Achieving the Highest Standards of Institutional Excellence amidst Adversities: Success Story of O P Jindal Global University
The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed on us one of the most unprecedented crises of our times. Institutions worldwide were significantly impacted, bringing into question the future aspirations of youth across the globe. The announcement of the extension of the nationwide lockdown in India only further exacerbated the future of education. As a university deeply committed to promoting excellence, O P Jindal Global University (JGU) enabled its students with online classes with immediate effect and established the task force PIVOT (Planned Intervention in Virtual Learning and Online Teaching), comprising of academic and administrative leadership. This taskforce worked to create a process-driven approach to foresee the innovations required not only in terms of technology and digital infrastructure, but also re-imagination of curriculum, pedagogy, and continue the impact of JGU towards the civil society, and its stakeholders. Some of the key focus areas and achievement of this task force are:
Academic-Continuity: Effective leadership of the Office of Academic Innovation & Blended Learning, expanding its Information Technology team capacity by 1.5 times, resulted in 24000+ online classes, 100% digitalization of library, and 1250+ unique online examinations in 2020. JGU’s digital transformation led to the institution receiving the QS I-GAUGE ‘E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation (E-LEAD)’ Certification after a rigorous audit process.
Creating Career Opportunities: Winter Internships for 4000+ students were facilitated; Graduate Research Immersion Programme (GRIP) Scholarship and ‘Teaching & Research for Intellectual Pursuit (TRIP)’ Fellowship to nurture outstanding talent were also developed, creating opportunities for 200 JGU students.
Elevation of Teaching Quality: JGU management established the ‘Lawyering Excellence for Advocacy Development (LEAD)’ Programme, which appointed twelve distinguished Senior-Advocates of the Supreme Court of India and ‘Corporate Lawyering Advancement through Immersion & Mentoring (CLAIM)’ Programme that appointed twelve corporate partners of leading corporate law firms in India and abroad as Honorary Adjunct Professors of Law.
Increasing International Collaborations: JGU management led a collaboration with the University of Arizona to create the ‘Global Immersion Fellowship for Talent & Educational Development’ to provide Indian students with an opportunity of international exposure without leaving their home country during the pandemic and created over 70 new Institutional Partnerships.
Creating more learning opportunities: In the 2020-21 academic year, JGU launched 7 new programmes and commenced classes for 6 new inter-disciplinary programmes with the spring semester itself offering 375 elective courses reflecting the continued nature of interdisciplinarity at JGU. Partnership with upGrad, India’s largest online higher education company, resulted in two post-graduate programmes in the blended learning mode - LL.M. in Corporate & Financial Law, and an MBA in Digital Finance and Banking (DFB).
Enabling Emotional and Mental Wellness: ‘COVID-Anxiety’ has been directly proportional to the COVID-19 cases. Therefore, in addition to existing activities at JGU’s Centre for Wellness and Counselling Services (CWCS), JGU further extended its collaboration with ‘YourDOST’, one of India’s leading online mental health and emotional wellness platforms to provide the JGU family access to 24x7 counselling through psychologists, counsellors, career coaches and multiple other knowledge resources.
Artificial Intelligence Enabled & Remote Proctored Entrance Examinations: As India witnessed the conundrum over central admission examinations, JGU adopted an AI-Enabled Remote (home) Proctored examination held under the aegis of the Jindal Scholastic Aptitude Test (JSAT), administered by Pearson Virtual University Enterprises (VUE). This along with other outreach initiatives resulted in a 67% increase in the admission applications pool this year, with international students from several countries have taken admission to JGU this year.
Constitution of the JGU Medical Advisory Board & Upgradation of the JGU Health Centre: Health-care services headed by an eminent consultant surgeon and experienced retired civil surgeon, and a team of well-experienced residential medical officers have been made available 24/7 for providing health services to the JGU community with upgraded infrastructure including Indoor and Flu wards fully equipped with equipment to handle any emergency at the JGU campus. JGU Medical Advisory Board consisting of distinguished professionals from the field of medical sciences was constituted to guide and suggest measures for further improving the infrastructure and ecosystem to cater to the health and wellbeing of the JGU community.
Impact-driven Leadership: JGU collaborated with the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) to prepare a ‘COVID-19 Response Tool Kit for Indian Higher Education Institutions. JGU also innovated an app ‘Tou’ for Schools across India at no cost to them, currently scaled up to 12 schools already.
Through its robust planning, effective implementation and consistent efforts detailed above, the PIVOT taskforce has enabled the institution to progress on the path to excellence despite the daunting circumstances of the pandemic. JGU had a humble beginning with 1 school, 100 students and 10 faculty members. In a little over a decade, the University grew into an institution with ten different schools, 6600+ students, 830+ faculty members, a faculty-student ratio of 1:8, over 55 interdisciplinary Research Centres, and 3 Research and Capacity Building Institutes. With 300+ international collaborations across 50 countries and over 50% of faculty members being represented by women, JGU has created a truly global, diverse, and inclusive space for academic excellence to thrive.
This is further validated with international recognitions as JGU secured a rank among the Top 700 Universities in the world as India’s Number One Private University and was recognized as the Number One Indian University dedicated to the study of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities as per the QS World University Rankings 2021. JGU also featured in Top 150 Young (under the age of 50) Universities as per the latest QS Young University Rankings. JGU’s first school - Jindal Global Law School was ranked as India’s Number One Law School and ranked 76 in the world as per the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject (Law). In 2020 JGU also broadened its research horizons: Jindal Global Law Review (JGLR), Jindal Global Law School's flagship faculty-edited law journal, was indexed on SCOPUS and JGU was awarded the prestigious Jean Monnet Chair by the European Union (EU) reflecting JGU’s continued drive for research.
2020 has taught us that we live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) World, and Universities playing an instrumental role in nation-building need to always be prepared for changes and be adaptable, flexible, and agile, come together as a community to use any challenge as an opportunity. This has been effectively demonstrated by JGU over the last ten years, especially since the onset of the pandemic, changing challenges into opportunities to embark on excellence.
The views & opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of QS-ERA India Private Limited and/or its employees, partners, shareholders, or other stakeholders.