The raison d’être for a university is its students. With our student-centred approach to teaching and learning, the University has consciously encouraged experiential learning in the delivery of its programmes. Experiential learning helps develop various skills and attributes necessary for students to pursue successful careers and become global citizens.
Active researchers among our faculty members therefore bring their research findings into the classroom, and students’ research projects and community engagement work produce new areas for research. It works both ways. JGU’s teaching informs research and faculty research informs teaching. There is immense scope here for connecting the local to the global with a focus on a student-centric approach to developing the research skills of our students.
Some courses in our degree programmes are specifically designed to develop the research skills of our students. Student research also takes place through support of faculty research and research centre activities; participation in internal and external conferences, workshops and other activities; and research-based community engagement projects. Cross registration of courses is offered and encouraged across our schools laying emphasis on our commitment to providing interdisciplinary research opportunities and academic experiences for our undergraduate and postgraduate students. JGU’s research centres and groups are created as interdisciplinary clusters and also provide the opportunity for students to support and be mentored through ongoing faculty and group-based research projects.
The University’s Research Grants Policy consciously seeks to promote student research by allowing students to undertake research assistantships on individual faculty projects. In addition, JGU earmarks 20% of its annual research budget to support student research projects.
The annual student research colloquiums, funded by the University, are an example of this. The colloquiums have contributed positively in enhancing student research interests and capacities. The annual event invites participation from students across India to present original research papers before a panel of faculty experts. A primary goal of the colloquiums is to enable the sharing of student research experiences and engagement in peer-to-peer learning.
The Coase Brief Competition (CBC) is another example of a student research initiative. The CBC is a first of its kind, interdisciplinary competition organized by the student-run Management Council to celebrate the life and scholarship of renowned economist and author, Ronald H. Coase. CBC envisages an interdisciplinary perspective to a hypothetical problem set where contestants attempt to present solutions beyond their respective academic disciplines.
The competition has been very successful in engaging students from schools across India and the world in interdisciplinary analysis and research. This is now an international annual event organized by our students. A leading example of JGU’s efforts in involving students in meaningful research is that of the Community Peace and Social Recovery Fellowship Programme (CPSRFP) offered by the Jindal School of International Affairs. The Clinical Programmes at the Jindal Global Law School are another example of this.
The CPSRFP is a distinct field-based academic programme which is geared towards developing a cohort of students who are trained in the design, implementation and evaluation of disaster relief operations. The core aim of the CPSRFP is to explore the linkages between disaster response, development and peacebuilding with a focus on integrating non-traditional techniques for conflict resolution and early recovery in disaster relief. ‘Early recovery’ is defined as a “multidimensional process of recovery that begins in a humanitarian setting” and “is an integrated and coordinated approach, using humanitarian mechanisms, to gradually turn the dividends of humanitarian action into sustainable crisis recovery, resilience building and development opportunities. The Fellowship is a competitive programme through which the selected students of the Jindal School of International Affairs are placed in various areas of operations of Doctors for You (DFY)-India in a multi phased training programme over a period of three months.
DFY-India is a pioneering medical disaster relief organization with several disaster and crisis responses since its establishment. It also administers public health centres in Mumbai and Bihar, and has developed a key focus on maternal and child health. The organization has been awarded the SAARC Youth Award for Outstanding Contribution to Humanitarian Work in the aftermath of natural disasters in 2009 and was awarded the Best Medical Team in a Crisis Zone by the British Medical Journal Awards in 2011. It is also member of the Asian Disaster Risk Reduction Network (ADRRN). Since 2012, DFY-India and the Jindal School of International Affairs have conducted a substantive collaboration involving joint research projects, joint crisis response programme planning, joint training workshops and internship programmes.
The CPSRFP seeks to build on this collaboration and provide students with a distinct learning opportunity. Through the Fellowship, JGU’s international affairs students will be placed in ongoing projects that will not only allow them to bridge policy and practice, but also to contribute to actual implementation. The programme is especially relevant for students seeking to specialize in crisis response, post-crisis recovery, international development and public health programming in humanitarian emergencies.
The key outcome of the Fellowship is that trainees will develop their own projects during the Fellowship and create innovative frameworks for evidence-based multi-dimensional early recovery programming in both complex political environments and low resource settings. As part of the training, Fellows will first be placed in a live project in Bihar and then subsequently in specific districts in the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC), Assam, and Jammu and Kashmir as part of their Fellowship.
Specific learning outcomes for students and those participating in this Programme are:
The Clinical Programmes at the Jindal Global Law School are conducted through two main initiatives with the overall goal of promoting social justice in the vicinity of JGU.
