This is a list of what I found interesting in Higher Education news and happenings.
Interview with Pramath Sinha, promoter of Ashoka University. Relevant for data points; 1,000 applications, to which they made 250 offers and finally 133 accepted to join the inaugural class. 60% of students are on some kind of scholarship, about 10% have a free ride. Median SATs at 2050, median CBSE 12th scores at 91%. 15 full-time faculty presently. Eventually they plan to have 200 full-time faculty faculty for at least 1 semester (interesting rider) given that they are planning for 4,000 students.
Pramath Sinha again; he is leveraging his experience in setting up ISB and now Ashoka, to start a venture which will take over the management and operations of failing institutions for a fee. They are starting with Indore Institute of Science & Technology, a relatively unknown Engg College, and the much-better known but in-decline JBIMS. There are a few other players who do similar stuff – Eduvisors does this for schools, and I think there is Sunstone in NCR who is trying to do this with failing MBA schools. It is an interesting move for Pramath Sinha. If he is doing this through 9.9 Mediaworx (and it does seem so), then it is also a clear pivot away from his struggling media business, and also provide some returns to his investors Helion and TVS, who invested $7.5m in ’08.
The university library in the post-digital world. Perspectives from Yale, in Adrienne LaFrance’s wonderful article in The Atlantic. Useful inputs for universities setting up libraries.
Since only a part of the article deals with the university library, I am excerpting the same below. The article on the whole is a terrific read as well.
A couple summers ago, when Yale was redesigning its historic Sterling Memorial Library, I asked the head librarian there about this phenomenon. How can a library best use physical space to serve a generation of students accustomed to organizing around information online? What would that kind of library even look like? She immediately had an answer. “Just like you can change your Facebook page or homepage online, you’re expecting flexibility and customization in physical areas,” Susan Gibbons told me. So Yale ordered some furniture that could be set up and broken down quickly for collaborative study environments. It created physical spaces that reflected the fluidity of the online world. “It doesn’t have to be a dichotomy of physical and digital,” Gibbons said.
This is just how the world is now.
The interesting thing was, Gibbons told me, she’d noticed students were still using the physical space of the library—it is gorgeous and gothic and tranquil—but they were working almost completely online while they were there. “It’s funny,” she told me. “They come into the library with a laptop and they use the collections, but they use it all digitally.”
Increasingly, we occupy physical and digital spaces in concert. (There’s a name for this in the television industry: the second screen.)
The new CornellTech school in NYC is re-inventing the MBA for the digital / startup age. The 1-yr program partners MBA candidates with students in the Masters in Comp Sci program, and gets them to do semester-long internships at companies building real products and designing software.
Another NYT story, and this is a terrific read at that, on the Stanford Class of ’94 reunion. This is the class that had Silicon Valley billionaires Peter Thiel & David Sacks (both of PayPal fame) as well as co-founder of Whatsapp Brian Acton. It is a terrific exploration of inequality and gender imbalances, exploring how those who went into Silicon Valley and stayed (and curiously most of these are men) made outsized gains, as opposed to the rest of the class.