Elon University announces new partnership with GITAM University of India

Leaders from both institutions on Friday, Aug. 13, signed a memorandum of understanding that will pave the way for students and faculty exchange programs and research collaborations.

Elon University and GITAM University in India on Friday, Aug. 13, entered into a new partnership that will support student and faculty exchange programs between the two institutions and facilitate research collaborations among faculty.

The partnership became official during a virtual signing ceremony attended by leaders from the two schools. Elon President Connie Ledoux Book and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Aswani Volety and other campus leaders were joined by GITAM President M. Sri Bharat, Vice Chancellor K. Siva Rama Krishna, Registrar D. Gunasekaran and others from their university in offering remarks about the significance of the new partnership in the years to come.

“Today, more than ever, we understand that our world is interconnected,” Book said. “Global perspective is a critical competency in the 21st century, and Elon University leads the advance of global understanding. The partnership we have forged with GITAM University will create new opportunities for students and faculty at each of our institutions to learn, to grow and to thrive.”

GITAM is a multidisciplinary university established in 1980 with campuses in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Initially established as an engineering and management college, GITAM became a university in 2007, and has continued to expand its academic offerings, campuses and student body. GITAM is accredited in India as an A+ category university, and is recognized as a top-75 university in the country by the national ranking body in India, NIRF.

The student/scholar exchange memorandum of understanding signed Friday is designed to further academic cooperation and friendship between the two universities with a primary focus initially on the academic areas of business analytics, physical therapy and engineering. The partnership will facilitate the exchange of best practices in the areas of teaching and learning processes, such as in curriculum design, implementation and execution.

Provost Aswani Volety holds up the memorandum of understanding after adding his signature during the signing ceremony, which was conducted remotely with GITAM University leaders. School of Health Sciences Dean Rebecca Neiduski, left, applauds.

“We wanted a memorandum of understanding that both parties believe in, not just one that just exists on paper,” said GITAM President M. Sri Bharat. “We want it to be mutually beneficial. We want to contribute to the growth of Elon and likewise, look for Elon to contribute to the growth of GITAM.”

Elon and GITAM will host scholars from the partner institution as part of short-term and long-term academic exchanges. Student exchange programs will also be launched and will be designed to promote cultural and educational understanding.

GITAM is developing a physical therapy program to help address unmet healthcare needs in the region that is home to the university, with leaders saying they are looking forward to the partnership with Elon’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The partnership with GITAM offers an opportunity to expand the Global Learning Opportunities that are part of Elon’s physical therapy and physician assistant studies programs.

“We are honored to partner with GITAM as they begin their physical therapy program and more broadly as we consider the ways we could learn from you and with you in preparing healthcare providers dedicated to health equity and evidence-based practice,” said Rebecca Neiduski, dean of the School of Health Sciences.

Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business, said that in GITAM, Elon has a partner that offers many of the same disciplines within the realm of business education, and focuses, like Elon, on how education and research can benefit society. “I look forward to working with my counterparts there in advancing our common interests,” Tadepalli said.

In GITAM, Elon has a partner with roots in engineering education. The partnership comes as Elon continues to develop its engineering program, which added a four-year engineering degree in 2019, and is in the midst of construction of the first two buildings in its new Innovation Quad, which will provide a home to engineering and other STEM disciplines. “We’re excited to explore potential partnerships with GITAM’s engineering program in the future,” said Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences.

The partnership with GITAM offers Elon a stronger connection to a growing region of the world while also expanding global education opportunities within professional fields, such as physical therapy, said Nick Gozik, dean of global education at Elon. Elon views an expansion of global partnerships as a strategic priority, particularly partnerships that are multifaceted, he said.

“We send a lot of students abroad, and we receive many students here at Elon, but these partnerships go beyond that by working at multiple levels, such as promoting faculty and staff collaboration,” Gozik said.