Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
With total 38 years of experience in the education sector, Dr. Reddy is currently serving as the Executive Director Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology. Dr. Reddy’s experience also includes working as a Founder-Principal in Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology. Prior to this, he was the Principal and Professor in CBIT, Hyderabad. He has worked as a visiting Professor (Overseas Programme) in Stevens Institute of Technology, USA, Visiting Professor in Algerian Ministry of Higher Education, Reader and Professor in Osmania University and Asst. Lecturer/Lecturer in REC, Warangal.
Some of the special awards won by Dr. Reddy for academic achievements are-Engineer of the year Award – 2003 from Institution of Engineers (India), A. P. Centre; P. J. Reddy Gold Medal Awarded by Osmania University, for securing first rank among students of all branches in Regional, Engineering College, Warangal, in B.E. degree course; and Hafeez Khan Medal, awarded for securing first rank in the Multipurpose High School,
Hanamkonda in H.S.C. (Multipurpose) Course. He also secured third rank in the state in the same examination.
Dr. Reddy’s experience in the education sector
I will start with my engineering education and my role in Osmania University. After graduating from NIT Warangal in 1964, I joined Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for Post graduate studies in Mechanical Engineering. Soon after my studies at I.I.Sc, I joined NIT Warangal as a faculty member and worked there for seven years teaching at undergraduate and post graduate levels. I moved to College of Engineering, Osmania University in 1973 as Associate Professor and was Head of the PG program in Production Engineering. For the first time in our state, an UG program in production engineering was also started in Osmania University. In 1978, I was awarded Ph.D. degree by Kakatiya University to which NIT Warangal was affiliated then.
Then, in 1980, I joined in Algerian Govt. service for two years and joined Stevens Institute of Technology, USA for their overseas programs in Algeria. In the mean time I was promoted as Professor of Mechanical Engineering by Osmania University. I was with Stevens Institute of Technology up to 1987 and returned back to India.
Later I joined as Professor of Mechanical Engineering in Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology, (CBIT) Hyderabad. I consider my experience there as most rewarding for me personally and also to the CBIT. During my short period of three years in CBIT as Principal, efforts were made to improve the standing of CBIT as a well performing Institution not only in effective teaching learning process but also as Institution of standing in R & D. We have encouraged the faculty members to undergo refresher courses so that they can identify the areas of their Research and also apply to various funding organizations for R & D projects.
CBIT was the very first Institution which has picked up the courage to submit itself to National Board of Accreditation (NBA) of AICTE for all the five B. Tech courses which were run at that time by CBIT. A number of initiatives taken by the college in its preparations for effective presentation to NBA, enormous improvements were made in teaching-learning process. The result was very satisfying to one and all as three out of five B. Tech courses were given “A” grade and the remaining two courses have narrowly missed the “A “grade and were given “B+”. Thus, CBIT created a record as the very first self-financing Institution to have being accredited by NBA in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh.
A number of Engineering colleges in the state were guided by me so that they could also get accreditation by NBA. This service to other colleges has made CBIT as a well-respected Institution by the faculty and Institutions in Andhra Pradesh.
The Sree Educational Society which was registered under Society’s Act in 1996 and decided to establish and Engineering college in the name of Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology (SNIST) in 1997, the management of this society requested the management of CBIT to depute me for a couple of years to establish and run SNIST. CBIT has deputed me for this work as founder Principal of SNIST and I am continuing to be associated with this Engineering College for the last 20 years. Up to the year 2004, I was the Principal of the college and later on I was re-designated as Executive Director.
This phenomenal growth of SNIST and becoming a technical Institution in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh as the largest was possible because of enlightened management in inviting/ recruiting dedicated and well experienced faculty to run the institution. The college believes that the faculty is the heart of the institution and all the care was taken to empower them not only effective in teaching learning process but also in motivating them to do R & D and consultancy.
