To be LearnING Centered-Dr. Verdini
The front page of a recent issue of The Hindu Business Line reported that D. Subbarao, Reserve Bank of India Governor, called for skill improvement, job creation, increased agricultural productivity, and attention to social sector outcomes in order to achieve the economic growth rate necessary to address poverty in India.
If we in higher education are to respond to society’s needs, we must form effective teams with students and the community. This means that we recognize students and community partners as colleagues, not as customers. In particular, students assist in all purposes of higher education through our research and in our classrooms. Faculty need students to stimulate creativity. Students bring new, exciting perspectives to the learning process. A novice’s questions are stimulating! Students assist with data gathering and research for knowledge assessment. Students actually apply knowledge through projects, theses, and other forms of experiential learning opportunities provided by community organizations. Most importantly, though, students are the university’s primary mechanism for disseminating knowledge, methodology and technology to society. This paradigm requires us to be learnING centered, where all participants investing in the process have the opportunity to learn, innovate and create.
Although learning outcomes can be important, a single-minded focus on outcomes, especially content outcomes and grades or test scores, will cause us to forget that it is the journey that is the most important aspect of learning. If we are committed to life-long learning and believe that knowledge is increasing at an exponential rate, then we must focus more on the learning process and less on content outcomes. Education is an expedition, no less significant than the expeditions of the explorers, and no less exiting or unknown. Preparing students for “a world yet to be imagined” is what MYRA is all about.
Earlier this year, William Holstein wrote about an interview with Harvard Business School professor Rakesh Khurana about the decline of business schools due to high tuition cost and decreasing relevance in today’s global environment. Indeed, with increasing population and improved communications, our businesses must focus on creating economic, environmental and social value if we are to thrive in the next century.
A “Triple Bottom Line” focus is at the core of MYRA’s programs. MYRA is committed to a learning environment that fosters creative thought and analytical reasoning, develops communication and interpersonal behaviour skills, and fosters self-worth, respect for life, and personal responsibility. We want our graduates to be capable of change, and focused on creating economic, environmental and social value.
Khurana was quoted as saying, “But today, some of the most innovative business practices are happening outside the United States. These include some of the interesting management practices at technology-services companies like Infosys, the bottom-of-the-pyramid strategies like those that Tata is pursuing with the Nano car, or the rapid innovation of some Chinese companies. We’re living in a multipolar world, at least as far as capitalism is concerned.”
In January, MYRA launched its Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Business Innovations (CESBI) with an Inaugural Lecture by Professor Vijay Govindarajan, the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and author of the book Reverse Innovation. Reverse Innovation is a process by which goods and services are developed specifically for and within the constraints of developing nations, and then repackaged as innovative goods for developed nations – exactly what Khurana noted.
Having worked with two presidents of Arizona State University to create a “University for the Next Century” and now a “New American University,” I am excited to be a part of the MYRA School of Business mission to transform higher learning in India – a reverse innovation in higher education!
[The Author, Dr. William A. Verdini is the Associate Dean & Director of External Relations, MYRA School of Business & Professor Emeritus of Supply Chain Management, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University]