Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. H. C. Nagaraj is currently working as the Principal of NMIT Bangalore. He holds B.E (Electronics and Communications) degree from the University of Mysore, M.E (Communication systems) degree from P. S. G College of Technology, Coimbatore and Ph. D (Biomedical Signal Processing and Instrumentation) from Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai.
Having teaching experience of almost 4 decades, Dr. H. C. Nagaraj aims to bring NMIT among the top 50 education institutes according to NIRF ranking. He has a massive experience of 37 years in teaching. He has visited 15 countries and studied the University Engineering Education System, involving various laboratories, centres of excellence, etc. He has published 30 papers nationally and internationally.
Dr. H. C. Nagaraj’s experience in the education sector
I have a passion to learn and teach, and I believe in learning lifelong. Education sector gives me an opportunity to work with young people and make a difference in their lives. Being in this sector, we are able to help students build a 360◦ career (all-round development). Students always remember a good teacher. Teaching is fun, and
There are plenty of opportunities to be creative in conveying information to young people.
It is one of the best contributions to society.
Dr. Nagaraj’s philosophy of leadership
I believe that leadership is taking people along by giving them the freedom of work and not interfering in their activities. Effective leadership also involves decentralizing duties and responsibilities and making sure everyone works to the best of his/ her knowledge and ability. To appreciate students and staff for their good and efficient work and also being unbiased is one of the important qualities of being a leader.
Challenges faced by Dr. Nagaraj as the Principal of NMIT
I believe challenges occur every day in different forms. Personally, balancing stakeholders like students, parents, employers, staff members and the management on a day to day basis is quite challenging. Also, motivating young faculty members to involve themselves deeply in the teaching-learning process and to make sure everyone work as a team is a challenge in its own way. Bringing up the academically weak students, helping them cope with their state of mind and inspiring them to not give up easily are one of the tasks which require extreme patience.
Since our college is an Autonomous Institution:
- We have members from the industry on our Board of Studies (BoS); who give their valuable suggestions and inputs for the design of curriculum.
- Industry-driven electives are introduced.
- It is mandatory for students to take up an internship in industries during the vacation period having two academic credits.
- Project work based on current issues faced by industries is carried out.
- We also depute faculty members to industries for training so that they have advanced knowledge of technologies to impart to the students.
- We have signed several MoUs with many industries such as KPIT, Pune, Unisys, Infosys, Subex, Wipro, Fluidyne, L&T InfoTech and Bosch, etc., for industry-institute interaction.
- We have also signed an MOU with North Dakota State University (NDSU), Fargo, the USA for student/ faculty immersion program, which facilitates students to carry out their final year project work
Dr. Nagaraj on establishing a relationship with the students being the Principal of the Institute
I’m a good listener with a lot of patience. I hear the problems (both academic and personal) faced by the students and help them sort it out. I’m also available to students by dedicating some amount of time in the afternoons and after working hours also.
Dr. Nagaraj’s idea of an ideal environment for learning
- Our campus is about 20 km away from the core of the city, having a calm environment and being noise free and pollution free.
- We do have a temple on the campus for students to find their inner peace and have a calm state of mind.
- We also conduct stress management programs through Art of Living, ISKCON and also conduct yoga and meditation classes regularly for students and also faculty members of the institute.
Significant changes in the education industry noticed over the past years by Nagaraj
- Present day students have high IQ and a lot of exposure to devices/ gadgets of Science and Technology. Because of that, they are using shortcut/ least resistant paths, i.e., they want to score high marks with least efforts.
- Hard work has been gradually declining.
- Morality/ ethics are deteriorating.
The education sector is moving towards being more of a business or commercial sector rather than a temple of knowledge.
The top qualities that an aspiring engineer must possess
Knowledge consists of various components such as factual, conceptual, analytical, application, design, evaluation and creative knowledge.
Hence an aspiring engineer must possess:
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving capabilities
- Desire to learn
- Research oriented
- Hard working
- Disciplined and punctual
Goals for NMIT for the next five years
Institute goals for the next five years would be:
- At present, the NIRF-2018 ranking is 100 for our college. We should be within 50th rank in India in the forthcoming years.
- To get accredited by international agencies like ABET etc.,
- To be the best sought Institute by Indian and Foreign students to study and carry out research.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The secret of my blistering career would be mainly hard work, dedication, desire to succeed, teamwork and immense patience/ tolerance.
Suggestion for students:
- Arise! Awake!! Stop not till the goal is reached!!! – Swami Vivekananda
- Remember, there is always something to learn. It is a never-ending process. Knowledge is power.
- To have discipline and positive attitude.
- There is no substitute for hard work. Don’t try to use shortcut methods.
- To cultivate/ have ethics, sympathy, and love for others/ help others/ work in a team.
- Lifelong improvement; there is no finishing line for improvement.
- Improve technical and soft (communication) skills.
- There is no problem without a solution like there is no lock without a key.
- Always Be Cheerful and Avoid Bad Company (ABC of life).