What is project AEIOU all about?

AEIOU stands for Associates of Educators from India on University Campuses. Over the years, the number of Indian faculty in US universities has grown to over 8,100. This project aims to create a platform that can be leveraged for everyone’s benefit. As academicians, the priorities are research, teaching and consulting. In each of these areas, Indian professors have excelled. Many of them occupy prestigious chairs endowed by industry. Research is often measured by the number ofpublicatons. With over 400,000 publications, Indian professors have done a commendable job. In terms of teaching, it is estimated that they have taught over 9 million students.

The top 5 disciplines are:

Computer Science
Electronics/Electrical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
Life Sciences (comparatively more recent)

In terms of geographic location, the top 5 states are:

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New York

Who is behind Project AEIOU?

AEIOU is run by volunteers. Most volunteers are alumni of IIM’s, IIT’s and NIT’s, based in India and the US. It all started with a systematic mentorship program that was initiated at all the campuses of the Indian Institutes of Technology. The main activity of the mentorship program was to provide mentorship from an alumnus to a current student. While doing so, volunteers discovered that there was a huge pool of academic talent in US Universities. This prompted the idea of creating a dedicated platform for Indian professors in US universities.

Initially, the precursor to AEIOU was run through a number of google-groups. The most common activity was coordinating with visiting faculty so that they could give invited lectures at the IITs and IIMs. Some faculty wished for further interaction with Indian organizations. A Professor from Boston wanted to provide consulting to a conglomerate in Chennai. Another Professor wanted to come from Kansas to IIT Madras on a sabbatical. A management academic came to IIM Calcutta and gave a well-attended presentation on social networking. Soon, the movement caught on. It grew for over 10 years only through word of mouth. Then, in 2010, a not-for-profit organization, dedicated to create a worthwhile platform, was formed.

Why was the name AEIOU chosen?

Although only 5 in number, the vowels have an important role to play. They provide a better sound to the consonants! Similarly, although Professors from India are a minority, over the years, they have made a big impact in the US University system. AEIOU in its full form stands for Associates of Educators from India on US Campuses. This was the second reason to call it AEIOU.

And finally, the five characteristics of this group also abbreviated to AEIOU. The five characteristics are:

Affable (yes, Indian professors have a reputation for being friendly)
Effective (Indian professors have come through as empathetic teachers)
Inimitable (with intensive specialization, they are hard to imitate)
Outstanding (they are the cream from India, and therefore outstanding)
Ubiquitous (they are present in each of the 50 states of America)

What are the main achievements?

Indians have done reasonably well in academics. Here are some highlights:

  • The head of NSF is Dr Subra Suresh, an alumnus of IIT Madras.
  • As of Jan 2015, as a group, they have:
    • Served as a faculty for 117,450 person-years (average of 14.5 years)
    • Published a total of 400,000 times (average of 50 papers per member)
    • Taught a total of 9+ million students (average of 1,100 students per member)
    • 91 % are Ph D’s in their area of specialization – rest are MBAs, MBBS.
  • Most of them have incubated companies directly or through their students.
  • Many of them have won outstanding teacher awards
  • A number of them occupy prestigious endowment chairs.

The list goes on!

Can you give an idea of some of the activities being planned?

Several activities are being planned:

  • To begin with, a directory is being compiled. For each entry, the contact details (name, email), the areas of specialization, details of publications and awards will be listed.
  • Other activities that are planned include :
    •   Collaboration between faculty (faculty exchange, faculty mentoring),
        Publishing support
        Promotion of activities of professional associations in USA and India
        Creation of global consultany oppurtunities.

On the personal side, there are two main activities :

 a healthcare plan for the parents of faculty who are in India.
• Support for those who want to donate to a good cause.

Ideas and suggestions for more meaningful activities are welcome.

What else is being planned?

A number of proposals have been received:

 Credit cards for parents as addon cards would allow parents to go to any ATM and draw money for emergency requirements
 Venture funds for new business ideas are being planned. Faculty can think of incubating new ventures or recommending entrepreneurship avenues to their students.
 Video conferencing to allow members to give V-lectures over the internet to India-based colleges and universities
 Extension of the activities of US-based professional associations to India
Suggestions are invited. Please email them to chris@aeiou-inc.com

What countries can you reach out to?

Apart from the US and India, the marketing team can reach out to 54 countries including China, Japan, Canada, Australia, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, S Africa, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. The plan is to cover the entire English-speaking world by end 2015.

The 3 activities being marketed are:
• Visiting faculty position
 Cross border ventures

In which Indian cities are you able to host faculty?

Apart from the four metros, we have a presence in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Kochi, Mysore, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. By end 2015, we will have a presence in the top 50 cities in India.
The networks used are fairly extensive and reach out to almost every major town in India.

In what cities in the US, do you have Representatives?

Currently, we are in the following cities :

Boston, MA
Washington, DC
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Columbus, Ohio
Chicago, IL
Peoria, IL
Ames, Iowa
Raleigh, NC
Columbia, SC
Tampa, Florida
Houston, TX
Dallas, TX
Austin, TX
Phoenix, Arizona
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA