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To New Beginnings, Embracing Differences and Building Communities

We welcome the incoming batch in this eclectic community of students from different backgrounds and encourage them to learn together and from one another, preparing themselves for a world of work on a global platform

Reena Gupta

1 September, 2022 | 4m read

“CONGRATULATIONS! You did it! You are about to start a journey that’s bound to shape your future.”

Every student who graduates from school to step into a college or a university gets to hear the above sentence quite often. Stepping into adulthood wearing a fresher’s shoes can both be exciting and daunting for any student. While some will walk into campus life holding their friends and acquaintances close to them, others will quietly look for at least one familiar figure that they can hold on to. For other reasons too, some students embrace this new phase in their lives more confidently than others.

This combination of excitement and anxiety will mark a significant transition for the incoming students at Ashoka too—from their high school to the Ashoka University campus. While the students brace themselves to jump into the unknown and build new relationships with peers who share common interests and views, we would like to introduce them to an important aspect of this vibrant Ashoka campus—its diverse community.

What might strike the new students as they explore the campus in their first few days here, is the commitment of the Ashoka community to diversity, equity, and inclusivity. The community of students, faculty, as well as staff from a wide range of backgrounds, bring a variety of perspectives to this campus and put a concerted effort to connect and engage with these differences—something that the students will soon realize is core to the Ashoka experience.

The Office of Learning Support (OLS) plays an anchoring role in this experience on campus. Being a dedicated office that fosters inclusion for students with varied abilities, it strives to keep campus safe, inclusive, and supportive of neurodiversity including students with disabilities. The launch of this office in 2016 had challenged the status quo in higher education back then for the inclusion of students with invisible disabilities, such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other specific learning disabilities.

Over the last few years, the office has expanded its support to students with physical and sensory conditions, such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, autism, and cerebral palsy. Various offices, centers, the student body, and the faculty at Ashoka play a significant role in ensuring accessibility to these students. The OLS coordinates the entire process with each one of them by procuring resources to make the campus infrastructure accessible and the academic curriculum inclusive of all kinds of learners.

The OLS also assists students who may not have any disability but may need help with executive functioning such as study skills and time management—skills that are directly related to academic achievement in post-secondary education. Various academic departments at Ashoka offer many programmes that are geared toward mentor-mentee or peer-to-peer support.

The OLS encourages students to make the best use of these campus resources, define and (if needed) redefine their purpose, and be prepared to advocate for the uniqueness that brings them to Ashoka—some of which might be associated with specific and special learning needs.

We welcome the incoming batch in this eclectic community of students from different backgrounds and encourage them to learn together and from one another, preparing themselves for a world of work on a global platform.

The goal is to widen the circle and get every Ashoka member to invest in creating a community that’s accepting and respectful of individual differences.

To know more about the Office of Learning Support, visit their webpage https://www.ashoka.edu.in/page/office-of-learning-support/

You may also write to the office at ols@ashoka.edu.in

(Reena Gupta is the Director of Office of Learning Support at Ashoka University)

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