Interview By Bhawna Rawat
Dr. Santhosh P. Mathew is currently serving as the Principal of Providence College of Engineering. He is a dynamic leader and globally connected academic and researcher with over 25 years of experience with leading Engineering Institutes around Kerala and Tamil Nadu. After completion of Degree in Electronics & Communication Engineering in 1991, he started his career in the industry as a Firmware Engineer. Based at Bangalore, he was part of the team that developed firmware for Electronic Devices and other gadgets. Subsequently, he took Post Graduate Engineering Degree in Computer Science stream from BITS Pilani in 1995 with high grades and took up a career in Engineering Education. He further pursued research work in Computer Science & Engineering related fields and was awarded Ph. D. by Anna University, Chennai, for developing novel Algorithms for effective retrieval of images, based on their content. He has published many research articles in International Journals.
Dr. Mathew has networked well with researchers across the globe resulting in fruitful collaborations with reputed National and International Organizations. Being an alumnus of Sain ik School, Kazhakuttam, Thiruvananthapuram, he is also a good leader, motivator and sports enthusiast. In his role as principal, Dr. Mathew is responsible for the development and deployment of academic programmes and overseeing faculty and student welfare. Additionally, he serves as an academic advisor to the chairperson and board of the MGM Society.
Experience in the Industry and the Education sector
I started my career in 1991 with the Industry. After a few years, I moved to the education sector and completed post graduation from BITS, Pilani and a Ph.D. in Engineering from Anna University Chennai. Those of us in the education sector derive immense satisfaction in the noble opportunity to mould the lives of young people.
The Principal’s philosophy of leadership to inspire the students and the faculty
The student community is desperately seeking role models who will inspire and instill confidence in them to progress in life. Colleagues too need encouragement and inspiration to move forward. It is important to have a heart of love and concern even while being strict in order to ensure discipline and adherence to the rules. I keep studying human beings along with my academic pursuits in the field of Computer Science and engineering. I believe in leading by example.
Significant challenges faced in PCE’s growth from a plant to a tree
The greatest challenge is to nurture and protect a plant in extremely adverse circumstances. We commenced operations in 2015 when there were already around 160 Engineering Colleges in Kerala. Also, the State administration was not supportive. I am glad that we were able to grow up, overcoming these challenges to be reckoned as the most promising Engineering College in the state of Kerala.
The curriculum of PCE includes add-on courses with the cutting edge technologies
We are affiliated with APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU). This University was formed in 2015 and the curriculum was framed so as to groom future engineers who will be ready to take on the challenges and contribute as and whenever they complete their degrees. We are also equipping our students by giving add-on courses with the cutting edge of technologies, offering industrial internships and by encouraging a project culture.
Placement opportunities offered at the PCE campus
Last summer, most of our trainee engineers (we prefer to call them trainee engineers rather than students) got opportunities to do internships in reputed companies. Two of them flew to Dubai for their internship and the work done by them was highly appreciated by the authorities there. They have been offered employment soon after they complete their program in 2019. We have already tied up with different companies and hope to secure multiple placements for all the eligible students.
Maintaining a good relationship with the students being the Principal of PCE
I teach and interact with the students. Moreover, I participate actively in sports and games since I myself am a sports enthusiast, being an alumnus of Sainik school, Kazhakoottam. They know that I am their well-wisher, mentor, and guide and they have the freedom to approach me for help and support.
The Principal is trying to create an environment full of opportunities at the campus for the future Engineers
I am doing my best to create an environment where our trainee engineers get ample opportunities to showcase their creative and innovative spirit.
The ideal environment should be conducive to independent thinking and freedom of experimentation
We expose our students to the latest developments in technology through expert talks, webinars and online courses by experts in the respective fields. We also teach the need to be ethical and socially conscientious. We look forward to rolling out excellent engineers - men and women of integrity who will make a mark in their profession and contribute to society.
The top qualities that an aspiring Engineer must possess
Drive, determination, self-responsibility and a willingness to work hard consistently.
Goals in mind for the Institute for the next few years
Our vision is to be a sought-after and globally-visible temple of learning and research that contributes substantially to society. To this end, we will be focusing on research & development at the cutting edge of technologies in association with industries. We will soon start industry-specific PG programs and set up centers of excellence. We have already partnered with Bennet University in the nationwide initiative on "AI and deep learning Skilling and Research" in collaboration with Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, University College, London and Brunel University, London.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Aspire to be developers and creators of technology, rather than being mere users of technology. Social media is robbing the attention, time and productivity of our youngsters.
You need to realize that owners of social media companies are becoming multi-billionaires by making you less productive!
Come out of all your addictions including that of social media and be focused on your journey of excellence. Enjoy life and have healthy fun. Play some games, involve in cultural activities and do your bit for society. Never give up when you fail or feel discouraged. Trust God and move on. You will be the best.