Editor's note: In the Jan. 15 Ranger Today, we had an article about Interim Provost Fred Ebeid's journey to India. Much of the article focused on the exchange agreements signed between UW-Parkside and IndSearch, a business management institution in Pune, India. But there was more to his trip. Ebeid served as "Chief Guest" and keynote speaker at the International Conference on Innovative Practices for Business Excellence, organized by the Rajagiri Center for Business Studies, in Kochi, Kerala, on Jan. 14. He was accompanied by UW-Parkside Business Professor Dr. Abey Kuruvilla, who initiated contact with the institution and made arrangements for the visit.
After opening the conference with the lighting of a traditional bronze lamp, Ebeid spoke in his keynote address about the growing challenges faced by students in the 21st century and the response of higher education. He emphasized UW-Parkside's efforts in creating the concept of a global classroom and highlighted the newer concepts in higher education like massive online open courses, flex degrees, and online classes.
In addition to touching on higher education's challenges, Ebeid spoke on the need for continued efforts by educational institutions to create access and excellence for students. He later stressed the need for collaboration and partnerships in education as a response to these growing challenges. Responding to questions afterward, Ebeid said change is the only constant and institutions of higher learning can better respond when they are flexible and open to challenges.
Ebeid was introduced by the Rajagiri Center's Principal Dr. Joseph Injodey. The conference was attended by numerous Fulbright Scholars, several international dignitaries, heads of other institutions, and the Center's students, faculty, and staff.
During the conference, Abey Kuruvilla presented the paper "Community Engaged Learning in Business: A 2012 UW Parkside Exemplar." The presentation drew upon UW-Parkside's initiatives and success in engaging the local community through student projects. The paper generated a considerable amount of discussion among participants.Ebeid and Kuruvilla also met with Rajagiri Center leadership to explore possible collaborative opportunities for UW-Parkside. The Rajagiri group is one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the South Indian state of Kerala, a state that achieved 100 percent literacy about a decade ago. The conference was covered by several newspapers including the Times of India, the Indian Express, and Deepika.