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Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science - [HITS], Chennai

Chennai, Tamil Nadu COA, UGC, NAAC-A, AIU Estd 1985 Deemed University
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Dr. S. Ramachandran, VC, Hindustan University still believes that he is a teacher, and enjoys working on and propagating - "Education brings growth, progress and development to individuals, societies and nations."

Thoughts on Education by Dr. S. Ramachandran, Vice Chancellor, Hindustan University
Prof. S. Ramachandran,
VC, Hindustan University

Prof. S. Ramachandran is currently serving as Vice Chancellor at Hindustan University, Chennai. Prior to this, he has served as a Vice Chancellor of University of Madras (2006 – 2009) and Vels University (2009 – 2013).  He received his first Ph.D. in Marine Science in the year 1981; he was then awarded a National Scholarship for studies abroad by the Government of India. He studied at the Education brought growth, progress and development to individuals, societies and nations, during 1981 – 1985 where he earned his second Ph.D. in the field of Biological Oceanography. He joined the Center for Water Resources and Ocean Management, Department of Civil Engineering, Anna University, Chennai in the year 1986 as Assistant Professor and served Anna University for 20 Years in various capacities such as Professor & Director. He earned his D.Sc. in the field of Coastal Studies from the University of Madras.

He took several initiatives in the field of coastal management and was entrusted with several important tasks under various ambitious national programmes such as National Oceanographic Information System (NOIS), Marine Remote Sensing Satellite Information System (MARSIS), Coastal Zone Information System (CZIS) etc. funded by Department of Ocean Development, Government of India during early 1990s.  Under his dynamic leadership along with a group of young scholars in his team, he took the above initiatives over a period of ten years, which helped him to establish an autonomous Institute of Ocean Management in Anna University in 1998.   He was the founder and first director of this institute during 1998-2005.  Prof. S. Ramachandran has also served as the Director of Research at Anna University.

Prof. Ramachandran has made more than 50 academic visits to various institutions in abroad during 1990 – 2010 especially to implement several international collaborations in the field of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), higher education and research. As a Course Director of the UK Department for International Development ICZM training and capacity building program, he has made tremendous contributions in implementing ICZM programs in India. He took serious attempts in the preparation of science-based people-centered coastal management plans for all important “Hot Spots” along Indian coast including the Andaman & Nicobar group of Islands. As an Expert Member in more than 45 National Committees, he has made significant contributions in strengthening the implementation of ICZM for Indian coastal zone in all levels. He has initiated research in areas of everyday application and has accorded priority to many modern disciplines such as Coastal Zone Management, Port and Harbour Management, Coastal Ocean Studies, Environmental Studies, Disaster Management etc. Prof. Ramachandran has published more than 285 research papers, edited 11 books; guided 28 Ph.D.’s and completed 52 research projects with a funding support of about 200 million Indian Rupees.

Dr. Ramachandran resuscitated the academic and research focus in the universities he served.  He has more than 35 years of experience in higher education administration and research.   He has established several research centers and academic departments in the universities he served.

He has received more than 21 International fellowships, and 7 National and International awards including the Italian government’s highest civilian honor and medal, ‘Stella Della Solidarieta Italiana’, the Cavalliea’ award.

The Interview:

Q. Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?

Ans. I have been associated with the higher education for the past 35 years in various positions starting from Asst. Prof. to Vice Chancellor.  I have worked with the largest Technical University in the Country i.e. Anna University for nearly 25 years and then served as a Vice Chancellor of the one of the oldest and largest University of the Country i.e. University of Madras from 2006 September to 2009 September. Then, I have also worked with some major private universities. This work experience has given me a lot of insights into the Management of Higher Education.  Today, education has been termed as an industry rather than a service to humanity.

In human civilization, education has played an important role.  It is through education, the civilization has evolved all through the human history. Education has provided the knowledge, it brought about the emancipation and empowerment.  Education brought growth, progress, and development to individuals, societies, and nations. I feel proud for being a teacher and associate myself with educational services.

Q. Any of the significant challenges you faced as the Vice Chancellor of Hindustan University?

Ans. Our Former President, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan once said that there is a need for changes in the perception and attitudes of higher learning institutions. They should not be merely the places of conferring degrees, but they should contribute to the wholesome development of human personality.

At Hindustan, I do realize that I’m entrusted with a monumental responsibility of shaping out the youth of today. I also believe that the purpose of education is not merely to collect and keep the information but to inculcate character and expand the intellect.  The significant challenge that is faced today is to transform our students into responsible citizens with not only the knowledge but also with the ethos and values.

Q. How does your curriculum ensure best practices of the industry?

Ans. Hindustan University has a balanced mix of faculty from the various backgrounds viz, Research organizations like ISRO, DRDO, etc., leading academic institutions such as IITs, IISC, NITs, NUS, NTU etc., and leading industries.

The curriculum is designed in such a way that the students have opportunities to learn specializations in their field of engineering. With our diversified faculty strength, we are able to offer 21 specializations in UG programs and 35 specializations in PG programs.

Hindustan also offers industry collaborated courses partnering with IBM, Infosys, ADG Boeing, MATLAB, Yaskawa, SMC pneumatics, etc. Our Board of Studies and Academic Council comprises of eminent personalities for guiding us through the process.

Q. What goals do you have in your mind for Hindustan University?

Ans. Higher education often talks about the Net Generation's expectations for the use of technology in their learning environments. However, few efforts have been made to directly engage students in a dialogue about how they would like to see faculty and their institutions use technology to help students learn more effectively. Through a series of interviews, polls, focus groups, and casual conversations with other students, I gained a general understanding of the Net Generation's views on technology and learning.

