Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Neelakantan P.C. is presently working as the Associate Director (Academics and Research) at ASIET Kalady. He is an academician with a passion for teaching and academic administration. He has more than 25 years of teaching experience at the UG & PG level in Electronics and Communication Engineering. His educational qualifications include Ph.D., M.Tech and B.Tech from NIT Calicut.
Dr. Neelakantan has served with distinction in various Academic positions of the M.G. University, Kottayam as Member, Board of Studies (UG) and Chairman of Examiners (UG). He has more than 10 publications in reputed International Journals and Conferences. Has served as Resource person for numerous workshops/conferences/invited talks in various Institutions all over Kerala. He is involved in Student mentoring, Professional Guidance, Placement Training & Orientation. Has conducted numerous Quiz shows in various educational institutions all over Kerala. He is a member of Professional Bodies like IEEE and ISTE.
A refreshing and invigorating experience in the education sector
Working in the education sector with young and aspiring minds over the years has been a very refreshing and invigorating experience. I have been able to contribute in my own way to make changes in the mindset of these aspiring professionals through meaningful dialogue and interaction.
I have always believed in raising the bar high and making my colleagues and students work towards it. I still consider it as the best sector to work in is the fact that the results of your efforts are always there to see and evaluate.
An inclusive leadership philosophy
Leadership these days needs to be more inclusive, accommodative and above all, setting lofty standards. Expectation levels have gone up and you need to rise to the occasion.
Always believe in working with the team and accepting laurels and pitfalls alike.
Being proactive and keeping the threshold levels high has been the norm throughout. The recent result of this effort has been leading the Institute to achieve NBA Accreditation.
Additional pedagogy offered in the curriculum apart from regular classroom session and labs
Add-on certification courses, extramural lectures, hands-on workshops, tinkering labs, innovation challenges, hackathons, industry-sponsored programs, etc. Faculty contribution and involvement become a major ingredient here. They constantly update themselves through participation in FDPs and MOOC courses. A Teaching Learning center based on the concept of Active Learning, in association with IITM, is proposed to be established in the Campus.
Last academic year, our Institute was ranked AA and ranked 48th all over the country for NPTEL MOOC course certification. Tie-ups with Kerala State Start-Up Mission, ICT Academy of Kerala, ASAP program of Govt. of Kerala, Industry Majors like Apollo Tyres, Moog India, CIPET, TCS etc. to mention a few have all contributed to this effort.
Pushing the envelope further through excellent placement opportunities available at Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering Technology
Placement opportunities provided in the Campus are excellent at present, though we need to work a bit more on core sector placements. Efforts are also on to establish rapport with Industry majors to provide paid Internship opportunities to the students through MOUs and tie-ups.
Moving forward, the entrepreneurial culture in the Campus is catching up with a lot of start-ups being incubated and getting funding from external agencies like KSUM and KSCSSTE. Alumni and Student start-ups have been provided Incubation space in the Campus B-Hub.
Establishing a relationship with the students by being in constant touch with them
Being in constant touch, interacting with them through open dialogue, getting to know their aspirations. The present generation has access to the best teachers and content in the world today.
Keeping this in mind,
we need to channelize their aspirations and expose them to all the opportunities and challenges through continuous involvement.
Recipe for achieving the milestone of NBA accreditation
It was indeed a challenging experience for all of us here. Outcome-based education and models were deployed over a period of 3 to 4 years and time-tested. The strategy was adopted to overcome our shortcomings and focus on projecting our strengths. Dedicated team work, genuine and honest thought process built over the years, with no compromise on quality and depth was the recipe for the success.
Top qualities that an aspiring Engineer must possess
A very thorough homework on the course content, credits on offer, job potential, possibilities for higher learning, the credibility of the Institute, everything counts! It’s not advisable to get into too much of specialization at the UG level though. Assessing one's aptitude and working towards realizing one's goals is a must in today's highly competitive scenario.
Job roles are changing, gone are the days of mass recruitment but at the same time those with real talent and skill will always be wanted and picked. Willingness to learn and adapt, clarity of goals and above all thirsty aspirations to prove one's worth becomes a necessity rather than being a norm.
Goals of establishing centers of excellence in the next few years
Establishing centers of excellence in various programs of study. Setting up industry-sponsored labs with industry majors; part success has already been achieved on this count. Attracting more funded projects through faculty contribution and involvement.
Establishing study centers in Foreign languages and cutting edge/ disruptive technologies. This is being planned in association with agencies of repute like the State Resource Centre and K-DISC. Drive cutting-edge research in areas identified by various departments like AI & Machine learning, Wireless Networks, Aerospace Engg., IIOT, etc.
Suggestions for the youth
Stay focused and keep yourselves aware of the opportunities and challenges. Opportunities do not come knocking these days, one needs to search for them. Have the urge and courage to swim against the tide. Increased confidence levels come with the depth gained in your course of study. Lateral thinking needs to be worked upon. Reinvent yourself by constant updation, lifelong learning needs to be the motto in order to survive in the disruptive scenario of Industry 4.0.