Indian-American to head US' council on education

An Indian-American has been named to head US' most influential higher education association from Monday.

PTI| Updated: Mar 15, 2015, 15:23 PM IST

New Delhi: An Indian-American has been named to head US' most influential higher education association from Monday.

Renu Khator, Chancellor of University of Houston System and also President of University of Houston, will be the new Chair of American Council on Education (ACE) succeeding James H Mullen Jr.

"On March 16, I will become chairman of the American Council on Education, a national organisation representing all institutions of higher education-- from elite private to community colleges to 'for profit' universities - in America," Uttar Pradesh-born and University of Kanpur educated Khator told PTI.

Currently the Vice Chair of ACE, she says she feels tremendously honoured to be selected for the new position by fellow presidents.

ACE represents the presidents of US accredited, degree- granting institutions, which include two and four-year colleges, private and public universities, and non-profit and for-profit entities. In its role representing all sectors of higher education, ACE provides higher education administrators multiple opportunities to learn from colleagues and experts.

"In the next decade, American higher education is going to be transformed. We need a collective voice, a shared platform, a place where we can collectively anticipate change, dare to innovate, and learn from each other's mistakes.

"I think ACE provides that forum, that collective voice that shared space, and that togetherness," reads a message by Khator on ACE's official website.

She is the UH System's first woman chancellor, UH's first foreign-born president and the first ever Indian immigrant to lead a comprehensive research university in the US. Last year, she was named the chairperson of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' board of directors.

According to Khator, both the Indian and US education systems have the same mission but take different approaches to accomplish it.

"India does not have a two-year college system for those who wish to pursue trade related degrees. It has a cohort system where a student enters a university and must continue and finish his or her degree at a predetermined course in a pre-selected field. In US, students can work on their own pace and start their degree at any age and change majors several times," she says.

"Bachelor's education in the US includes two years of common core. Irrespective of your field of study - engineering or commerce or arts - everyone must take common courses in humanities, math and social sciences," she says.

A product of the Indian education system, she says she values it for all that it offers.