May 14, 2013

Revisiting expectations

My hopes for the fellowship trip

As my departure looms, in the middle of the whirlwind of preparation and wrapping up things here in St. Louis, I'm trying ro really get set in my mind the suite of goals I laid out in the process of applying for and building this trip. Among the possibilities, I do really hope to bring back from India a suite of educational initiatives for potential implementation at Washington University, as well as in India. These could be specific ideas for classroom techniques, adapted from some of the non-traditional educational initiatives already in place in India to serve populations other than the usual bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree candidates. Alternatively, we may be able to sketch out the framework of an innovative curriculum that represents a hybridized technical/liberal arts education.

My intention would be that those involved in discussing these initiatives would remain collaborative partners as we tested our ideas on multiple campuses, and that we would additionally implement a joint effort to assess the effectiveness of our results. We would also, hopefully, have laid the institutional groundwork for new kinds of abroad and exchange experiences, those targeted specifically at awakening the innovative potential of students at the college and graduate level. These experiences would not only help develop new generations of innovators, but also cultivate enhanced relationships between the St. Louis region and India that could facilitate the economic growth of both places.

Whatever happens, I am already hugely grateful for the help I have had in getting ready and getting my trip set up. The ties established between Washington University and various institutions and individuals in India, both directly through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and individual WUSTL faculty whose research activities involve collaborations in India, provided me with a solid foundation of initial contacts in the region. The Eisenhower Fellowship network has been spectacularly useful in expanding on those initial contacts, and the cooperation between the Eisenhower staff and the program coordinators on the ground in India- with the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Advanced Study of India (UPIASI) has built an exciting schedule in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.  I'm looking forward to the next step...if I can make it through the next few days!