and teaching cannot be put in “either-or” parameters. People need education. Teachers teach or educate. Technology helps the teacher to do exactly that. It’s that simple. Technology helps streamline the pedagogical process, cut down repetitive tasks (read: assessment and feedback in a class) and makes life easy for the “absent-minded professor”. It also allows the youth to access education, irrespective of where they are. In a recent conference on education, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal reiterated his faith on technology and the role it is slated to play in India’s primary and higher education sectors. According to him, technology will play an important part in enhancing both the quantity and quality of the sector. The Centre estimates that some 200 million students will be accessing education in the next few years and 13% of this 200 million will consist of youth between 18 and 24 years. Sixty percent of these young people will be based in rural and semi-urban areas. To take education to every doorstep, the Centre has decided to use telecom technology along with fibre optics. And it promises to use technology that extensively to improve classrooms. The government seems determined. Why then, are some of our excellent professors almost against tools of learning?

POINTS TO PONDER 200 MILLION STUDENTS will be accessing education in the next few years, according to the government of India 60 PER CENT of these 200 million students will be based in rural and semi-urban areas March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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BEST PRACTICES

Four Ls of Learning They aren’t, at least if you believe professor S. Sadagopan of IIT Bangalore. He says, “The four Ls of learning are lectures, library, laboratory and life. Technology plays a part in all the four. Technology

“Solutions around the world of technology are very simple, but are injected into the process in a manner that makes a complex difference” —MADAN PADAKI Co-Founder & CEO, MeritTrac Services

will significantly change life and education in the coming years. So, my advice is that instead of dismissing Facebook, Orkut and Youtube; you take a good look at them as tools that will help you, if not to teach, then to connect to an audience– whether students or professors.” “In the present Indian academic environment, practically no student ever goes to the library. In our institution, we had to put computer terminals in the library to get students to enter it, because students are far more happy searching for content online. However, having said that, there are some places where technology is less significant – even today, a student will prefer the worst of face-toface lectures over the best video lecture. If we divide face-to-face and digitised interaction in a 80:20 ratio, then we can minimise pressure on professors. Digital or online learning can take the best lecturers in the top institutions to every classroom,” believes Sadogopan. What the Indian higher education system needs to understand is that its most important stakeholders, the students, have adopted technology. Technology can now, in small doses, replace the conven-

tional classroom interaction. Granted that there are two sides to the same coin, but according to most experts, the advantages outweigh the negative points. Instead of waging a war against “technology” the Indian faculty has to learn to be more oriented towards technology. If the students are reading it online or using some programme to make their knowledge better, then the teachers, too, should join in. “I always wonder what can a teacher add to the pool of knowledge that a bright student has? I believe the teacher does not add to the pool, but she acts as a guide to bring him on the right track or websites which make his reading easier. And to do that, a teacher has to know her way in the cyber world,” believes professor James. According to her, technology allows homogenisation of delivery of material or content. So good teachers make good use of technology. According to Professor Sadagopan, a mistake that institutions and the government must avoid at all costs is to not slot students. “Don’t put people into slots. Chances are that rural students may understand the significance of technology better than urban or semi-urban students.”

Classroom Challenges

“Technology allows the homogenisation of delivery of material or content. So good teachers make good use of technology” —JANCY JAMES VC, Central University of Kerala

“Technology is a supplementary and complementary exercise. Without a teacher inspiring the students, technology will mean nothing” —B.S. SATYANARAYANA Principal, RVCE

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“Sometimes, technology gets misused. Teachers have been known to copy-paste lectures from the net, as have been students, without absorbing anything. As a result there is no actual dialogue. When students go into the real world and have to implement what they have learnt, they find themselves fumbling,” asserts professor Jancy James, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala. Professor K.S. Subramanyan, of the SCMHRD, says: “It is us, the teachers, who are at fault. Because we treat technology as a short cut. Technology is a supplementary and complementary exercise. Without a teacher inspiring the students, technology will mean nothing. Having said that, if teachers are not able to make a student think, and technology can, I say, so be it. Let it happen. Our primary concern is how can we inspire students?” According to Furqan Qamar, Vice Chancellor, Central University of Himachal Pradesh, technology is not “enough”,


BEST PRACTICES

especially in the higher education system. “Studies show that developed nations provide 30% of its youth some sort of higher education. This ratio, on an average, is around 15 percent in India. But I don’t believe that only IT could be the solution to the problems of access and ratio, because no system in the world has been able to enhance its higher education merely by using technology.”

“No system in the world has been able to enhance its higher education merely by using technology” —FURQAN QAMAR VC, Central University of Himachal Pradesh

Sure It Fits A strong and solid teacher-student ratio is 1:8 or 1:9. The education system can’t see technology as a substitute to the conventional system, but it is a great enabler programme. There were only a lakh people enrolled in the higher education system a few years ago. Compare that one lakh to the 15 million today. Most leaders in higher education don’t see a way out unless wireless and optical fibre technology and the telecom sector pitch in to create new virtual classrooms which are accessible even for a student in a village. If you believe professor Jancy James, it is not only the classrooms and learning methods that benefit from technology. Technology helps enhance the campus community experience. “An interactive website is a great thing for students and their main financiers – parents. Every campus should have one.” One of the most common areas where technology helps is campus security (think Smartcards to keep a tab on people entering or leaving). Online payment gateways and websites have been introduced as well. And the cost of setting these systems up, are one time.

The Western Example The term technology is an overwhelming one. It means a lot of things – programmes, gadgets, e-portals, online and networking sites that help teach, maintain data and update content. Teachers in the west have often resorted to innovative teaching tools to make lectures interesting. A professor of media studies at Pitzer College, Alexandra Juhasz, asked her students to perform all their coursework on the Google-owned YouTube. Instead of writing papers, students recorded videos. They were also encouraged to leave their comments on the vid-

“If we divide face-to-face and digitised interaction in a 80:20 ratio, then we can minimise the pressure on professors. Digital learning can take the best lecturers to every class” —S. SADAGOPAN Director, IIIT Bangalore

eos made by their classmates. Slowly, through the repository of the videos and comments, a “textoes” (text plus video) took shape. Later, that was converted into an online book (source: Chronicle of Higher Education). Accessible and open to all registered users. Most US colleges use programmes (think Microsoft Word) to prepare, update and edit materials used in the classroom and for correspondence. Also, professors use PowerPoint presentations extensively. USB flash drives are used for transporting files back and forth between computers in and out of the classroom. Another tech tool gaining prominence is the Blackboard CourseWeb. Through it, syllabi, schedules, PowerPoints, handouts, announcements, and course materials (read: grades) are posted on an online portal (CourseWeb). It allows students, professors, policy-makers and administrators to interact 24/7 via CourseWeb.

Being Trained Works Innovation is the key to global knowledge pool and solutions. Unfortunately, even with 65-plus years of Independence, India is contributing less and less to the global

“Solutions around the world of technology are very simple, but are injected into the process in a manner that makes a complex difference” —K.S. SUBRAMANIAN Director, SCMHRD knowledge pool. In order to speed up this process, it’s most important resource (youth), will have to be taught right. And a way to do that will be through great teachers, and a little technical push. March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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Industry-Institute Linkages

STRATEGY

The

Keyto

Organisational

Productivity BY PHOTOS.COM

A dynamic business environment plus a knowledgebased service economy that is growing rapidly RESULT: Demand from industry for ready-made professionals SOLUTION: R. Gopal of DY Patil University analyses whether industry-B-school partnerships are the key to the problem

March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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STRATEGY

Industry-Institute Linkages

orkforce improvement is a key objective for every industry. Since personnel costs account for around 20-30% of the total per-unit cost of a product, any strategic action that helps reduce this outlay is going to be welcome. One method of reducing this cost is by improving the efficiency and efficacy of personnel. So, can staff productivity be improved by working with academic institutes? If so, in what areas could such a partnership work? Are there institutes, corporate and academics, where such partnerships have worked? If yes, then with what results? For answers, we have to: • Look at the need for such partnerships from the industry’s point of view and from the academic community’s point of view; • Identify areas where academic institutions and industry participation could take place; • Assess the benefit accrued from the se partnerships; and • Suggest and recommend a definitive action plan; Before the 1960s, business education was not offered as an area of specialisation in India. Employees were graduates or postgraduates from the commerce stream. In the 1960s, business education formally gained importance with the establishment of two Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). After that, there was a slow but steady growth in offerings until an upsurge was observed after 1991 when multinational companies entered India and created an increased demand for professionals. The advent of business schools was primarily in response to a demand from industry for managerial skills. However, in India, the two entities have traditionally been operating in two domains and more or less as isolated islands. The partnership, if any, is only accidental and without any strategic intent.

