Share of international students at Yale will go up: Peter Salovey

Salovey is the 23rd president of Yale University. Before becoming president, he was the provost of the university.

Salovey is the 23rd president of Yale University. Before becoming president, he was the provost of the university.

New Delhi: For Yale University president Peter Salovey, India presents opportunities for educational partnerships and joint research with Indian companies. In an interview during a recent visit, Salovey spoke about how Yale is looking to expand its base, improve its financial health and raise endowments from Indian businesses. He also spoke about the tie-up with Ashoka University, India’s first liberal arts university. Edited excerpts:

What kind of partnership are you building with Ashoka University?

Our relationship with Ashoka is driven by faculty (exchange and development) and involvement in the planning process of Ashoka University (to) help develop it as a liberal arts university. There is also potential for Ashoka students coming to Yale for summers. We also have an exchange of ideas at the leadership level on how to develop the university. In a nutshell: ideas, students and faculty. As Ashoka builds different departments, those are opportunities for additional partnerships. But we are not talking about a formal joint degree.

A student’s blog said Yale is opening new residential colleges and pushing globalization on campus. Does that mean you are expanding your base and increasing your intake of foreign students?

We are expanding the size of our undergraduate programme by 15%. That means 200 additional students every year and 800 additional undergraduate students in total on campus. Two new residential colleges will open in the fall of 2017. The 2016-17 admission cycles (will take care of it).

One of the groups which make the university better is international students. In the postgraduate programme, we have 30% international students, but in the college (undergraduate level), we went up from 2 or 3% to 11% internationals (in the last few years). The percentage of international students at the graduate level will not change much but we believe it will at the undergraduate level.

You are in a better position than your predecessor to talk about the financial health of Yale…

We went through a very difficult period between 2008 and 2012 because of the global economic crisis. We are out of it. I was the provost at that time—provost is not just the chief academic officer but also the chief budget officer. So, I felt it very strongly. Our endowment is now higher than what it was before the beginning of the recession. Even now, we spend over a billion dollars a year from that endowment.

You must be raising more than $1 billion every year as endowment?

Yes. In 2015, our endowment increased by 11.5%. In 2014, it grew by 22%. Our endowment is now about $26 billion and we spend about 5.25% of it every year. There is no state support for (running) Yale University. We get some federal government support for research.

What’s your overall fund-raising plan from India?

For the most part, the money coming from India to Yale is coming from alumni of Yale University who are grateful for their education and are now making gifts to the university. There are a number of Indian alumni who have done that. We also get some gifts from parents of Yale students from India. Obviously these are wealthier parents. More recently we have begun to have conversations with some Indian firms who are interested in supporting research, generally in a kind of partnership.

A study has found that 28% female undergraduates have reported some kind of sexual harassment on campus. That’s a large number. What’s going on?

This is a problem. The number is far too high and includes various sexual violations—from minor touching to behaviour that constitutes rape in criminal procedure. Some 27 universities agreed to participate in that survey and we are one of them. I am very unhappy with that number. At the same time we have instituted a very substantial prevention and educational programme. Since then we have seen it going down. It’s a serious problem and I am not going to say it’s not. We are working aggressively to make sexual assault or harassment not have any place on our campus.

Yale has given several presidents to the US. Are you backing one of your own alumni or someone else?

As a university president, I have to be politically neutral. But it’s a fact that one of the candidates, Hilary Clinton, has a degree from Yale. She follows in the footsteps of others like Bill Clinton, George Bush (senior and junior) and John Kerry, who ran for the post. We are very proud that we have produced several (presidents).

So, would you like to see another alumnus in the White House?

Sure (laughs).

Your predecessor Prof. Richard C. Levin had talked about growing relations with India to the level of China. Where have you reached in terms of your engagements in India vis-à-vis China?

Every international context is different and we continue to have many partnerships with Chinese universities. (Besides), the National University of Singapore and Yale have come together and opened a liberal arts college in Singapore.

