Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. P.S. Niranjan is currently working as the Professor and HoD, Civil Engineering Department in New Horizon College of Engineering. His educational qualifications include M.E., Ph.D., MISTE., MIE. andMICI. He has vast experience in teaching and research activities.
Dr. Niranjan has previously worked as Professor and HoD at CMR Institute of Technology and MVJ College of Engineering. He has also held the position of Structural Engineer at Associated Consultants, Palace Grounds.
Dr. Niranjan’s experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in
Education is the ability to think, apply it in the world and to know the value of life. It doesn’t limit with self-education, but also to spread it to every human around us. There is no end for education in each and every stage of human life we learn something. It is not about learning life, but education itself is a life. It is the key to finding great characters hidden in every individual. It will help us to know what harm we are doing to the world and guide us to protect the world from all dangers which are caused by human beings. This is the wealth which can be transformed from ages to ages.
These are the reasons why I have embraced the teaching profession after my graduation.
Dr. Niranjan’s philosophy of leadership
Leadership in education should enable students, teachers, parents, and community to truly feel that they are an essential part of Institution culture. In order to achieve this goal, administrators must have an understanding of transformational, transactional, instructional, inspirational and invitational leadership styles and how they can function together to create an integrated leadership model.
I have a strong faith in Invitational Leadership, which shifts from emphasizing control and dominance to focusing on connectedness, cooperation, and communication. Invitational leadership aims at “inviting” all interested stakeholders to succeed. It involves sending positive messages to people, making them feel valued, able, responsible, and worthwhile. The messages are often delivered through the institution’s policies, programs, practices, and physical environments. These are referred to as the five Ps of invitational leadership.
This leadership helps to create an environment that is cohesive, efficient, and conducive to learning. Invitational leaders “invite” everyone who has a stake in the success of the Institution to participate, and synergy is generated as all work toward a common goal.
Changes noticed in the education industry over the past years
Whether framed as the cause of or the panacea for today’s social, political, and economic ills, Globalization and the Knowledge Economy is a phenomenon that changes the fundamentals of any development strategy. One cannot ignore its impact on policymaking in every sector of the economy. Education is no exception. One of the most important consequences of this overall trend is that knowledge (including education, skills, information, and know-how) and its renewal and application have become critical factors for sustaining competitiveness and economic growth. For many developing countries, an abundant supply of low-wage, unskilled labor used to be a route to rapid growth and national prosperity, but this is no longer so.
In today’s world, characterized by intense global competition and rapid technological change, the key to prosperity is a well-educated, technically skilled workforce producing high-value-added, knowledge-intensive goods and services; in addition, they must be employed in enterprises that have the managerial capacity to find, adapt, and adopt modern, up-to-date technology and sell sophisticated goods and services in local and global markets.
Dr. Niranjan on the most optimum for a student to excel in any field of management
Student, by becoming the product of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) system can achieve excellence in any field of management. OBE addresses the age-old gap between what the industry wants from graduates and what schools produce. OBE bridges the notorious mismatch between industry needs and quality of graduates. OBE starts with the end in view, that is, the clear articulation of intended learning outcomes. This educational model ensures that the needs of the industry are addressed.
In OBE, the teacher is concerned not so much with the topics to be covered, but, rather, with the desired knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values, or the outcomes the students need to attain at the end of the program, and building on these to adapt to changing needs in their professions.
Dr. Niranjan on the growth of students through placement opportunities available at New Horizon College and how does the curriculum ensure best practices of the industry
Excellent! Best practice of industry is ensured by upgrading curriculum adopting Outcome Based Education Model system.
Views on what makes New Horizon College of Engineering stand apart from other Institutions
Our Institution has adopted OBE system for imparting education. Under OBE system, an advisory board consisting of alumni, representatives of industry and professional organizations, is consulted to link industry and academe, ensuring that the curricula are shaped around the competencies needed in the workplace. The Institution has embarked on the upgrading of its engineering and computing laboratories to help students realize the student outcomes in a more challenging environment, using state-of-the-art equipment. Some of the equipment, to simulate actual conditions in the workplace, is the same as those used in the industry. We want current and future generations of our country to become engineers and computing professionals, who will become nation-builders someday. As such, they can make a positive impact on the lives of their fellowmen by contributing relevant, real-life solutions to complex problems by creating innovative products and services.
“The ability to solve complex engineering problems and the ability to design a system that meets specifications within multiple constraints and in accordance with standards is what will distinguish an engineering graduate from an engineering technologist or an engineering technician.”
Qualities that helped Dr. Niranjan and the entire management to create a brand name for New Horizon College
“NO Institution can claim excellence in a vacuum,” Chairman says, emphasizing the institution’s driving goal of reaching higher levels of excellence. Our Institution goes through the rigors of accreditation or external quality assurance to validate the levels of quality it has achieved, and to strive for more.
The Institution is an Autonomous College permanently affiliated to VTU, approved by AICTE & UGC, accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ grade and accredited by NBA
Dr. Niranjan on how his college prepares students to face challenges of modern organizations and global standards successfully
By imparting the following some of the skills, we make students well equipped.
- Team Working
- Making Effective Presentations
- Action planning.
- Decision-making skills
- Time management skills.
- Communication skills – both oral and written
- Persuading, Negotiating and influencing skills
- Computing skills
- Striving for excellence is an important part of professionalism in any job. It involves trying to put quality into everything you do, and this attitude tends to separate the achievers, who make rapid strides in their career from others.
Goals in mind for New Horizon College for the next five years
The Institution will be in a position to:
- Develop its capacity in research and innovation, work with the best research teams in the world on national and global challenges and improve the global rankings.
- Modernize and internationalize out-of-date curricula, enhance employability and improve teaching and learning outcomes.
- Provide skills, learning opportunities and networks for the next generation of Indian researchers
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
My messages to students are:
- Use initiative to act on opportunities. Become a leader before other people view you as one. Healthy organizations reward those who take the lead, not just those with formal management roles.
- Take responsibility for own objectives: set priorities.
- Display a "can do" attitude even in demanding situations. Try to solve problems, rather than to pass them on to other people. The first answer is ‘yes, I’ll make it happen’.
- "Go the extra mile" when asked to do tasks. Go beyond your job description. Do work that gets you noticed.
- Show enthusiasm: this will be noticed and you will eventually be rewarded.
- Take ownership of problems: anticipate potential problems, take pre-emptive action and act quickly to resolve problems.
- Introduce improvements to the way things are done.
- Develop innovative practices. Value innovative thinking.
- Learn new skills that will enhance capability.