South Asia Institute

The South Asia Institute at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin was created in 2003 as a successor to the former Center for Asian Studies, which was established in 1960. The Institute is one of the nation's leading centers for training in South Asian languages, research and teaching on South Asia, and outreach and the dissemination of knowledge about the cultures and societies of South Asia. After many years of sustained support both from the University and from the Department of Education it boasts a distinguished faculty which now offers courses in eighteen different departments and professional schools. In recent years it has been building on its outstanding record in the study of pre-modern India to strengthen its coverage of the social sciences, with an emphasis on contemporary South Asia. With the full support of the University it is now also working vigorously to expand its collaborations with UT's professional schools. Seven degree programs specializing in South Asia are offered by the Department of Asian Studies, including two baccalaureate programs and five graduate programs. The latter include two MA degrees offered jointly with the Schools of Business and of Public Affairs. Students in disciplinary departments can also focus their degree programs on South Asia. Three or more years of instruction are offered in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Sanskrit. Telegu will be added in 2007. Persian is taught in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies. The creation of new faculty positions has increased the number of the Institute's score faculty to 33, up from 26 in 2002. The additions have mainly come in the social sciences and the professional schools. Another 35 faculty members, most of whom teach courses with at least 25% South Asia content, are also affiliated with the Institute. A total of 175 courses with at least 25% South Asia content were taught in 04-05, of which 64 were South Asian language courses. Graduate student enrollments have grown, and institutional support for graduate students has risen from $290,028 in 01-02 to $423,564 in 04-05. Undergraduate enrollments have also increased, and more students are participating in Study Abroad programs. The library collection is unmatched in the Midwest and Southwest U.S., and its resources are widely shared through a range of cooperative arrangements with other institutions. The Institute's Outreach office serves K-12 and post-secondary educators as well as the business community, the media and the general public. The Hemispheres Consortium has achieved national recognition as a premier resource for professional training and curriculum development for K-12 teachers. The Institute's own AIM: South Asia initiative is directed at both K-12 and post-secondary teachers and focuses exclusively on South Asia. The number and range of events put on by these two programs have substantially increased. Their workshops and institutes are well attended and their curricular modules are widely used to enhance instruction. In the coming grant period the Institute will expand its programs in order to increase their impact on the university, community, region and nation. Our academic programs will increase the number of international experts, including those entering government service, who possess in-depth knowledge of the languages and societies of South Asia. We will also forge closer links with other organizations on campus. Our outreach programs will focus on the training of both K-12 and post-secondary teachers. Other outreach programs will be directed towards a broader public and will include collaborations with business, government agencies, the media, and cultural organizations. Within this ambitious program our principal objectives include 1) expansion of educator training programs and curriculum development at both K-12 and post-secondary levels; 2) strengthening language instruction; 4) enhancement of area studies instruction, with a focus on contemporary South Asia; 5) expansion of instruction, outreach, and public programs on the Islamic societies of South Asia; and 6) improvement of procedures for program evaluation. Through the use of Title VI funds, the continued support of the University of Texas, and our own fund-raising efforts, we will in this way extend the availability and use of our outstanding resources to even wider audiences, and remain a national center for excellence in teaching and research on South Asia.