On a recruiting trip to India last month, Dr. Neslihan Alp, Director of Engineering Management and Graduate Programs, was pleasantly surprised to meet the father of Abhilash Purani, a master’s student in Electrical Engineering who began at UTC in fall 2007. Sporting a shirt that read “UTC Dad,” Mr. Purani stayed four hours with Alp at a university fair in Mumbai, helping to answer questions from prospective students and projecting a positive image of Chattanooga’s University.
“Because his son is very happy at UTC, Mr. Purani was happy to share his experience with others,” Alp said.
In its mission statement and guiding principles, the University states its commitment to educating students for a life in a global society and the celebration of diversity of people. After 9/11, the number of foreign students studying at UTC dropped dramatically, and the numbers have not recovered as quickly as educators had hoped. So Linden Educational Services, an organization known globally for its success with international student recruitment, was enlisted by UTC to help.
Alp’s Linden trip to India included university fairs in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad where she saw nearly 2,000 students. In Hyderabad alone, Alp said 680 students attended the fair. Alp came back to Chattanooga with nearly 500 applications.
“Many of these students are interested in enrolling at the University in fall 2008, and we have the time to process all their paperwork needed to make it happen,” Alp said.
India is ranked first among foreign countries sending college students to the US to study, and with 15 Indian students of the 100 foreign students enrolled in fall 2007, it is also the country best represented at UTC. Students from India are most interested in studying Engineering, Computer Science and Business Management. There are more than 81,000 Indian students currently studying in the US, followed by 63,000 students from China. Korea, Japan and Canada round out the remainder in the top five countries. Not all international students are seeking assistantships, Alp said. In many cases their families or companies pay for their education.
“If we want to bring more students to UTC, we cannot just wait for them to come to us,” Alp said.
Alp is thankful that she was sent for the second consecutive year to recruit in India, and is hopeful the University will continue its investment in the effort to bring students and faculty to UTC.
According to Dr. Stephanie Bellar, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Alp has done an excellent job of representing the University in India and she is excited about the results of this year’s trip.
“This is a talented pool of people who will bring creativity to our University,” Bellar said.