Brown University, an Ivy League institution, has set up an India Advisory Council to increase its presence by establishing relationships with universities here. The council, which had its first meeting on April 1, comprises alumni of Brown, almost 500, who are in India and will design a mechanism for the university for its ongoing work on a consistent basis.
“We have former students here who want to establish our presence in India and the purpose of my trip was to start an advisory council in India. Through this council, we will set up an office in India. As for its composition, the council will have Brown alumni who are in India and other friends of the university like Mukesh and Nita Ambani, whose son studies at Brown, besides some academic advisors,” Ruth Simmons, president, Brown University, who was on a five-day India visit, told Business Standard.
Simmons also signed an agreement with University of Delhi’s St Stephen’s College, as part of which one candidate from it will go to Brown for the 2011-12 academic year and in exchange, Brown would send up to 15 undergraduates for a year’s study at St Stephen’s, taking courses in Indian culture, languages, literature and politics. Brown has collaborated with St Stephen’s in a study-abroad programme for Brown students since 1991.
Besides setting up an office in India, the council would also chalk out Brown’s budget for India and other issues of staffing. The council will plan Brown’s investment plans for the country in a few months.
This, Simmons says, is part of the university’s ‘Year of India’ initiative. “We have been planning this for two years and through this council we intend to bring more attention to India on our campus,” she added.
Brown has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) so as to have a better understanding of Indian industry. Brown will send its students, especially those in the engineering and maths schools to work with companies here. The two will together sponsor research activities as part of the two-year MoU.
“We have 48 graduate students from India. The primary fields for Indian graduate students are computer science, engineering and physics. We expect that these students will return to India in faculty and research roles, both important to expand the higher education system in India,” added Simmons.
The two parties will jointly organise seminars and lectures and scholarly visits in fields of mutual interest. “Under the MoU, Brown’s students will come here for short periods of time and collaborate with CII on innovation,” she said.