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Partnerships Defined Academia-industry partnership may be defined as an interactive and collaborative arrangement between academic institutes and business corporations to achieve mutually inclusive goals and objectives. Traditionally, B-schools look for placements and internships for students. The industry, meanwhile, seeks fresh recruits who are well trained and equipped with the right KSA (knowledge, skills and attitude) to contribute to an organisation’s growth. B-schools are keen to ensure students are absorbed; industry looks for people who can be put on the job from day one. However, students often have to undergo additional training within an organisation to attune them to specific needs, increasing personnel costs by about 5-10%. B-schools and industry have now woken up to the need for strategic intent measured in terms of a partnership, so that industry can reduce personnel costs. B-schools can also meet their objective of providing placements. The industryacademia partnership involves three major players: faculty, students and industry. (Figure 1 demonstrates the interplay between them.)

Match Point The B-school Perspective: Schools have realised the importance of working closely with employers for the following reasons: • Increasing complexity in the academic and business worlds and the changing needs of industry; • Increasing criticality of human competence in creating and sustaining the competitiveness of organisations;


Industry-Institute Linkages

FIGURE 1-

The Interplay Between Student, Faculty and Industry

Industry Benefits Industry has also slowly realised the need to join with B-schools. It sees that partnerships can help to: 1. Revisit the fundamentals of management and understand their consequences; 2. Motivate employees and keep attrition rates down; 3. Access “ready” students, resulting in productivity improvement and reduced training costs; and 4. Work in tandem with B-schools, in areas such as training, consultancy and market research, and carry out applied or fundamental research at a lower cost. (Lower cost is a factor that often forces industry to outsource processes.) Industry, rather than solely being a consumer of B-schools’ output (students), has thus become a stakeholder in its “production”. It has also discovered the advantages of collaborative learning opportunities. Corporations seek to play an increasingly important role in activities of academic institutions to incubate the talent they need. The shift towards short-term performance metrics and shareholders’ interests has led to a number of changes in the conduct of business and its studies. Discussions with industry personnel indicated that the first step to improve performance in the workplace was to classify personnel as per the grid in Figure 2. The grid helped identify “star” performers, “loyal” employees, “skilled”employees and “question mark” employees. Different types of training could then be imparted to employees to help retain them. Training sessions involving negotiation skills, strategic management techniques and strategies for use during a downturn are then best delivered by B-schools. (Figure 3 demonstrates the areas of co-operation between industry and academia to improve workforce productivity.)

Students

Curriculum, quality of student intake etc.

Placements

g in ar Sh

Kn ow le dg e

Sh ar in g

Faculty

e dg le ow Kn

• Shift in the management paradigm of business schools from the earlier academic models to revenue-based models (i.e. from singly being providers of knowledge to working like a corporate with revenue and profitability being key); • Growing competition for student placements and industry mind-share, with rapid increases in the number of B-schools and therefore management graduates; • Growing pressure from industry to make fresh inductees productive from day one to reduce subsequent training costs; and • Increasing interdependence between academia and industry to satisfy the need for sustenance and innovation in their respective areas.

STRATEGY

Industry

Ready-to-use students with minimum training

Student Benefits A student benefits from such partnerships through direct interaction with industry, gaining an understanding of the cultures and practices it follows, skill set improvement and an improvement in placement prospects.

Modes Of Interface There are a number of avenues through which business schools can collaborate with industry for mutual benefit. Some commonly used avenues are: • Guest lectures by industry representatives; • Suggesting changes to the curriculum; • Executive education and management development programmes; • Joint seminars by academia and industry, both for executives and students; • Consulting on management and related issues by academia; • Academia generating ideas and acting as incubators for new business; • Inclusion of industry experts in governing councils and other boards of study; • Industry providing financial and infrastructure support to business schools for their development; and March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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STRATEGY

Industry-Institute Linkages

• Funding academic and applied research. Guest lectures are the most popular mode of industry interface. At some B-schools, it is compulsory to have a minimum number of guest lectures. Sessions are taken by industry executives as well as professional teachers. The objective is to give students an overview of industry practices and help them relate the theory to real-life applications. They help students understand the workings of an organisation, thereby improving their performance at the workplace. They also help industry personnel hone their skills. In some cases, such sessions have helped employees arrive at “out-of-the-box” solutions. With the self-feeding method, industry gets a first-hand feel of students in a B-school, increasing their placement opportunities and strengthening the long-term relationship between the two. Involving industry in student training and internships has become mandatory at Indian B-schools. All students have to spend two months with a corporate, working on a specific project to gain meaningful hands-on experience. In some corporate structures, executives assign these students out-market research or similar activities. This process is a win-win situation for both students and corporate personnel. The inclusion of executives on governing councils and boards of study of B-schools is another preferred mode of collaboration. The objective of having industry representation is to include the latter’s view on governance and other

FIGURE 2- Classifying employees and identifying the type

of action to be taken to improve productivity

Skilled Employees

INVEST RETAIN

MOTIVATIONAL AND BEHAVIOURAL TRAINING

Loyal Employees

Question Mark Employees

SKILLED-BASED TRAINING

DISCARD OR SERVE SELECTIVELY

Low

Ability

High

Star Employees

High

Low Willingness

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such activities of the schools. Embellishing councils with industry names is perceived to enhance the image and “recall value” of an institute which, in turn, attracts prospective students, donors and stakeholders, and works in favour of the school during ratings and rankings. This point is valid mainly when it comes to autonomous institutes, deemed-to-be universities and similar organisations, which have flexibility to design curricula. The syllabi of some MBA programmes, such as those specialising in outsourcing, biotechnology or retail, have been designed by industry experts. One B-school allowed a group of industry personnel to be appointed as members of its board of studies, responsible for approving the revised curriculum every three years. B-schools can help industry enhance its productivity by conducting part-time MBA, online MBA or executive MBA programmes. These programmes help revisit the business’ fundamentals. A management development programme (MDP), though quite similar to an executive education programme, is a capsule of shorter duration and focuses on a particular area or topic. Discussions have revealed these programmes help the workforce hone skills, while simultaneously honing the skill sets of the concerned faculty. Faculty also gets to better understand the nuances of business and its problems. Cases discussed in executive programmes are also discussed in regular MBA classes, creating a win-win situation for all. B-school faculty can also provide consultancy services in areas such as market research and organisational behavioural studies. Joint seminars are considered to be effective not just for cross-branding, but also for strengthening academic relationship between business schools and industry. They are an opportunity for students to gain an understanding of the latest industry trends. Industry gets a chance to gauge the institute and students for prospective placements. Meanwhile, case-writing, one of the most important aspects of B-school research, adds to industry knowledge pools and enhances students’ learning experiences. Studies serve as the benchmark for business corporations, who are either in the same stage of a business cycle, or in a similar business. Innovations in management teaching can only be brought about by an in-depth understanding of business processes by academicians and thought leaders. Though this is perceived as one of the best ways to collaborate, not enough steps have yet been taken by business schools in this


Industry-Institute Linkages

STRATEGY

FIGURE 3- Areas of co-operation between industry and academia that can help improve workforce productivity

B-schools

Industry Houses

Students Faculty Management

Employees Human Resources Management

- Guest lectures - Guidance in designing syllabi - Executive education: three-year MBA or 18-month e-MBA - Management development programme - Seminars and conferences - Consultancy - Financial, infrastructural supports: Creation of Chairs - Funding for applied research - Being partner—members of Boards of Management and Boards of Study of the institute or industry

direction. A problem area is the industry’s lack of willingness to share data with educational institutes. Many respondents indicated that this was the most difficult part of the academiaindustry interface. Constitution of chairs through financial support is another area in which industry can participate in the functioning of a B-school - by investing in the schools “fixed assets”. The impact of such a partnership, from the industry’s point-of-view, translates into cost savings and improvements in personnel productivity. From the B-school’s perspective, the impact is qualitative in nature - it could result in an improvement in the quality of students seeking admission. From a student’s perspective, the selection of a B-school is based on factors such as infrastructure, placement, recognition and faculty quality, all of which are bound to improve if the school has industry backing.

