Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Structure of a University

I have taught for the last thirteen years at a well-known university in India. In the last thirteen years, I have seen a number of administrators at various levels including department as well as faculty administrators, deans, vice-chancellors and others. I have seen a number of developments on my campus. I can recollect developments such as a great improvement in the law and order situation on the campus, installation of the internet as well as the making of the university website. I have also seen removal of encroachments on university land by local people. I have also seen a great construction boom and I have seen various facilities being provided to academic departments being upgraded. Many faculty members got computers (but not all) and departments got photocopy machines and the university got a generator to save it from power cuts. However, I have never seen any great improvements in the actual state of the classrooms or those of the blackboards. I have not seen any move towards usage of better teaching aids. No LCD projectors in lecture halls. No generator support for classrooms. Nothing really to upgrade the teaching skills of the staff. No student feedback.

So, what really constitutes a university?

Now, I'm speaking about my experiences at a well-known Indian university and my comments are in a perfectly positive vein. I have known of a number of developments and I am happy about them. Interestingly, the state at other Indian universities that do not exist in big cities is rather abysmal.