Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth: Delivering Professional Psychology Education with a Twist of Indian Knowledge Systems
Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth

Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth (CVV), a de novo deemed to be University, the brainchild of the visionary spiritual leader Swami Chinmayananda, is reviving profound Indian knowledge systems and blending them with modern educational needs to create world leaders with in-depth subject expertise and an expansive global vision. Rooted in the ancient language of Sanskrit, Indian wisdom leaves no field of human endeavour untouched. Vast areas are covered, for example, architecture, environment, medicine, astronomy, astrology, yoga, science, and lots more!

At Chinmaya University, the courses offered combine the deep insights of the past, with western cutting-edge practices and industry-relevant courses. Thus, the inclusion of Indian Knowledge Systems (IKS) elements across all programmes of Contemporary Knowledge Systems (CKS) such as BCom, BBA, B.Ed., B.Sc. Applied Psychology, Public Policy and Law and incorporating the CKS elements into traditional courses (B.A. Sanskrit, Music etc.) helps the learner(s) discern the ancient Indian way of thinking and to analyse the world from a de-novo perspective.

CVV is currently operating from two campuses: the headquarters located at Ernakulam, Kochi, and the performing arts campus is located at Chinmaya Vibhooti (Kolwan, Pune, Maharashtra). Every classroom at CVV is digitally equipped and has Wi-Fi access. The Ubhaya Bharati is CVV’s well-equipped library available online and offline for students and faculty for research and browsing. All-in-all the campus provides a serene, well-connected ambience to enhance study, research and self-exploration towards a life well-lived.

The Guiding Vision

CVV has been founded with the aim to provide a world-class education that is rooted in IKS, to students endeavouring to discover their purpose in life and seeking to participate in nation-building and global happiness. The foundation of this vision of course is the core principles of spirituality, purity, practicality and innovation as its foundational principles.

The University thus aims to integrate the best practices of modern pedagogical advances with the beauty of the traditional Gurukula model of learning and prepare students to address contemporary challenges, inspiring them to leave a positive impact on the world as confident and cultured contributors to society.

The Academic Rollout

In addition to the courses mentioned above, CVV also offers NCTE approved four-year integrated B.Ed. programmes in English literature (B.A., B.Ed.) and mathematics (B.Sc., B.Ed.), the only university in Kerala to do so. CVV also offers two B.Voc. programmes, one in Tourism and Hospitality Management and the other in Data Analytics and Business Processes. A close look at CVV’s curriculum will reveal that the programmes are unique in many aspects.

“All our undergraduate and postgraduate students take foundational courses in Indian Knowledge Systems, one in each semester. The objective is for our graduates to be familiar with India’s rich heritage and tradition of research and innovation,” commented the Head of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Heritage (PPSH), Prof. R. Sreevalsa Kumar.

At the PG level, the institute offers M.Sc. in Applied Psychology, M.A. in Public Policy and Governance (M.A. PPG), Master’s in Law (LL.M.) programme, M.Voc. in Renewable Energy Management and Tourism and Hospitality Management. In line with the institute’s vision, these programme curricula include a strong component of IKS including courses in Artha-Shastra, Neeti-Shastra and Dharma-Shastra.

“It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that ours is the only public policy and law programme that incorporates Indian Jurisprudence and policy texts from ancient India. At the doctoral level, we expect our Ph.D. candidates to be well-read in the IKS aspects of their chosen area of work. It is expected that they acquire the expertise to talk authoritatively regarding the contribution of IKS and its potential for future research in their area of study,” added Prof. Sreevalsa Kumar.

Extra-curricular programmes: Students on the campus are encouraged to explore and learn through various activities that help them tune in and explore their potential be it on or off-campus.

Annual inter-collegiate fest ‘Jabagadadash’: Exclusively hosted by the students, this annual fest is open to all colleges across India and overseas with a variety of events to participate in. Overall, it brings out the best in CVVians, for not only do they conceptualise the events, raise funds, design, but they also promote, interact with student communities, and help with the overall organisation of the fest.

Lakshya: To showcase their talents, the CVVians participate in the on-campus fest Lakshya and the annual sports event – these thrilling games inculcate the values of teamwork and sportsmanship in students.

CVV’s School of Kalayoga (performing arts) also hosts the annual Naada Bindu Festival of Arts, an annual residential music and dance festival that aims to facilitate improved understanding of the arts as a means to preserve and promote Indian classical art forms.

Academic Event: The different Schools of CVV come together for CVV’s flagship annual, international conference on New Frontiers in Sanskrit and Indic knowledge (NFSI) which explores contemporary challenges from the perspective of Indian Knowledge Traditions (IKT).

Besides these, the students are encouraged to participate in various intercollegiate activities. Very recently Supreeta Dattathri (first-year B.Sc. applied psychology (Hons.) student) won the first prize in the storytelling competition at the International Grad Fest 2020 organised by Rajagiri College of Social Sciences (Autonomous), Kerala. Also, CVV has tied up with many renowned NGOs and organisations such as the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), Weeramantry Centre for Peace, Justice and International Law and Seva Bharati where students explore the application or implementation of theoretical learnings.