Recommendations Based on the above discussion, it can be concluded that: • It’s imperative for B-schools to bring academia and industry close together. It is equally important to build strong collaborative relationships; • B-schools need to identify areas to build effective academia-industry relationships. They need to

revisit their missions and academic models to identify the right interface mixes; • All modes of partnership may not be equally beneficial to every business school. They have to work on a “differential relationship” mechanism; • Academia and industry need to build “organic relationships” with long-term strategic intents contributing to the growth and development of both; • Research supports that Indian B-schools have traditionally been using guest lectures as the preferred medium of industry collaboration. They are not only considered a medium to establish industry networks - by giving the latter strong students who become intelligent members of the corporate structure and increasing placement opportunities - but also add to the learning quotient (of students); • B-schools have essentially collaborated with the corporate world to provide training and internship to students. Two-month internships are an integral part of the business curricula in India. They are seen as one of the best ways to give students a taste of theoretical concepts and applications and enhance their ability to relate the two for decision-making purposes; • Executive education and management development programmes are two important areas that Indian B-schools are foraying into. These March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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STRATEGY

Industry-Institute Linkages

initiatives trigger the industry’s interest in collaboration by helping them develop and train human capital, increasing the mind-share and image of the B-school. This kind of partnership model is still in the initial stages in India; • The research validates the above-mentioned statement that collaborative research is still in its infancy stage in India. Academicians regard case-writing, applied research and problembased consulting as a few of the most favoured and value-adding alliances. But these areas are not exploited by business schools, which lose out on an effective collaborative methods and innovative inputs; • B-schools are yet to effectively explore industry participation in student mentoring. Mentors, top professionals willing to impart knowledge and skills - bridge the gap between the classroom and the reality of the marketplace; • B-schools need to evaluate the effectiveness of modes employed by them objectively, so that the future course can be designed with specific goals and well-planned procedures; • B-schools have to move beyond the idea of “working with employers” towards the concept of “working with partners”. The collaboration should be dynamic, complex and synergistic, so both can benefit; and • Industry needs to be supportive and pro-active, and should foster joint partnership with B-schools.

Suggestions Since industry generally does not have a high opinion of academia’s capabilities, it is for the latter to take the initiative and break the ice. Some initiatives that could serve the purpose: • Including pro-active professionals from industry and business in syndicates and on boards of study; • Using practising professionals as part-time or guest faculty; • Securing training or project attachments in industry for senior students and research scholars; • Exploiting contacts with successful alumni; • Offering management development courses to industry professionals a safe and inexpensive trial interaction for the latter; and • Offering inexpensive, or, if necessary, free, consultancy to small and medium industries that cannot afford expensive consultants.

R. Gopal is Director, Dean and Head of Department of Business Management at the DY Patil University in Mumbai.

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advts.indd advts.indd advts.indd 54 54 54

12/22/2009 12/22/2009 12/22/2009 2:54:15 2:54:15 PM2:54:15 PM PM


EXPERTISE DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE

BY AARON B. SCHWARZ asktheexpert@edu-leaders.com

Putting Things in the Right Place

U

niversities are breaking down departmental silos to allow cross-disciplinary interaction. Teaching methodologies are also changing. The design and layout of a campus can either reinforce or inhibit these changes, and need to be planned carefully.

How students and teachers interact with each other and among themselves can be strongly influenced by how a campus is planned. For example, locating faculty in private offices away from classrooms and activity areas, sets the tone for a faculty that is less accessible to students. Separating teaching staff into offices according to subject domains creates departmental silos. Similarly, designing individual buildings for separate disciplines forms academic silos. We can begin to break down these barriers by situating general classrooms within these buildings. However, placement is not enough. The campus administration must mandate that these general classrooms are not under the ownership or control of specific disciplines, but instead are a campus-wide resource.

Enhancing Interaction General classrooms in clusters can be better shared by different disciplines and can provide a setting for increased inter-disciplinary interaction. Interspersing lounges and other breakout spaces within these blocks of general classroom areas will increase the opportunity for informal interaction before and after class. Moving from classroom to classroom between sessions would also become a social experience.

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Aaron is a Principal and Executive Director at Perkins Eastman. He has more than 25 years of experience in architecture. His award-winning portfolio includes numerous projects for colleges and universities in the United States and other countries. He is currently involved in designing some university projects in India

Cafeterias are one of the best ways to enhance interaction. A traditional campus provides a large institutional cafeteria or two on campus. Many a times, they are isolated from other activities due to smoke and smell. A better approach is to break down the large cafeteria setting into a number of smaller cafes and restaurants. Decentralise the cafes on campus to create social nodes among academic functions. Different cuisines can be provided in each of these cafés. Instead of centralising such functions for ease of operations, consider the campus as a city where different restaurants serve different foods, and are located in different neighbourhoods and attract different clientele. At Princeton University, the eating clubs are a fundamental part of the university’s unique culture. Provide small private dining rooms within some of the larger canteens. Allow faculty


Aaron B. Schwarz

EXPERTISE

to book a seminar class or two in these dining rooms. Facilitating experiential learning diversity on campus will have a positive impact that outweighs any operational inefficiencies of a decentralised food service strategy.

Reducing Operational Costs Traditional campuses are planned with residential precincts separated from the academic core. This separation creates “dead zones” on campus during different time periods. During the day, the academic core remains vibrant while residential areas are uninhabited. In the evening, its the reverse. Students tend to minimise the use of a library and learning centre in the evening hours if it is far from their residential premises, where they now have access to internet. With institutes making large investments in infrastructure, it is imperative that these resources are used more effectively. In the evening hours, classrooms can be made available for group study and team projects. Providing a few general classrooms and seminar spaces on the ground floor of residential buildings and placing the residential areas closer to, even blended with academic buildings, solves many of these issues. Some people feel that it is better to save operational costs by shutting down academic buildings in the evening. This is outweighed by the fact that the campus may be able to build less square footage in total if spaces are used more frequently during the day and in the evening. The age-old strategy of separating neighbourhoods genderised needs to change. This model was based on trying to inhibit inappropriate behaviour. But times have now changed, and one needs to challenge this Victorian approach. Housing separation prohibits team projects after class. While we continue to build single-sex dormitories and residential precincts in India, other parts of the world offer students the choice of either staying in a single sex building or a mix-sex dormitory.

Creating Vibrant Campuses Most campuses are designed with memorable outdoors and indoors. But many times these areas are underutilised as the facilities around these spaces are not appropriate. Public spaces on campuses should be adjacent to public functions in order to encourage their use. Organise the campus in a manner that optimises the movement of students and faculty in areas where you want them to gather.

DESIGN BASICS An artful blend of residential precincts and the academic core can help avoid “dead zones” on campus during different time periods

Campuses are cities in themselves and we should use good cities as models in designing campuses. Retail and public spaces in cities thrive where there are people, and are therefore located on ground floors along busy streets. More private areas in the city are away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Cities are made up of neighbourhoods, which have a centre or node of public activity that helps define and hold them together. A higher education campus is not a collection of buildings; it is a city where buildings and their functions need to inter-relate and should be planned in a manner where the buildings work together to form open public spaces and pedestrian pathways between them. The functions within the buildings need to be placed logically to optimise the vibrancy of these public spaces. India is at a stage of “if you build it, they will likely come”. It is a concern that campus planning is not being taken seriously – perhaps because the immense demand is filling whatever campuses are being built. We need to remember that enrolment growth is not the only measure of a successful campus. Eventually, students will have more choice and institutes will have to compete for recruiting the best students. The best students and their parents will demand a cohesive, collegiate institute with a life and soul. Not for them an institution that is merely a collection of buildings adequately housing necessary functions. Where these functions are located, the characteristics of those spaces – both indoor and outdoor, and their inter-relationships are critical to making a campus a special place. Subscribe to the daily electronic newsletter from EDU at http://edu-leaders.com/content/newsletters March-April 2011  EDUTECH

47


FACE-TO-FACE

Man on a SHANTARAM BALWANT MUJUMDAR

MISSION BY PADMAJA SHASTRI

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EDUTECH  March-April 2011

I

began my student life in a municipal school. Since that was the only primary school at Gadhinglaj in Kolhapur district, where I grew up, students of all castes, religions and socio-economic strata studied together. I was a very naughty child. I got just a second class in my SSC exams and my father doubted if I would amount to anything! While at Rajaram College in Kolhapur, I was almost debarred from writing my BSc finals as I had missed many lectures. I pleaded with the Principal, Professor Armando Menezes, who, perhaps out of sympathy, allowed me to appear for the exam. Suddenly, I started studying like a man possessed and managed to get a first class. Then onward, I worked hard and got a first class with distinction in MSc, Botany, from Pune University. After short stints as lecturer at Bhaurao Patil College, Satara, and Borawake College, Ahmednagar, and as assistant professor

BY MILIND WADEKAR

Educational entrepreneur, S.B. Mujumdar still uses his first car, a 1977 Ambassador. He lived in his old two-bedroom flat, clambering up and down the staircase for three decades, till sciatica forced him to move house. As the tall, distinguished man, clad in his signature white khadi shirt, walks towards you, it takes a while to register that this simple septuagenarian is the chancellor of a university with a budget in excess of 1 billion, campuses stretching across 400 acres and 38 institutes teaching 200 courses. EDU brings you face-to-face with the man who single-handedly built Symbiosis, a multidisciplinary educational institution of international repute


March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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FACE-TO-FACE at Gokhale College, Kolhapur, I heard of a vacancy for a Botany professor at Fergusson College. I applied, despite lacking the required experience and was luckily selected. I completed my doctorate in soil microbiology while teaching at Fergusson.

