Letter of Intent inked for one of the largest ever international university collaborations in India

In their endeavor to offer globally relevant world-class programs across a broad spectrum of disciplines, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and the University of Arizona (UArizona) are embarking on a multidisciplinary partnership in education and research. 

In one of the largest ever international university collaborations in India, a Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed on December 12, 2019, by the Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, and Dr. Liesl Folks, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of Arizona.

The LoI seeks to initiate multidisciplinary collaborations for the highest standard curriculums leading to integrated and dual-degree programs at the bachelor's and master's levels. The key disciplines include Engineering, Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Social Sciences, Medicine, Public Health, and Agriculture. The program will enhance Amrita as the study-abroad site for the University of Arizona students and vice versa. This will engage more than 200 students annually for a minimum of one semester at the two-partner university.

Dr. Liesl Folks, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Arizona, said, “The University of Arizona shares Amrita’s commitment to enriching life for all, its dedication to innovation, and its spirit of compassion. We look forward to working together across multiple disciplines to expand human potential and to care for the world around us.”

“It is the honour to be here with you today to witness the partnership that is just beginning between these two wonderful universities. We share this with the Chancellor of Amrita and spiritual leader, Amma, to advance human wellbeing and global safety across the planet. I look forward so much to continue in the partnership for many years and deepening and expanding a relationship with Amrita with the sole objective of helping the people around the world through education, research and translation of new technologies, medicines and the ways met with learning and expanding knowledge.”

Dr. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, said, “Inspired by Amma’s leadership, Amrita’s profound mission of imparting Education for Life to its students and carrying out compassion-driven research for humanitarian benefit and sustainable development will be further enriched by global impact through this synergistic and strategic partnership with the internationally renowned University of Arizona.”

Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has been recently recommended by the MHRD as an Institution of Eminence (IoE). The IoE mandates that Indian universities develop innovative programs of high quality that will be internationally recognised.

This LoI signing will pave the way for developing such high-quality educational degree programs at an international level. This LoI will provide the opportunity to initiate the upcoming academic session with unique, interdisciplinary programs in areas such as Engineering leading to; (1) 2 + 2 (B. Tech. from Amrita and B. S. from UArizona); (2) 2+2+1 (B. Tech. from Amrita and B. S. from UArizona with direct admission to UArizona for a 1-year M.S. program); (3) 1+1 (Master’s from Amrita and UArizona).

For example, a student may receive a B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Amrita and a B. S. in Aerospace Engineering or a B. S. in Material Science from UArizona. Therefore, this revolutionary educational initiative will provide Amrita students, from a variety of disciplines, a gateway to receive complimentary degrees and direct admission to graduate programs in the U.S. These unique, collaborative curriculums will also open doors to various opportunities to attain competitive U.S.-based internships and jobs, broadening future placement prospects for Amrita students.

Dr. Maneesha V. Ramesh, Dean of International Programs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, said, “Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has developed a broad range of international partnerships with the best universities across the world for its academic and research activities. We are looking forward to engaging in dual-degree programs, study-abroad opportunities, and research association with the University of Arizona. These programs will be moulded to achieve the key philosophies of Amrita; (1) Education for Life, (2) Compassion-Driven Research, (3) Global Impact. This provides an opportunity for Indian and International students to experience the value system of India’s rich culture”

The LoI will also lay the foundation for exchange programs for faculty and students - undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral; collaborative partnership and participation in Amrita’s multidisciplinary experiential learning program in rural India - Live-in-Labs®; joint research projects; and joint research centers in strategic areas relevant to both UArizona and Amrita. This collaboration with the University of Arizona is intended to develop and implement an accessible and affordable platform for the transformation of education from a rigid classroom-based delivery model to a restructured, adaptable student-centric model that will enhance student-faculty engagement and learning outcomes. Most importantly, it will create thinkers and innovators for solving societal problems. 

A major goal of the partnership will be to engage in translational research to develop solutions for global sustainability and humanitarian challenges. The key focus areas will include all Engineering disciplines: Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Molecular Medicine, Social Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy, Global Media Studies, Agriculture, and Sustainable Development. 

The 11-member delegation from the University of Arizona includes Dr. Brent White (Vice Provost for Global Affairs), Dr. Iman Hakim (Dean of the College of Public Health), Dr. John Paul Jones (Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences), Dr. Marc Miller (Dean of the College of Law), Dr. Marylyn McEwen (Associate Dean of Global Nursing), Dr. Shane Burgess (Vice President for Agriculture Sciences), Dr. Anil Agarwal (Assistant Vice President of South Asian Affairs), Dr. Carol Gregorio (Vice Dean of Innovation and Development), Dr. Connie Miller (Chair of General Nursing and Health), and Dr. Eric Butcher (Professor, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering).

About University of Arizona

The University of Arizona is a top-ranked public, research university in Tucson, Arizona and is classified as a Carnegie Foundation Research 1 institution. It is ranked 104th in the world by Times Higher Education’s 2020 World University Rankings. UArizona is known for advancing frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. The University has been a part of every planetary mission with NASA and is the fourth most awarded public university by NASA for research.

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