www.thehindubusinessline.com | June 12, 2017
FLAME University VC Devi Singh says a liberal education creates professionals who enrich diverse sectors
Spread over 53 green acres off the highway to Bengaluru, 20 minutes from Pune, FLAME University is a pioneer in liberal education in the country. It offers its students a premier interdisciplinary experience, aiming to bring about a transformation in society. The curriculum includes perspective-building, communication and problem-solving skills, innovation and ethics. Dr Devi Singh, the Vice-Chancellor, is a Ph.D. in International Finance from Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, and an author of three books. He is on the Board of Governors of leading public and private sector companies as also of educational and industry bodies. Dr Singh spoke to BusinessLine on FLAME University’s philosophy. Excerpts from the interview:
How do your faculty further FLAME’s goal of moulding individuals who are comfortable working anywhere in the world?
FLAME University is rooted in the concept of multidisciplinary exposure, where learning is ensured across academic areas. Students learn how to be effective in a globalised and interconnected world, and in a range of careers. Analytical thinking, inter-disciplinary domain knowledge and a high standard of writing and communication are hallmarks of a liberal arts education that potential employers find desirable. FLAME University has a great group of over 70 faculty members. Most of them hold PhDs and other qualifying degrees from leading institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, the IITs and IIMs. They are committed to making the university a leading hub of contemporary global learning.
How are students exposed to the international teaching experience? Are visiting professors from elsewhere in the world an important part of such exposure?
We have a number of associations with international universities and institutions such as Wellesley College, Yale University, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business; Boston University and Babson College, all in the US; York University, in Canada; DHBW and Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, both in Germany; IESEG School of Management, France and other internationally reputed universities and institutions.
Students’ international learning experience comprises study abroad and summer programmes, and participation in workshops and conferences at the above institutions. They also get unfettered opportunities for scientific research that will stand them in good stead when they pursue professional leadership goals.
What kind of research environment does FLAME provide its faculty, and does it promote their professional development ?
FLAME University provides its faculty rich academic resources to draw from during their doctoral and post-doctoral research programmes. We actively promote faculty engagement in international conferences and collaborations so that our teachers continue to be an active part of the international research community.
Has the quality of education in institutions of higher learning in India, especially the liberal arts, improved? Are we on par with Western schools in this respect?
Being pioneers in liberal education in India, the onus lies on us to provide an interdisciplinary education on a par with Western schools and universities. We may be relatively young compared to established global names, but our passion, conviction and clarity of purpose are no less intense.
We are conscious of the need to align our education with national goals and aspirations as a growing economy. The essence of liberal arts education, in today’s socio-economic context, is that it provides millennials scope for remarkable initiative and enterprise.
How popular are FLAME’s programmes and what kind of placements are the graduates offered?
The undergraduate programme comprises foundation courses, specialisation courses, experiential learning courses and open elective courses. These are immensely popular, due to the scope and cross-disciplinary options they offer.Undergraduate students choose from over 250 major-minor combinations. Our post-graduate students, too, have to take courses in liberal arts that provide them much-needed exposure to humanities, social and natural sciences, integral to the all-round personal and professional development of any good business or other leader. With such a background, students are prepared for a range of careers across sectors such as law, risk analysis, financial services, research, entrepreneurship, advertising, media and digital marketing.