Interview by Yash Panchal
Prof. S. K. Singh, born on 25th July 1964, is a Professor & Head, at DTU. Having throughout first division with distinction in his career, he obtained his Ph.D. from BITS, Pilani and M. Tech. from IIT-BHU, Varanasi, and B.E. from Gorakhpur University. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. He is engaged in teaching, research, administration, and consultancy for the last 30 years. Dr. Singh has received numerous felicitations and awards by professional bodies. He is also Part-Time Director of WAPCOS Limited (a Mini-Ratna –I company of Govt. of India). Dr. Singh has served as a Faculty Member at Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, College of Engineering and Technology, Bathinda, Punjab and Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana. He held the positions of Dean, Faculty of Technology, Delhi University (DU), Delhi and Head, Deptt. of Civil Engineering, Delhi University. He has been Dean (Administration), Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi and Founder Chairman, EDUSAT Program for Delhi state. He is also Member of Board of Governors, CSMRS, Ministry of Water Resources, GOI; Member, Board of Management, Vishvesvaraiya Group of Institutions; Member, Board of Management, Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli (M.S.); Chairman, Departmental Promotion Committee, IASRI (ICAR) New Delhi; Member, University Court, University of Delhi.
Dr. Singh has received numerous felicitations and awards by professional bodies such as DR. APJ ABDUL KALAM AWARD, 2016, RASHTRIYA SHIKSHA GAURAV PURASKAR 2014 for his outstanding and exemplary contribution towards Education. INTERNATIONAL FELICITATION and WEC-IIEE-IAEWP ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD sponsored by World Environmental Congress Committee and International Association of Educators for World Peace, Alabama U.S.A. for outstanding work done in the field of Environmental Engineering. Dr. Singh has worked as Chairman for Indian Society of Technical Education, Delhi College of Engineering Chapter. He had been elected Executive Member of Environmental Engineering, Division of Delhi State Centre, Institution of Engineers (India). He has been a member of the various prestigious bodies.
Prof. S.K. Singh as an educator and his experience in the industry
I have been an educator for more than 3 decades during which I learned that an educator’s job is concerned with building better technocrats for future, preserving the integrity of academic institutions and maintaining the wellbeing of the education sector. The education sector offers many opportunities for professionalization at a variety of experience levels such as-
- Exposure to Multiple Perspectives: Jobs in education tend to expose employees to a wide variety of perspectives and many different opinions.
- Stable Schedule: Employees in the education sector can rely on a reliable work schedule with stable hours and little overtime.
- Personal Fulfillment: Employees directly impact the future of the nation and have a chance to instill knowledge in large groups of the population.
- Interpersonal Interactions: Those that choose to enter the education sector develop close relationships with their coworkers, students, and the academic community.
Challenges to tackle for the HoD of Environmental Engineering
- Being humble and patient at all times.
- Confidence during setbacks.
- Stepping back so others can step up.
- Putting plans into action – Follow through.
- Leading change.
As a head I don’t just do things, I change things.
- Encouraging constructive dissent.
- Learning from criticism.
- Asking for feedback.
- Maintaining focus on the future.
- Building the team.
DTU’s updated curriculum
Curriculum is composed of specific statements setting measurable expectations for what learners should know and be able to do, described either in terms of learning outcomes (what the learners are expected to learn), products or performance (what learners will produce as a result of a learning activity) or processes (describing the focus of learning activities). They can be seen as refinements of curriculum aims/goals that, for example, specify: performance standards or those skills and knowledge the learners are expected to be able to demonstrate; inferred or precise degree of mastery; and the conditions under which the performance will take place. In terms of effectiveness, at DTU, curriculum objectives are: concise and understandable to teachers, learners and parents; feasible for the teachers and learners to accomplish; encompass previous learning and require the learner to integrate and then apply certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to demonstrate achievement; and measurable on a cumulative basis and at different stages of the learner’s educational career.
A democratic leadership style
I am more of a democratic leader. I accept input from one or more group members when making decisions and solving problems, but retain the final say when choices are made. Group members tend to be encouraged and motivated by my style of leadership. This style of leadership often leads to more effective and accurate decisions, since no leader can be an expert in all areas.
Goals to achieve for DTU
The main motive will be to bring DTU to be one of the best universities and make it world-class institution by implementing modern reforms in terms of research & development, innovations, collaborations, and consultancy. The main emphasis will be to include the culture of innovations even at undergraduate level. To develop research and innovation centers and center of excellence in the field of Science, Engineering, and Technology and to make a synergy between Science and Technology.
