In the examination hall, the students eagerly open the question paper.
Question 1: Design a question paper based on what you have learnt this semester. Write an essay justifying why you chose these questions.
What would you call this?
Yes, you are right. An interesting and most innovative question paper set by an unconventional professor, Professor Ashish Kulkarni.
Professor Ashish Kulkarni and his wife Professor Vasundhara Sen are the kind of teachers who are the reason you would want to wake up and go to college at any time of the day.
In an age where Google is considered to be the information centre for students, Prof. Kulkarni and Prof. Sen believe that teaching is far beyond knowledge transfer and classroom training.
“Often students come to me asking about the chapters to refer to. I wouldn’t have used a textbook to quote a particular chapter and don’t recommend such kind of training. Text books and research papers are a strict no, no for me”, says Prof. Vasundhara Sen.
Professor Ashish Kulkarni says that teaching should be about the framework today.
“I always think about what more can I add apart from what you can already find. Google does all the knowledge transfer one could possibly want, and therefore teaching today is more about synthesizing knowledge, rather than merely transferring it.”
His students consider him to be an encyclopaedia. One may wonder how he imparts information at the drop of a hat and just about any topic under the sun. Perhaps his voracious reading habit has helped. Kindle, feedly, podcast, books and a subscription to over 150 blogs stand testimony to this. Inspite of his busy teaching schedule, he reads for about two and a half hours daily and encourages students to be curious.
The couple who both have a Masters in Economics and currently pursuing a Ph.D have an interesting story. Both of them have pursued a B.A. in Economics and went on to obtain a Masters from Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics. Here is where both of them met. Hold on! That’s not it.
Later on both secured jobs in Genpact and went on to work in Suzlon Energy. Speak about coincidence!
“I’ve always loved simplifying things and if given a choice I could keep talking. Perhaps that’s why I love teaching” says Prof.Ashish.
Professor Ashish Kulkarni with his students
After a five-year stint at Suzlon, his wife Prof. Vasundhara Sen took up teaching and currently the couple are visiting professors in several prestigious colleges in Pune.
They are a perfect example of being similar yet so different.
Prof. Ashish Kulkarni claims he can dedicate his entire life to reading and writing. A passionate foodie and sports enthusiast, Prof.Vasundhara says he is an introvert however due to the similarities with respect to their work; they have interesting conversations daily and never is there a dearth of a topic to discuss.
Professor Vasundhara advises her students not to join the rat race. Being responsible for the administrative part of the Infrastructure Management course at Symbiosis, Pune as well, she knows the kind of stress and strain students go through at the time of placements. She encourages students to travel and learn more about the world outside in order to get the best of everything first. Her motto is “Keep it slow and steady”.
Professor Vasundhara Sen
With a fan base of over 4000+ students on Facebook, Professor Ashish is nothing less than a celebrity amongst his students. It is not only his knowledge that mesmerises his students but also his humble nature and patience. His ability to impart the right amount of information about topics as diverse as economics, history, politics, technology, strategy, sports etc. to simplifying concepts through games is the much needed recipe that lights up students’ days.
Several students have had the luck of being taught by both the professors. Such is their popularity, that their cute little three year old daughter, Mihika is often a topic of discussion amongst their students! It goes to show that Bollywood and Hollywood stars’ kids are not the only ones under the limelight!
In our country, where the learning system is slowly witnessing a transformation for the better, professors like this dynamic duo inspire hope and ignite the spirit of learning.
Kudos to them and we all hope and pray that we have more of their tribe!
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