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Ashoka sends Prof. Maya Saran as the first faculty to Amherst College, USA 

Under the aegis signed between the two universities, the first faculty from Ashoka University, Asst. Professor Maya Saran, visited Amherst in April 2022.

Under the aegis of the Faculty Exchange Programme between Ashoka University & Amherst College, the first Ashoka faculty, Asst. Professor Maya Saran, visited Amherst in April 2022. She was selected by a faculty committee in 2020 but due to the Covid pandemic was not able to travel until this spring. 

In 2019, when Prof. Rhonda Cobham-Sander from Amherst was visiting Ashoka, Maya Saran discovered that the math major at Amherst College had changed from “ten geeky students” to one that today has the largest math enrolment among colleges in the US, measured as a proportion of the institutions’ undergraduate populations. 

With Janna Behrens of Global Office at Amherst and Vanita Shastri, Dean of Global Education at Ashoka

Amherst College is a liberal arts college in Massachusetts, USA, at which, out of each batch of 470 students, 80 to 90 choose to major in mathematics. During her visit Maya Saran learnt how the Amherst Mathematics faculty have managed to rejuvenate their programme and radically increase the number of Mathematics majors. Prof Saran said, “many factors acting in concert lead to the vibrancy and popularity of the math programme: the design of the major, good experiences in early math courses, the support offered to both students and faculty, and the overall institutional commitment to pedagogy and inclusion.” 

Maya Saran at the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College

Her other activities included a colloquium at the Math department, a guest lecture in Prof. Michael Ching’s class on mathematical logic, she had informal discussions with math students including attending the “Math-Stat Lunch Table,” where members of the department lunch together every week.

She also attended some senior honors thesis presentations and job talks that were taking place in the math department; a philosophy lecture by Alex George and a public talk by Amrita Basu that was part of a series at Amherst called Reflections on Teaching. She also met Prof. Rhonda Cobham-Sander’s and Prof. Amrita Basu who have visited Ashoka under this exchange agreement.

In the continued efforts to build stronger ties between Amherst and Ashoka through the Faculty Exchange Agreement, Ashoka will start the process of nominating a Faculty member who will visit Amherst College in fall to deepen institutional cooperation. 

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