Friday, March 14, 2014

Hari Pulakkat on Building World Class Universities in India

In a nice overview that touches on many key points (including the need for "substantial funding" and "complete autonomy"), we find some interesting snippets about IIT-Gandhinagar:

IIT Gandhinagar isnow over five years' old. Although public-funded, its director, Sudhir Jain, has had a near free run, enjoying substantial autonomy in building a new institution. Jain began with an explicit goal: to be among the top 20 in the world within 50 years. In the last five years, he has been laying what he considers are the foundations for a world-class institution: absolute integrity, outstanding faculty, talented students and a multicultural campus.

Regardless of discipline, IIT Gandhinagar has been hiring the best possible faculty, creating in the process some departments unusual for IITs. Cognitive science is one of its strongest departments and it is also building substantial social sciences and humanities departments. Jain has been hiring foreign faculty, too, to the extent possible within rules and budgets; it has 24 professors who are not Indian, who spend various amounts of time within campus. "We are trying to develop a culture that ..