The Academic and Leader

Dr Sreevalsa Kumar is a Professor and Head of the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Heritage (PPSH). He holds a Doctoral degree in psychology, in the application of behaviour modification on adolescents with intellectual disabilities. For over 31 years, Prof. Kumar has been teaching courses in psychology, rehabilitation, disability studies and special needs education, supervising practicum and advising senior essays, theses and dissertations in India and Ethiopia. During his academic tenure at Addis Ababa University, in Ethiopia, for 15 years, eight students graduated with PhD degrees under his guidance.

He served at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, as a visiting professor and visited the University of Munich, Germany, as a special invitee. He has been on the PhD board of examiners of several universities abroad including the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Prof. Kumar, a regular conference attendee, has published numerous research articles in peer-reviewed international and national journals and also a few book chapters. He has also served organisations in India and Ethiopia as a consultant and trainer.

Prof. Sreevalsa Kumar’s contribution to CVV:

  • The School of PPSH has revised the B.A. Applied Psychology programme under his guidance and started B.Sc. (Hons.) Applied Psychology in the academic year 2020.
  • Sreevala Kumar is the director of the IQAC team and has introduced the ‘Faculty Advice System’ in the School of PPSH.
  • Dr Satheesh Varma, a member of CVV’s School of PPSH, initiated a consultancy project with Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth partnering with Seva Bharathi. Under this initiative, 14 psychological counselling centres have been established in various districts of Kerala with a focus on mental health. These provide skill development and assessment services to the local people.
  • Initiation of the Guidance and School Counselling certificate course structured for School Teachers.

All-rounder Growth

CVV curriculum consists of courses that nurture both the intellect and the heart of the students.

  • Minor courses: While providing rigorous courses that will prepare them for their careers, students also can pursue minor courses that nurture their passion.
  • Research projects: Undergraduates are actively encouraged to pursue research projects for credit. Engaging in research is known to bring students out of the rote learning mentality towards a critical thinking mindset.
  • Seminars and Lectures with visiting faculty from across the globe.
  • Internships & Placements: CVV’s active Outreach and Placement Cell provides every student to sign-up for an internship in an area of their choice. This provides students with an opportunity to gain first-hand experience, interact with industry experts, map skills and theoretical knowledge. In addition, the students will be equipped with adequate training to face interviews and be industry-ready.
  • Field trips and Community Service: Being in tune with nature and gaining knowledge of the community through travel has been a part of this country’s ancient culture. This is further imbibed in the students through field visits, seminars and Seva projects that are part of the curriculum.
  • Clubs and Extracurricular participation: In an atmosphere akin to the Gurukula mode with close interaction with faculty inside and outside the classroom the students are encouraged to initiate and participate in clubs that are run entirely by students with faculty support when needed. Some of the clubs are:
    • Bharata Society
    • Chanakya Utility Society and Entrepreneurship Cell (CUSEC)
    • Creative and Debating Society (CAD)
    • Chayachitra
    • Grantha Club

This fusion of courses allows for inspiring interdisciplinary study and makes the graduates of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth innovative, knowledgeable, and most sought after by employers as they have the capacity to not merely think ‘outside the box’ but discard the box altogether and drive multifaceted positive innovations which benefit everyone. A skill much needed in employees of organisations.

Aspire to Make a Difference

In a span of fewer than three years, the School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Heritage (PPSH) has launched a B.Sc. (Hons.) Applied Psychology programme which is the first and only such programme in Kerala, a B.A. in Applied Psychology and an M.Sc. in Applied Psychology programme. In addition, PPSH has an interdisciplinary PhD programme.

The curricula of all the programmes at the School are designed and developed per the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the University Grants Commission of India to ensure international standards. Further, the programmes at PPSH rightly blend Indian psychology and Indian knowledge systems with modern schools of psychology. To teach and train the students, PPSH has the right blend of faculty members in terms of experience in teaching, research supervision, clinical supervision etc. in international and national contexts.

To instil the optimum combination of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, all the psychology programmes have practicum, internship, and research as their mandatory components. The School of PPSH believes in individualised student mentoring, and each student who joins PPSH has a faculty member assigned as his/her faculty advisor. If one wants to emerge as a psychologist with a difference, CVV is the right choice.

The School of PPSH strives towards placing its programmes among the top 100 psychology programmes in the world. To reach there, PPSH has instilled a system of continuous programme review and revision, reflective teaching, individualised support, and supervision of students, use of cutting-edge technology in the teaching-learning process, exposure to and experience in real-life settings, community participation, to name a few. The students here are exposed to psychologists and allied professionals in teaching and practice arenas from across the world. To strengthen students’ international exposure, PPSH is in the process of establishing collaborations with universities abroad in which student exchange would be an important component.

“We at PPSH are certain that by 2030 we will make our mark in the global scenario of psychological studies,” concluded the austere leader, Prof. R. Sreevalsa Kumar.

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