In India (we have many partnerships but), it’s a little slower because the nature of the partnership is different. Because here the Indian institution has to be the first partner.

Now we have a global network of B-schools, and in India, IIM-Bangalore is working with our management school. We are not going to open campuses abroad—even the Singapore one is not owned by Yale, the ministry of education in Singapore funds that college. We think the model of institutional partnership in a way creates more opportunity. We would like to have more student engagements and faculty engagements—a satellite campus is not our model.


National flag only one of the many plans Smriti Irani has for universities

A file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: PTIA file photo of HRD minister Smriti Irani. Photo: PTI

On Thursday, Union minister of human resource development Smriti Irani chaired a conference of 46 central university vice-chancellors at Surajkund, Haryana. There were several resolutions passed unanimously at the conference. While one of the proposals, the mandatory flying of the flag, dominated most of the discourse, several other suggestions were made.

Here’s a list of all the resolutions passed in the conference:

1. In order to optimize academic output of the student community, universities will institutionalize peer-assisted learning through an active mentoring system involving senior students and faculty.

2. To ensure a transparent proactive mechanism for grievance redressal of the university community, including students, staff and faculty, steps will be taken to appoint an anti-discrimination officer.

3. To increase cost-effective and transparent access to higher education, online admission process will be commenced.

4. To increase gross enrolment ratio to 30% in higher education, steps will be taken to increase access through starting classes in double shifts to overcome the infrastructure and human resource bottlenecks.

5. In order to keep pace with the fast emerging knowledge society in the global world, new and innovative courses have been proposed to prepare for the future needs of the nation:

a) Social Sciences and Humanities

(i) Applied courses in Foreign Languages

(ii) New Media and Youth

(iii) Inter-faith Studies

(iv) Dialogue of culture and civilizations

(v) Women and entrepreneurship

(vi) Epidemiology and public health

(vii) Gerontology

(viii) Citizenship and value education

(ix) Diaspora studies

b) Science, Technology and Agriculture

(i) Nano-technology

(ii) Converging technologies

(iii) Applied Science and Maths

(iv) Farming technology

(v) Rural supply chain management

(vi) Renewable energy development

6. In order to ensure that no student is deprived of higher education due to language limitation, universities will ensure instruction in English and an Indian language as applicable to the state.

7. To enable students to take correct personal and professional decisions, steps will be taken to implement a professional system of comprehensive guidance and counselling by experts.

8. In order to ensure a healthy, safe and congenial work environment for women, students, staff and faculty, institutionalize a suitable redressal mechanism and strengthen the existing system.

9. At a central place at every university, the national flag will be flown prominently and proudly.

10. To motivate students to be socially aware and become responsible citizens and to inculcate a spirit of dignity of labour among the youth and commitment for social upliftment, village adoption programme already in place under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan be strengthened.

11. For ensuring transparency in and speedy delivery of services, administrative reforms coupled with e-governance will be taken up on priority.

12. One-week course on leadership and management at two select IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) for vice-chancellors, pro-vice-chancellors and registrars.


Uber opens its first Centre of Excellence in Asia in Hyderabad

Uber operates in 26 cities in India. Photo: APUber operates in 26 cities in India. Photo: AP

Hyderabad: Taxi aggregator Uber Technologies Inc. opened its first centre of excellence in Asia in Hyderabad as the San Francisco-based company centralizes several of India operations at a single location in its third biggest market.

The facility will have staff providing round the clock specialized support for “critical incidents that require immediate attention.”

Uber, the most valued startup on the planet, was banned in several Indian states after one of its driver-partners raped a female passenger in New Delhi in December 2014. The bans have been lifted after Uber and its competitors, Ola and TaxiForSure made improvements in technology and promised to conduct extensive background verifications of drivers. To assuage safety concerns of passengers they introduced features to allow pre-selected friends and family members to track a rider’s location

“Safety is very, very important to us,” Amit Jain, president of Uber India, said at a media conference to mark the inauguration of the facility. “We think about safety in three ways – before the ride, during the ride and after the ride… We continue to innovate and invest in safety features.”

