SPP to Offer Degree to Students at Institute in India

Posted: August 5, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Rey Banks

The George Mason School of Public Policy (SPP), which already offers courses in Great Britain, Belgium, China, Mexico, and India, has a new overseas collaboration with the Sona Institute of Advanced Studies (SIAS) in Bangalore, India. SPP will offer the Master of Science in New Professional Studies: Organizational Learning to SIAS students.

The partnership meets SPP’s goal of facilitating international commerce and policy and addressing the issues of culture, values, and ethics brought on by new lifestyles. SIAS students will have full access to Mason faculty and online resources. Mason professors will spend time on the ground in India and provide remote distance learning. “The tie-up with SIAS is another step toward providing the best opportunities for Indian students. The students will not incur the enormous costs of travel and be required to stay abroad, far from their families,” says Kingsley Haynes, SPP dean.

Haynes anticipates the degree will take two years to complete. It is the first of many anticipated offerings for SIAS by the School of Public Policy. SIAS is part of the Sona Group of Institutions, which educates 5,000 students a year in India. The institute strives to combine ancient Indian wisdom with modern organizational management concepts, while acting as a catalyst for advanced learning.

“It is through the tireless efforts and negotiations of Dr. Tojo Thatchenkery [associate professor, SPP] that the SIAS degree is a reality,” says Roger Stough, assistant dean of SPP. “Now that Dr. Thatchenkery has navigated the sea of development and cost transactions, it will be easier to set up off-site degree programs.”

The organizational learning degree focuses on three related areas: creating and leveraging knowledge, understanding and managing change in public organizations, and enhancing and facilitating collaboration. This interdisciplinary framework offers comprehensive learning for professionals advancing into positions of increased responsibility in organizational development, human resource management, enterprise engineering, and organizational process design.

What makes the organizational learning degree unique is that the program breaks the bounds of traditional education and adapts the resources of the university to the needs of the modern work environment. The degree seeks to meet the needs of the working professional, link theory and practice, build a learning community, and integrate collaborative technologies.

According to Haynes, India is an excellent site for this cooperative effort because of its well-educated workforce, growing emergence in the technology field, and rising productivity.

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