Anant National University: Leading Design Institute Reputed For Its Indian Roots And Global Standing

By Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, Anant National University
Dr Anunaya Chaubey,Provost, Anant National University

Dr Anunaya Chaubey

Provost, Anant National University

India, one of the world's most powerful economies, is plagued with a plethora of challenges such as rapid urbanisation, resource depletion, housing shortage, water and waste management, pollution and other social and environmental threats. Most of these problems stem from faulty design or poor planning which requires a collaborative, multidisciplinary and innovative approach to devise a practical yet sustainable solution. 2016 was the year when a group of visionary leaders established Anant National University, which is one of the rare institutions that focuses on design as a solving process tool. Furthermore, it is one of the few universities especially, in India, which has sustainability at its core with programmes dedicated to it and climate action, which is becoming a larger issue at hand.

India's first Design University, located in a lush green campus in the World Heritage City of Ahmedabad, Anant National University (AnantU) is continuously striving towards meeting its mission to prepare and empower `Solutionaries' ­ revolutionary thinkers with solution-oriented mindset, who design, build and implement equitable and sustainable solutions for India and the world. The university was set up with the vision to become one of the top universities in India by 2025, leading in the fields of design, built habitat and sustainability, reputed for its Indian roots and global standing. Anant National University (AnantU) strongly believes that designers can work across sectors, apply their design thinking skills and devise practical, equitable, sustainable, contextual yet aesthetic solutions to most critical problems around us.

Shaping Students into Multifaceted Designers
The academic experience at the Anant National University focuses on developing the self, while simultaneously building domain expertise and providing industry exposure. AnantU offers a range of education programmes in Design, Architecture, Built Environment and Climate Action which aim at bridging the gaps between contemporary socio-economic challenges and sustainable solutions through design thinking. The widely acclaimed, international and national faculty at AnantU facilitate a holistic design education with a liberal arts perspective. AnantU's educational philosophy underlines the contribution of three interrelated faculties - Heart, head and hand as symbols of empathy, knowledge and skills towards making the solution elegant and sustainable.

Aspiring to become a site for excellence, AnantU has taken steps to integrate the New Education Policy 2020 into the curriculum and pedagogy. The
institute is known for its quality and range of programmes which includes Undergraduate Programmes like Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Design; Majors in Communication Design, Sustainable Fashion and Textile Design, Interaction Design, Product Design, Space Design, A generalized B.Des. programmes -Transdisciplinary Design; Postgraduate Programmes include Master of Design; Majors in Integrated Product Design, Urban Design and Development. Postgraduate diploma programmes - Anant Fellowship.

Adding to this, some of the other programmes offered by the college include Research Masters - PhD in the Built Environment, Design Excellence and Creative Practice; Anant Fellowship for Climate Action; Entrepreneurs in Residence; Designing Affordable Living (Certificate Programme) and more. AnantU has set up The International Centre for Inclusive Cultural Leadership (ICICL), a global action-think tank, which is responsible for mentoring and assisting faculty development on an individual and collective basis in close consultation with the management. It is also responsible for mentoring the Anant Research Committee (ARC) in achieving its goals of fostering an across the campus research culture; Research Higher Degree Programme ­ MPhil/PhD; and Project Development.

“Aspiring to become a site for excellence, AnantU has taken steps to integrate the New Education Policy 2020 into the curriculum and pedagogy”

The institution is leaving no stone unturned in providing the world class facilities to the students. The students can avail the advantage of a modern classroom with projection and presentation facilities, studios, live design projects, creative workspaces, additional learning resources, industry and on-site visits to learn beyond the traditional classrooms. In addition, students can also avail accommodation, canteen, sports facilities and also participate in wellbeing workshops to rejuvenate self and be a part of a conducive community.

The campus offers great opportunity to learn from the surroundings either from nature or through peer interactions.

"AnantU has emerged as a shining example in design education by rethinking the pedagogy and the curriculum. We have built an inclusive educational space by bringing together students, faculty and the community in the act of learning and designing solutions for our problems. We teach our students to integrate their roots, traditions, concern for the community and nature with sustainable contemporary technologies and practices and offer contextual solutions", says Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, Anant National University.

Leveraging Connections to Rope in Opportunities
AnantU believes that no student should be deprived of their education due to economic constraints. To this end, the varsity offers need-based financial assistance up to 100 per
cent to the deserving students. The institute also has strong partnerships with leading institutes and universities around the world. These top institutions work with AnantU to provide faculty and student exchange opportunities, and partner in joint research and curriculum innovation. There is also a dedicated Career Services Office that conducts sessions on resume writing, interview preparation and mock interviews, communication skills, pre-placement talk, industry visits, project presentation and other placement preparations.

The organization has collaboration with many renowned design firms, automotive, medical, UX/UI, gaming companies, IT firms and other related fields for internships. The students also complete their capstone projects with them. "Design is an upcoming sector that offers many exciting opportunities. Many of the students got placed in companies such as Accenture, Peepal Design, TCS and we achieved nearly 90% placement and even the pandemic didn't have much effect on the placements. For start-ups incubation and seed funding the university has collaborations with organizations like iCreate", shares Bhawana Sehgal, Deputy Manager, Career Services Office.

AnantU has set up AARAMBH, the incubation centre, supported by the Student Startup and Innovation Policy (SSIP), Government of Gujarat and IIT Kanpur. Through this initiative, the university aims to promote a culture of entrepreneurship and become the most preferred destination for the students / budding entrepreneurs to use design thinking for solving societal problems with a long-term impact. One of the early initiatives to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship among its students and alumni is the `Idea Contest'. The competition provided a platform to explore, innovate and build on an idea. The first edition supported 12 innovative ideas across sectors, such as healthcare, education, product and many more. In the past, the university also organized Entrepreneurship Week 2021 for the first time. The event, an initiative of the Anant Fellowship programme, provided the Anant Fellows with a platform to interact with global entrepreneurs from various sectors who created a positive impact on society with creative solutions. Led by industry stalwarts, philanthropists, eminent academicians and professionals renowned in their field, AnantU one of the leading institutions in the field of design and the college is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to helping students become agents of change that will positively impact the built environment.

Dr Anunaya Chaubey, Provost, Anant National University
Dr Anunaya Chaubey is the Provost at Anant National University, India's first Design University. Well-known artist and academic in the fields of literature and art history, Dr Chaubey has been the principal of Art College at Patna University and the deputy dean of the post-graduate programme Young India Fellowship at Ashoka University.
College of the Year - 2021