Conference Program

The meeting has been designed to foster discussions on liberal arts and sciences tertiary education in India and we approach it in a multi-pronged manner where we bring together leaders with a variety of expertise. A set of introductory talks will outline the vision of each of the institutions and their rationales for the curriculum. Panels of leaders will address particular questions relevant to India, such as “how can higher education create a more just and sustainable India?” or “What is the role of liberal arts and sciences in training leaders who are responsive to the environmental and societal needs of India?”  Panel discussions will discuss the curriculum and the ways in which new institutions and initiatives can provide the best possible undergraduate instruction in science, humanities and social sciences that will educate responsive and creative leaders. A final session will enable working groups from the institutions to explore collaborations and partnerships for undergraduate education, curriculum development and research.

This schedule includes a set of speakers and a lively mix of plenary talks, panel discussions, and working groups to enable an interactive and engaged conference. The basic structure of the meeting is described below, in five sessions that span Jan. 7-9, 2014. Panel chairs or co-chairs are indicated with asterisks.

Pre-Meeting Reception/Icebreaker (Jan. 6, 2014)

Venue: Raman Research Institute (6:30-9:30 pm) – Registration and Reception. A chance to meet some of the meeting participants over dinner and enjoy the venue before the meeting starts. Conference programs, nametags, etc. will also be passed out during registration. Conference attendees can meet each other in a relaxed social setting.

Day 1 Schedule (Jan. 7, 2014)

9:00-9:15 am - Opening Remarks – Venue: Raman Research Institute Auditorium. Short welcomes from RRI, Pomona and Yale.

9:15-10:15 am - Keynote Speaker - “Pluralism and University Education in India and Beyond,” Ramachandra Guha, noted historian, author, and thinker. His works include frequent columns about current politics and original thinking about India’s history and future – (introduced by K. Sivaramakrishnan, Yale)

10:15-10:30 am – BREAK

Session I – Introductory Talks – New Institutions, New Curriculum for India

Venue: Raman Research Institute Auditorium. Speakers will introduce themselves and the vision of their institutions toward liberal arts. They will discuss their curriculum and programs, and their particular concerns and questions they hope to address. These speakers will be given 30 minutes each, including time for 10 minutes of questions and discussion with the audience. Questions are important as we want to maintain an interactive feel to the meeting.

10:30-11:00 am – O.P. Jindal Global University – global affairs curriculum, and vision for the future (Raj Kumar, founding Vice Chancellor)

11:00-11:30 am – Ashoka University – liberal arts curriculum, and vision for the future (Pramath Sinha, Founder & Trustee, Ashoka University)

11:30-12:00 pm – Azim Premji University – access and equity in higher education and future plans (Anurag Behar, founding Vice Chancellor)

12:00-12:45 pm – Plenary Panel Discussion I: “What is the right balance between broad access to higher education – scalability and affordability – and building excellence and selectivity?”
Panelists: Dileep Ranjekar (Azim Premji), Pramath Sinha* (Ashoka), Pawan Agarwal (Advisor, Higher Education, Planning Commission of India).

LUNCH – 12:45 -1:45 pm – Working Lunch; Raman Research Institute

1:45-2:45 pm – Plenary Panel Discussion II: “How can Indian higher education better reflect the full richness of India’s culture – its diverse heritage and array of religious and spiritual traditions, and its deep literature?  And what impacts would such a new form of higher education have on the future of India?” Panelists: Radhika Herzberger (Rishi Valley), Tara Kini* (Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology), Nita Kumar*(CMC), Manu Bhagawan, (Hunter College + CUNY).

