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SOMERS — A recent trip by University of Wisconsin-Parkside representatives to India may soon forge further ties between the university and the world’s most populous democracy.

Chancellor Debbie Ford and other Parkside faculty members and students recently traveled to the subcontinent, and while there they developed new partnerships between Parkside and schools at the university at the college and high school level. Ford also delivered the keynote address at two international conferences while on the trip.

The university has had partnerships in place in India for nearly a decade, but the latest trip was an opportunity to create new ones. Agreements were signed with learning institutions in cities such as New Delhi, Chandigarh and Kochi, Kerala.

“It was wonderful to represent the university,” Ford said.

The visit was coordinated by Abey Kuruvilla, Parkside’s executive director for international affairs and associate professor of business in the College of Business, Economics and Computing.

Along with Dr. Kuruvilla, others on the trip were a mixture of faculty, staff and students including CBEC Associate Dean Michele Gee, CBEC Associate Professor Parag Dhumal, and John Skalbeck, Roby Rajan, Damian Evans, Roseann Mason, Inderjit Kaur and Meena Jose.

After the delegation first visited Indsearch in Pune and N.L. Dalmia in Mumbai, educational institutions with which Parkside already had partnerships established, Ford gave the keynote address at the Fifth Annual Asia Pacific Conference in Mumbai.

After Mumbai, the Parkside delegation signed an agreement with SCINDIA girls school in the city of Gwalior that will allow three students to receive a scholarship to attend Parkside every year. Parkside already had a similar agreement in place with SCINDIA boys school, which hosted a reception that included many industrialists, higher education leaders and important citizens of India, according to information provided by Parkside.

Then it was off to Chandigarh, where the chancellor signed articulation agreements with Chitkara University and Punjabi University Patiala.

An articulation agreement is an agreement between two schools that provides a list of courses that can be taken at both schools to satisfy degree requirements at both schools.

In Kochi, Ford signed an agreement, the first of its kind, with TKM College of Engineering in the city of Kollam, where five students will be able to study in graduate programs at Parkside with scholarship support of $25,000 provided by the TKM USA Alumni Association, according to information provided by Parkside.

The final education center the delegation visited was St. Teresa’s Girls College in Kochi, where Ford signed an memorandum of understanding that will allow future multiple articulation agreements, and she addressed students, faculty and staff in a leadership seminar.

To finish the trip, Ford opened the inaugural International Conference on Sustainable Globalization in Kochi by giving the keynote address. Parkside sponsored the conference, for which Dr. Kuruvilla was the general chair. It featured presentations on 86 academic papers from multiple universities in 14 countries, according to information provided by Parkside.

Address topics

In both of her keynote addresses, Ford focused on how education leaders in the U.S., in India and around the world handle what she called “disruptors.”

“What I mean by disruptors are demographic changes worldwide,” Ford said. “I talked about the number of generations in the workforce and how different generations approach work and the pace of technology.

“Our role in higher education prepares graduates for the 21st century in global leadership skills and entrepreneurial skills. I ended mostly with a call to leadership and what means to be leaders in the 21st century.”

The biggest memory that Ford will take from the trip was her stop at St. Teresa’s, where she felt a connection with the young women attending the college.

“The highlight of my trip was to see these aspiring young women as they begin their life’s journey through education,” Ford said. “I talked with them about their roles as women and as future leaders.

“I was very appreciative of the passion and commitment to education in India. All the folks I met at various universities, conferences and schools I visited are excited and interested in the partnerships and their passion for education was so evident.”

During the little free time they had, Ford said the delegation, hosted by some of Parkside’s educational partners, visited several historical sites and a few museums “to get a sense of the culture and history of India.” Among the sights they saw was the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra.

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