Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. G. P. Saradhi Varma is currently working as the Principal of SRKR Engineering College, Bhimavaram. He holds a B.Tech (CSE), an M.Tech (CSE) and a Doctorate Degree (CSE). He holds a considerable experience of 25 years in the academic field. He has published several research papers in national&international journals and has authored books. During his career, he has conducted a number of workshops and conferences.
Dr. G. P. Saradhi Varma’s journey from an Assistant Professor to a Principal
I have been working in the noble profession of teaching for 26 years and have gone through each and every phase of this profession i.e.fromAssistant Professor to Principal. I have worked in different capacities includingAssistant Professor in the Department of CSE (20th June 1992 to 1st November 1997), Associate Professor in the Department of CSE (1st November 1997 to 1st November 2000), Head and Professor in Department of Information Technology (1st November 2000 onwards), Dean Training and Placement Cell (3rd August 2006 onwards), Director-PG Courses (6th October 2012 to 31st August 2015) and Principal (1st September 2015 onwards).
As the technologies are evolving in the continuously updating world, the teaching facultyis also getting updated to reach the requirements of the students; we, as teachers, learn new technologies throughout our career.
Transformation of a country depends upon the transformation of teachers as they can develop quality students. This is why the teaching profession is the best.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Varma as the Principal to raise the standards of the college to match the ideal standards
The college has a saga of 38 years. Being a principal, upholding the pride of this prestigious institution is my responsibility. Being an old construction, upgrading the infrastructure of the college is the main task. Due to the increase in intake and admissions of foreign students, providing infrastructure facility and transportationhasbecome a tough task. Upgrading to fulfil the requirements to get NAAC accreditation has also been an extreme challenge. Making progress from an affiliated college to an autonomous college is also a difficult task.
Industry experts are invited to SRKR to share their industry experiences with the students
As an autonomous institution, there is a flexibility of updating the curriculum time-to-time. We take the advice of industrialists who are members of the Board of Studies and academic council in framing our curriculum.This helps to frame the curriculum in a way that is useful for real-world applications.
Our curriculum includes industry-oriented technology labs that are useful to gain practical knowledge and experience. We have introduced MOOCs and organized CRT classes for better placement opportunities.We have organized Student Development Programs and workshops to provide knowledge of new technologies. Corporate people related to all the branches of engineering visit the campus as resource persons to address students which helps the students to attain real world’s application knowledge. Moreover, we organize industrial trips for students to get a basic knowledge of industrial machinery and we encourage students to attend internships.
We are aiming to improve SRKR’s standards to match IIT’s
Late Sagi Rama Krishnam Raju Garu, being a contractor for prestigious Godavari bridge project, faced many difficulties to find good engineers. So, to overcome the scarcity of quality engineers in our country he established SRKR Engineering College in the year 1980 with an aim to produce quality engineers.
Our college stood at 1st position in the states AP & Telangana and 85th rank in NIRF ranking.We will strive hard to be one of the top 50 institutes in India, to emerge as a renowned research hub, to achieve 100% placements, to collaborate with privileged foreign universities for research and students &faculty exchange for the globalization of the institute, to promote consultancy in the college, to create an Ayurvedic research hub and to create entrepreneurs. We have already established business incubation centre in the college premises to upgrade our standards equal to IIT’s.
Achievements of SRKR in maintaining the quality of education
Firstly, I am proud to be the Principal of this renowned college. We provide quality education to the students. We teach them to be respectable towards society and encourage them to participate in social welfare activities such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Blood Donation Camps and Financial Literacy Programs etc. We have introduced innovative teaching-learning methodologies with the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs), IIT Madras NPTEL online Lectures and Course assignments, IIT e-Yantra Robotic Assignments, ZF Innovation Online Assignment, Vlip Moodle online learning, Google-Class Room for online assignments, 24x7 Digital Learning Center etc.
SRKR is recognized as Skill Development Center (SDC) by Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) and NASSCOM. The college is offering skill development and technology training courses to the students.
The college is also selected as one of the Centers of Excellence by APSSDC, IUCEE EPICS Partner Institution for Purdue University Design Thinking Program, recognised as CISCO Networking Academy by CISCO, India. It has been also selected for Mozilla Campus Club by Mozilla, USA to organize various skill development programs, certification courses, training courses.
We have established an I-Hub (Industry, Innovation, and Incubation) centre within the campus which is aimed to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among students. SRKR has also collaborated with 64 reputed Industries/Organizations/International Universities for conducting training programmes, internships, and student exchange programmes.Our College has 100+ innovations and 14 patents. AICTE sponsor our research projects.
The teaching mechanisms are framed in such a way that all the topics explained will be helpful for their corporate career. Our educational practices are very practical and encourage students todo internships to attain practical knowledge; we provide access to top most technical journals. We have established 18 centres of excellence to encourage students to participate in research work. Our College is recognized as a business incubation centre and there are more than 18+ startups from our college. As a result, the students are receiving top university ranks, awards by corporate companies, awards for innovative products, scholarships and better placement opportunities.
Encouraging students to participate in extra co-curricular activities helps in building a positive environment
‘Unity in Diversity’ is the best thing we teach our students for their overall development. Teamwork gives best results and innovative products. This spreads positivity among students. We also develop acommunication level with parents and promote the usage of respectable language in the campus. To create enthusiasm and healthy competition among students, technical events like Code Vita and Hackathon are organized and to develop positivity among students, we organize Inner Engineering, sports, NCC, NSS, and several other hobby clubs.
We have built a good relationship with our students by providing them with a brilliant faculty and secure environment
We have built a good relationship with our students by maintaining a good protocol of rules and regulations which are sensible and build trust in students regarding teachers and institutions. There are professional bodies like ISTE, CSI, etc. that works with a combination of faculties and students so that they can interact with maximum people.Our faculty teaches with passion, display a positive attitude in the classrooms and create an enjoyable learning environment to encourage students to attend class and participate actively.
Our faculty has created a secure and safe environment for students and clarifies each and every doubt of students. They not only discuss topics related to engineering but also organize seminars on the art of living which help the students a lot for their personality development. We have created a safe environment in our college in such a way that any student can share her/his problem with the faculty.
SRKR develops students’ skills through add-on certification courses to make them industry-ready
Experienced faculty members of training and placement cell at SRKR Engineering College have developed an ecosystem that helps students to be industry-ready and employable over 50 companies including big names like Yahoo, SAP, IBM, HSBC, TCS, HCL, etc. whichvisit the campus every year to recruit the students.
Since last 20 years, the college has 100% placements that helped it to secure the first position in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In the recent academic year, our students got placed through international placements. For betterment in placements, we design certification courses and encourage students to be part of these courses which make them industry-ready.Our institute also organizes training classes for GATE, CIVILS, GRE, TOEFL, CAT and Entrepreneur-Development.
Dr. Varma’s philosophy of leadership is to give maximum support to his team and provide them with the required resources
Leadership is inspiring a group of individuals to achieve extraordinary things. I follow transformational leadership in which a leader works with the team to identify the needed change, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group. My philosophy is very simple. I exist here for my students and faculty.Thus, I am of the vision that their primary expedition for academic and research excellence for the development of innovations, incubation of new ideas, new products and their preparedness for the world of industry and new age enterprises should be supported at any cost by the top management.
Suggestions for the current youth and aspiring students
Engineers should develop innovative products that are useful to solve societal issues
They should design products that reduce global warming. Develop a good attitude to be successful in both professional and personal life and keep on challenging yourself to learn more every day, believe in yourself, and have a vision. Be a part to control plastic pollution in India, reduce the usage of plastic.