Mujumdar’s student years were lacklustre until his graduation. But they left some lasting impressions and shaped his future.

M

y Intermediate marks were not enough to qualify for entry into a medical college on merit. But those days you could get into a course in Manipal’s Kasturba Medical College by paying capitation fees of 12,000. It was a big amount in 1954, but my father, a successful lawyer, could easily afford it. However, he refused, saying he was ready to spend even 1,00,000 on my education, but not a single rupee on capitation fees. I argued, quarrelled and wept! My mother also pleaded, but he did not budge. That incident taught me what it means to be principled and this influenced a clear policy at Symbiosis. No donation or capitation fee is charged for admission and we admit students only on the basis of merit, after an all-India entrance test.

Mujumdar believes that the secular atmosphere at his school helped conceive Symbiosis, an institute where students from different parts of the world would live and learn together harmoniously. He was inspired by the ideals of Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati and Antar Bharati, founded by Sane Guruji, a social activist and freedom fighter from Maharashtra.

T

he idea of Symbiosis was born during the Diwali vacation in 1969. I was then the Head of the Botany Department at Fergus-

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son College and also rector of the boys’ hostel. One evening, I noticed a girl sneaking towards one of the hostel buildings. She passed a small parcel to someone inside a room. When I went to investigate, I found a young, student from Mauritius in the room, suffering from jaundice and weak. The girl turned out to be his sister. As girls were not allowed inside the boys’ hostel, all she could do was pass him some food. The incident touched an inner chord. Days passed, but the uneasiness stayed. I did some research and found that more than 800 students from 28 different countries were studying in Pune. I decided to look into their problems and see if I could make their stay a little less difficult. I found that most faced difficulties regarding accommodation, food, guidance and counselling. The experience was particularly unpleasant for black students, who faced discrimination. I constantly wondered how to ensure that these students did not leave India embittered.

On April 7, 1970, Mujumdar started an organisation for the welfare of foreign students, to promote friendship between them and Indian students. Among the facilities he envisaged were decent accommodation, meals of choice, medical assistance, instruction in English language and clear information about university courses and Indian culture, traditions and philosophy. He had no money, but was convinced that a good cause begets the resources it needs.

I

started writing a column in Kesari, a Marathi newspaper started by Lokamanya Tilak, based on my interviews with overseas students. I soon realised that education was the best medium to bring Indian and foreign students together. But that needed a lot of money. In the next few months, I contacted everyone who could support the cause – newspaper editors, writers, artists, social workers, professionals and industrialists. I did not hesitate to ask for even small

amounts of money, as I needed to quickly collect the 15,000 that we had to pay initially to claim the one-acre land granted to us by the State government. It wasn’t easy. Once, an industrialist in Pune invited me to his home with a promise of 2000. He not only sent me away empty handed, but also heaped insults on me just because his wife was upset that I had stepped on her rangoli by mistake. Another industrialist would keep drinking fruit juice and eating, while making me wait for hours without offering me even a glass of water! I learnt to swallow all the humiliation and criticism as I believed I was working for a larger cause. If you have faith in your mission, you can tolerate anything. Great dreams and faint hearts do not go together. The three Ps that helped me in starting Symbiosis were – patience, perseverance and prayer.

Sheer perseverance and hard work transformed Mujumdar from a professor hooted at by students during his initial days at Fergusson College to an extremely popular one whose lectures were attended by students even of other colleges.

W

hen I started out, I was in my late 20s and had replaced a 60-year-old professor. Students didn’t take me seriously. Pune students also found my English pronunciation funny as I came from a rural background. My popularity later was not accidental. I used to spend four to five hours preparing for each lecture. Also, having a role model like Professor S.A. Parandekar, my teacher at Rajaram College, helped. From him, I learnt that the role of a professor is not to merely disseminate knowledge, but to teach in such a way that students fall in love with the subject. From Dr T.S. Mahabale, the Head of the postgraduate Botany Department at Pune University, I learnt that one ‘should never show your back to the class’. I found that when you speak extempore,


FACE TO FACE

ABOUT SHANTARAM BALWANT MUJUMDAR BORN: July 31, 1935 EDUCATION: MSc in Botany and PhD in Microbiology from Pune University MAJOR AWARDS: Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar: 2003 n

n

Padma Shri: 2005

n

Punyabhushan Award: 2009

POSITIONS HELD: Professor and Head of the Department of Botany at Fergusson College. He taught at the college for 18 years A LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT HIM: His was a love marriage. He married Sanjiwani in 1962, despite stiff opposition from both sides of the family. It was an inter-caste marriage – he is a Saraswat Brahmin, while she is a Maratha HIS FAVOURITE QUOTE: “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven” - Milton LOVES: Reading autobiographies, historical and selfimprovement books. He also reads the ‘Word Power’ section of the Reader’s Digest, as finding out different meanings and nuances of words is his hobby)

you connect better with the audience. It doesn’t matter if you forget a few points in the process.

Many of his students went on to become doctors, some of them well known in their field. A few retain his notes to this day.

T

he majority of the successful doctors in Pune have been my students at some point. Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, one of my students, is the first surgeon in India to have performed a laparoscopic operation with the help of robotics. Today, there is not a single place I go, be it in India or abroad, where I do not meet one of my students, either from Fergusson or Symbiosis. Recently, a student walked up to me at a mall in Singapore, saying, “Sir, I was your student,” and touched my feet. Seeing students succeed is the biggest reward for my efforts. I am convinced that education is the mother of all reforms and universities are cradles of creativity and engines of economic growth.

Mujumdar is a firm believer in coincidences that shape the course of events in one’s life. But he worked really hard to enable chance to favour him. His complete devotion to Symbiosis helped it develop, in just three decades, from an international cultural centre into an international university, where around 30,000 students from 80 countries are studying. However, he did not set out to start an educational institution. That happened by chance.

I

established Symbiosis in 1971 with a contribution of 250 each from me, my wife and five friends. It started from a room in my house on Fergusson College campus. Then, the aim was to provide a “home away from home” for foreign students in Pune and promote friendship between them and Indian students. I named my concept Symbiosis, a botanical term that means the co-existence of two different organisms for mutual benefit. But to be viable, it had to run on its own steam. So, we started English Language Teaching Institute for foreign students. It was an

instant hit and freed Symbiosis from dependence on philanthropists. It also marked the beginning of the transformation of Symbiosis from a cultural centre to an educational and cultural organisation. But it was only after we set up Symbiosis Law College that we started generating excess funds for further expansion. That happened by chance when Maharashtra Education Society did not take up Pune University’s suggestion to establish a law college. I was initially taken by surprise when it was suggested that Symbiosis start one, but soon warmed up to it. We persuaded At u r S a n g t a n i , a b u i l d e r a n d philanthropist, to construct three classrooms, a room for the principal and one for the staff (the minimum infrastructure required for a college) in a record time of 28 days! Since then, we have been growing at the rate of one new institute per year. Once I am possessed by an idea, I do not rest until I find a satisfactory solution.

Mujumdar has always been far ahead of his times. He set up an organisation for the welfare of overseas students over four decades ago, when nobody March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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FACE-TO-FACE Mujumdar believes that education does not flower without autonomy.

gave much thought to attracting foreign students. He introduced evening classes in Law to enable working people to study further, years before the phrase “executive education” gained currency. He was also the first to start a management institute exclusively for defence personnel and their dependents.