Eventually 500 customer service specialists speaking multiple local languages will provide 24X7 assistance to riders and drivers over phone, email and social media to address issues from across the country.

Uber operates in 26 cities in India.

The Hyderabad facility will be Uber’s fifth centre of excellence globally. It operates two CoEs in the US—in Chicago and Phoenix, and two in Europe—Limerick (Ireland) and Krakow (Poland). This is its first in Asia, home to its second and third biggest markets, China and India respectively. Started in 2009, Uber has operations in 361 cities in 66 countries.

Uber has recruited 30% of the workforce, or 150 employees, for the Hyderabad CoE over the last four months. A total of 500 jobs will be created at the facility by the end of 2017, executives said.

Uber, which has committed to invest $1 billion in India, trails domestic player Ola (operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.) in the Indian market. Jain said Uber has 40% market share in the taxi aggregator space in the country.


Eight Simple Tips to Increase the Battery Life of Your Mobile Device

Eight Simple Tips to Increase the Battery Life of Your Mobile Device

Most smartphones today pack huge, high-resolution screens, powerful processors and lots of memory to multitask and handle really complex tasks. This also unfortunately means that they struggle to handle a full day’s worth of heavy usage, and so power banks are now a must-have accessory.

The same can be said for our laptops, and the need to tether them to the plug point grows as the battery ages. Most of our consumer electronics devices come with Lithium ion and Lithium Poly batteries that are geared for quick recharging, and not for long term life. Often, you’re better off replacing your battery instead of upgrading your laptop, because of how quickly the battery ages.

Whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, here are some general purpose tips on prolonging its lifecycle and usage between recharge cycles.

1) Keep it cool
Exposing the battery to high temperatures can be more stressful than cycling. According to Battery University, which runs an extensive array of battery tests – cycling, elevated temperature and ageing decrease the performance of your battery over time. Keeping your devices in a cool environment (battery dwelling above 30°C (86°F) is considered elevated temperature) will certainly enhance the lifecycle of your device.

laptop_cooling_pad.jpgIn the testing, capacity dropped to 60 percent when exposed to 60-degree temperature for three months, and 65 percent when the temperature was 40-degrees. For this reason, don’t expose your gadgets to heat like leaving them bake in the sun inside a car.
(Also see: How to Prolong the Battery Life of Your Smartphone, Tablet, and Laptop)

It’s also a good reason to worry about heating issues on a smartphone, as it can plunge the battery life quite drastically over time. On a laptop, you should look at using a cooling pad to make sure the CPU vent is being vented away. Exposure to dust can clog vents and make your fans run on overtime, leading to an additional resource burden, so keep the environment clean and dust free.

2) Go for paid apps, instead of free ones
Ad-supported apps reduce battery life by 2.5 to 2.1 hours on average, a study conducted by US-based researchers revealed. To quote the study, a phone’s processor is like its brain – and ads eat up a lot of that brain power, slowing it down.

Not all free apps are draining your battery, but if you’re seeing advertising on it then assume it comes with a bandwidth and processing burden. Spending a bit on apps might pay off handsomely, considering some apps are available for as low as Rs. 10 on both Google Play and the App Store.

(Also Read: 10 Best Paid Android Apps)

On a laptop, running a local application to do something like text editing will consume less battery than firing up your browser and using an online resource. So, if you’re not using it, turn your Wi-Fi connection off – on a Windows PC this is as simple as pressing Fn+F2 on the keyboard. The exact function key can vary, depending on the device manufacturer, so just look for a key with a Wi-Fi symbol next to it.

3) Turn off location tracking
According to a recent news report, the Facebook app drains the battery of iPhone users as it’s constantly tracking the user’s location using the GPS module. Turning off location tracking for apps that don’t need your location will certainly help.