Introductory Talks (continued) – New Institutions and New Curriculum for India

2:45-3:15 pm – Shiv Nadar University – plans and progress (Nikhil Sinha, founding Vice Chancellor)

3:15-3:45 pm – Yale-NUS College (Singapore) – Liberal Arts in Southeast Asia: Yale-NUS College (Pericles Lewis, inaugural President)

3:45-4:15 pm – Presidency University – Liberal Arts education in a State University Curriculum: the GenEd programme at Presidency University Kolkata” (Somak Raychaudhury, Dean of Faculty, Natural and Mathematical Sciences)

4:15-4:30 pm – TEA BREAK


4:30-5:00 pm – Liberal thinking in India: Ancient model for contemporary practice” (Dr. Laurie Patton, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Duke University)


5:00-5:45pm – Innovative Foundations providing education for India’s marginalized populations. Panelists: Rashmi Misra (Vidya Foundation), Madan Padaki (Head Held High Foundation), Shukla Bose (Parikrma Humanity Foundation), Sriram Ayer (Ashoka Fellow, NalandaWay), Maya Menon (The Teacher Foundation).

5:45-6:45 pm - Indian Higher Education and Liberal Arts – A Dialog: Andre Beteille (University of Delhi) and Rudrangshu Mukherjee (Opinions Editor, Telegraph). Moderator: Sharada Srinivasan (NIAS)

7:15-9:30 pm – Conference Dinner with Cultural Program + Dinner. (Venue: RRI.) Artists will be selected and introduced by the RRI host institution.


Day 2 Schedule (Jan. 8, 2014)

The second day will be relocated to the Bangalore City Campus of the Indian Institute of Human Settlements, just a short distance (less than 1 km) south of the Raman Research Institute. In this session we would feature a series of panel discussions focused on the details of the curriculum and institution – how does your institution teach or present science? Online learning? Humanities?  What balance is best for common curriculum vs. electives?  What expertise will your institution develop and what niche are you working toward?

Session II  – Liberal Arts Education in the US and India

Some of the US host institutions will describe some of their approaches to liberal arts education. Also in this session panels of five presenters will pose and answer some difficult questions facing India and its higher education sector, and how new institutions and new liberal arts and sciences curriculum can address these problems.  The session will create a dialog among a mixed group of presenters and with the audience.


 9:00-9:20 am – Opening Remarks –C B Bhave, Chairperson of the IIHS board, welcomes attendees to IIHS. Lakshmi Saripalli (RRI): introduction to the day’s proceedings.


9:20-9:50 am – Pomona College and its liberal arts mission (David Oxtoby, President, Pomona College)


9:50-10:00 am – Liberal and International Education at Yale (K. Sivaramakrishnan, Director, South Asian Studies and India Initiative, Yale University)


10:00-10:15 am - Research and Institutional Culture at Liberal Arts College – what does it mean to be a teacher/scholar at a liberal arts college? (Bryan Penprase, Pomona College)


10:15-10:30 am  - Short Break


10:30-11:00 am – Reflections on Indian and US Higher Education – Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor, UC San Diego


11:00-11:30 am - The view from the University of California, Santa Cruz –  George Blumenthal, Chancellor, UC Santa Cruz

11:30-12:00 am – Building Centers of Excellence: A Review of Science Research Policy and Curriculum Reform in the US –  David Drew, Claremont Graduate University.

12:00-12:30 pm –  The Global Liberal Arts Imperative (Hiram Chodosh, President, CMC)

12:30-1:30 pm – LUNCH – Served at the IIHS research center, where the conference talks are being held. Will be a “working lunch” with tables designated by topics for our afternoon breakout sessions.

Session III – Details of Governance, Curriculum and Support for Building Excellence in Liberal Arts 

After lunch, the meeting will break into two parallel sessions, which will feature panel discussions of how to implement science, humanities, common curriculum, and experiential learning into undergraduate education, and the ways these programs provide transformative and holistic education for undergraduates. The smaller groups in each panel discussion will enable deeper discussions and potential collaborations.

1:30-2:30 pm Parallel Panel Discussions I – Science and Common Curriculum at Liberal Arts Institutions

Session A: Panel 1 – Science in Liberal Arts institutions –  Panelists include: Somak Raychaudhury* (Presidency U., Kolkata), Arjendu Pattanayak (Carleton), Priya Natarajan* (Yale), Urbasi Sinha (RRI), and Sharada Srinivasan (NIAS).