I

have always had the knack of picking up relevant ideas from my readings and conversations. I have almost always been successful in gauging market demand and in meeting it. I constantly meet experts in various fields to gather information, which helps identify emerging trends and judge their social impact. It is important for educationists to be sensitive to opportunities and to the needs and aspirations of people.

Mujumdar feels that every failure or calamity in life can be turned into an opportunity if one has the willingness to work hard, with courage and tenacity.

I

felt bad when trustees of Deccan Education Society, w h i c h r u n s Fe r g u s s o n College, denied me a life membership. But now I realise it was a blessing in disguise. Had they made me a life member, I would have, at best, become the prinicipal of Fergusson College. Similarly, I did not like it when my UGC scholarship was withdrawn at the last minute. But had I got that, I might have become Head of Botany Department, Pune University, and been content with that. I also lost the battle for the post of Vice Chancellor of Pune University in 1977-78. Had I won, I might not have been able to build Symbiosis.

Mujumdar acknowledges the role his wife, Sanjiwani, and her unstinted support have played in his success. She quit her PhD in Zoology, despite a UGC scholarship, to take care of all household responsibilities and left him free to pursue his dreams.

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A

“The three Ps that helped me in starting Symbiosis were – patience, perseverance and prayer”

M

y wife has always looked after our finances and other household responsibilities. I think I failed miserably in maintaining a work-life balance. Initially, I was very involved with teaching and was also active in university politics. I fought elections to various university bodies for 20-25 years. At one point, I was chairman of some 55 committees! Soon, Symbiosis became an obsession. There was a time when I used to give lectures at Fergusson in the morning, do university work in the afternoon and then drive to Mumbai in the evening to meet officials in connection with Symbiosis. Finally, in 1981, I gave up my job at Fergusson and decided to stay away from university affairs to devote myself to Symbiosis. I hardly had any time to sleep, forget any spare time, and so things like going to the cinema and family trips were unknown.

The secret of Mujumdar’s success according to him, is his policy of giving total freedom to the heads of his institutes to operate as they deem fit, which helps them develop a custodianship of their respective units and come up with innovative solutions.

t home too, I deliberately practise democracy. All decisions in my family are arrived at by discussion. I have never forced my daughters, Vidya and Swati, to study this course or that, marry this person or that one. I was able to persuade Vidya and her husband, Rajiv Yeravdekar, both doctors, who returned after a successful stint in Oman to start a hospital in Pune to help with the administration of Symbiosis. In 2001, Swati too quit her job with Nortel Corporation and came back to India after 13 years in the United States, to give a new direction to our distance education institute.

Mujumdar is not one to rest on his laurels. No mission is ever completely accomplished, according to him. His unfinished agenda includes spreading the Symbiosis umbrella across the country and giving a fillip to research.

F

ormer Foreign Secretary of India Ram Sathe once told me, “Had you started Symbiosis in Delhi, it would have got a lot more exposure.” I will realise that dream now. We have 10 acres of land in Noida and have started a law college there this year. We also plan to start campuses in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Andhra Government has already given us 40 acres of land in Mehboobnagar, where our campus is under construction, while the Gujarat Government has invited us to sign a memorandum of understanding. It is not enough to provide a world-class facility, we also need world-class faculty. So we are identifying Indian professors in the United States to come and teach here on a Fulbright Scholarship, and are encouraging improvement programmes for existing faculty. We have also started a research institute and expect the culture to percolate to all our institutes.


THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE FROM

THE CHRONICLE

O F H I G H E R E D U C AT I O N

56 A WIKILEAKS CLONE TAKES ON HIGHER EDUCATION 58 FREE ‘VIDEO BOOK’ FROM MIT PRESS CHALLENGES LIMITS OF SCHOLARSHIP

N

Now, China takes on Higher Education in the Race for Global Parity Tsinghua and Peking universities seek to become world-class institutions, but with distinctly Chinese characteristics BY PAULA MARANTZ COHEN

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BY PHOTOS.COM

I

t seems like a day doesn’t pass without a news article, political speech, or editorial about the rise of China on the world stage and what it means for the West. In higher education, similar speculation about Chinese universities abounds. But occasionally those institutions are misunderstood, especially when compared with their American peers. What is often overlooked is that the universities are trying to develop in a distinctly Chinese fashion. I was recently in Beijing doing research for a documentary film about the two universities generally viewed as the best in China: Peking University (in picture right), known as “Beida”, and Tsinghua University. Both have demanding entrance requirements and draw the best and brightest from China. Since the 1950s, they have developed complementary areas of specialisation; Beida is associated with the liberal arts and Tsinghua with applied science. Those universities are fascinating places for an educator to visit. Though my time at each was short, I came away with some definite impressions about how the country’s two most esteemed institutions are evolving. Fifteen years ago, the Chinese government made a major decision to bolster higher education. It started Project 211, which designated 100 universities in the country as the principal recipients of state and local financing. In 1998, another government mandate, Project 985, narrowed the focus to 10 universities to create a core set of institutions that could compete effectively in the global arena. That number later grew to nearly 40. Peking University and Tsinghua University were


GLOBAL.CHRONICLE.COM the first and most generously supported developed within those parameters until under the new efforts. The intention: to the late 1960s, when the Cultural Revoluelevate those venerable institutions as tion brought educational advances to a halt. quickly as possible to “world class” status. The piecemeal and shifting nature of this From what I could tell through informal history might seem to be a handicap to discussion with educators in China, the narBeida and Tsinghua, as they seek to meet rowly focused Project 211 and the even narthe needs of an information-driven, interSign up for a free weekly rower Project 985 have not been without disciplinary world. But a closer look reveals electronic newsletter from The Chronicle of Higher Education at controversy. The Chinese often refer to two that their checkered history may be an Chronicle.Com/Globalnewsletter principles that drive their national agenda: advantage. American universities, for all The Chronicle of Higher Education is “development”—making the country comtheir many and diverse offerings, often a US-based company with a weekly petitive on a world stage; and “harmony”— seem stuck in institutional habits that are newspaper and a website updated maintaining the principles of equality inherout of step with larger economic and social daily, at Global.Chronicle.com, that cover all aspects of university life. ent in Communist ideology. With thousands realities. The Chinese universities, owing to With over 90 writers, editors, and of institutions of higher learning languishthe structural alterations they have had to correspondents stationed around the ing for lack of funds, the support of only 100, make over the years, are arguably more flexglobe,The Chronicle provides timely subsequently reduced even further, seems to ible and accommodating to change. news and analysis of academic ideas, place development far ahead of harmony. Yet Chinese universities have been accused developments and trends. defenders of the approach say it is a necesof copying American models as they seek to sary first step in making Chinese higher evolve, but there is evidence that they are education globally competitive. also altering our models in original and During my visit, Peking University and Tsinghua University effective ways. One noteworthy example is tenure, recently were often referred to as the Harvard and the MIT of China. introduced in China but in a slightly different form from what Those designations, however, seem misleading. According to we know in America. Contracts are granted not for life but for the many Chinese faculty members I spoke to, their universithree-year periods, and while tenured professors are largely ties are not yet on a par with our top universities, nor are the assured sustained employment, they undergo regular review. historical trajectories of their institutions comparable to ours. There are obvious political reasons for that approach, but it also has clear benefits, prodding faculty to remain engaged and proShifting Influences ductive for the length of their careers. Both Beida and Tsinghua were initially influenced by American Incentives To Teach Well universities (Tsinghua was founded through the fund-raising A related innovation has to do with teaching. Those university efforts of an American missionary), but during the new repubprofessors not judged to be good teachers are placed on a lic, German and Japanese influences came into play, and with research track, which, far from being a reward as in the United the People’s Revolution of 1949, the Soviet Union became the States, prevents those assigned to it from achieving the highest major source of influence. Throughout the 1950s, China folrank in their fields. The result is to create good researchers, who lowed the Soviet lead of creating specialised institutions as the work hard to become good teachers. best means of supporting industrial development. Thus, TsingI was also impressed by innovative developments in the hua specialised in engineering, while the older and more tradiacademic disciplines. Take, for example, the Tsinghua English tional Beida specialised in literature and pure science. Each department. During the Soviet-dominated period, Tsinghua University’s best English professors were transferred to Peking University in accordance with the agenda of specialisation. Over the past two decades, with that agenda reversed, Tsinghua has sought to rebuild its English department. But instead of duplicating the traditional orientation of Beida, which focuses on canonical English and American texts, Tsinghua has taken a broader approach, applying the latest Western literary methodologies—feminist theory, ecocriticism, and translation studies—to Chinese literature and culture. The goal, as Ning Wang, one of the more widely-published and internationally known professors in the department told me, is to establish not an imitation of the West but a uniquely Chinese contribution to narrative theory and practice. That not only gives the Tsinghua English department a presence at foreign conferences and in edited volumes (something that the

THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT DECIDED TO BOLSTER HIGHER EDUCATION WITH PROJECT 211, DESIGNATING 100 VARSITIES AS RECIPIENTS OF FINANCING

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THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE government looks favourably upon), it also inflects postmodern theory with a uniquely Chinese perspective. Something similar seems to be under way in the area of technology. I was introduced to Qining Wang, a researcher in robotics at Peking University who, when asked why he was not at Tsinghua, as might be expected for an applied researcher, explained that he was receiving exceptional support where he was. I noted that his office was a self-standing structure located directly outside the gates of the university and that a private company had a share in underwriting his research. Like Tsinghua, Beida was finding innovative ways of opening itself both to a larger world and to wider disciplinary pursuits. (Wang’s business card, significantly, identified him as a member of the university’s Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies.) One could say that Beida and Tsinghua are trying to evolve from lesser, fragmented institutions into Yale and Harvard. But

this is to put things in Western terms. The drive to comprehensiveness also harks back to an earlier and uniquely Chinese tradition associated with Confucian teaching that acknowledges the interconnectedness of things and the importance of accommodation to context and to change. Just as the politics of the nation is now commonly referred to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, those universities seeking to integrate their disparate pasts with elements necessary to compete globally in the future seem on their way to becoming “world-class universities with Chinese characteristics”. Paula Marantz Cohen is a distinguished professor of English at Drexel University. Subscribe to a free weekly electronic newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education at Chronicle.Com/Globalnewsletter

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A WikiLeaks Clone Takes on Higher Education UniLeaks debuted in March 2011 with a pair of open letters to university leaders in Australia and Britain. Australian activists who run UniLeaks are pushing for openness in the face of what they see as the corporatisation of higher education BY MARC PERRY

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ear University Leaders: You might want to think twice before clicking “send” on your next e-mail. WikiLeaks, scourge of governments worldwide, now has a copycat for academe. And the new group is itching to publish your university’s deepest secrets. Its website, UniLeaks, debuted this month with a pair of open letters to university leaders in Australia and Britain. The Australian activists who run UniLeaks are pushing for openness in the face of what they see as the

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UNILEAKS CLAIMS THE SUPPORT OF BRITISH STUDENTS AND ACADEMICS; SAYS IT HAS E-MAIL DATA OF UK UNIVERSITIES

corporatisation of higher education. They complain of unprofitable courses abolished, employees made less secure, and students reduced “to mere customers or clients of the university”. UniLeaks has yet to back that bluster with any blockbuster scoops. But the site’s main administrator says it has received an “overwhelming” amount of correspondence from Britain-based students and academics. That support includes at least one potentially newsworthy data dump: an “entire e-mail repository” of a “large prominent university in the United Kingdom”, a database


GLOBAL.CHRONICLE.COM that seems to be limited to senior management at the institution. And UniLeaks hopes to be an outlet for whistle-blowers in America, too. “Universities are unique in that they generally receive quite a deal of public funding,” says the administrator, a former student at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. “We feel that the general public has a right to have universities act very transparently, in a way that is accountable.” The Chronicle spoke with the administrator by phone from Melbourne, after tracking the group down through an e-mail address listed on the UniLeaks website and Twitterfeed. The newspaper is granting the administrator anonymity because the administrator fears legal action from a university about which UniLeaks is trying to publish information. WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy group fronted by Australian-born Julian Assange, has already spawned a series of other knock-off sites. The most prominent one has been OpenLeaks, started by former members of WikiLeaks. Two separate environmental groups are vying for the name GreenLeaks. Then there’s a site about corruption in Russia. And another about the European Union. “I always thought the most powerful element of WikiLeaks was the idea of WikiLeaks, more than the actual organisation,” says Joshua Benton, director of the Nieman Journalism Lab, a project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University. “It’s an idea that is easily transferable in a thousand different ways.” But can the idea take off in higher education?

The main page of the website, Unileaks

One of the big challenges is generating enough interest from readers and potential sources. Benton points out that WikiLeaks itself had been around for some time before gaining mainstream attention for exposing diplomatic cables and documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A single source, Bradley Manning, is suspected of providing WikiLeaks with much of its famous content. “So in a sense it comes down to whether a site like this could have that sort of a breakthrough moment,” Benton says. “Is there a Bradley Manning who’s willing to do what he did?” There are existing places to spread anonymous online gossip about universities— places like CollegeACB, a site similar to the now-defunct Juicy Campus. UniLeaks professes to be different. It filters content, rather than allowing users to post directly. It accepts only material that is in the public interest, says the administrator. “We don’t accept rumor,” says the administrator.

UNILEAKS DISTANCES ITSELF FROM ANONYMOUS GOSSIP SITES. IT SAYS IT DOES NOT ACCEPT RUMOUR, ONLY MATERIAL WHICH IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST OR IN SOME WAY CONNECTED TO HIGHER EDUCATION

But the rumors are pouring in anyway. It’s been “fascinating” to wade through the tips that have arrived about low-level personal issues in university departments, says the administrator. (Sample reaction: “I can’t believe he’s having sex with both of them. Wow!”) But the administrator deletes them: “Just because Professor What’s-HisNa m e i s h a v i n g s e x , t h a t’ s n o t something we can actually put all over the website.” So what is UniLeaks looking for? Internal reports. Evaluations. Research that’s being kept hidden. Contracts. E-mails. Anything confidential that falls under this guideline: “UniLeaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic, or historical significance, which is in some way connected to higher education.” Benton points out that there’s “a whole sea of behavior that universities don’t like to publicise.” “Think of the equivalent to the diplomatic cables that WikiLeaks released,” he says. “This was material that was unusually forthright, that was intended purely for internal circulation. And I’m sure that there are equivalent memos and equivalent documents in lots and lots of colleges and universities that the president certainly has no interest in having see the light of day.” Subscribe to a free weekly electronic newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education at Chronicle.Com/Globalnewsletter March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

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Free ‘Video Book’ from MIT Press Challenges Limits of Scholarship Alexandra Juhasz, a professor of media studies at Pitzer College, went from ridiculous to revered thanks to her ‘video book’ BY MARC PARRY

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hen Alexandra Juhasz began teaching a class about YouTube in 2007, journalists poked fun at the Pitzer College professor. Academic credit to watch goofy kitten videos? TechCrunch, a popular blog, said it might be the most ridiculous class any college had ever offered. But Juhasz, a professor of media studies, felt that her students needed to participate in this new medium in order to critique it. The same was true of her work: academic writing on YouTube demands videos, not just words. That idea got a major boost this month when the MIT Press released Learning From YouTube, a free “video book” that was written by Juhasz and grew out of her class. It’s the first time the press has published an online-only book, and it helped developers build a new platform for authorship that they hope will be used for more such works. It’s also a test of academic waters: will similar publications, backed by established presses, count toward tenure? The YouTube book was peer-reviewed and comes with an ISBN number. But beyond that it has little in common with the books we’re used to seeing. Users get to it by visiting a web site that consists of about 250 “texteos”, pages that combine text and video. The videos, many of them produced by Juhasz’s students, encourage readers to reflect on YouTube by learning inside it. The closest thing to chapters are “YouTours”, which guide viewers through related pages. That format also makes the book a test of staying power: Since much of the content isn’t owned by Juhasz, its owners could take it down, leaving holes in her book. The MIT press thinks this form is worth a try because scholars are demanding new publishing forums. They “are studying rich media forms of communications, and they have to be able to write and create in those formats,” says Ellen W. Faran, director of the press. “And this takes their work, at the moment, sort of outside of the regular stream of publishing pipelines in the academy.” In traditional writing, film scholars like Juhasz have been trained to spend a paragraph describing a movie and then to

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make their argument. But why describe a video when you can show it? Existing platforms like WordPress and Drupal can already handle much of what scholars need for such multimedia work. “But they aren’t always easy to use, especially for those not savvy enough to tweak a bit of code,” says David Parry, an assistant professor of emerging media and communications at the University of Texas at Dallas.

