Jagran Lakecity University, central India’s Global University, conducted a ‘Brainstorming Session’ on Monday, 5th April for the launch of central India’s First Liberal Arts School. The event was spearheaded by Dr. Sandeep Shastri, Vice-Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, who invited the best academia of Liberal Arts Education from all over the country to participate in the session.
The opening remarks of the session were made by Abhishek Mohan Gupta, Pro-Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University, who clearly spelt out the need for a ‘Liberal Arts’ school in central India and the vision of JLU to prepare liberal arts graduates who can contribute positively to the world. He said, “Jagran Lakecity University is planning to launch an Innovative Undergraduate programme in Liberal Arts. In consonance with the aspirations of a 21st century India, this course will prepare a new generation of undergraduates with multi-track skills to not merely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country but contribute to world affairs as global citizens.”
The event was graced by the presence of an illustrious panel of external experts like , Prof. K.G Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Dr Vijay Kumar, Vice Chancellor, National Law Institute University, Bhopal, Dr. Manisha Priyam, Professor from NIEPA University, New Delhi; Dr. Yoganand Kore, Professor of English and Culture Studies, Bengaluru; Dr. Yatindra Singh Sisodia, Director, Madhya Pradesh Institute for Social Sciences, Ujjain; and was joined by Dr Ramnath Narayanswamy, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and Dr G K Karanth, Professor (Retd) of Sociology, ISEC, Bangalore and Prof. (Dr.) Gopakumar , Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala, through zoom. The Deans, Directors, Heads and members of faculty of Jagran Lakecity University, also participated in the session.
The 5 hour long session was an intellectual feast – the experts provided insights from their diverse perspectives based on their rich experience, on the definition of ‘LIBERAL ARTS’ and what it would be like to be a student of Liberal Arts.
The esteemed guest speaker, Dr. Ramnath Narayanswamy, senior professor, IIM B, provided useful inputs on the philosophy that defines a good Liberal Arts Program: “To transform an institution, it requires hard decisions”. He suggested finding the value in learning by adding that, “Search of knowledge should be amalgamated with the search of truth and in doing so the distinction between education for living and education for life should be clearly established”.
According to Dr. Manisha Priyam, Professor at NIEPA University, highlighted that “one should start from the basic principles of knowledge and then work towardsformulating solutions”. On course methodology, she added “It must include writing skills as India is blessed with amazing thinkers but they can’t put those thoughts in words to form reasonable arguments. Also, in problem solving, outcome variables must not be anticipated, as it affects the results and the value judgment of the researcher”. Dr. Yoganand Kore, Professor of English and Culture Studies, Bengaluru added that, “The meaning of literature has changed over the centuries, and so has the way of understanding it, liberal arts is at the cusp of this change’.
On the topic of curriculum design, Prof. K.G. Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, focused on the need to capture Indian success stories as a part of the curriculum and added that, “Liberal arts course should prepare students for life, and embolden them to trod new way”. He ended his address marvelously by stating that, “JLU is a pioneer and a leader in central India’s higher education space and establishing this school will be UNIQUELY JAGRAN”.
Dr G.K. Karanth, Professor (Retd) of Sociology, ISEC, Bangalore suggested, “Educators must share a common vision of what is LIBERAL” and Dr. Nilesh Khare, Dean of Faculty of Management and Commerce, JLU Bhopal, giving a strategic angle to the discussion proposed that, “Spirit of strategic implementation must be focused on, so that students are gainfully employed, and this can be achieved with critical thinking”.
Prof. (Dr.) Gopakumar , Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala, gave an amazing insight that, “Life, values, body language and techology are changing rapidly , thus the biggest challenge for liberal arts students will be developing confidence while keeping character building on priority”
Dr. Sandeep Shastri moderated the discussion and maintained a joyous aura that made the long session interactive and engaging. He explained the rationale behind the launch of this new school and summed up marvelously by stating that, “The idea of our liberal arts school is to prepare students with global vision, national perspective and local flavor wherein a course in liberal arts humanizes and sensitizes people, so that they can make sense of the world around them and contribute to it.”
Later, a Panel Discussion, moderated by prof. Diwaker Shukla ,was organized involving the experts on the ‘Importance of Liberal Arts Courses for the Current Day and Age’. The panel of 3 included Dr. Shastri, Dr. Manisha and Dr. Yoganand. In the hour long discussion Dr. Manisha answered from an investment point of view and how development in technology should be seen as a net positive for the liberal arts, she added ” In the past year, investment in virology research overtook that of tech and digitization, this alone shows that the quest of knowledge drives the financial decisions and thus the advancement of sciences.” Analyzing the development of Liberal Arts over the years, Dr. Yoganand Kore concluded, “A Liberal Arts Program is the need of the hour and is the best to mould a new generation of learners who have the right skill set and attitude to deal with the challenges of the modern world “. The event ended with Dr. Shastri giving a vote of thanks to all the dignitaries for their participation and brainstorming to draft the ‘Jagran School of Liberal Arts’.
*Footnote: The Event was successfully conducted at Media Production Room of Shri Gurudev Gupta Media Studios from 10 am to 3pm, with all necessary Covid precautions and strict guidelines.
By- Gurshan Singh
Content Writer, Team Communications,
Jagran Lakecity University.