On March 11, the state-run Visvesvaraya Technological University in Karnataka (VTU) and the University of North Alabama (UNA) in the US signed a letter of intent (LoI) to investigate six initiatives, including the "possibility of setting up an offline campus of UNA at VTU campus".
The signed letter was examined by the Indian Express and signed by the UNA's representative Akali Zhimomi Fulmer and VTU registrar B E Rangaswamy. The universities were planning to exchange faculty members and engage in joint academic activities and other activities like the exchange of students, conducting dual degree programmes, special short-term summer or winter academic programmes and study abroad courses.
The University of North Alabama, situated in Florence, Alabama was established in 1830 as LaGrange College and changed its name to that in 1974. More than 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programmes in subjects like business, nursing, engineering technology, the arts, and sciences are available through the institution.
VTU Vice Chancellor Vidyashankar said in a statement that his vision is to collaborate with several foreign universities and bring them to VTU so that the quality of education can be enhanced. All students, regardless of wealth, must have access to opportunities. They ought to be made aware of global academic norms. VTU is prepared to approve sixth, seventh, and eighth-semester students' requests to do research projects and intern abroad. This is necessary for students to acquire global technological knowledge and improve its application in India. It is crucial for students to develop their global competitiveness.
The US-based university has expressed interest in opening up an office at VTU and sending faculty members to VTU's "global campus" in Belgaum, even though the agreement does not mention UNA establishing a stand-alone campus in Karnataka.
According to Arun Mudhol, director of the global Campus (international affairs) at VTU, students in the engineering degree would train in UNA's curriculum for the final two years at VTU's Belgaum campus after studying with VTU's curriculum for the first two years. According to Mudhol, the certification is eventually granted by the foreign university solely for completing their programme.
In accordance with the guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the National Education Policy (2020) framework, VTU has developed the "global campus" programme. It aspires to grant permission for many international institutions to establish "offline global campuses" in Belgaum and other VTU regional centres including Bengaluru, Mysuru, and Kalaburagi.
VTU has partnered with 11 additional foreign universities during the past month for a variety of educational activities. Only UNA, nevertheless, has so far indicated a willingness to establish an offline campus at VTU. Meanwhile, discussions for the establishment of an offline campus are also ongoing with a business school based in Switzerland.
In addition to joint research programmes, the American New Jersey Institute of Technology and VTU have previously signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a 2+2 programme and a 3+1+1 programme.
Postgraduate students at VTU are able to enrol in a 1+1 curriculum for a master's programme in big data and business analytics thanks to an MoU with FOM University in Germany. Aarhus University in Aarhus, Denmark, VCU School of Business in Richmond, Virginia, Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium are some of the other overseas universities under development.
The global campus project won't be realised for at least six to eight months, although UNA and VTU are now in the curriculum mapping phase. Initial plans call for computer science and data science engineering as well as a two-year MBA curriculum to launch the educational programme.
In order to create a shared curriculum framework that is acceptable to both universities, VTU will map UNA's curriculum onto their own. As a result, a student who completes the degree in two years with VTU may also need to learn additional subjects that are necessary for the UNA curriculum.
The student must satisfactorily complete two years of study with VTU in order to be qualified for the education programme with overseas universities. There may be some ideas covered in these two years that come from the UNA curriculum as well. On this, the students may receive academic credit. When students study with UNA, these credits will subsequently be transferred, according to Mudhol.
According to NEP policy, students who have completed two years of study at VTU will also receive a diploma certificate from the public university. Students will receive a degree credential from UNA at the conclusion of their four years, enabling them to look for employment in the US.
As part of the global campus initiative, VTU wants to provide foreign universities with access to their infrastructure and resources, such as their classrooms, software, auditorium, library, meeting rooms, board rooms, and counselling rooms. It also wants to encourage faculty members from VTU and UNA to collaborate on research projects and share ideas.
Source: The Indian Express
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