New Publishing Pipeline Learning From YouTube may help simplify things. The work served as the prototype for new software, Scalar, that provides templates to create similar publications. Development of the system, based at the University of Southern California, is part of a growing national effort by scholars, archives, and academic presses to support multimedia scholarship. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has put more than $900,000 into the project, called the Alliance for Networking Visual Culture. The idea behind Scalar is that professors will have an authorship platform, similar to WordPress, that allows them to create digital scholarship filled with multimedia content culled from partner archives. So far, four archives are participating: the Shoah Foundation, Critical Commons, the Hemispheric

FOR HER CLASS, JUHASZ PRODDED STUDENTS TO THINK ABOUT YOUTUBE BY FORCING THEM TO DO ALL THEIR COURSEWORK ON THE GOOGLE-OWNED SITE


GLOBAL.CHRONICLE.COM Institute Digital Video Library, and the Internet Archive. Presses at MIT, Duke University, and the University of California are also involved, as are the Modern Language Association and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Organisers see the support of those presses and scholarly societies as key to overcoming a big obstacle in the slow-tochange culture of academe: the difficulty of getting new forms of work recognised. “We have a disconnect between popular forms and what the folks who produce and review and give credit for scholarly work recognise as scholarship,” says Tara McPherson, an associate professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at Southern California, who is the lead scholar on the Mellon grant. “The reason we’re partnering both with presses and scholarly societies is to help credential the work and make it possible for young scholars to produce this sort of work with a reasonable expectation it would count for tenure.” Another new publishing tool, Anthologize, approaches the same obstacle from the opposite direction. A WordPress plugin created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, it transforms blog posts into books. Brett Bobley, who directs the agency’s digital-humanities office, says the project is slightly “subversive” because it turns new-media objects into old-fashioned texts so that scholars can “print them or distribute them using more traditional publishing channels, something that may still be needed for promotion and tenure or other reasons”. Beyond issues of credit, organisers of the Mellon-backed alliance hope it can broaden the audience for academic scholarship. That would demonstrate the value of this work and perhaps bolster the agencies that finance it, a timely move now that Republican lawmakers, looking for federal budget cuts, are calling for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). For example, McPherson says, multimedia work created with materials from the alliance’s partner archives has the potential to attract interest from the general public, just as colleges did by releasing free online lecture videos. And Juhasz says public engagement was one reason she published Learning From YouTube online. McPherson also hopes that embedding primary sources will raise the standard of scholarship. In traditional writing, an academic can “pretty much get away with saying almost anything” in describing an obscure film or oral history, she says. “You can’t just make any interpretation you want if your object is right there and your user can see it”.

‘The Book Is So Temporary’ But will the object remain there? That’s one of the many questions facing this kind of work. Juhasz expects that some of her book will evaporate. After all, she doesn’t own much of its content. For her class, Juhasz prodded students to think about YouTube by forcing them to perform all their coursework on the Googleowned site. Instead of writing papers, they recorded videos and

left comments. The online book that grew out of that work embeds many YouTube videos—television shows, music videos, and the like—that can easily be taken down. “The book is so temporary,” the professor says. But it’s easy to substitute new clips for stuff that gets pulled down, she adds. A potentially greater problem is that technological change will render obsolete old formats like the CD-ROM or floppy disk. Will people be able to consume her web-based book at all in the future? Already an incompatible device has emerged: the iPad. When Juhasz started the project, the iPad didn’t exist. Similar efforts have been doomed by copyright concerns. Doug Sery, the senior editor of MIT Press, who acquired Juhasz’s book, recalls an earlier attempt to put together a digital book on media studies with content drawn from videos and music and social-networking sites. “We had these intellectual-property issues that really prevented us from doing that,” he says.

IN TRADITIONAL WRITING, FILM SCHOLARS LIKE JUHASZ HAVE BEEN TRAINED TO SPEND A PARAGRAPH DESCRIBING A MOVIE AND THEN TO MAKE THEIR ARGUMENT. BUT WHY DESCRIBE A VIDEO WHEN YOU CAN SHOW IT? The fate of Scalar, which has not yet been released to the public, also remains to be seen. Mellon had backed an earlier attempt to build multimedia-authoring software, called Sophie. The first version failed, says Bob Stein, a director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, who left the Sophie project after blowing through more than $2.5-million working on it. A second version is not usable now but may end up being the “holy grail,” he says. “The easier you try to make an authoring environment, the harder it is to build it,” says Stein. “It’s easy to build an authoring environment that requires experts to use. It’s very hard to build an authoring environment that somebody can use after reading two pages of instructions.” Subscribe to a free weekly electronic newsletter from the Chronicle of Higher Education at Chronicle.Com/Globalnewsletter

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PROFILE

Sudhir Kumar Sopory

FACT FILE NAME: Sudhir Kumar Sopory CURRENT ENGAGEMENT: Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS: The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Bhatnagar Award: 1987 The Indian National Science Congress’ Chakravarty Award: 1988 The Botanical Society’s Birbal Sahni Medal: 2001 The Indian Science Congress’ Birbal Sahni Birth Centenary Award: 2005

THINGS HE LIKES: FILM: He’s seen only three in the last 30 years, but admits to liking the most recent one he saw—3 Idiots! HOLIDAY DESTINATION: Srinagar PASTIME: Reading

A Teacher at Heart Sudhir Kumar Sopory believes that teaching is an art and feels that discipline is missing in classrooms today BY SMITA POLITE & ROHINI BANERJEE

JAWAHARLAL NEHRU UNIVERSITY’S

Vice Chancellor, Professor Sudhir Kumar Sopory, is a study in contrasts. He is, with all due respect, a nerd. Sopory loves his books. From his family, Sopory caught the reading bug. His maternal grand uncle was a voracious reader, owned 30,000 books, composed poems and wrote about the culinary arts and culture of India and Pakistan. Sopory’s father, too, was a bibliophile who owned 5,000 titles. He admits that both men left a deep impression on his life and habits. No wonder then that the man at the helm of a premiere institution like JNU, loves his books. Will he then be able to withstand the politics, noise and chaos that surround the present academic landscape? After all, we could call him “the softie” as well. He is so soft-spoken that often one has to strain her ears to hear him. He does not feel comfort-

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SUBHOJIT PAUL

Godnev Award Lecture of Belarus Academy of Sciences: 2003


Sudhir Kumar Sopory

able eating fruits and vegetables that have seeds in them. “Seeds are life. No one should consume them. I prefer that seeds are taken out before fruits and vegetables are cooked,” he says. He is a philosopher, too, deeply influenced by Kashmiri Shaivism and its perception of cit (consciousness). But, there is another side to Professor Sopory.

Honest to the Core As the interaction proceeds, a tougher and sometimes brutally honest core emerges. It becomes clear that this professor-at-heart, is not blind to the challenges that lie ahead of him as the Vice Chancellor of one of India’s premiere universities. He does not skirt the MMS issue that rocked the JNU campus just weeks after he assumed office. On the contrary, Sopory insists that the administrator’s nightmare be investigated. (He expelled two students who were involved in the incident.) He is honest—admitting that he and his kin at the university will need to dig deep and re-think the present model to draw the campus out of its “corrupt” state. A little note here: Sopory’s definition of corruption is unique. To him, a professor whiling away time, a student who is late and a police officer accepting a bribe, are all corruption in some form or the other. “Whenever I ask professors, they tell me that they are doing just fine. I wonder, if everyone’s doing as fine as they let me know, then why do we have so few publications,” he asks. As another example, he had no qualms dismissing a PhD student who got “wayward” after submitting his thesis: “I believe we need discipline in class. I am a disciplinarian,” he admits, smiling. There was a time when Sopory stood for elections (and won) for Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association. Tough but kind, calm but firm, optimistic but firmly rooted in reality, Sopory is a study in contrasts.

Hurdles no Obstacle Life hasn’t been easy for Sopory. His parents fled from his hometown in Kashmir during Partition and Sopory was born in a tent in Ambala. He lost his father at the age

of four. Later, he had to abandon his PhD midway through and take it up again after nearly a decade. Teaching at a college in Meerut, he took bank examinations that he failed. And then there was a failed bid to become a curator of the botany department at Kashmir: “Failure is a way of life. Things have a way of shaping up as destiny has its own path. So, I never gave up,” he says. His interest in biology was accidental. “I am a vegetarian and did not wish to dissect frogs in a laboratory. I applied for several subjects and landed up with biology,” Sopory says.

Passionate about Teaching The professor is passionate about

PROFILE

less from his students. “My guide was a very strict man. He made me finish all my work and then leave, even if it was really, really late. Though I used to complain about him then, today I realise what good his discipline did to me and my life.” The love for teaching runs in the family—his spouse was a school teacher, while both the daughter and son-in-law are aspiring academics, currently pursuing their post-doctoral research. Revealing that his father wanted one of his six sons to be a teacher, he says he couldn’t have done it without his family’s support. At an age when most people contem-

“FAILURE IS A WAY OF LIFE. THINGS HAVE A WAY OF SHAPING UP AS DESTINY HAS ITS OWN PATH” teaching. “When my son was about to be born, I was teaching. I received a call from the hospital, but I insisted on completing my class. After the class, one of students came and congratulated me,” Sopory says. “Teaching is not like giving dictation. It is an art. I encourage all sorts of questions in class. If I know the answers, then good; if I don’t, then I make it a point to go back to the library and research. Lectures have to be updated every year. And it takes eight hours to plan the blackboard.” Yes, you read right. Sopory says one needs to “plan the blackboard” as well; keep the right diagrams; delete the unnecessary ones; write with proper gaps; mind the spelling. Being a perfectionist, he expects no

plate retirement, Sopory is starting out on one of the most important phases of his career. He’s got a lot on his to-do list: Break JNU’s rigid silos into interdisciplinary departments, promote innovative areas of research, encourage students’ participation in teaching assignments and promote excellent teaching engagements with students. He also wishes to invite more overseas students to the campus. For that, he has been in talks with JNU’s foreign cell andtells EDU that a series of collaborations is being looked at by the university. The road ahead may be tough, but this gentle leader is all set to get going. Subscribe to a daily electronic newsletter from EDU at http://edu-leaders.com/ content/newsletters March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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Experience joy in life and spread joy Dr Rob Yeung

Book Review

Extra One Per Cent Anoop Chugh discovers the critical mindset that allows high achievers to generate creative ideas THIS ONE is a myth-breaker on what makes a successful man (or woman). And, trust me the answer isn’t a rich dad! Dr Bob Yeung, author of over a dozen self-help books, a behaviour coach and a psychologist, has interviewed hundreds of high achievers in business, sport and entertainment to gain insight into the minds of successful people. He has a major idea on the subject and has let the most well-kept secret out in his latest—The Extra One Per Cent (How Small Changes Make Exceptional People). How did he get the secret? Dr Yeung, after interviewing hundreds of high achievers from various walks of life, has defined subtle yet crucial differences that distinguish exceptional people from everyone else—something exceptional people weren’t themselves aware of. No pun intended, but the author believes that superstar performers can rarely articulate what they do in enough detail to help others follow in their footsteps. The author claims if you ask five random celebrities (only if you get to meet them)—what qualities make you so successful? They may talk about vision, passion, confidence, creativity, luck, risks and instincts. These

are great qualities to possess but aren’t a sure shot success recipe. “I am sure you know people who think they are visionary, creative, determined and adaptable. But they don’t get the same results as the people they’d like to emulate,” the book claims. The author has divided the book into eight broad “capabilities” that super humans possess. These are the skills that distinguish exceptional people from everybody else—namely awe, cherishing, authenticity, centredness, connecting, daring, citizenship and visioning. All the eight skills are backed by scientific evidences to argue that these capabilities have already distinguished many iconic people from their less stellar counterparts. That’s not all; the author has prescribed how to attain such skills in case you lack them. What this book allows the reader to do is—discover the critical mindset that allows high achievers to generate creative ideas, learn the secret psychology that helps one to influence and persuade others and develop practical techniques for boosting relationships and earning and achieving more. Here’s your ticket to the excellence. —Anoop Chugh

Title: The Extra One Per Cent Author: Dr Rob Yeung Publisher: Pan MacMillan Price: 495

RECENT RELEASES

Making Teaching and Learning Matter COMING FROM diverse points of view and twenty different disciplines, the book illuminates the often perplexing debates about what matters most in higher education today.

Author: Judith Summerfield and Cheryl C. Smith Publisher: Springer Price: $34.95

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International Handbook of Higher Education THIS IS a unique “one stop” resource for the latest trends and developments in higher education worldwide.

Author: James J.F. Forest and Philip G. Altbach Publisher: Springer Price: $29.95


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APPLE’S MACBOOK Air comes loaded with software for everything you do. Underneath its thin body is a full-size and a more able Mac than its larger siblings. The book comes with 64 GB flash storage, a high-resolution display and a design that assures better responsiveness and reliability. Its built-in Intel Core 2 Duo processors are sure to get your work done faster than you imagined. And the book weighs less than 1.4 kilograms. Small in size, but big on performance!

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March-April 2011  EDUTECH

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PERSPECTIVE CHANDAR SUNDARAM

Consultant, NSRCEL, IIM Bangalore

Creating a Win-Win Situation Industry and academia need to work together to leverage each other’s expertise and reap the many benefits of corporate-university relations programmes

T

oday, industry-academia exchanges are essential to impart more sustainable knowledge under changing conditions. The impact of such collaboration can only be realised in the medium to long-term. There are several modes of exchange and a range of practices is adopted by industry segments. Internships And Scholarships: Scholarships offer an opportunity to interact in the early stages. Internships can help employers assess students and offer them full-time positions up on graduation. They may also lead to a formal recruitment drive at institutes. Corporate Supported Students’ Clubs: These can create a favourable impression among students towards the company. Short-term Consulting by Academia: Academia engage with industry to tackle challenges that can be resolved on campus. This helps academicians apply their knowledge to real-world issues. Sponsoring Basic Research: Industry may invest in academia by allocating funds for fundamental research. Faculty, Industry Research Tie-ups: Industrial research labs ask faculty to join their team and work on common areas of interest. Sabbaticals also allow the flexibility of working at the lab and at their academic institution. Partnerships may lead to a research paper in leading journals and, in some cases, to a patent. Research Grants, Fellowships, Awards: Industry can recognise faculty and students, and enable them to pursue their passion for research through these pro-

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grammes. Grants allow faculty the flexibility to use funds for research or teaching; awards offer recognition while fellowships offer specific learning objectives. Firms can use these to increase their presence on campus. Summer Schools And Symposia: Summer or winter schools allow faculty to engage with industry experts to pursue research and teach contemporary technologies. Advanced-degree students may also be invited to the sessions. Symposia, allowing exchange of ideas between academia and industry, may augment the sessions. Inputs from these interactions may provide a means for academic research that may further be pursued in industry for product development. Forums For Technical Speakers: Under this programme, a corporate commits to sending technical fellows to campus to speak on contemporary challenges. It can help attract bright students by showcasing stimulating technical problems they face in the “real world”. Industry can deepen its relationship

INDUSTRY MAY INVEST IN ACADEMIA BY ALLOCATING FUNDS FOR FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH, ENHANCING THE CREDIBILITY OF BOTH PARTNERS

with the university and relevant faculty. A key recruiting challenge of attracting exceptional students maybe addressed. Corporate Requests for Proposal to Universities: An RFP on a specific technology can be an effective way to understand the distinctions between universities in different technologies. The RFP usually has an award: An equipme=nt grant, cash grant or sponsored research. For a level playing field, industry may be required to support campuses with specific tools and by sharing best practices. Academic Boards and Advisory Boards: Academic committees invite senior industry executives to join their panels to build academic standing and a better equation with industry. Academicians then join company boards as advisors. Executive Education: Senior employees can be offered an incentive to join a B-school while at work. This motivates employees to enhance their skills and stay with the organisation. Entrepreneurship: Innovative ideas may be incubated at entrepreneurship centres on the campus. This ecosystem of industry, venture community and government can offer walk-in mentoring clinics, brown bag sessions and B-plan competitions. To implement such programmes, benchmarks can be used to help set a budget, locate relevant partners and identify and evaluate operational features. Universities as well as corporate need to commit people and resources to gather the benefits that can come from such collaborations. To read an extended version of this article, please log on to www.edu-leaders.com

What Women Want  

Women occupy just a handful of VC seats in Indian universities. Is leadershio not in their sights?

What Women Want  

Women occupy just a handful of VC seats in Indian universities. Is leadershio not in their sights?

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