Value addition lies at the core of our teaching curriculum and it is constantly benchmarked with a feedback from industry in comparison with the curriculum of leading national & international technical university to maintain an edge in academics.
Emphasis will be to provide a conducive environment in the academic era to organize a number of international/ national conference/ Faculty development programs /seminars/ workshops/ events and other developmental programs for industry, faculty, academicians, and students at large in future to keep our organization at the front.
For developing DTU into a world-class institution, following strategy will be used:
- Offering instruction in engineering and applied sciences at a level comparable to the very best in the world.
- Providing best facilities for postgraduate studies and research.
- Providing leadership in curriculum planning and laboratory development.
- Developing programs for faculty development both for its own staff and for teachers of other engineering institutions.
- Developing close collaboration with industry through the exchange of personnel and undertaking consultancy projects.
- Developing strong collaborative links with other academic and research institutions in the country and abroad.
- Anticipating the technological needs for India and to plan and prepare to cater to men.
- Developing continuing education programs.
- Encouraging instructional resource material in the conventional as well as the audiovisual, video and the computer-based modes.
Prof. Singh’s relation with the students
Developing positive teacher-student relationships takes significant time and effort; however, the benefit to both the teacher and student is immeasurable. To establish such a relation,
- I provide structure: Majority of students respond positively to a structured environment. I try to explain clear expectations to students. The student also maintains trust in me as a teacher increases and they understand that I am working in their best interests at heart.
- I teach with enthusiasm and passion
- I display a positive attitude
- I try to make learning fun: I tend to create an enjoyable learning environment which encourages student attendance and participation.
- I show interest in student’s lives outside the classroom: I put a genuine interest in the wellbeing of my students.
- I treat students with respect. A teacher who respects their students will experience reciprocal respect from their students.
- I try to create a secure and safe environment for students: Teachers need to set expectations where students do not criticize, bully or intimidate each other.
Views on an ideal college environment and encouragement of the same
An ideal college has to present the process or program of education in a congenial manner. In a normal concept, particularly in India, education has a certain linkage with return on investment. Careers are decided on the basis of thinking that how much salary one can earn after acquiring the program. In other words, colleges and institution are nothing but mints for producing youngsters and sending them for the queue at employment exchange. Colleges are built with a motive to earn profits. The main target is high profits at every stage. Students are either coming from rich families and their objectives are showing off their wealth and fashions. Some brilliant students, who are from a normal middle class, try to work on their own. Teachers too have to struggle for the second group of candidates. The concentration is more on theories and thesis. The practical aspect is totally neglected.
The traditional education is on the pattern of Gurukul.
An ideal college should have the guidance of dedicated teachers
Such guidance should be all time and the teachers should be encouraged to impart training not only in the book but also in practical life. The teacher should handle each student very personally and should make ideal citizens out of students. College should have good labs, open ground, a proper hostel for boarders and strict ruling while cultivating culture and manners among the trainees. It should be worked on army line, where the candidates are groomed for all the ups and downs of life. A bare fact which needs to be kept in view that financial tightness has shattered the life in general. Parents are too busy to spare time for their wards. The routine struggle makes them totally tired. Thus they fail to cope with the requirements. The candidate indulges in malpractices for proxy in class or mass copying. This evolved hostel life for the wards. They can gain the best if teachers take an interest.
The plight of the teachers worsens when they do not get monthly emoluments in time. They feel the pinch very indifferently and look for income outside the college attendance. They look for tuitions and extra classes where they charge good money. The payments are mostly delayed due to a financial problem which disturbs the smooth working of an institution. Hence, the financial position of a college should be reviewed every now and then and teachers be provided with proper facilities. The staff of a college should be regular, qualified and practical education minded. Contact in industry and offices should be established as and when required and students should be encouraged to develop a friendship in this sector.
Lastly, the ideal college should produce ideal citizens for the nation. Every student should have the dignity of labor and should make efforts to learn while he earns. My personal opinion does not favor co-education. My preference will be the separate institutions for girls and boys. Even if co-education is adopted, every care should be taken for a perfect discipline and observance of the regular code of conduct. The institution/college of this pattern will certainly be an ideal institution for the students and it will certainly be at par with my expectations.
