Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. M. Madhavan, a Graduate in Mechanical Engineering and a Post Graduate in Production Engineering has 50 years of teaching, research and administrative experience in key positions in the Technical Education sector. He did Educational Management Training from Canada. For the last 15 years, Prof. Madhavan is working with SCMS School of Engineering and Technology as Principal/Director and is instrumental in building up this institution to one of the top performing Engineering colleges in the State/National Level.
Prior to joining SSET, he was working in the Technical Education Department, Govt. of Kerala, in various positions - Senor Joint Director of Technical Education; World Bank Project Director; Director, Centre for Continuing Education, Govt. of Kerala. Prof. Madhavan was responsible for implementing two international projects in the State of Kerala.
Prof. Madhavan has won several awards such as ISTE Best Technical Teacher Award – in the year 1985, ISTE National Award for implementing Rural Oriented Projects and Institution Development in the year 1993 and ISTE National Award for the Best Paper Published in “Indian Journal” – 1996 for his illustrious achievements.
Prof. Madhavan has also served as Master Trainer for ISTE and conducted workshops in all State Capitals across the country for Engineering College Teachers in “Strategic Planning for Institution Development”. A life member of ISTE, Prof. Madhavan was Executive Council Member of ISTE representing Kerala State for two terms. He has served as Secretary “Kerala State Higher Education Council” for one year as well.
Prof. Madhavan’s experience in the education sector
Academic institutions form an important and major segment of the organization contributing to the economical, technological and human resource and cultural development of the society. The phenomenal and decisive role played by the academic institutions stresses the need for effective and efficient management of them. Any academic institution should prove itself in terms of quality of services and its social contribution to the society. My 50 years of Teaching, Research and administrative experience has provided me, excellent opportunities to be the part of the technical education sector. Thousands of my students are well settled in life and are employed across the globe. I feel proud to be the part of this education sector.
Prof. Madhavan’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
I am a team player and strongly believe in continuous improvement in all our activities. Developing people and empowering them will yield the best results. I adopt a transformation leadership style-causing and managing changes in the organization and bringing dramatic improvements in our performance. We practice strategic planning-an innovative management process, for the continuous development of the Institution which can be practiced for self-development.
Significant challenges faced by Prof. Madhavan as the Director of SCMS School of Engineering and Technology
Of late, I have been observing a lack of focus in the younger generation. The standoffish attitude exhibited by the young boys and girls who have to contribute to our nation’s growth is something which brings the pain. Of course, with an excellent team of faculty to back me up and a strong mentoring system which is in place, I am sure I can win over the students.
Curriculum at SCMS School of Engineering and Technology
Being an affiliated institution, we are bound by the norms of the University with respect to the curriculum. At the same time, from the moment the students enroll with us to the day they leave our institution, every effort is taken to ensure that the students are made employable. SSET is committed to offering all its students as broad and deep a set of educational experience as possible. During their four years of study at SSET, we envision and strive to bring about wholesome development in each of them. In addition, to add on courses, value added courses, personality development programs students are given ample opportunities for interaction with industry experts to help them keep updated in their domains. MoUs with various industries within and outside the nation helps keep them abreast of the technological developments.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at SCMS School of Engineering and Technology
We impart in the students the necessary set of skills and attributes that will prepare them for both employment and further learning. The students are so groomed, that during their four years of journey with us they inculcate in them the personal attributes and key skills necessary to take them to greater heights.
Communication, responsibility, and self-confidence are what is lacking in present-day students and we try to address these. Students are motivated enough to innovate and think for themselves. Through hands-on training and internships, we try to ensure that what is being taught is correlating to current industry requirement.
Prof. Madhavan’s relationship with the students being the Director of the Institute
My doors are always open for the students and I have a patient ear to all their concerns, be it in their personal fronts or otherwise. This over the years has helped me develop a strong rapport with the student community, enabling also to build up our alumni relationships. I believe that unlocking student potential is best achieved by developing positive, respectful relationships with the students and this over the years have enabled me to gain confidence over the students.
Ideal school environment according to Prof. Madhavan and how does he encourage that kind of culture at SCMS School of Engineering and Technology
In an ideal school environment along with imparting academic and intellectual abilities the social and emotional competence of students also need to be nurtured. At SSET service-oriented extension activities are promoted with the objective to inculcate in students professional social and ethical values and to foster a feeling of social responsibility. By way of community engagement, the students gain a sense of social commitment and learn to use the knowledge gained from their daily curriculum for the betterment of the community. Extension activities aimed to promote understanding and awareness of environmental issues and enthuse the students to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development is made a regular feature during four years of study.
Top qualities according to Prof. Madhavan that an aspiring engineer must possess
Endeavour to become a Total Quality Individual (TQI) with immaculate character, unimpeachable integrity, unflinching moral values and a firm positive attitude are must. The students need to be ardent practitioner of Karma and believe in the dictum ‘work is worship’. They should give preference to their duties over their rights, show due regard for elders, peers, and superiors, fall in love with nature and natural surroundings. They should live a life guided by principles of ethical morality and practice lifelong (continuous) education to keep themselves updated.
Goals in mind for SCMS School of Engineering and Technology for the next few years
Our aim has always been to spread Quality education by inculcating among students a high sense of discipline and moral responsibility while preparing them for the competitive world to give to the nation the best engineering professionals and good citizens. Apart from this, there has always been the urge to be recognized nationally and internationally as a Research Institution by forging an alliance with Research organizations. Government entities, Industries, and foreign universities. Towards pursuits of excellence we focus on-Encouraging Consultancy, R and D and Continuing Education activities; promoting EDP and start-up initiatives; networking with National and International Institutions of Higher Learning; effective Interfacing and synergy with Industries; Encourage Research Publications and patents; Adopt digital learning tools for teaching-learning process and gaining an autonomous status within five years.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Design your future and make it happen. You are only responsible for your future. Hard work has no substitute. Your attitude decides your destination. Try your level best to meet the expectations of the Society. Set short-term and long-term Goals to plan your career. Set SMART Goals, Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic and Time-specific. In order to be successful in personal life be proactive, begin with an end in mind, and put the first thing in first place. Don’t miss the first chance and never wait for a second chance. Be committed to your oles and responsibilities. Focus on the Three A’s for the millennial professional-Attitude, Aptitude and Articulation for your professional success.