Notre Dame builds connections in South Asia
Catherine Owers | Thursday, February 13, 2014
University President Fr. John Jenkins signed a formal agreement with St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India, that includes plans for study abroad programs, summer research programs, faculty exchange and research collaboration, according to a Feb. 6 press release.
“Father Jenkins also signed similar memorandums of understanding with St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, earlier this week during a trip to India and Bangladesh that aims to strengthen Notre Dame’s academic engagement with South Asia,” the statement said.
Kenneth Henderson, senior assistant provost for internationalization, said the University wants to form more connections with international universities.
“What we’re interested in is partnering with the very best universities around the planet, both for undergraduate exchange programs as well as research exchange programs,” he said. “Currently we don’t have a very strong connection in South Asia. We do have significant connections in China, but in India and elsewhere in Asia not as much.”
The relationships with St. Stephen’s College and St. Xavier’s College will primarily focus on undergraduate and faculty exchanges, while the relationships with the Indian Institutes of Technology [IITs] at Bombay and Gandhinagar will center on research, Henderson said.
“The two private institutions, St. Stephen’s and St. Xavier’s, are somewhat similar to Notre Dame in that they are private and religious-based schools, and with excellent undergraduate reputations,” he said. “Those are places where we will invest in setting up exchange programs, more than likely at the undergraduate level.”
St. Stephen’s College is Anglican, Henderson said, while St. Xavier’s College is Catholic.
“The key element for the choice is that St. Xavier’s is the premier Catholic university in India, and therefore we’re interested in partnering with the best universities,” he said. “Obviously if they are religious-based institution, that makes it even more interesting to us because we have a shared connection.”
Henderson said the Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay also has an excellent reputation.
“[It] is well-established as one of the best technical universities in the world,” he said. “The IITs are all elite institutions, so they are more likely to be of interest to us in a research capacity by setting up collaborative research. We can certainly do exchanges, but it’s more likely to be at the undergraduate level.”
“The IITs were chosen specifically because they are the best research institutions in that area,” Henderson said. “Again, the idea is that Notre Dame is partnering with the very best institutions all over the world.”