Elective clinical courses on aspects of rural governance, democracy, citizen participation, rule of law, legal aid, access to justice, poverty, and citizen empowerment The clinical courses are designed to address the disconnect between what law, government policies and programmes promise to the poor, and their reality. These require students to engage with residents of villages in the vicinity of JGU on issues including aspects of right to food, social security, education, health, sanitation, anganwadis, panchayati raj, voting rights, right to information, provisions for legal aid, and legal literacy.
The Clinical Legal Aid Society is a student run initiative of the Jindal Global Law School. Started in 2009 the society seeks to bridge the gap between what law promises to offer and the actual reality of law. It follows the model of good governance through citizen participation, which believes that good governance will come about only when citizens at all levels of our democracy effectively participate. Clinical legal education seeks to impart practical knowledge of law to students.
The goal of starting the Society was not only to bring future lawyers face to face with the harsh realities of law, but also to provide JGU students the opportunity to use and implement the law before entering the professional world. Since 2009, the members of the Society have actively participated in and organized events aimed at creating awareness and engaging effectively with rural communities.
This is done by building a rapport with the communities and understanding their concerns, after which they are connected to the district authorities, through the processes of law. Society members engage with communities on a weekly basis, organizing conferences, conclaves, and interventions through methods including theatre performances, legal literacy camps, and working with paralegal volunteers and District Legal Services Authority for legal aid and lok adalats.
The Society works in collaboration with NGOs including Navjyoti India Foundation, SM Sehgal Foundation, and Urja on various aspects of community empowerment, legal literacy, paralegal trainings, citizen participation for good governance and effective realization of various laws and government programmes on food, health, education, social security, and legal aid in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mewat and Kurukshetra.
JGU’s undergraduate programmes are carefully designed to be rigorous with research components integrated into the curriculum where relevant. The examples of student initiatives and engagement with research that are noted above provide testimony to our efforts to develop the research interests and skills of our students. The large majority of undergraduate courses rely heavily on students’ capabilities in conducting research, drafting papers, critical thinking, presenting coherent arguments to teachers and peers, and producing research papers of publishable quality. Undergraduate students are also allowed to take postgraduate courses depending on their coursework and faculty advice. Final year undergraduate students may be allowed to work on an independent research paper under the mentorship of a faculty member.
Students are also supported and mentored to publish research papers or project reports resulting from practical training projects.
Our postgraduate and doctoral programmes are offered across four of JGU’s schools— law, business, international affairs, and government and public policy. While classroom instruction is an important part of undergraduate teaching, the emphasis in our postgraduate programmes is also on honing qualitative and quantitative research skills through offered courses, and practical experience in internal and external research internships and projects.
Postgraduate students are supported and encouraged in conducting research leading to the presentation or publication of research papers in national and international academic forums. An example of postgraduate student research participation in the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy is the Kadam Badao (Sonipat) Campaign, an initiative of Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA). Led by youth–boys and girls from schools, colleges, and the community–the campaign recognizes youth as catalysts of change not only in bringing about attitudinal changes in families and individuals, but also in holding their institutions accountable to their roles in preventing and addressing gender-based violence. The campaign is a collaborative effort of more than 3,000 youth from 20 villages and two universities–JGU and the Sonipat-based Bhagat Phool Singh Vishwavidyalaya.
The Sonipat campaign put forward a Youth Charter of Demands aimed at prioritizing the prevention and addressing of genderbased violence on the political agenda in Haryana. The Charter includes the creation of a state-recognized and funded Youth Violence Watch Committee, the initiation of a bi-annual safety audit to ensure more conducive environments for women and girls, monitoring of alcohol shops located within villages, and the implementation of the Sexual Harassment Act 2013.
Postgraduate students of the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy represent JGU on the campaign. Mandatory dissertation work also forms a critical component of postgraduate student research activity. The majority of our postgraduate programmes require the submission of a dissertation before the final degree is awarded. To consolidate student skills in research methodology and design, data analysis, and writing, courses such as Qualitative Research and Methodology, and Statistical and Data Analysis form essential components of our postgraduate programmes. Pre-dissertation workshops are also an important component of preparing our students to successfully complete dissertation work. The University’s English Language Centre has integrated courses into school curricula, offering courses in English, Writing Skills, and Business Communication.
Although most of our MA graduates take on professional roles, many also pursue other postgraduate and doctoral programmes. Our faculty have mentored students in the preparation of doctoral research proposals, and several JGU graduates have been admitted to doctoral programmes in leading international universities.