Director Diaries: Coffee with Feeds
1. Coming to the final days of your tenure, could you tell us your feelings on the way things have worked out over the last five years ?
Looking back my stay here in this campus for the past three years, I feel happy and proud that I could do something which have significantly increased the Brand Image. Well compounded campus with avenues and trees, completion of all basic infrastructural requirements, state of art research and laboratory facilities, academic transformation, alumni connect, industry interface, faculty and student development activities etc. have brought beauty and vibration to the Institute. I am very happy to stand at 6.00 AM and 6.00 PM when our clock tower rings majestically followed by flag hoisting and lowering ceremony. I am thrilled to look down from aircraft, to get a beautiful bird eye view of this large campus of more than 800 acres. We could achieve many milestones during the past five years.We have totally refined the academic curriculum, delivery and evaluation methods. Setting up of virtual class rooms led to increased lecture activities from India and abroad. The introduction of flipped class rooms and flexibility with major and minor selection opportunity are also seen as very good initiatives. The high level committee which reviewed academic activities of all NITs, appreciated our initiatives and asked all NITs to follow the same.
2. Seeing several new student activities such as the task force come up, and the growth of both the college fests – Pragyan and Festember – to new levels during your term, what is your opinion on the extra curricular activities of the students?
I am a strong believer of holistic approach to higher education. Academics is a part of it. Co-curricular and extra-curricular activities build up a student from an engineering graduate to a team performer. Current and future requirements of industry have undergone major transformation. Industry needs multitask players and team builders. A strong foundation of project planning, finance, marketing, event and crisis management are all critical requirements for the professionals. By becoming part of festivals and clubs, students gain practical experience in these areas. When we attract meritorious students to our campus, most of them are academically strong but lack exposure and experience in these areas. This is the reason, we have taken up a strategy of increasing technical and cultural clubs and provide focused attention to technical and cultural festivals. I am thrilled by the way our students managed heavy rain, power cut and issues of transportation of artists and international experts during turbulent period in Trichy city. These are all shining examples of capability of our students at the hour of crisis. Society orientation is a new initiative for the past two years which have gained us a place in the country as number one institution. International ISO certification of event management is a great achievement. During the past two years we have converted the major festivals to yearlong operation with organization approach. Most of the students who are active participants in these festivals achieve whatever they aspire for, admission to famous international universities and Institutes of Management ,placement in leading industries etc. I am immensely proud of the achievements of our students. It has also become a regular practice for our recently graduated alumni to come back to the Institute for these festivals.
3. From your interaction with students, is there anything you have learned that you weren’t in the know about before?
Interaction with youth was accidental. When I joined NIT, I realized that the student – faculty friendliness was missing in the campus,When I asked the students as to how to get connected with them, they suggested me to start Facebook page. Today I have around 10,000 friends. This has given me an opportunity to understand the aspirations and interest among youth.
I learnt a lot from students during the past five years. I was also a young student decades back. Alertness, taking risks and tough decisions are common to all during youth stage of life. Now I observe many factors which have changed over years. Technology level absorption is very quick and the current day youth have open culture. Today, boys and girls know their limits within which they can take risk. They require only guidance. I am amazed by their technology level. Many of the students impressed me a lot with their talents. I enjoyed their talents. For enjoying music and dance, you need not be talented in these performing arts. Architectural students impressed me with their creativity. Apart from this, I came across some of our students who faced challenges. Amit Chadurvedi completed B.Tech and went ahead and finished MBA and is now working with Wipro. He has impaired vision and has succeeded in facing the challenge. Some of our students faced serious tragedy of loosing their parents and still managed to come back to normal quickly. Many had health oriented problems. I appreciate their mental strength and stability.
4. Have you accomplished the goals you set out to achieve when you took the office?
To some extent, yes. At the time of taking over I did set goals for five years and for 15 years. I have achieved the goals set for 5 years and already initiated actions for the goals 2025. All the transformation activities completed during past five years will get stabilized and will be highly recognized during the next 10 years. Research park will take shape and occupy one third area of our campus.
5. At this point of time, is it possible for you to tell us who could become the next director?
Director, NIT Trichy is selected by highly competent committee and final approval is given by Honourable President of India, who is the visitor of the Institute. The committee is well aware of our achievements and goals and will select an appropriate person who will take this institute to next higher level.
6. What in your opinion makes NITT what it is?
Converting challenges into opportunity is the intangible factor which is there present in the gene of Institution. This factor could be clearly seen in the day to day life in the campus, as well as looking at the Alumni doing extremely well all over the world.
7. You’ve always been a strong believer in the ability of youth to achieve great things. What are your thoughts on the coming Startup revolution and the daring outlook of entrepreneurial youth today?
Yes. I strongly believe in the ability of our students to achieve great things in life. Startup is a good opportunity in the hands of our students. At present, the startup revolution is taking a big shape in our country and the policy of our Government on Make in India encourages this revolution. Any startup will have ups and downs. Only the youth in the age group of 15-30 are capable of taking daring steps. Failures are stepping stones of success. Youth today have ample time to fail and later succeed. It is immaterial whether students go to higher study or join a Company or plunging to startup activities directly.
The Major focus is conversion of ideas into business propositions. Under these circumstances, our youth are bound to perform extremely well in the startup revolution
8. Could you share with us a glimpse of your plan for the future ?
I am on mission to improve the quality of Higher Education system in India. I have been fortunate enough to work here and practically understand the requirements. With this learning, I will be enlarging my focus to train faculty in the thrust areas. I am also extremely happy to be among top class students of country. I will be widening my circle to cover the requirements of rural students. I will continue all my initiatives on research, innovation, academics, industry orientation etc. I have decided to settle down at Hyderabad.
9. Any words you’d like to share with the students, and your projections for NITT in the future.
I enjoyed your association.While I derived professional satisfaction and high level of reconstitution during my service in DRDO, the experience here at NIT has provided me a lot of mental satisfaction that I have done something to the society. Before coming here, I took the advice of Dr.Kalam. He was very firm in advising me that I should stop running after professional career and recognitions and start giving back to the society. He considered the offer of Director, NIT as God’s gift to serve the society. I could feel the impact of his timely advice after five years of stay in the campus.
I am visualizing a bright future for NIT, Trichy during the next ten years. Research Park will come up in the campus with active participation of industries. With our academic reforms, we will be able to attract top level faculty from India and abroad. All initiatives we have taken up so far will get matured during the next five years to get us a great recognition globally. Wish you all the best!