A 12-person delegation of administrators and faculty members from several of India’s top institutions of higher education visited Bryn Mawr’s campus on Friday, Oct. 21, as part of a two-week tour of colleges and universities in the Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City metropolitan areas.
At Bryn Mawr, the delegation focused on learning more about liberal-arts colleges in general with special emphasis given to the college’s service-learning programs and how we provide students opportunities for undergraduate research.
The delegation spent the morning with Provost Kim Cassidy; Susan Sutton, who serves as a senior advisor to the president on internationalization; Associate Professor of English Karen Tidmarsh, who also serves as the director of academic advancement initiatives; Nell Anderson, director of Bryn Mawr’s Praxis and Community Partnership Programs; and Alice Lesnick, director of the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Education Program; Assistant Dean Isabelle Barker; faculty members Don Barber, Marc Schulz, and Victor Donnay; and a number of Bryn Mawr students.
The two groups met at the Wyndham Alumnae house, where, after opening remarks by Sutton and Cassidy and presentations by Anderson and Barker, they mingled together in smaller groups around several tables in the Ely room and the adjoining dining room to have informal conversations and exchange ideas.
“This has been one of the most instructive and highly interactive experiences of our visit so far,” said Shashikala Gurpur, director of the Symbiosis International University’s law school in Pune, as the morning’s programming wrapped up and the group prepared to have lunch and take a tour of the campus.
“We looked at Bryn Mawr because we know there’s a history of doing first-rate work in terms of connecting curriculum and community service,” added Glen Johnson, professor emeritus of Vassar College, who is serving as a facilitator for the group during the trip.
Among the topics discussed were ways to use technology to facilitate service learning across borders and the possibility of study-abroad programs with a service-learning component.
“To have such a distinguished group of educators visiting our campus to dialogue about best practices of engaged pedagogy is a tremendous honor,” says Anderson. “What became evident through our conversations today is that there is much for us to learn from our colleagues in India and that we share a variety of common goals for our students and institutions that could be the basis for future collaboration.”
The delegation’s visit to Bryn Mawr was part of The Fulbright‐Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of theInstitute of International Education, in cooperation with the United States‐India Educational Foundation.
The Fulbright‐Nehru IEA Seminar is designed to provide higher-education administrators from India with an overview of the U.S. higher education system, with the expected outcome of giving the grantees the tools they need to help their home institutions establish meaningful collaborations with colleges and universities in the United States. Topics covered include international educational exchange, fundraising and development, career planning, diversity in higher education, community colleges, the accreditation process, and internationalizing the curriculum, among others.
In addition to Bryn Mawr, other Philadelphia-area colleges visited were Swarthmore and the University of Pennsylvania.
Bryn Mawr president Jane McAuliffe has been actively involved in several efforts to foster greater collaboration among colleges and universities in India and those in the rest of the world. She recently attended a gathering of higher-education leaders in England to explore how existing U.S.-U.K. partnerships can expand to include the higher-education sectors in rapidly developing nations and she attended the first U.S.-India Higher Education Summit in Washington D.C. in early October. In March of 2010 she joined U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter and senior officials from 13 other colleges and universities on a delegation that traveled to India