Suggestions for the current youth
To students: These are some ideas for your consideration. The university wants you to succeed and if you met the entry requirements, you have the capabilities to earn your degree. These suggestions are derived from those who were successful. Some may seem repetitious in nature; nevertheless, there are different nuances in each of these admonitions.
So, apply them to yourself as you progress through collegiate studies and your program will be enhanced.
1. BRING AN OPEN MIND, NOT A VACANT ONE.
2. GO TO CLASS.
3. GO TO CLASS EVEN IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE LATE
4. GO TO CLASS PREPARED
5. READ THE CLASS SYLLABUS
6. TYPE YOUR NOTES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
7. SIT AS CLOSE TO THE FRONT OF THE LECTURE ROOM AS POSSIBLE.
8. SHARE YOUR NOTES
9. LEAVE THAT CELL PHONE IN YOUR ROOM OR AT LEAST KEEP IT TURNED OFF
10. LEARN THE CAMPUS
11. UNDERSTAND THAT THE UNIVERSITY HAS RULES
12. IGNORE RUMORS
13. BUDGET TIME
14. ACCEPT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
15. UNDERSTAND THAT BEING A STUDENT IS A FULL-TIME JOB.
16. DEVELOP AN APPRECIATION FOR THE MASTERY OF THE LANGUAGE.
17. BECOME PART OF THE UNIVERSITY
18. GET TO KNOW SOME PROFESSORS BEFORE YOU GRADUATE.
19. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG IN BEING INITIALLY CONFUSED.
20. BE PATIENT WITH YOUR SELF
21. MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS
22. DON'T PLAN YOUR FUTURE AND IGNORE THE PRESENT.
23. REMEMBER, YOU ARE IN SCHOOL FOR YOUR EDUCATION, NOT FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S.
24. KNOW YOUR ACADEMIC SITUATION PRIOR TO THE WITHDRAWAL FROM CLASS DEADLINE.
25. LEARN TO COMMUNICATE IN THE CLASSROOM.
26. SAFEGUARD YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL WELL-BEING.
27. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR BEHAVIOR.
28. LOCATE AND USE ALL UNIVERSITY SERVICES.
29. DON'T DEPEND UPON OTHERS TO DO YOUR WORK.
30. THE COMPUTER IS NOT THE SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR ACADEMIC WEAKNESSES.
31. NOT EVERYONE GRADUATES IN FOUR YEARS.
32. BEAR IN MIND THAT ONCE A DEGREE IS ACQUIRED, IT STILL DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A GREAT CAREER, SUCCESS OR A LARGE BAG OF MONEY.
33. DON'T ASSUME THAT ADVISORS CAN PERFORM MIRACLES WHEN ASKED TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE.
34. SAVE ALL ITEMS OR DOCUMENTS THAT HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH YOUR PROGRAM OF STUDIES.
35. DON'T ALWAYS INSIST THAT YOUR SCHEDULE MUST BE ONLY A CERTAIN WAY. 36. A DEGREE IS NOT AN ENTITLEMENT, YOU MUST EARN IT.
37. SPARE YOURSELF AND OTHERS FROM UTTERING EXCUSES.
38. DON'T ASK TO TAKE A SUPERIOR COURSES IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE ACADEMIC BACKGROUND.
39. ALL THE 'DETERMINATION' IN THE WORLD WILL NEGATE IGNORANCE.
40. DON'T TALK A GOOD STORY, DEVELOP A FOCUS AND THEN GO FOR IT.
41. THEREFORE, BE CAREFUL OF FORMULATING A 'PLAN B.'
42. YOU WILL BE DIFFERENT.
43. KEEP YOUR INTEGRITY.
44. SPARE YOUR ADVISOR, PROFESSORS AND ROOMMATES WHINING STORIES OF 'ALL YOUR PERSONAL PROBLEMS'
45. DON'T TAKE COUNSEL OF YOUR FEARS.
46. YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO REMEMBER PAST SUCCESSES WITH PRIDE AND FONDNESS, BUT YOU ARE NOT BACK AT SQUARE ONE.
47. WRITE OR E-MAIL HOME.
48. BEAR IN MIND 'EXTRA CREDIT' WORK IS FOR BABIES, NOT SCHOLARS.
50. YOUR SELF ESTEEM MUST BE EARNED, IT WILL NOT BE GIVEN.
51. REMEMBER, NO EXCUSES ARE ACCEPTABLE.
52. OK! YOU ARE PHYSICALLY AN ADULT, BUT SO WHAT!