The feedback from the of Next Generation students does contain some good news. It indicates that the Next Generation's general expectations regarding leading-edge technology have not fully impacted its expectations about the use of technology to support learning. This may signal a failure in the responsiveness of colleges and universities in terms of keeping pace with the rapidly changing technological landscape. However, it may also indicate that the opportunity to catch up with the Next Generation has not been lost. Higher education must continue to engage the Next Generation in a dialogue regarding its expectations about technology and learning to assess how wide the window of opportunity may still be, as well as how quickly it may be closing.

Q. You pride yourself on the level of education and responsibility you teach here to students.  How do you ensure the quality of education in your institution?

Ans. Today, Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science is one of the most sought after engineering Institutions in Tamil Nadu, reputed for its highly qualified and experienced faculty and excellent infrastructural facilities for curricular and extracurricular activities, the University has maintained an enviable academic excellence right from its inception. The student community comprises of students from all over India and Overseas. We have students hailing from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Liberia, Libya, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, U.A.E, Thailand, Vietnam, Tanzania, USA, etc.

The university has accomplished its mission and its academic achievements are a testimony to the same. More than 80% of students secure first class with distinctions year after year. Over 70% of students have been placed in leading companies in India and abroad in the last 3 years. The students of this reputed institution are receiving placement offers from leading companies in India and Abroad. The institution has collaborative partnerships with leading universities in USA, Singapore, Australia, etc. It has students and faculty exchange programs with leading international universities. The university has also has received numerous accolades and awards over the years.

Key strengths of HITS:

  • Multi-cultural and holistic learning environment
  • Presence of Experienced Faculty and healthy student faculty ratio
  • Strong Research Advisory Board
  • Steady growth in UG student enrollments
  • Good academic and support infrastructure
  • Increase in number of MoUs with International & National Organizations / Institutions
  • Strong focus on Internationalization - Steady increase in inbound/outbound student/faculty exchange programs
  • Launch of Industry relevant programs and tailored programs for International students
  • Encouraging Campus Culture for Sports, Community Engagement, and Extra-curricular activities.

In 2015, HITS was awarded the Best University promoting Research by ASSOCHAM, Best Private University by Peacock Feather Awards and Excellence in Education Award by Competition Success Review.

Q. How do you build a positive school culture or climate?

Ans. As engineering educators, Hindustan University has taken a closer look at how engineering students are being prepared to enter the "real world." Current graduates will be called upon to make decisions in a socio-geo-political environment quite different from that of today. In their lifetimes, engineering students now attending college can expect to see an increase in world population from 6 to 9 or 10 billion people, major global warming phenomena, and major losses in biological and cultural diversity on Earth. 

The Hindustan University has engaged its faculty to proactively develop the curriculum and standards in accordance with the global engineering challenges.

We have included the course Value Education in the curriculum.  This course is taught to all the first year students of B.Tech Program.  In these classes, utmost importance is given to inculcate in them the core human values.  These classes are handled by senior faculty members.

The course, communication skills, and personality development are taught to the students of the higher semester.  Hindustan University has been doing community service by involving the students.  The students are involved in blood donation camps, medical camps for the village people.  Various awareness programs like first aid, aids, literacy, anticorruption, drug abuse etc. were conducted.

The activities of NSS, NCC, and YRC are very dynamic on the campus.  All the first year students have to be the member of any one of the following - NSS, NCC, and YRC. During Nov-Dec 2015 our students along with the members of NSS and NCC went to the interior parts of villages and distributed flood relief materials.  Many important initiatives were undertaken and implemented by our University and our students have proved that they are socially responsible.  The student members of various clubs are also very active and they have been participating in various activities.

Q. How do you tend to establish a relationship with the students? 

Ans. I maintain direct contact with the students whenever opportunities are available. I listen to their grievances and try to solve their problems at the earliest.  I provide opportunities for them to participate in the development process of the University and also designing the curriculum through our alumni. I also engage the students to get the guidance they need for their career growth.  Apart from that, students were also given the opportunity to interact with the Administration and Management through many events organized in the campus such as cultural events, important international and national day celebrations and other social service activities such as Blood Donation, Eye camp etc.

Q. How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at Hindustan University? How do you wish to push the envelope further?

Ans. The students of the Hindustan University receive the Training required for soft skills and personality development right from the first semester onwards. The curriculum is designed in such a way the courses are made compulsory for the students. The curriculum is designed to mandate every student group to complete mini project, comprehension, Aptitude, foreign language courses such as German, French, Japanese, Korean, Technical Training, Value Added courses, competitions,  etc.

Career Guidance Cell is fully functional to take care of higher studies and offer training for GRE, TOEFL, GATE, GMAT etc. The pre – placement training programs are organized by professional partners for one full semester covering 120 hours of intensive training. Such a rigorous training pattern has reaped great success in the history of Hindustan University placements and higher studies. 

Q. What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?

Ans. In education, leadership means to inspire and engage. Motivating the students and inculcating values is the primary job of an educator. So, I do believe that molding the younger generation by inspiring them and engaging them is the most important job. 

In our organization, we believe in teamwork. I ask all my faculty to participate, contribute and commit. I gave all the freedom to my team members to develop their own leadership qualities and provide opportunities for them to lead.

Q. Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?

Ans. I would like to quote a few lines from Dr. Kalam’s book ‘Spirit of India’, “If the 540 million youth work with the spirit I can do it”, we can do it and India can do it, & nothing can stop India from becoming a developed country.

Any country is as good as its citizens.  The ethos, the values, and characters of the citizens will be reflected in the country’s makeup.  These are crucial factors that will determine whether the country will move forward on a progressive path or stagnate.  We have to collectively inculcate a positive attitude of what we can do for our country so that together we will be able to benefit ourselves.

Last Updated - 23 Jun 2017

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