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India's leaders in engineering education visit Nebraska Engineering

By Carole Wilbeck


India Group
The delegation from India's March visit to UNL's College of Engineering reciprocated a visit to India by UNL leaders earlier in 2009.

Eight leaders from engineering colleges in Chennai, India visited UNL on March 26. Their 10-day visit to the U.S. was funded by an IDEA grant from the World Bank, and also included time at University of Central Florida, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and University of Illinois at Chicago.

In Lincoln, the group toured Nebraska Engineering areas including the Nebraska Transportation Center with Elizabeth Jones, associate professor of civil engineering, and the bridge research lab of Atorod Azizinamini, professor of civil engineering. They visited a research facility for blast and biomechanics simulation, led by Namas Chandra, professor of engineering mechanics, and the photonics laboratory of YongFeng Lu, professor of electrical engineering.

The visitors dined with Chancellor Harvey Perlman; David Allen, College of Engineering dean; and Chandra, who is Nebraska Engineering's associate dean for research and graduate programs.

India visitors
Yongfeng Lu, professor of electrical engineering, describes his work at his lab to officials from engineering colleges in India.

Allen welcomed the group and praised the development of "significant opportunities for our students." The visit solidified the cooperative agreement between the engineering programs at Anna University and UNL: a dual-degree program as well as collaborative research opportunities. Anna University's Sethu Shanmugavel expressed enthusiasm for the relationship with Nebraska Engineering and described it as a "win-win situation."

"Our guests are interested in understanding how industry-university collaboration works and learning about undergraduate/graduate research and university research enterprise in all areas of engineering, architecture and materials science," said Chandra. "This visit is a follow up of our recent trip to India with the chancellor, and we plan to pursue additional faculty and student visits this summer."

The visiting group was comprised of college and university deans, provost, and presidents, as well as faculty, including: Samu Kutty Annadurai - Government College of Technology, Coimbatore; Ramasamy Sundararajan - Alagappa Chettiar College of Engineering & Technology, Karaikudi; Jothiram Perumal - Government College of Engineering, Salem; Krisha Rajagopal - Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli; Palaniswamy Ramamoorthy - Thanthai Periyar Government Institute of Technology, Vellore; Sethu Shanmugavel - Anna University, Chennai and College of Engineering (Guindy), Chennai; Sekar Munusamy - College of Engineering (Guindy), Chennai; and Ayyasamy Elayaperuma - College of Engineering (Guindy), Chennai.

Anna University has approximately 1,600 faculty and staff and 19,000 students on its main campus, Chandra said. The university offers 30 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in engineering and technology and houses more than 40 autonomous centers focusing on water resources, remote sensing, biotechnology, and more.

Anna University has another 140 affiliated engineering colleges, according to Chandra, which graduate as many as 65,000 engineers per year--comparable to the total number of engineers graduating from the entire United States of America each year.

UNL and AU have a memorandum of agreement and a recent addendum to that agreement, emphasizing a dual Ph.D. degree program.

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