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Student Testimonials

I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from the OLS. I do not think most institutions have a system that compares to this. Studying at Ashoka is very empowering and with support from the OLS, I hope to make the most of the opportunities available.

-UG, Class of 2020

Initially when I joined Ashoka, I was afraid about how I would cope with Ashoka’s academic curriculum and culture, especially because I was required to use English frequently. Although I knew English was an easy language, I feared that I may not be as good as the experienced English speakers. I tried not to lose hope, and made use of every available opportunity to get better at the language. The OLS has continuously encouraged me and helped me in many ways to defeat the fear of language. Many many thanks to the OLS 🙂

-UG, Class of 2020

The Office of Learning Support was instrumental in my daily functioning at Ashoka University, especially in my first semester. Although I did not require explicit help in the class room, due to a learning disability or handicap of some sort, I used to be easily bogged down by the workload. The Office helped me in organizing my workload, by myself, and taught me to balance various responsibilities with academics. Their help made me more confident, both in the quality of work produced, and the relative ease with which I am able to approach professors and communicate with them directly about any problems I might have had. Besides this, the OLS is also a good listener. From time to time, when I just needed to vent, they welcomed me. The best part is the no appointment system, which ensures complete approachability and freedom to speak about anything whenever a student feels the need. I am truly grateful to the OLS for giving me the support during my difficult times here, and I recommend it to those who need support of any kind, not just related to learning disabilities but, even organization, understanding and improving the quality of work.

-UG, Class of 2020

I came to the OLS for support in the final months of the YIF program. My longstanding difficulty with keeping my attention focussed on anything (possible manifestation of my OCD) had become too overwhelming and I failed some of my courses as a consequence.

My engagement with the office, although short, has been a good experience. Ms. Reena always listened to me with empathy and respected my desire to steer clear of medicinal intervention. She carefully evaluated my condition to rule out any kind of reading/writing disability, arranged for me to speak to someone who had had similar experiences, and got me started on managing my life better with a simple planner. Of great help was her speaking to my professors and other teaching staff and helping them understand my situation better- this even got me a second shot at clearing one of my subjects and salvage my grade.

Perhaps the greatest support came from having someone to talk to and knowing that I was being understood. Beyond concerns about my academic performance, I felt free to discuss my emotional/behavioral problems with Ms.Reena. She was very encouraging of the idea of consulting Dr.Arvinder (from ACWB), going as far as personally getting me an appointment with her when the need arose.

In the couple of interactions I had with Aditya, he struck me as earnest in offering his support and dedication to making sure my environment was conducive to having a good study session.

Had there been more time, perhaps the office would’ve helped me successfully devise a better coping strategy for my situation. I wish I had learnt about the OLS sooner. Would definitely recommend them to anyone who’s experiencing bumps in their academic journey, regardless of ability.

I wish Ms. Reena and Aditya luck in their endeavor to make OLS a more visible part of the academic life at the university.

-YIF, Class of 2018

Staff Testimonials

The Admissions team is grateful for the constant guidance we receive from the Office of Learning Support (OLS). Over the years, we have had applicants with various learning disabilities, including some with physical disabilities that affect or inform their learning styles and abilities. Since the OLS is not only warmly welcoming of students with all kinds of needs but also offers continuous academic support to them on campus, we at the Office of Admissions feel confident in giving all deserving students the opportunity to study at Ashoka University. The OLS works very closely with the Admissions team, providing unique applicant-specific support at various stages of the Application, Admissions and Assessment processes, as needed. Once offers of admission are made and accepted, we connect incoming students, who need special learning assistance to the OLS team, prior to their arrival on campus. The OLS also contributes meaningfully to the Academic Bridge Programme, which we host annually for incoming students who need help with the English language, and academic reading and writing. Our common vision and passion to make the Ashoka community more diverse and inclusive deeply connects the OLS with the Office of Admissions.

-Mercia Prince, Office of Admissions

A university is a space for free learning, living and expression. To this end, a university then has to be malleable and open to moulding and remoulding itself in a manner that each member of the community is able to access it, engage with it and make it their own. Since its inception, Ashoka has been walking this talk. It adopted and has been actioning a multi-pronged approach towards inclusion. The collective vision, intent and collaboration of Ashoka’s varied, unique and dedicated offices make it possible to provide all the appropriate means, resources, services, support and safety net to its students.

