Denison partners with India’s Flame University to offer new off-campus study opportunities

VERENA THOMSON

Special to The Denisonian

Students from all across India come to Flame University to take advantage of its culturally enriching education. Denisonians can now enjoy the same opportunity.

Flame University is India’s first major liberal arts college, located 12 miles outside of Pune, a city in western India. The 700-student university offers a three-year program for undergraduate students.

Dr. Kunal Ray a cultural and literary studies professor, and Dr. Sameer Dublay, a music and visual arts professor, came to visit campus on Thursday. They met with students to explain their school’s philosophy, explaining that although the school sees importance in giving their students knowledge of Indian culture, they also want them to develop a worldview. Ray said “Flame University is like Denison. We focus on our students and encourage critical thinking too. We would like to have an active partnership with Denison University.”

This new study abroad program is only offered for the fall semester, but it is a unique possibility for students who wish to immerse themselves into a new culture while enjoying a liberal arts education. As Mia Pan ’18, a student from Beijing, China explained, “it is the perfect opportunity to gain a global perspective.”

Pan said that she would love to take the opportunity to study performing arts and learn a regional language.

Flame requires first year students to participate in a program in which students intern for a non-governmental organization (NGO) that focuses on their interested area of study.

The university has also developed a unique program called the Discover India Program (DIP), in which groups of nine or 10 students present a project proposal to faculty members. This project intends to allow students to explore India’s vast and diverse traditions by taking field trips and collecting research on the particular tradition.

DIP is a year long-program that ends with an exhibition and presentation which is then judged by national artists, historians and craftsmen. The winners of DIP are given a research grant to continue their investigation.

Denison students will be able to earn 12 to 14 credit hours and work an internship with an organization. Students will also be able to participate in DIP during their time in Pune even if they cannot finish the program.

This new program might be of interest to students focusing on environmental studies, literature, women’s studies and the arts. 

Although Flame’s campus is strictly vegetarian, Ray and Dublay assured everyone at the meeting that students can venture to the city to eat meat. All students are required to live on campus, but there are many cultural events, including a sports festival in March, numerous clubs, including a very active music and dance ensemble, and music festival in January to get involved in. 

Flame University as well as Denison share similar outlooks and goals in offering their students a global perspective. As Dr. Sue Davis, director of off-campus studies, jokingly explained, “Denison University is Flame University with meat.”

Between the universities’ partnerships, liberal arts education and cultural focus, taking a semester abroad at Flame University is an opportunity for anyone looking to expand their horizons and immerse themselves in a new, world-minded environment.