Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. Dhanya Pramod is currently working as the Director of Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology. She is a postgraduate in Computer Science from Pondicherry Central University and has completed her Doctoral degree from Symbiosis International University. She had a strong academic foundation and was the first rank holder of the University at the undergraduate level and a Gold medalist at postgraduate level. She pursued multiple job portfolios with a blend of experience including industry, research, academics, and administration. Her interest in networks, application security, and aspect-oriented programming further led to research and award of the doctoral degree for her thesis in web application security. She has published papers in several referred/indexed journals including SCOPUS and conferences of international repute. She is also an editorial board member and reviewer of reputed journals.
Dr. Pramod’s passion for teaching made her venture into academics. Her expertise includes Information Security Management and Data Science. She has co-authored and published case studies in IT and Management in Case Centre (ECCH) and PMI. She has also received research grants from Pune University, Symbiosis International University and PMI. Her current professional association includes ISACA (Academic Advocate) and IACSIT Singapore (senior member).
Experience in the Education Sector after working in the Industry
I started my career with IT industry as soon as I completed my education and then moved to the Educational domain. Mainly I came into the Education because I was very passionate about research. In the Industry, I had a chance to work in the R&D Division and learn many things, but when I came to the Educational Industry, I found more freedom. This is because of the way of putting my time into research, and new learnings are up to me here. So, in the institute, one can learn new things, at the same time, there are more opportunities to interact with the new generation and to impart knowledge to the students. So far my experience has been excellent.
Dr. Pramod’s journey from being the best student of the university (first rank holder and a gold medalist) to being the Director of one of the most prestigious institutes of India
Since childhood, I was very studious and hard working. Even during the graduation days, I wanted to take out the best out of me rather than looking at the people around me. So, probably that resulted in becoming the topper of the group though, it was not my aim to be among the toppers. And the same journey continued when I stepped into the educational industry. There also while doing my duty as a teacher, I also tried to enhance my skills, tried to contribute to the administration and also to the research aspects.
So, as an employee doing my duties well helped me in getting my promotions in due course of time and finally coming to a leadership position at an early stage of my life.
Significant challenges faced by the Director of SCIT
The main challenge that we face is that every batch has got different dynamics. A strategy that works for one might not work for the other one. So, meeting all the students’ demands, their expectations and holding them together until they achieve academic/career goals are challenging tasks.
IT Industry is a very dynamic industry. So, looking at how the industry trend and market trend changes and responding to that is a great challenge. We have been very meticulous in doing that. I think that is one of the main pain points and that is our focus area too. We try to be market responsive to meet that dynamism of the IT Industry.
Nourishing the students to make them ready for placements
So, as I told you, we are offering unique programs in niche areas of IT. So, you can not find the same curriculum in the country. We have positioned in the market in such a way to bridge the gap between business and technology and we are offering a blended program wherein management and technical aspects are covered in the curriculum. When we look at placements, our students also get into unique profiles in the industry.
The curriculum remains updated as it gets regularly revised with the required changes. We have a very meticulous way of designing the curriculum. Every year, we look forward to a review, we do change our curriculum if need be and we immediately put it into practice.
Feedbacks are also taken from stake-holders and put into consideration while revising the curriculum. Also, on our board of studies, we have people from the industry. For every specialization courses, we have experts coming from the industry for giving the suggestion. We also have guest sessions from the industry to bridge the gap between academics where in they interact with the students regarding some case studies or share their experience.
Read more about placements opportunities available at SCIT
Ms. Pramod’s learning experience during her postgraduation in Computer Science from Pondicherry Central University and Doctoral degree from Symbiosis International University
When I look at the universities, there is not a big difference, but when I look at the degrees they are completely different. At the postgraduate level, it is more of teaching and learning facilitated by faculty members with a participant-centric approach and in the case of Ph.D. it is more of student-centric where you have to drive most of your work. So, in that way, it was different. And in research also, of course, you have a supervisor to guide and monitor your Ph.D. I cannot compare these two education, but I think I have been lucky enough to be a student of these two different types of universities. It was a good learning experience.
Building a positive environment where students from different cultures share their culture with each other
This is one of the unique aspects of SCIT as students have come from across the country and of course, some international students have come here from across the globe. We do celebrate all the cultural festivals over here. So, the foreign students who are here, get to know about the culture of India. At the same time, nothing is imposed on them, so it is inclusive. We also give them a platform to represent their art forms and culture. In the classrooms also, they reallize the difference in teaching and learning process.
Interacting and maintaining a relationship with the students
The students can contact me anytime via phone or emails whenever required in case of emergencies. Otherwise, , we have students’ committee for most of the activities. So, I meet the student's committee for the activities during the planning phase. In addition to this, we have periodic open house session with the students where they can freely talk to me about what is happening. I also teach some courses and hence will be interacting with some of the batches in a semester.
Goals for SCIT for the next few years
SCIT has actually transformed from a technology school to an IT Business School. So, in the next five years, we look forward to more students coming into the managerial level. The programmes which we offer are in the very niche areas and will have a very good recruiter base.
We are looking forward to having some entrepreneurs coming out of SCIT so that more jobs were created through their endeavors.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
When they come to SCIT, they may feel that the academic rigor is very much over here as there is so much to learn from many classes. They also have to participate in various other events and activities meant for holistic development which keep them occupied. So, what I want to tell them is that every good thing will come only with hard work. Most importantly, they should have the right attitude. So if you have the right attitude then definitely the directions will be great.