UNT and the Areez Khambatta Benevolent Trust recently formalized a partnership that will allow UNT to offer graduate business administration courses at the Khambatta Center for Excellence in India.
The trust is the charitable arm of the Khambatta family, one of India's leading business families. The Khambattas, owners of Rasna, a multinational soft drink and processed food company, began seeking American partners for this educational partnership in early 2008, and officially selected UNT late last year.
UNT's President Gretchen M. Bataille signed the memorandum of understanding formalizing the partnership in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, the home of the proposed center.
"Our commitment to international education is driven in part by the need to meet the work force demands of our increasingly global economy," President Bataille says. "Through this program, UNT will deliver our business expertise to India — one of the fastest-growing nations in the world and an emerging industry hub. This partnership also builds upon our already strong ties with India, which accounts for one of our largest international student populations."
Ahmedabad is the home of Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram on Sabarmati River, and was the launching point of the historic Dandi Salt March in 1930. With a population of more than 5.2 million, the city is witnessing a major construction boom and population increase. It is a rising center of education, information technology and scientific industries and remains the cultural and commercial heart of Gujarat and much of western India.
The land for the center has been secured by the Trust in collaboration with the State of Gujarat, with the Trust hiring internationally renowned architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi to design the multi-building facility. The center is expected to open in temporary facilities this August and move to its permanent home a year later. The Trust will be responsible for constructing and maintaining the center. UNT, and its College of Business, will be responsible for providing educational programming in business administration.
As a member of Parsi, the world's smallest religious community, Areez Khambatta says he felt that delivering quality education to his fellow citizens was part of his religious duty. He said that nothing is nobler than education. Piruz Khambatta, Areez's son, is confident that UNT is the perfect partner to help his family deliver quality education to the citizens of India.
"UNT was the first university we met in India; UNT was also the first on the itinerary when we visited the U.S. The global vision of President Bataille and dynamic missionary zeal of her team attracted me as much as the ambience of the Denton campus. As we met Dean Finley Graves, dean of the UNT College of Business, and his faculty, we couldn't ask for more," says Piruz Khambatta.
The two-year UNT program will be offered in a cohort model common to India, which will accept up to 120 students each year, resulting in an anticipated enrollment of 240 students. Courses will be administered in a prescribed sequence over five terms in India. Upon the successful completion of their fifth semester, the students can elect to come to the UNT campus in Denton to complete their final semester.
After successful completion of their sixth semester, students will be awarded a master's of business administration from the UNT College of Business. Before beginning the program, the Indian students must meet the same admissions requirements as their U.S. counterparts who are attending graduate courses on the Denton campus. They also must meet all academic requirements of UNT to earn the UNT degree.
Students in India will be able to apply for the program via the Texas Common Application, which can be found at www.applytexas.org.
The curriculum will be taught by faculty of the UNT-Denton campus both online as well as in-person at the center. UNT, which provides the most online courses of any Texas public university, will draw upon its expertise in distance education to deliver courses via the Internet and other electronic distance education methods. Other courses will be taught by professors hired by the Trust in India. Professors hired by the Trust will meet the same academic and professional standards as their Denton colleagues.
"As part of UNT's commitment to internationalization, the university hopes to explore opportunities to expand the program offerings of the center. UNT continues to explore other international collaborations around the world, thus helping to bring the world to UNT and UNT to the world," says Earl Gibbons, UNT's vice provost and assistant vice president of International Education.
For more information, contact Eric Canny at 817-368-5218 or email@example.com.
Alyssa Aber with UNT News Service can be reached at Alyssa.Aber@unt.edu.