Indian Educator Studies Leadership at Mary Baldwin

October 10, 2012

Some people develop their leadership style by watching how-to videos. In contrast, Madurai, India, native Priscilla Jayasingh is immersed in leadership development halfway around the globe at Mary Baldwin University.

Dr. Priscilla Jayasingh from Lady Doak College in India

Since she arrived on campus in early September, the Lady Doak College(LDC) professor of zoology has already familiarized herself with the Spencer Center, the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership, the Quest interfaith program, admissions and financial processes, and the Baldwin Online and Adult Programs, among other aspects of life at Mary Baldwin. She also started auditing a course on higher education in the United States, and — of course — enjoyed a trolley tour of downtown Staunton.

One of the highlights of Jayasingh’s visit will be her International Cafe presentation, titled Campus Green Initiatives: The Indian Approach, at noon on December 5 in the Spencer Center.

“I have goals for both professional and personal enrichment,” said Jayasingh, a fellow whose visit is organized and supported by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia (UBCHEA). “One of the things I’m looking forward to is extending and enhancing Lady Doak’s service learning program.”

Jayasingh’s semester-long residency is the most recent thread in a partnership between Mary Baldwin and Lady Doak College that has been strengthening for nearly a decade. Professor of Philosophy Roderic Owen taught and made faculty, staff, and student connections at LDC — the first women’s college established in Madurai — in 2005 and again in 2012. In 2008, a student exchange program further linked the schools through the corps of cadets within both colleges.

“This relationship provides yet another opportunity to enhance our liberal arts commitment to cross-cultural understanding,” said Owen, who advocated for Jayasingh to come to Mary Baldwin University through UBCHEA. “From my very first visit, I felt that Mary Baldwin and LDC have a great deal in common, including a deep commitment to educating women, openness to new programs, entrepreneurial spirit, and the guidance and vision of strong founding women.”

Prior to beginning her tenure at Lady Doak in 2001, professor Jayasingh earned her PhD in zoology at University of Madras. Her current research has shifted to focus on immunomodulating plants, such as those that have positive effects on diabetic patients and others that help in wound recovery. She hopes to spend part of her time on campus learning about the work of Paul Callo, Mary Baldwin assistant professor of biology, who serves as one of the hosts for her visit.

In addition to continuing to explore ways that Mary Baldwin and LDC can collaborate, Owen said that Jayasingh’s visit will open the doors for Mary Baldwin to serve as a host institution for UBCHEA fellows from across India, China, the Philippines, and Thailand.