Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Sasmita Palo is currently the Dean – School of Management and Labour Studies at TISS Mumbai. She holds an LL.B degree, MA degree and she is also a Ph.D. from Berhampur University.
Views on the education industry
The education industry has undergone several changes over the years. The traditional classroom teaching is gradually losing its relevance. Students wish for more experiential learning which has almost driven the educators to think creatively about how to offer application-based education. Practice-driven/ activity based learning has become the norm.
Dr. Palo on addressing the issues in India like accessibility, affordability, appropriateness, and accountability at TISS
We are Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of the University Grants Commission Act (UGC), 1956. We follow all Government mandates to fulfil our responsibilities to make our education accessible and affordable to the interested students. We have the Office of Students' Affairs (OSA) which is responsible to create a climate which promotes the personal and academic development of students by offering them support. The Office strives to help students whilst they are at TISS, through a range of support services, programs, and activities to enhance the student experience and also help them to take full advantage of the academic and social environment here.
There is a Student Aid Committee headed by the Dean, (Students' Affairs) which has disbursed approximately Rs. 80 lakhs to economically and socially marginalized students to support their various requirements in the year 2017-18.
Overcoming the challenges of a teacher at TISS
I have just taken over the responsibility in the month of June 2018. Hence, it is difficult to pin down the challenges at this point in time. However, the faculty and staff in the School of Management and Labour Studies are very thoughtful, professional and work focused. With their support, I am sure I will be able to ace all professional challenges.
Difference between TISS and other universities
There is a huge difference. When I joined TISS, I was enamoured by its serenity. The academic the ambience was so different. The academic freedom, exposure to the multi-disciplinary understanding of issues, quality of students we edify, out of box thinking of TISS faculty, quality and nature of research projects we deal with are unparalleled. We have the best of faculty in TISS who teaches various courses. We get to discern diverse perspectives about issues through our interfaces. Nevertheless, we should not wear away the role of traditional universities which are still pivotal in our education system.
Importance of time management
Irrespective of the position we held, teaching and research are always a priority. I ensure that this does not get affected under any circumstances. Yes, it is true, time management is a challenge. But whenever we take such responsibility, we need to learn how to make the best use of time. It’s hard for me to manage too many affairs concurrently. It’s like (following a Chinese proverb) pumpkins in the water, one pops up while you try to hold down the other. So, I try to catch what is most important to do, then I concentrate on that activity.
A collegial school environment as an ideal environment
Our school environment is quite collegial as all the faculties in the school are very work focused and never try to put their oar in uncalled for matters. Though we discuss, debate and argue over different academic and administrative issues, all those are quite organic in nature. We encourage functional conflict to ensue in the best interest of the mission and vision of the school. Faculties in the school are indulgent teachers and researchers. No one compromises with the quality of the work they do.
Placement opportunities at TISS
Placement in the School is completely students driven. Faculties in different Centres just keep a guard on the process. Whenever any request comes from the student’s side for any support, we extend it.
Being available for the students for their concerns
Being the Dean, I am always available for students. I ensure their interests and concerns are taken care of. I do follow an open door policy for them.
Future plans for TISS
To enable the school, in the best possible manner, to set a trend in its own field.
Advice to the young aspirants
Be focused, well-ordered and hunt your dream. Don’t chase success, be a person of values. Success will chase you.