A day long Inception Workshop on Human Ecology Under Project E-QUAL: (Enhancing Quality, Access and Governance of Undergraduate Education in India) Was held at Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) on 8 May 2014. This inception workshop was organised by the School of Human Ecology, AUD to conceptualise and discuss the content of two undergraduate interdisciplinary courses on human ecology. The workshop was divided into 5 sessions. In the inaugural session, Prof. Salil Misra briefly introduced the objectives and structure of undergraduate education at AUD. Prof. Misra emphasised upon the three types of courses offered to students in AUD (Foundation courses, Elective courses and Special Interest courses) and the university’s attempt to break disciplinary isolation in two ways: teaching disciplines by reference to other disciplines, and by ensuring that students have to study courses from other disciplines even when they pursue a particular subject major.
In the next session, Dr. Asmita Kabra introduced undergraduate and postgraduate courses in human ecology at AUD. Her focus was on the two-year MA in Environment and Development (MAED) course offered by the School of Human Ecology, which looks at the interactions between human society and biophysical environment with a perspective grounded in the experiences of the Global South. The first online course that will be offered as part of Project E-QUAL is a four-credit course on “Environmental Issues and Challenges” (EIC) that is presently offered to students at AUD as part of the Foundation Elective courses. Dr. Praveen Singh and Dr. Oinam Hemlata Devi gave an overview of the course to the participants in the next session titled: Course I - Environment Issues and Challenges (EIC).
For the next session, Dr. Suresh Babu presented the broad contours and framework of the proposed second online course on “Ecology and Society: An Introduction to Human Ecology” (IHE). And finally, the last session comprised presentations from Dr. Nilanjana Deb and Dr. Ashokankur Dutta on environmental and ecological studies across schools, departments and disciplines in Jadavpur University (JU) and Shiv Nadar University (SNU) respectively. Dr. Deb described how environmental issues are dealt with and taught in the different schools and disciplines in JU. Departments of Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Construction Engineering offer courses that are focused on pollution, waste and water management. Following this, Dr. Ashokankur Dutta made a brief presentation regarding environmental courses in the undergraduate programmes at SNU.