THE BEGINNING of ETSI and CURRICULUM PILOT PHASE
ETSI Implementation Phase
Summer 2014 marked the beginning of ETSI’s implementation phase. The six-year long curriculum in philosophy of science, physics, neuroscience, and biology that was developed during the pilot phase was introduced at three major Tibetan monastic universities in exile: Gaden, Sera, and Drepung, all located in southern India. Comprised of summer intensives, year-round study, the development of distance-learning materials and tools, and further curriculum refinement, the implementation phase was incredibly successful. Student numbers grew from 762 in 2016 to over 1500 in 2019— roughly equivalent in population size to a small liberal arts college, with the challenges to match, including the recruitment of faculty to fill the 114 teaching positions needed in 2019.
The first major book stemming from the collaborative work generated by ETSI was published during this time as well. Co-written by Dr. Arri Eisen, ETSI Biology team faculty leader, and Yungdrung Konchok, a Nepali Bon monk who studied at Emory University as a Tenzin Gyatso Science Scholar, it is titled, “The Enlightened Gene: Biology, Buddhism, and the Convergence that Helps Explain the World.” Additionally, seven abstracts were published at international conferences, including the 44th Annual Conference of the Society for Neuroscience and the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.