Education was started out with an aim to make an impact on students with knowledge. While teaching the students is the primary focus of most education systems, generating new knowledge through creativity becomes secondary to most scholars. We are left to choose, between knowledge and creativity, which one is more important? The question is more relevant to students in higher institutions of learning since this level of learning is developed enough to generate creative thinking, in addition to impacting students with knowledge.
JECRC University (JU) is driven by the spirit of innovation-led research, which is clearly seen in its infrastructure, as well as practices. The multifaceted research encompassing subject-specific exploration and contexts of the business environment, helps the students operate and perform effectively. “We aim to create valuable resources for the industry and society through its interventions in the creation of research and innovative academic, professional and cultural enhancements.”, says Shivani Kaushik, Head of Department, Faculty of Design, JU.
With its campus in the capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, JU has a 32-acre Campus with unique classical architecture, thoughtful layout, and landscaping to create a perfect ecosystem. JECRC University was established and Incorporated as a State Private University vide JECRC University Act (Act 15/2012 of Rajasthan State Legislature) from the UGC. “We aim to identify various areas of focus and specialization, based on an informed perception of Indian, regional, and global needs, on which the university can concentrate on”, adds Shivani.
Pursuing to focus on research and spirit of innovation, the college aspires to develop human potential to its fullest extent so that intellectually capable and imaginatively gifted leaders can emerge in a range of professions. Built to initiate a thoughtful and reactive design process, the B.Des in Interior Design program of JU facilitates the students to understand and create human habitation spaces. Shivani includes, “Our program aims to provide varied understandings of theory, studio, practical skills, live projects, case studies, field trips and encounters with industries and professionals.”
The students are trained in representative skills through regular studios and instilled with environmental awareness, for the benefit of human health, wellbeing, and productivity. Shivani points out, “The department has a team of specialized Design Faculty that focuses on freehand drawing, technical drawing and model making, which are further supplemented through elective subjects such as Interior Lighting, Interior Landscape, Sustainable Interior, Set Design, Interior Project Management, Furniture Design, and Product Design.”
Pushing students into being an independent and effective learner, the program aims at promoting a holistic approach to the designing process by simultaneously involving inputs from theory, allied subjects, and electives to design.
Encouraging Innovation and Creativity
Believing in “Learning by doing”, JU’s School of Design comes up with different realistic projects within the university itself for the students. The students get practical experience in commercial contexts, the needs of the client, and enhance their decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, and communication skills. “Know-How”, a workshop series, is conducted on a regular basis where eminent industry personalities come as guest lecturers and interact with the students. “With an aim to expand the horizons of student’s creativity further, these workshops are a great way for the students to gain hands-on experience and rapidly acquire knowledge in their area of expertise” opines Shivani.
Striving to get the best out of their students, JU has many Techno-Cultural Clubs, Student Chapter of Professional Bodies, Technology Incubation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Global Outreach Programs, Training and Placement Cell, and many more special facilities for the students to utilize. These facilities were provided with an aim to make the students focus and aide in their career growth.
“We believe in enabling the students with the latest technological skills. Thus, preparing them for the future is our key responsibility as a technical institution. In this direction, we are strongly looking for collaborating on the latest technologies like UI, UX, Design Thinking, Spark and many more”, says Shivani. In their 6th Semester, the student at JECRC University undergo internships of 140 days in an Interior Designing or Architectural, where they form a project report about the practical experience, they gained by working on various projects, under the supervision of a professional designer. They get hands-on experience in the existing work practices, conditions, and acquire in-depth technical know-how.
Industry experts are regularly invited to make our students acquainted with the latest industry trends and design methodologies. “Furthermore, we are in the regular practice of organizing industrial visits for the students where we take them to national-level exhibitions and ongoing live premium sites”, says Shivani. The whole process is well coordinated with the client industry and is efficiently regulated with mentorship and guidance from faculty at JECRC University throughout the training.
Facing the Industry World
The industry offers opportunities to young designers in large setups of architecture, interior design, kitchen design, and exhibition design practices. Graduates are equipped to begin their own practice or further their education by applying to study in post-graduate programs ranging from furniture, exhibition, product, and interaction design to craft and technology, history- theory-criticism and Energy efficiency and green design.
Shivani says, “we have an exemplary placement record with our students being chosen by industry leaders every year. Hosting ‘Stand-alone Recruitment Drives’, leading business houses participate to test the mettle of students. We receive top-notch companies every year for recruiting the students, owing to our consistent performance in these years.” Receiving 100 percent placements, JU School of Design has a focused approach towards persistent and multi-dimensional training of students in-line with the industry expectations and gives hands-on-learning has led to an increase in the number of placement offers and record salary packages.
“Our students are recruited by companies like Kredenza Interior Studio, R.K. Associates, Connoisseurs Desk, Hiren Patel Architects, Shantanu Garg Designs and many more”, adds Shivani. With the best placements and paid internships with an average stipend of Rs. 18000, The alumni of JU are working with renowned firms like Hiren Patel Architects, Ahemdabad, Shantanu Garg Designs, Jaipur, Kredenza Interior Studio and many more.
Streamlining JU’s School of Design
Aiming to scale new heights, JU has already sketched out a roadmap to achieve it. The university plans on collaborating with industry leaders to get the latest technological skills on board to help make the students future-ready. “We also plan on increasing our interactions with the industry to get to know more about the industrial problems and appropriate solutions for the same”, says Shivani. JU is going to train its students and develop a corporate connect to increase the bar of the average package in the recruitment drives. Along with this, the college is also planning to work extensively in the field of research in order to publish IPR from the university and bag extensively funded research projects from various funding agencies.
Students at the JU get a chance to develop their critical thinking skills, work-oriented skills, and behavioral skills, that help them acquire a positive attitude towards themselves, their peers, faculty, facilities, and others, which gives them the ability to carry out directions, meet deadlines and attendance requirements.
Creativity among college students should be encouraged than the sole pursuit of knowledge in order to develop solutions that are so much needed in the working world and society at large. “We aspire to become a renowned center of higher learning, and work towards academic, professional, cultural, and social enrichment of the lives of individuals and communities”, concludes Shivani.
Shivani Kaushik, Head of Department, Faculty of Design
Currently serving as the Head of the Department, School of Design at the JECRC University, Ms. Shivani Kaushik has studied Jewelry and Textile Design and is an alumnus of the University of Rajasthan. With 20 years of teaching experience, she continues to serve as a Board of Study Member and Examiner for Design in various other Universities and Colleges.