Session B: Panel 2 – Common Curriculum and General Education Models – Panelists include: Anitha Kurup (NIAS), Rajaram Kudli*(Prajnan Enterprises), Usha Rajaram (APU), Nikhil Sinha* (Shiv Nadar),

2:40-3:40 pm Parallel Panel Discussions II – Humanities and Experiential Learning at Liberal Arts Institutions

Session A:  Panel 3 – Humanities for 21st Century India – what is the best approach? Panelists include: Rajeev Patke* (Yale-NUS), Beth McKinsey (Carleton), Cynthia Humes (CMC), Satish Inamdar* (KFI), Jerome Nirmalraj (St Josephs College), and Supriya Chaudhuri (Jadavpur University, Kolkata).

Session B: Panel 4 – Experiential Learning and Internships for Undergraduates.
Panelists include: Sara Smith Orr* (CMC), Bidushi Bhattacharya* (CMC, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges), Rajaram Nityananda (NCRA and Azim Premji ), Brian McAddoo (Yale-NUS College), and Kavita Wankhade(IIHS).

3:40-4:00 pm – TEA BREAK

4:00-5:00 pm – Plenary Panel Discussion III – How can higher education help sustain India’s environment and economic growth throughout the 21st century – political and scientific dimensions. Panelists include: Amlan Goswami (IIHS), Steven Wilkinson* (Yale), Radha Gopalan (Rishi Valley), Dilip Ahuja (NIAS). 

Session IV – Working Group Meetings

In this session smaller groups will convene to work together on particular topics of mutual interest. We would start the meeting with a possible set of topics and a whiteboard that would enable people to sign up for these “breakout” or “birds of a feather” groups. A total of 6-8 of these groups would convene with titles including “partnerships for online learning,” “common curriculum development,” “outreach and access,” and other topics TBD. These sessions would make use of 6 meeting rooms at IIHS.

Each of the working group topics will be announced at lunch, and the working group representative will stand and offer a short thumbnail description of the topics they will be focused on in the working group discussions.

5:00-6:30 pm- Working Group Discussions  – Small groups will convene to discuss topics that are most useful and relevant to attendees and which can lead to longer term collaborations. Group representatives will convene a focused discussion on specific topics, and report back to the entire conference some plans for addressing each topic at their home institutions as well as potential and proposed collaborations.

Evening Reception and Dinner – hosted by the Indian Institute of Human Settlements Tharangavana facility (1.5 km from the conference location).


Day 3 Schedule (Jan. 9, 2014)

This final session will be held at the Raman Research Institute Campus. The session will feature reports back from the various working groups, and a discussion of how best to continue the collaborations and contact. Partnerships between the institutions can be discussed – we may hear from new connections between US and Indian institutions, and also between Indian institutions.

Session V – Conclusion and “next steps”

9:00-10:00 am – Opening Plenary (Venue: Raman Research Institute, Auditorium) – Nandan Nilekani, former CEO of Infosys, Inc., currently chair of the Indian Government Committees on technology – UIDAI and TAGUP, and author of the book “Imagining India.” (Introduced by Aromar Revi, IIHS).

10:00-10:15 am – BREAK

10:15-11:15 am – Plenary Panel Discussion IV: “How can liberal arts and sciences help address some of the societal problems within India and promote equity in society with regards to gender, caste, and region?”

Panelists: Smita Premchander* (Sampark NGO), Anita Reddy (Dwaraka), Swati Dandekar (filmmaker), Shekhar Seshadri (NIMHANS), Zayn Kassam* (Pomona College)
11:15-11:45 am – Indian Institute for Human Settlements – interdisciplinary education programs in India and future plans (Aromar Revi, Director).

11:45-12:00 pm – Reports from working collaborative groups – a series of 5 minute recaps of working group “breakout” discussions.

12:00-12:30 pm – Next steps – a discussion. [session facilitators: K. Sivaramakrishnan (Yale), and Pramath Sinha (Ashoka)]

12:30-1:00 pm – Concluding remarks: Satish Inamdar, KFI.

1:00-2:00 pm - LUNCH

2:00 pm Adjourn


* asterisks denote panel chairs or co-chairs