Press Release

International Workshop on Innovative Teaching for Improved Learning

Groundbreaking workshop to bolster agricultural education and innovation

Three-day workshop organized by University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign under the aegis of the Agricultural Innovative Partnership

New Delhi | July 17, 2012: A pioneering initiative to improve agricultural education and extension in Indian agricultural universities has been set in motion in the national capital with a three-day workshop on teaching excellence from 16–18 July 2012 at ITC Sheraton, New Delhi. The three-day workshop opened on 16 July with a mini-retreat for administrators and senior faculty titled, ‘Creating a Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’, followed by a two-day workshop series on 17–18 July, ‘Innovative Teaching for Improved Learning’. Initiated by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and held under the aegis of the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) project, the workshop aims to seek ways whereby educational institutions can achieve excellence in teaching and learning methodologies.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the five-year project comprises a consortium of Indian and US land-grant universities (Cornell, Illinois, Georgia, The Ohio State, Tuskegee, and University of California, Davis) and private sector partners that include John Deere, Tata Chemicals Ltd, and Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd. With the objective of bringing in holistic transformation in Indian agriculture, AIP plans to enhance teaching capabilities of Indian universities on how best to deliver course materials, maximize student learning, and develop strategies to maximize knowledge gain by students and teachers to enhance farm-level output.

A first-of-its-kind-initiative, Innovative Teaching for Improved Learning has brought together administrators and senior faculty to plan and strategize on enhancing the students’ learning experience – both in-class and outside class rooms. “One of the primary objectives of AIP is to ensure that the Indian market recruits the best talents from the agricultural universities and colleges and also to train Indian students to become globally competent graduates with complex problem-solving skills,” said Mr K. Vijayaraghavan, Chairman, Sathguru Management Consultants.

Key participants at the inaugural session of the two-day workshop series on 17 July included Prof. C. Ramasamy, National Project Coordinator, AIP, Ms Patricia Ramsey, Acting Mission Director, USAID India, Dr Robert J. Hauser, Dean, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, and Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General (Education), Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Dr Prasanta Kalita, Professor and Leader, Soil and Water Resources Engineering, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the coordinator of the workshop, said, “With this and future teaching excellence workshops through AIP, we would like to work together with Indian universities in adopting contemporary course delivery capabilities, maximizing  student learning, and adopting ways to develop strategies to maximize knowledge gain by students and teachers. We would also like to co-create ways in which the Indian market recruits the best talents from the agricultural universities and colleges.”

Dr Robert J. Hauser, Dean and Professor of College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois, noted, “Like any type of education these days, needs in agricultural education involve curriculum development, e-learning initiatives, information systems, experiential learning, gender and socio-economic focus, teaching excellence, technology transfer and commercialization. Considering this broad spectrum, it is imperative for agricultural education to move beyond disciplinary content and develop innovative courses backed by technology-enhanced teaching methodologies.”

Given their expertise, AIP partner institutes will take the lead in addressing these identified areas through targeted faculty capacity-building programs, on-the-field research and mentor support and engaged student participation.

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About USAID/India

In partnership with the Government of India, USAID/India funds activities in the areas of health, clean energy and environment, water, food security, disaster management, and education.

About University of Illinois

The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 77,000 students, 22,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The University awards more than 19,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences plays a key role in national and international research initiatives in biological, physical, social, and economic sciences. The scope of the College has broadened dramatically since its founding in 1867, while its purpose remains focused on advancing scientific knowledge that makes life better, healthier, safer, and more profitable for people in Illinois and around the globe.

About Sathguru Management Consultants

Sathguru Management Consultants is a multifaceted advisory firm providing strategic, technological, functional and sectoral advisory services to an international clientele. With its global base in Hyderabad, India, and the US operations based at Cambridge, MA, Sathguru engages itself in technology management, strategic advisory, financial advisory, sector growth assessment, information technology solutions, capital markets advisory and brand affiliation management services.  Sathguru has pioneered creation of public-private partnerships for advancement of life science research, skill development and technology commercialization.

For more information, please contact:
K. Vijayaraghavan
Regional Project Coordinator, AIP
Ph: +91 40 3016 0203, 3016 0333

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