During the initial years of the university, the Office of Student Life (OSL) and the Office of Learning Support (OLS) worked hand in hand to drive the above vision and goal. In the academic year 2017-18, the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) was established under the leadership of the Dean, Student Affairs, with 3 pillars under its ambit- Student Life, Residence Life and Sports and Exercise. Since then the OSA has been instrumental in nurturing and expanding a symbiotic and organic process of taking the vision and mission of inclusion to greater heights.

The OLS brings new knowledge, best practices and awareness in the field of ableism. Through its continuous support, guidance, feedback, training and sensitisation of ground staff, the OLS has enabled the OSA to recognise and address specific needs of differently abled students. The OSA with its larger scope and structure is deeply committed and continuously working towards reducing social, intellectual, emotional, financial and physical accessibility barriers through all its programmes for a well-rounded outside the classroom experience- 24×7 pastoral care and emergency response system in the Residence Halls, creating an ergonomic dorm access, designing and contributing to transition initiatives such as Orientation Week and Academic Bridge Programme, Resident Assistant (RA) Programme with a team of highly trained RAs and RA Mentors as peer first-responders and go-to support on every floor of Residence Halls, dedicated Office Hours and Open-door policy of the Dean and Director’s Office, a carefully crafted inclusive club policy, 50 plus clubs and societies and a gamut of sporting and fitness programmes providing opportunities to cater to diverse interests to name a few.

To me personally, this collaborative journey of working with students across a wide spectrum of learning, ableism and social context has been self-awakening, humbling and enriching. My first experience of a student with disability disrupted my status quo and pushed me further into the space of learning by unlearning. Over a period of time, working closely with them has helped me hone my listening skills, become more open, mindful and continuously reflect upon and check my privileges. Most importantly, this helped surface and drive my passion for diversity and inclusion at Ashoka

-Rashmi Singh, Office of Student Life

Be it creating a disability-friendly infrastructure, giving access to a robust support system, or spreading awareness among the larger Ashoka community, the university has been a bastion of inclusion since its inception. For instance, the neurodiversity newsletter and posts that were done by OLS last year was a good initiative to introduce the campus to this often missed part of diversity and inclusion. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee also started much-needed conversations around food intolerances and how that can be accommodated by the mess, before the lockdown.  The Ashoka Centre for Wellbeing and OLS ensures that professors and relevant authorities are informed about a student’s mental health needs, should any accommodation be done for special circumstances. There are, of course, ways in which our current efforts can be strengthened.

The CDO actively seeks out equal opportunity employers. Even with the companies that do not explicitly state this, the recruitment process is designed in a way that gives any potential candidate, irrespective of whether or not they have a visible/invisible disability, equal consideration for the position. When we are made aware that a certain candidate needs accommodations, should they be selected, we communicate this with the organisation and endeavour to get the request accommodated.

One of the things that might help us do this better is to have a stronger tie-up with OLS: For instance, having prior knowledge about candidates with any forms of disability can help us encourage them to approach the CDO for personalised counselling. We did a similar exercise with 8 students who were in the Bridge program last year. We conducted a customised resume building and review, and counselling sessions. This was a fruitful endeavour for both sides, and we are eager to collaborate for more such activities. 

Congratulations, Team OLS for your wonderful and tireless efforts!

-Priyanka Chandhok, Career Development Office

As a Teaching Fellow, I had to interact with a diverse group of students, including some with learning difficulties. Previously I never had academic engagements with students facing difficulties, therefore their experiences opened my eyes to newer ways of learning and teaching. It also made me a better teacher: I used visual aids or providing written explanations, something I would not normally do. I would also take out more time to explain class material to these students, and would check-in on them regularly. I think my efforts and theirs is what made their journey in the class a success. The Office of Learning Support assisted me in these efforts by not only constantly keeping a track of the students, but also by providing me with information on how different disabilities affect people in different ways; thereby allowing me to adopt individual strategies to cater to their needs. The Office would also keep me informed if any of the students are facing difficulties and were not able to communicate it to faculty. I wish them all the best, and am glad that such an institution exists at a University as diverse as Ashoka.

-Zainab, Teaching Fellow

Study at Ashoka

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