Prof. Arabinda Mishra, TERI University: In Conversation with ThinktoSustain.com
With the launch of a unique first-of-its-kind programme last year – M.A. in Sustainable Development Practice (MA-SDP) – TERI University in Delhi became a pioneer institution in India in the field of sustainable development education. With the commencement of its second batch this year, the programme seems to be all set to become a cornerstone in training a new breed of environmentally conscious professionals who understand the importance of incorporating principles of sustainable development in their every day lives and business practices, whether they work for development sector or industry or government.
ThinktoSustain.com discusses with Prof. Arabinda Mishra, Dean, Faculty of Policy & Planning at TERI University, the issues faced by his team in last one year in meeting the challenges posed by running such a unique programme. Dr. Mishra is Ph.D. from Sambalpur University, Orissa (“Environmental & Resource Economics, Impact Assessment”). He is currently working as Dean (Faculty of Policy & Planning, TERI University) and Director (Climate Change, TERI).
ThinktoSustain.com: How has your experience been during the last one year of the program – both in terms of meeting students’ expectations and program delivery?
Prof. Arabinda Mishra: The first year of the programme was very challenging for us, in terms of both programme design and programme delivery. Through constant feedback from our programme partners and curriculum development and revision workshops, we were able to develop the curriculum apt to the need of the programme. Since 2010, we have had two external and one internal curriculum development and revision programmes.
We have been successful in meeting the students’ expectations for the first year. The various courses taught were much appreciated for the quality teaching and faculty expertise in the subjects.
ThinktoSustain.com: Could you list down some major achievements of the program/students in the last one year?
Prof. Arabinda Mishra:
1. Group Practicum 1: At the end of the first semester, the students worked with five different organizations for their group practicum, which was aimed at amalgamating classroom learning with hands-on experience of the development and management issues/challenges. The training was for a period of two weeks during which students were expected to conduct local needs assessment at the community level under various themes. The organizations where the students worked were Care India, Lupin Foundation, Foundation of Ecological Survey, Pratham, Seva-Mandir.
TERI University students working with Lupin Foundation for their Group Practicum
2. Courses taught by External Faculty: In its endeavor to give quality education to the students, experts from various fields were invited to deliver the lectures on various topics. Few of these experts were:
- Dr. G. Krishnamurthy, CHARUSAT University, Anand, Gujarat – Project Design & Management Workshop
- Dr. Vasudha Chotrey, University of East Anglia, U.K. – Key Concepts to Cultural & Political Ecology
- Dr. Vivek Fellner, North Carolina State University, U.S.A. – Science & Technology for Global Sustainability
- Dr. David Gilmartin, North Carolina State University, U.S.A. – Science & Technology for Global Sustainability
- Dr. Robert Moog, North Carolina State University, U.S.A. – Law, Society & Sustainable Development
- Dr. Geraldine Luginbuhl, North Carolina State University, U.S.A. – Global Health
3. One of the major achievements of the programme was the introduction of course – Challenges to Sustainable Development and Policy Making. The course addressed various issues related to policy, agriculture, energy resources, infrastructure, urbanization, etc. The course was designed in a seminar mode and the topics were covered by experts from different fields. The course was well received by the students. Some of the expert faculty invited for lectures was from TERI, IIT-Delhi, MDI-Gurgaon, National Institute of Public Finance & Policy (NIPFP), etc.
4. Students were able to earn their internships in some of the reputed organizations working in sustainable development like United Nations, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM), Tourism Development Endeavors, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Child Rights & You (CRY), World Health Organization (WHO), Husk Power System, Public Health Foundation of India, Indian Institute of Public Administration, etc. This wide range of organizations shows the acceptance of the programme among these organizations.