Thursday, 19 May 2011

Long overdue background information about where I am and who I’m working with


I was just reminded that some of you might lack background on Dr. Jolly and Miranda House college.  So here’s a long overdue crash course on some of the things I should have mentioned at the beginning.  Miranda House College is a residential all-women’s college associated with Delhi University.  First founded by the British Vice Chancellor in 1948, its architecture (first designed by Walter George) exhibits a heavy British influence.  The college educates over 2,500 students in the humanities and sciences.  In India, all undergraduate degrees are highly subject specific and are earned in three years, except for the new elementary education program which takes four years to complete.  The physics program here has approximately 190 undergraduates, fourteen full-time faculty and thirteen laboratory assistants.  
            My host, Dr. Jolly, earned her PhD in Chemical Physics at the University of Delhi in 1981 and has been Principal at Miranda House since April 2005.  I was interested in working with her because of her international leadership in Physics Education Research.  She’s won countless awards including the 2009-2010 Fulbright New Century Schoholars award for adding the DC Kothari Centre for Research and Innovation in Science Education at Miranda House.  She has been a chairperson on the International Commission on Physics Education for the past 6 years and she recently organized a conference in New Delhi. I initially learned about her because of her international collaboration on developing low-income technologies to promote active learning throughout the developing world.  She’s also done a lot of working on integrating computers in the classroom and promoting investigative projects for all the physics majors at her institution.
            Besides that, today has been another nerdy day trying to see how many physics and physical science majors are still in the dorms to administer an initial background survey.  I was growing antsy taking three exams over the course of two weeks but these poor girls have to take approximately eight exams over the course of two months!  So I’m trying to find creative ways to work around their studying.  I’m also trying to finalize a trip to Agra tomorrow- I can’t believe the weekend is almost here already.  Time for lunch- namaste!