Some believe the term 'Creativity' applies those who possess artistic talents. For some others, Creativity means being imaginative or inventive, taking risks or challenging convention. Dr. Sabitha Ramamurthy, Chancellor of CMR University falls under this category. She took the risk of challenging the conventional Indian education system to inject the concepts of creativity into her students. "The next big strategy that the world is looking for is an intergeneration of creativity in the education system," says Dr. Sabitha, with complete authority of implementing a creative curriculum for her University.
Rather than the niche academic oriented approach, Dr. Sabitha imposed on a curriculum based on the creativity at CMR University. She established this postmodern concept of pedagogy at CMR Institute of Technology as an experiment. With strong support of faculty members, she encouraged the seventh semester students to make groups regardless of their branch of study to complete their main project.
The thought of making waves in the standstill conventional education structure budded when Dr. Sabitha visited Stanford University. She was there to attend her daughter's graduation day and the speaker was Oprah Winfrey host of her multi-award-winning talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show." During her speech, she introduced the book called "The Whole New Mind" written by Daniel Pink to the audience. The book communicated importance of right-brained people in the future of global business with its readers. Inspired from the author's thoughts, Dr. Sabitha decided to inculcate creativity in the curriculum of CMR University. It was the much-needed change in the education system of the country like India, where the majority workforce functions as work bees who are controlled by the queen bees of other nations.
CMR School to CMR Group of Institutions
The credits for contributing such a creative curriculum to the education sector goes for the lady-in-charge, Dr. Sabitha, the most right brained person at CMR University. Even after decades of successful run, she still remembers the initial reactions from the people when she decided to start a School in an orchard owned by her family. Why do you need to start a school with six children? She was on her 30's when she faced this question from her family members, friends, well-wishers and rest of the world. Apart from her, nobody would have imagined that it could be the maiden step towards a long journey and a birth of ironic-lady in the society. The modest CMR School went on adding institution to institutions. At present, CMR Group of Institutions is a University, which provides KG to PhD education under single umbrella, which includes Montessori to Post Graduate Courses, Engineering, Management, Bioscience, Psychology, Law and many more. Dr. Sabitha in her mid 50's, the driving force of CMR Trust, is still charm and thirsty to serve people by providing quality education rather than building a large business structure.
The Right-Brained Pedagogy
We are redesigning the knowledge process to the requirements of industry, education sector and ultimately to produce one of the best manpower in the country, says Dr. Anand K Joshi, Vice Chancellor, CMR University. Success of this out-of-the box initiative inspired the University to travel more in this path. First time in the history of Universities in India, CMR University signed MoU with IBM in non-engineering subjects like Commerce, Management and Economics. IBM is a part of the CMR University curriculum , which will give the students a hands-on experience about the IT developments along with their management studies. The University has adopted an "Education Engagement Model (EEM)" that includes technology-enabled learning through cloud based content transmission. IBM provides Industry-Integrated Curriculum with approximately 35 percent per program content. The academic delivery emphasize on project-based and experiential learning model covering 20 percent in each Program. The university also has a Career Advisory Cell (CAC) to advise students on career and placement opportunities, with support from professional bodies.
The University also collaborated with NASSCOM, to nurture the thought leadership of the students as well as the faculty members. For NASSCOM, this is their first collaboration with a University in India. With the help of such tie-ups, CMR University has attained a unique design for their curriculum, which demands a steady valuation of student's creativity, innovation and design thinking.
This partnership build CMRU's capability to train students in such a way that, NASSCOM Sector Skill Council (NASSCOM-SSC) will conduct 'Train-the Trainer' program for CMR University faculty involved in this project to give them a holistic view of Collaborative initiative. Only the trained faculty members will be able to train students on the GBFS program. NASSCOM will also provide guidance & recommendations related to aspects of the GBFS program such as faculty section, student, infrastructure for training and evaluation. The GBFS structure, in its delivery model, provides for modes of content dissemination, not limited to hard copy, but also digital content, e-content. Hence the University aims to bring IT enabled Academic delivery process.
The integral part of the GBFS curriculum is to conduct NASSCOM Assessment of Competence (NAC) Test, to both pre and post the program. The candidates who qualify in the test after the program shall have preferential employment opportunities in registered companies of NASSCOM. With the NASSCOM-CMRU integrated curricula, the CMRU students should be able to apply their knowledge across domains with practical abilities. This will help the students to get the better placement.
The CMR University is a signatory to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) to support Ethics, Sustainability and Responsible Management Research in higher education. This initiative of United Nations has 534 reputed institutions and universities all across the world. Prof. Ronald E. Berenbeim, Adjunct Professor, New York University, launched this initiative in CMR University on 4th March 2014. There are only 24 Management Institutions and one University in India, which are signatories to PRME of UNGC. CMR University is probably the 1st University with a holistic approach to implement this initiative.
Dr. Sabitha Ramamurthy, Chancellor, CMR University
Dr. Sabitha Ramamurthy is receiver of many accolades for her extraordinary contributions to the society, prominently in the education sector. Some of the awards includes, Jewel of India Award, Mother Teresa Excellence Award, Rashtriya Rattan Award, Bhartiya Nirman Ratna Award, Indira Gandhi Sadbhavna Award to name a few. This multi talented woman enjoys Painting and plays the Veena to soothe her soul. She also has a formidable knowledge of Vaastu and Astrology.
Dr. Anand K Joshi, Vice Chancellor, CMR University
Dr. Joshi's work experience in Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India & Welingkar B-School gave him a vast knowledge about the various forms of education at both National and International levels. His case study has been acclaimed in the ISB-IVEY Case Study Competition 2011. It has been published in Harvard Business Publishing and also in Richard Ivey School of Publishing. Dr. Joshi also a Consulting Advisor in major Five States of India on Educational Policy, Strategy & Institutional Governance to more than 30 Industries/Academic Institutions/Universities in the area of Medical, Engineering, Management and the Professional bodies. He was also a consulting advisor to Azim Premji Foundation, Bengaluru, Lavasa Corporation, Pune and Engineering Staff College of India, Hyderabad.