SNIST has become a very well performing institution and top 5 to 10% of rankers in common Entrance examination are joining this college. SNIST is most favored among all affiliated colleges of JNTUH, Hyderabad, the apex technological university in the state of Telangana.
Prof. Reddy on what makes education sector the best to work in
Some gifted individuals join as faculty members in various technical Institutions in spite of the fact that they can get better paying jobs. This is because of various reasons. There is intellectual satisfaction to the gifted individuals as they will be in touch with the enthusiastic youngsters who will participate with the faculty in solving some innovative problems.
Academically bright graduates choose teaching profession as they have innate desire to do research in the frontier areas and also in application-oriented research. The equipment and software available in the Institutions and highly potential student manpower available will greatly help them in satisfying them in their zeal to do research which will make them live beyond even after their death.
Extreme professional risks do not exist in the educational institutions and hence the graduates are choosing the education sector to be the best to work in.
Significant challenges faced by as the Executive Director of Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
Need for an enlightened management to achieve the vision of the college. The vision of our institution is to provide a wholesome engineering education with balanced growth. Our aim is to convert the entering 10+2 students into intellectually strong, physically robust, emotionally stable, socially responsible and spiritually enlightened. For this to be achieved, there has to be enlightened and dedicated faculty, good physical education facilities, providing opportunities to students to work in groups for achieving some goals so that their individual eccentricities can be overcome and the sharp corners in their personalities can be rounded off. They should also be told that they have to do their best to achieve a goal and leave the results to God.
There has to be an enlightened management which can understand and give necessary help for this vision to be accomplished. We are very happy that our management is very cooperative and helpful in implementing various initiatives of the college.
Faculty role in college and student development
Our college believes that the faculty is the heart of the institution. Even if all physical facilities are provided, it is of no use if competent and dedicated faculty are not available. Most of the Engineering colleges are failing not because they do not have necessary physical facilities, but because the colleges are not able to attract competent and dedicated faculty in their colleges.
This was one of the greatest challenges the college has faced but in spite of the difficulties the college could get leading personalities from academic, research and industrial organizations. There is good synergy of human resources in our college.
The policy of the institution is that by mere advertisements in newspapers, we cannot attract competent and dedicated faculty. We tried to identify gifted personalities working in academic institutions, research organizations and industry and were inviting them to come to college and look at the institution and were requesting them to join the college. This is the secret for the success of the Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology.
Curriculum of Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
Our college is affiliated to JNTUH University from 1997. The curriculum was designed which is common for all the affiliated engineering colleges. Except that, there were some inputs of our college to the Boards of Studies of JNTUH University, there was no say in the curriculum development activities taken up by the University.
In the year 2010, our college was accorded Autonomous Status by University Grants Commission (UGC) which was also approved by JNTUH University. Academic autonomy was thus given to our college and the college is engaged right from the year 2010 to modify the curriculum based on industry requirements. College is conducting following activities to ensure that our curriculum does not lag behind the industry requirements.
Conduct of skills in demand Analysis on a quarterly basis using online portals and national level newspapers in which advertisements are made for specific skills in demand. This helped us to introduce new subjects initially as bridge courses and later on integrated into the curriculum.
The college has taken leadership for developing necessary curriculum for the following subjects and necessary teaching material was also developed: Product and Services Design, and General Management and Entrepreneurship. Besides these two subjects’ projects were also given to students so that they can design a new product and fabricate the prototype which can eventually be considered for starting an enterprise. Our college has been given distinction as the best participating Institution in this regard.
Apart from this, the college has been doing its best for having exposure of our students to various industries related to their fields of specialization.
Goals in mind for Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
There are certain difficulties being experienced as an affiliated college of JNTUH University, as there are some constraints in the starting of some courses in the inter – disciplinary areas. There is also a necessity of offering courses at Degree and PG level in Sciences, Commerce, Law and Arts so that the students are exposed different faculty and also students studying various disciplines. This will make them more informed which will be useful in their professional growth.