In most Android devices, you can head to Settings > Location, and toggle it off to disable location tracking entirely. The functionality to set app level permissions is only enabled in Android M.

On iOS 9, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and turn it off on a per-app basis, leaving location access on for just important apps, if you really need to.

4) Partial recharges are better than full-depth recharges
Another invaluable trip from Battery University can be explained with the metaphor of a running a marathon. Instead of letting your battery cycle all the way from 100 percent capacity down to zero, keeping the depth of discharge to 50 percent of your battery capacity, between 30 and 80 percent can increase the number of discharge cycles by three times.

(Also see: Five Simple Tips to Increase the Life of Your Phone’s Battery – From the Guys Who Built It)

Lenovo internalises this principle in its Battery Maintenance settings in the Power Manager bundled with their laptops, which can be customised to power plans that best suit your needs. To optimise for many years of usage, Lenovo recommends you set the charge threshold to start at 40 percent capacity, and stop at 50 percent.

5) Turn down display brightness
This is an obvious tip that applies to both laptops and mobile devices. On most devices, brightness settings are easily accessible, and you can also apply screen dimming techniques through third party apps like Lux, which overlays an opaque graphic to reduce brightness and change the colour cast of the screen.

display_brightness.jpgHowever, a software layer only saves power on OLED screens, while LCD screens can only save power by decreasing backlight brightness.

Reducing the amount of time your display stays on while inactive can also save a fractional amount of battery life. In Android, this can be accessed in Settings > Display. On iOS, Settings > General > Auto-Lock lets you tweak this setting.

On a Windows laptop, right-click on the battery icon and click on Power Options. Change the setting toPower Saver to maximise battery life – Windows will lower the brightness, and change the standby and other settings to prioritise battery usage instead of performance.

6) Schedule app updates over Wi-Fi or when you are plugged in
In general, anything that is processor or bandwidth intensive is likely to consume a lot of CPU power. For the best standby times it’s best to be stationary, and sipping on a Wi-Fi than your data plan. For this reason, it’s best to schedule app updates to happen only over Wi-Fi, or if your device supports it, while you are plugged in.

This setting can be accessed in Play Store app on Android. Launch the app, then open the menu by swiping in from the left side of the screen. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps, and select Auto-update apps over Wi-Fi only. On an iPhone or iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular, go to Settings > iTunes & App Store and turn Use Cellular Data off.

7) Turn on low power mode
Not all Android phones have battery saver mode, but if you’re on Android 5.0 or later (Lollipop) then you are likely have this feature. It automatically kicks in when your battery hits 15 percent, and disables background app refreshes, location tracking, and other syncing activity to save on battery life. With Android Marshmallow, a new feature called Doze puts your phone in deep sleep mode when it’s lying unused for a long time. This feature is apparently doubling standby times. Unfortunately, if you’re on an older phone, then you won’t get the feature.

(Also Read: Six Android 6.0 Marshmallow Features You Should Be Looking Forward To)

With iOS 9, iPhones have a Low Power Mode that cuts down on background refreshes, visual effects, and automatic downloads. This can be accessed in Settings > Battery.

(Also Read: 20 Awesome Hidden Features of iOS 9)

If you’re using an older Android phone, then your phone’s manufacturer might have included its own Low Power mode feature – on Sony phones for example, it’s called Stamina Mode, while HTC calls it Extreme Power Mode. There are also third-party apps you can try, though in our experience, the built-in apps are more effective.

8) Discover flight mode
The phone’s distance to a cellular tower is known to affect standby time as well. So, if you’re in a place with no network, it’s best to turn your smartphone into Airplane mode (called Flight mode on some devices) to conserve battery life, rather than let your phone constantly seek a tower.

Follow these tips and you’ll find that your phone will last a little longer between recharges – and the fewer recharge cycles you put it through in a day the longer the overall battery life will be. Have some more tips and tricks of your own to share? Tell us via the comments.