The Jindal School of Liberal Arts & Humanities (JSLH) begins its first academic session in August 2014. It will offer an interdisciplinary under-graduate degree programme leading to the award of B.A. (Hons.). An education in the liberal arts and humanities programme at Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (JSLH) in collaboration with Rollins College, Florida, is the ideal preparation for an intellect in action. JSLH offers a space for the expansion of young minds in a polyvalent education that mixes the classical and the contemporary in a new framework – the first of its kind in India. Our aim is to break down disciplinary boundaries and redefine what it means to study arts and humanities in an international context. At JSLH, our distinguished faculty aims to create world-class thinkers who are simultaneously innovators. We train students for intellectual mastery, democratic participation, selfexpression and advanced life-long learning. Our curriculum has been carefully crafted and has a global orientation. Within this global framework, the B.A. (Hons.) includes an exciting opportunity to solidify Jindal’s liberal arts and humanities programme through an extended period of study at Rollins College, Florida, USA, leading to the award of another undergraduate degree from the USA. JSLH seeks to become one of the places that will produce the next generation of leaders to confront our overarching problems.
Mission of Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (JSLH)
Indian colleges emphasize accumulation of discipline-specific skills in a vacuum, i.e., without reference to the relationship between disciplines. Even though some Indian colleges pay lip service to the merits of an inter-disciplinary education, they do not emphasize its incorporation in practice. Indeed, the strait-jacketed model of most Indian undergraduate institutions deters students from discovering connections between different disciplines. But artificial compartmentalization that fails to recognize the complexity of the interwoven problems afflicting humanity disables the imagination from conceiving of the multipronged and nuanced approaches needed to resolve them.
The mission of JSLH is to establish a beachhead for interdisciplinary learning in India that will produce successful professionals who will lead society out of the morass it finds itself in. Even though some Indian colleges pay lip service to the merits of inter-disciplinarity, they do not emphasize its incorporation in practice. Indeed, the strait-jacketed model of most Indian undergraduate institutions deters students from discovering connections between different disciplines. In an era of rapidly expanding globalization and heightened interaction between peoples and cultures, it is time to outgrow this parochial attitude toward learning.
At the same time, the need for innovative thinking goes beyond its sanguine effect on students’ employment prospects. For the first time, our planet faces ecological and military crises that endanger all of humanity. The solutions to such overarching problems will have to go beyond the limited country-specific or region-specific varieties that have been formulated in the past. In short, we need a new breed of leaders and JSLH seeks to become one of the places that will produce this next generation of leaders to confront our overarching problems.
The next generation of leaders will need to break the shackles that confine our thinking into Manichean binaries and instead establish bonds of solidarity with those who possess a different understanding of the dilemmas that confront us all. Hope for the future rests on a proliferation of such empathy. It requires going beyond demonstration of tolerance and civility that some other educational institutions proclaim as objectives of their educational programme. JSLH will seek to bring to life for students the underlying commonality which lies buried beneath the illusion of intractable differences.
What is needed and what JSLH will promote are the spirit of enquiry, introspection, and critical engagement with the world at large.