Next is the establishment of Research Center in Association with industries and R&D organizations at the National and International level. Then, there is more and more stress today for Application Oriented Research and hence there is a need for close collaboration with industries and R&D organizations so that problem-based Research can become a reality and will be useful for innovations and also in new product development or process development.
The collaborations will be initiated by the Centers of Excellence in various technology areas as well as Basic Sciences, Commerce, Law and Social Sciences as well at the National level and International level. Novel programs will be offered depending upon the need felt by the collaborating industries and R&D organizations.
Establishment of Bureau of Industrial Consultancy is another thing that we are going to focus more on. Similar initiatives can be taken under Deemed to be University status which we are looking for.
Quality of education in your institution in Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
In order to fulfill the defined responsibilities, the Institution has to have proper and motivated faculty who will not only be involved in teaching and research, but also come forward to do their duty for overall development of the student. Because of various initiatives taken by the college so that the students will come out as balanced individuals. Due to these additional efforts, besides effective teaching and encouragement for doing R&D work the students of the college are spreading the message about the Institution. We are feeling proud that all our seats will be filled in first two or three days of counseling process. We are also proud because 80 to 90% of our eligible students are getting campus placements and others are pursuing higher studies.
Our students are publishing papers in various National and International conferences. Twenty-five patent applications are filed by students and three of them are already registered. We are also very happy that some of our faculty members are honored for their professional achievements by Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), Cognizant, Computer Society of India, Institution of Engineers (India) etc., this indicates the capability of our faculty which reflects the effectiveness of our teaching.
All other Institutions look forward to our help and so far about two hundred faculty development programs were conducted by the college for the benefit of faculty of all colleges.
Study environment in Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
The students, their parents, the faculty, the management and other stakeholders of the industry and the society at large are to work together to have a positive culture and good academic climate and environment in an institution. The college has made it a policy to organizing orientation course on improving learning capabilities and personal improvement. They are told about effective reading, effective listening, effective reviewing, time management, memory management and assessing their own strengths and weaknesses.
Our aim is to make the students as a balanced individual through wholesome education. They are told not only to be intellectually strong but they should be physically robust, emotionally stable, socially responsible and spiritually enlightened. This makes the students improve their interpersonal and group behavior as well as team building and team leading skills. Facilities are provided by the institution with faculty in-charges for each of the personality development activities of the students.
Secondly, it is unfortunate that not even 10% of the parents are visiting the college and the students are getting diverted. In spite of the fact, the college sends information to parents on a regular basis about the attendance some parents do not bother and they realize only when their wards are detained for want of attendance.
The college has made it a policy to call the parents and inform them about the situation in which their wards are placed so that necessary action and initiative can be taken by the parents before it is too late. However, we feel that the parents must be more responsible and they should work together with the faculty and institution to steer their wards through the difficult situation through which they are going.
In an institution, proper culture and climate can be ensured through mutual cooperation and understanding between the stakeholders i.e. the students, the parents, the faculty and the management. We feel that we are able to do this task to our satisfaction.
Dr. Reddy’s relationship with the students
We conduct class review committees. These committees consist of a top, middle and bottom achievers of each class to give feedback about the teaching effectiveness, progress of class work, progress of laboratory work, the facilities such as library, sports games, canteen etc. An early identification of some problems and the resolution of the same are greatly helping the institution to have the close working relationship between the students and the college management.
There is a system of students’ feedback on regular basis. There is an encouragement to various students’ clubs. There are large number of technical, cultural, literary and games and sports clubs who organize number of activities throughout the year. Robotics club, SAE club and other clubs have brought laurels to the institution.
