Academic programmes received the second highest vote in EDU's survey on the Pursuit of Prestige. It is certainly the backbone of any institution. From the Harvard experience, it is easy to see that if your courses are not relevant to present day and age, then your institution can easily fade away. Innovative courses, as required by the industry, liberal electives, regular academic audits, feedback, from both students and the industry, have to be an integral part of the academic structure of an institution.
The methods employed to deliver academic programmes are also relevant. Teaching must be made participatory. The administration and the faculty must constantly update themselves to keep abreast of what is happening around the world. It is important to be socially conscious in order to design relevant courses. The faculty should also be given certain freedom to include what they consider is important in a course.
Some suggestions that our readers have given include regular departmental review meetings on academic programmes, lectures from industry experts, interdisciplinary programmes and regular course updates in consultation with the industry. However, while interacting with the industry, one has to learn not to get so focussed on vocational skills that it takes away from the basic principles of an educational institution that of betterment of human values and broadening of students perspective to equip them with skills that help them adapt to change.