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Many Americans are concerned about losing U.S. businesses to India. Engineering Dean Emeritus Krishna Vedula, on the other hand, has focused on a project that could boost both countries’ economies by improving India’s undergraduate engineering education.
“India, China and Ireland no longer send their best and brightest to the U.S.,” says Vedula. He has chosen to focus on his homeland, India, in part because India sends more graduate students to the U.S. than any other country. “It is in the best interest of American universities to make sure that Indian colleges are offering a high-quality education,” he says, pointing out that in comparison to the U.S., India’s colleges are under-resourced. He describes many of them as “mediocre.” At the same time, engineering students in the US need to receive an education which is globally relevant.
To address this problem, Vedula is working with numerous American and Indian colleges, several U.S. and Indian companies and the U.S. Embassy in India on an initiative started by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Hewlett Packard, National Instruments, Dassault Systemes and Infosys, as well as the Deshpande Foundation and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, are among those sponsoring two upcoming summits. In early June, ten U.S. deans of engineering and 40 to 50 representatives of academia, business and government from India will meet in Mysore, India. In late August, 40 to 50 from the U.S. and ten from India will meet in D.C. The participants will generate action items.
The emphasis will be on building best practices around U.S. and Indian university collaborations, with support from industry, in the following areas: research and development, curriculum and technology-enhanced learning, quality and accreditation, and innovation and entrepreneurship. The goal is to improve the quality and global relevance of engineering education in the U.S. and India, thereby improving graduate programs in the U.S. ߝ including UMass Lowell’s ߝ and the talent pool for U.S. companies’ Asian satellite operations.