Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010
SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES PROGRAM GROWS WITH NEW PARTNERSHIP AND COURSES
MANHATTAN -- The new school year marks big steps in Kansas State University's efforts to revitalize its South Asian studies program and increase its international presence.
Hindi language courses, taught by recently hired professor Mary Prathiba Gollapalli, are being offered this fall as part of a four-semester sequence. K-State also recently formed a partnership with Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and activities between the two universities are well under way, said Barry Michie, director of international program support at K-State.
"It's a big world out there. K-State's international and language programs provide students the opportunity to travel, work and study abroad during their academic careers, which is a big plus for preparing to enter a globalized job market," Michie said.
The recent activities with South Asia contribute to the development of a planned secondary major in South Asian studies. Michie, principal investigator, Bradley Shaw, director of international studies and co-principal investigator, and the project committee hope to have the secondary major completed and approved by the Kansas Board of Regents by the end of the 2010-2011 school year.
For the past year K-State's South Asian program efforts have been supported by a two-year Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. During the first year, the grant, which is under the department's Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, provided $88,000 to support 18 faculty members across eight colleges on an orientation tour to India in January. This year the grant is providing $89,500 to support academic programs as well as mini-grants for faculty to develop courses related to South Asian culture.
During their time in India, K-State faculty members developed a connection with Osmania University, which could lead to reciprocal study abroad, internship or volunteer programs for students at both universities.
"Osmania is a place that is outward reaching," Michie said. "The university is excellent in the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, and it has similar and mutual interests with K-State."
Following the trip, faculty members have spent the last few months integrating aspects of South Asian culture into their course work and many have traveled back or are planning to travel back to India to continue the partnership. Joye Gordon, associate professor of journalism and mass communications, anchored workshops at Osmania during the summer. Dean Hall and Naomi Wood, both associate professors of English, along with Shireen Roshanravan, assistant professor of women's studies, are planning an international workshop on literature and women's issues. Miriam Neet, assistant professor of architecture, is developing an introductory course in South Asian architecture.
To expand K-State's reach in India and South Asia, Michie wants to develop a similar reciprocal relationship with a school in northern India, especially in the area surrounding Delhi.
A project committee of 10 faculty members across five colleges is helping to develop the South Asian program, which aims to include the social sciences, humanities and arts, as well as engineering, business, agriculture, architecture and human ecology.