Anne L Rohrbach, executive director, Penn State University, undergraduate admissions, who is visiting India for the first time, speaks to Prachi Rege about their tie-up with Pune University and how they are wooing Indian students.
1) What was experience of interacting with Indian students?
It is my first business visit to India. I find that when it comes to their career and academic degree Indian students are more focused as compared to their global counterparts. They seem to be well prepared and dedicated for the rigor required to earn a world class degree. I look forward to admitting the best of them for a Penn State degree.
2) Tell us about your tie up with Pune University?
We have signed an MOU with the University of Pune for both faculty and student exchange programmes along with collaborative research projects. We are also considering offering dual degrees and online education programmes. We are exploring similar collaborations with other Indian universities.
3) How important is research in academic life?
Research is essential as it helps to enhance innovative thinking. Penn State is one of the top research universities in the US. We strongly believe in bringing the latest research into the classroom and encourage undergraduate students to undertake projects under the guidance of world class faculty.
4) What are the popular courses offered at Penn State University?
Penn State has long been recognised for academic and research excellence in the 160 undergraduate majors which we offer. Over the years we have had many Indian students specialising in business, engineering and science programmes. In my counselling session here, I have come across students who have shown interest in pursuing courses in economics, medicine, communications and environmental studies.
5) Indian students constitute only 10 per cent of the total international student community at Penn State. Comment!
In the past five years we have encouraged undergraduate international students to consider Penn State while applying for programmes in the US. India is the third largest country to send students to our university, however this is not enough. So with the academic calibre of Indian students, we hope to create more pathways to Penn State.
6) What measures are being taken to boost the presence of Indian students on Penn State campus?
On our current visit to the country, we have visited schools and held counselling sessions and workshops for students, parents and school principals to bring the face of Penn State to India. Of course this won`t be a one time exercise, many such visits in the future are being planned, in order to expand our scope and reach to maximum Indian students.