Openness to the students to listen to their suggestions. The institutional management system makes very easy for the students to approach the Heads of the Departments, Principal and Executive Director for presenting their suggestions and submitting their proposals. It is very heartening to note that there was no problem insurmountable in resolving any issues which are brought or represented by the students.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology
The success of our students in a campus placement process is due to the initiatives taken by the college to empower the students to do well in campus placement process. The first bridge the students will have to cross in the placement process is to clear the Aptitude test. There are four parts in the aptitude test i.e. logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, language skills and computer skills. The college is being Autonomous institution additional subjects are introduced in the curriculum so that the students will be taught the skills and also examined. In the process, higher percentage of students are able to pass in the aptitude test. Similarly, the other stages which the students will have to go through our technical interview, HR interview etc. for which the college is providing necessary inputs to students through mock interviews.
So far, about to 80 to 90 percent of eligible students are getting campus placements and our aim is to have the jobs for students with higher salaries. So far, the highest salary offered is Rs.14.5 lakhs per annum to some of our students. We wish that more and number of students get salaries in the higher bracket. Our recent MOU with IBM is helping our students to learn subjects in the new technology areas such as IOT, Cloud computing, virtualization, data science, Big data and analytics. We are also looking for improving campus placements with higher bracket of salaries.
Dr. Reddy’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
There is a saying that“The best government is which governs the least”. Success of any organization depends on powerful teams that are shaped by cultures where “WE” takes the precedent over “ME”. In other words, “I” be replaced by “WE”. In our college, the management structure of the departments concerned and the college as a whole are conducive for “Bottom-up approach” to be in practice than “Top-down approach”. The success of any organizations depends on delegation of authority and monitoring the progress that has to be made in each of the departments and sections.
Recognition of teachers for their overall performance in teaching, research, consultancy and the contributions they made for departmental and college development is to be recognized. With this in mind, the college has introduced Best Teacher Awards Scheme which ensures an award to be given in cash for crossing certain threshold level of performance. Giving best teacher award for one of the faculty members only for each department will discourage other faculty members to put in additional efforts for his own personal achievements but also for the achievement of the department and that of the college. Hence, there is no limit on the number of best teacher awards to be given to the teachers.
Similarly, for non-teaching staff both technical and nontechnical awards are being given based on their performance as assessed by the concerned superior and also by a committee constituted by the section concerned. The faculty is encouraged by giving internal R&D grants so that they will be able to initiate R&D in the certain aspect and based on the results obtained they can go for bigger grants from various funding agencies. The faculty is encouraged to publish papers in SCOPUS indexed journals in India and abroad. For publication of a paper published in SCOPUS indexed journal abroad an amount of Rs.10,000/- is given. Whereas for publications in India they are given Rs.5000/- each. All faculty members including students are given encouragement to publish papers in various Indian and international conferences. All these motivational aspects are encouraged the faculty/staff do their best for their own development and the development of the college.
In order to get the best out of any subordinate, there has to be a concern in the boss for his welfare and progress. Only then an institution survives and progresses.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
The current youth is fully drowned in cell culture and they are wasting most of their time in such unproductive activities. There is a lot of diversion because of the channel culture, cinema culture, fashion culture and so on. In the process, the students are not able to set their target on anything for success in their lives. There has to be effective counseling to the students so that they will not go astray and eventually fail miserably. The recent measure of teaching subjects like ethics, morals, values, and gender sensitization is welcome feature and the students must take these subjects with seriousness so that they will understand Indian ethos and our positive attitude towards others.
Coming to the students who are aspiring for success in their goals is to manage their time effectively and develop a balanced person who will be able to get their goals achieved even in trying situation. They have to be very sincere in their class work and they must engage in understanding and be assimilating new technologies and frontier areas of research. The cut and paste mentality must not be permitted to enter their minds and they are to think in right lines.
The best way to practice as to how we have to deal with others, which we ourselves welcome others while they are dealing with us. The students must be made to understand this so that they will never be unfair to others. The philosophy of living and let live has to be practiced in letter and spirit so that the individual is happy and the society as a whole will be happy. There are many occasions the students are addressed by philosophers and achievers in our college and the students pickup by bits and pieces the various aspects of living with others harmoniously.