Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. V John Kurian is currently the Dean – Research & Development at Providence College of Engineering. He graduated in Civil Engineering and holds an M.Tech and Ph.D. from IIT Madras, specialized in Offshore Structures and Structural Engineering. In his previous stints, he worked with NIT Calicut, Skanska (Sultanate of Oman), Federal Polytechnic Idah (Nigeria), University of Malaysia Sabah and University of Technology Petronas (Malaysia).
Dr. Kurian is primarily responsible for formulating strategies for the overall development of the institution as well as spearheading research activities and international collaborations with a view to take Providence to the next level. As a senior academician, he also mentors and guides faculty members and contribute towards improving the quality of teaching and learning process.
Experience in the education sector
Since my graduation with a basic civil engineering degree in 1967, I had been working in the engineering education sector, except for a brief spell of three months as a site engineer in a construction company. Barring a period of seven years in a Nigerian Polytechnic, this experience was working as an academician in high-ranking Universities in India and Malaysia.
My philosophy of leadership is to assess the potential of each person, develop him/her suitably and get the best research output from him/her.
Major challenges to counter
As Providence College of Engineering is in its infant stage, there are few challenges. Most of the faculty members are fresh from PG studies and they have only limited experience in research and publications. Also, the first batch of final year students needs to be trained for completing a useful final year research project.
Best industry practices through curriculum
Our curriculum is prescribed by APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (AKTU). This curriculum prescribes industrial training, a design project, a seminar, and a final year research project. The awareness and involvement of a student in a research project broaden his/her understanding regarding the engineering applications of the various courses he/she had undergone.
Placement opportunities for students
Providence College of Engineering has secured many placement opportunities for our students, even though few students have not made use of it. I plan to push the envelope further by increasing the opportunities as well as increasing the awareness about its importance among our students.
Interaction with the students
Our R&D Committee has members from every Department. They interact regularly with their students communicating various research opportunities as well as understanding their requirements for successfully carrying out research. Also, regular email communications are sent to students. In addition, students are advised to meet me individually or in groups for discussing R&D matters.
Thoughts on an ideal school environment
An ideal school environment needs to have regular formal & informal R&D forum discussions/meetings where the students come together to discuss various challenges that they observe in the society and its engineering solutions to be attempted by them. This kind of culture would be encouraged and motivated by activities and/or projects funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Kerala State Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (KSCSET), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the like with the help of National Service Scheme (NSS) Unit of our college.
Qualities than an aspiring Engineer must have
The top qualities an aspiring Engineer must possess are Analyzing Capacity, Applied Creativity, Innovation Capability, Team working & Communication Skills.
Goals set for the institute
My Roadmap targets Providence College of Engineering to become a top ranking ‘Providence Research University’ by 2030.
Advice for the current youth
Trust in God! Complete your daily revision and prepare for next day’s courses using reference materials including internet information. You will reach your goals! May God Bless you all!