In September of this year, two UFV Dean’s, the College of Arts Dean, Dr. Jacqueline Nolte and the Dean of Professional Studies, Dr. Tracy Ryder Glass, joined Dr. Peter Geller Vice Provost/Associate Vice President Academic in a trip to Northern India. This was the first trip for both Dr. Nolte and Dr. Glass. The objective of the visit was to see the UFV Chandigarh operations and to meet with UFV Chandigarh Administrators, Faculty and Students.
During the first few days of the trip, Dr. Nolte and Dr. Glass learned about campus operations, the history of the operation and were also provided presentations from the UFV India Global Education (UIGE) staff on academic administration, advising, scheduling, registrar services and Student Life. The UFV Canada delegation also had opportunities to meet with UFV Chandigarh Faculty, Staff and Students.
According to Dr. Nolte: “I thoroughly enjoyed addressing about 50 students on the importance of the liberal arts and the prospect of introducing more liberal arts options to UIGE. Students expressed interest in taking BA minors within their programs, particularly Psychology. They were most enthusiastic at the prospect of introducing the UFV BA in Chandigarh. That afternoon saw us join the students for dance activities in the great hall, with only one of us brave and energetic enough to join in!”
Dr. Nolte was able to build on a preliminary strategic planning session that had been led by UFV instructor and India liaison, Lorne McKenzie, along with a representative group of eight India faculty and staff. The plan allows for the introduction of the first two years of the BA by fall 2017. Dr. Nolte also met three UFV students currently studying in Chandigarh, all highly engaged and positive about the experience. In addition, she notes that UIGE faculty all expressed an interest in establishing closer links with colleagues in Canada, with respect to research and teaching exchanges. The opportunity for UFV faculty to teach in India presents the possibility of a transformative intercultural experience according to Dr. Nolte.
Dr. Glass expressed her gratitude during her experience in India, saying that she felt so welcomed by the colleagues in India, and enjoyed meeting with and learning about UFV’s students. Though Dr. Glass understands the challenge in trying to create and deliver a North American model of education within an Indian educational context, she was encouraged to see that UFV does it well thanks to a dedicated and hard-working team at UFV Chandigarh.