India Trip Ignites Conversations Around Student and Faculty Engagement


India Trip Ignites Conversations Around Student and Faculty Engagement

A UVA delegation was in India recently to continue efforts to strengthen UVA's presence and engagement in the country
UVA delegation in India

University of Virginia’s Vice Provost for Global Affairs Ambassador Steve Mull and McIntire School of Commerce Dean Nicole Jenkins led a delegation to India February 19-24 to continue efforts to strengthen the University’s presence and engagement, building on the groundwork laid in an earlier 2022 trip.

In addition to visiting UVA’s leading partner institution in India Jindal Global University (JGU) near New Delhi, the delegation also met with industry and government leaders, visited the Indiana University and Harvard University centers, met with leaders of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, participated in engagements with the growing UVA alumni communities, and attended an international conference on Indian higher education in Goa.

Along with Mull and Jenkins, the delegation included Dudley Doane, Director of International Studies Office; Professor Pankaj Gupta, who leads India-focused studios for Architecture School students; Judi Byers, Director of Admissions at McIntire School of Commerce; Darci Spuck, Director of Advancement at McIntire School of Commerce; and Ingrid Hakala, Director of the University’s Global Internship Program.

Mull said the visit to India was an important next step in intensifying the University’s engagement in India, the world’s largest democracy, and soon to be its most populous nation.  "This is the year of India for us,” he said, as he identified a strategic plan to expand study abroad and exchange opportunities for UVA students, kickstart collaborative research in advancing key UVA priorities in the study of democracy and environmental sustainability with JGU and other potential partners, and support ambitious recruitment efforts, particularly among intending graduate students.   Mull noted that the possibility of establishing a permanent UVA office in India to advance and support all of these efforts is high on his agenda.

Dean Jenkins mentioned that in the next year, the McIntire School of Commerce will resume global courses in India. “As we reengage post-COVID, we look forward to expanding our existing footprint and forging new and exciting partnerships with Indian universities and organizations,” she said.

Meeting in Jindal Global University
UVA delegation meeting with Indian partner institution Jindal Global University

Gupta who has been leading the Yamuna River project in India in the past decade was also enthusiastic about long-term engagement and partnership with Indian institutions. “The new collaboration with Jindal may enable a greater cross-pollination among some of our research initiatives, and perhaps offer an anchor-center for advancing and expanding the research and academic projects that are already underway,” he said. “Issues of social justice, environmental degradation, climate change, democratic values are all increasingly urgent areas of focus - both in the US - at UVA, and in India.”

Similarly, the ISO is hoping to offer J-Term programs in India in the near future. “We are also planning to launch a summer global internship program in India in 2024 and looking forward to welcoming degree-seeking students from India to UVA in the years ahead,” added Doane.