Hyderabad: A former student of the University of Hyderabad's department of English, Professor V. Bharathi Harishankar, has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), one of the highest distinctions given to any alumnus of the illustrious department.
Prof. Harishankar is the chair of the department of women's studies and director of IQAC in the University of Madras. She is also the chairperson at the School of Social Sciences and coordinator, Rashtriya Uchha Shiksha Abhyan [RUSA] Projects in Humanities and Social Sciences.
Working in gender studies, postcolonial literature, and currently online pedagogies, Prof. Harishankar is the author of over 100 research papers and has published three Oxford University Press textbooks in the area of literature and translation. Her recent work on OERs was published in a volume on Open Educational Resources from COL and UNESCO and COL and OER. She is the co-editor of the anthology 'Re-defining Feminisms' and is an established translator.
The FRSA comes after a chain of very significant recognitions for her work: Humanities Research Centre Travel Grant (Australia); the Shastri Indo-Canadian Faculty Enrichment Fellowship, Adjunct Professorship at Athabasca University, Canada; Woman Achiever Award by the University of Madras; nominated member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies; visiting professorships to numerous universities in New Zealand; consultant author for Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO.
At the University of Madras, Prof. Harishankar has been the director, International Centre; director, Student Affairs; founding head, Centre for Web-Based Learning; and coordinator, Pan African E Network Programme and Virtual University Programme.
An active researcher, Prof Harishankar, was the principal project officer for a project on "Online Tutorial for Rural School Students" (IIT Madras); project leader on "Open Education Resources (OER) on Soft Skills" (International Development Research Centre, Canada); principal investigator for a project on "Devadasi System in India" (National Commission for Women); principal investigator for a project on the "Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility Activities on the Skill Building of Women in Rural Tamil Nadu" (University Grants Commission); co-investigator of the Erasmus + project of the European Union on "Capacity Building on Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education"; principal investigator of the project on the study of "Socio-cultural Factors leading to Perpetration of Domestic Violence" undertaken in collaboration with the assistant director-general of Police, in charge of crimes against women and children.
Prof Harishankar set up the Gender Lab for Diversity and Inclusiveness Education (GLIDE), the first of its kind in the country, in collaboration with Sutherland Global Services.
Prof. Appa Rao Podile, the Vice-Chancellor of UoH, congratulated Prof. Harishankar and said, "This election to the Royal Society of the Arts positions Indian academics among the world's best, and Prof. Harishankar's published work, transformational research, and leadership is richly deserving of the recognition".