Thursday, December 22, 2011

Equity and access at UC Berkeley

Promising "disruptive progress," the engineering college at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, has named an associate dean, Oscar Dubon, for equity and inclusion to help it increase the number of students and faculty members from underrepresented groups.

The college's first step will be to improve its "yield"—the percentage of students who actually enroll after being admitted into either the undergraduate or graduate engineering program. The Dean Sastry believes that more money would make a big difference. "Fellowship support is the primary factor in improving yield" at the graduate level, he says. Winning over high school students is more complicated, he admits, and the college plans to try everything from overnight visits to summer research experiences. The plan also discusses various approaches to improving student retention rates, as well as a long-term strategy for recruiting more minority and female faculty members.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

US National Science Foundation model of university-industry cooperation

I recently came across an interesting programme conducted by the US national Science Foundation to promote research cooperation between industry and university.

The Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers (I/UCRC) program develops long-term partnerships among industry, academe, and government. The centers are catalyzed by a small investment from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and are primarily supported by industry center members, with NSF taking a supporting role in the development and evolution of the center. Each center is established to conduct research that is of interest to both the industry members and the center faculty. An I/UCRC contributes to the Nation's research infrastructure base and enhances the intellectual capacity of the engineering and science workforce through the integration of research and education.  As appropriate, an I/UCRC uses international collaborations to advance these goals within the global context.

This is a model that could be emulated by Indian universities.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Body shopping in higher education

The media reports show that there is a spate of higher educational institutions in India (engineering, management) signing bipartite agreements with the foreign universities; mostly with those not known for high academic standing. Why this sudden increase in the Indian institutions? Does it help improve the academic standard of   higher educational institutions in India?? I feel curious.

One thing is sure, the academic standard will improve only if the components of research and mutual faculty exchange are involved in such agreements. However the fulfillment of academic term by the students at Indian and foreign campus is prominently highlighted.  Who pays for the cost? Parents obviously!

A word of caution for the students and parents: Check the academic standing of the foreign institutions, before you pay through the nose.

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