Dr. Christianna Singh is currently working as the Principal at Lady Doak College, Madurai. Her teaching experience spans three decades in the Research Centre and Department of Economics at Lady Doak College, and as a guest lecturer teaching Health Economics and Environmental Issues at national and international level institutions. She also served as a spokesperson for IIT Bombay’s Spoken Tutorial project and as an advocate for the use of Free and Open Source Software. She is a Life Member in Indian Association for Women’s Studies, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Association of Economists of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. 

Lady Doak College

What is your philosophy of leadership? 

“Leading and favouring long term outcomes”

The power of the whole team comes from its members, each gifted with unique abilities and talents but one cohesive team. I value the ability of critical and out-of-the-box thinking that challenges old ways of doing things in favour of better, more efficient and more intuitive strategies. I have the ability to think ahead of the times and prepare my team to use ‘tomorrow’s methods’ for ‘today’s training.’

How do you strategize the key programs for the administration of your College?

“Formulating core teams and taking actions”

We organize small teams and groups for successful administration of core policies and guidelines designated for staff and students. Novel ideas and strategies given are checked regularly for its do-ability in small core teams. Before taking them to larger forums, obtaining feedback and then forwarding the proposal to the Board of Management for final approval. We have just completed a major reorganisation exercise with new specialised posts in administration such as an Institutional Development Officer. 

What can an inbound student gain from studying here in your college? 

“Great academic exposure and well-balanced curriculum”

A definite taste of the Tamil culture and flavour in all aspects of socio-economic life as the curriculum in Lady Doak College is very closely linked to understanding the environment, learning from it and giving to it. We have successfully hosted different groups of international students for short periods of one-to-two months as part of their foreign culture immersion programme and their service-oriented programmes. Our curriculum is always a regularly updated, balanced diet for the wholesome nurture and transformation of our students into empowered young women who can take on the challenges of a constantly changing world. We are leaders in adopting technology to aid classroom learning and evaluation.

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How does the curriculum of your College ensure the best practice of industry?

“Regular upgradation and practical exposure with overall development”

There are industrial experts on the Boards of Studies of every discipline in the college. We have industrial experts on our IQAC. We have drawn up MoUs with industrial partners for the offering of some certificate and diploma courses, student internships and training programmes. We receive strong and positive support right from the conception of an idea for a course to its final assessment with field exposure from our industrial partners, in keeping with the latest developments. Our autonomous status also allows us to make changes as and when required as we have the freedom to frame our curriculum as per relevance and need. Hence, our curriculum is very relevant to analyse and work on current issues from the perspective of each student’s core discipline. The curriculum is also holistic in nature ensuring that students evolve not only as intellectually mature students but also as good citizens with social responsibility, moral uprightness and spiritually disciplined. All final year students engage in life-frontier projects which are ably presented back to the community, the development experts and the college body in an ‘Open House’ day where the district administration is also present.

How is your college welcoming to students of diverse backgrounds?

“Meritorious scholarships and multifold facilities for numerous students”

Our mission statement makes special mention of an inclusive type of education where women students from diverse backgrounds are treated with respect and given opportunities to excel. We also have a few international students, largely from Africa and Asia and some short-term exchange students from the USA on our campus. We offer special scholarships to students from deprived backgrounds, low socio-economic status, and first-generation learners in our efforts to reach the unreached. Paid student-internships, work scholarship programs and opportunities are also available for those who are interested. There are modest residential facilities and a health centre with an experienced Health Officer on campus. In many ways, life in LDC reflects the glories of a little ‘India’, with different kinds of people and different kinds of interests.

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What do you think should be the college’s top priority over the next 10 years?

“Establishing a full-fledged R&D institute with quality academic outputs”

We want to focus on Research & Development activities and promote it and provide suitable incentives and rewards to those (staff and students) who engage in good research activities. We also want to market our brand by launching our own research journal. We are looking forward to working on schemes making the college less dependent on income from fees and more dependent on fundraising through alumnae networking, identification of large donors and sponsors interested in women’s education abroad and in India. Also, provision of more full-scholarships and developing our own complete, in-house automation system. A master plan for the remodelling of the main campus has been drawn up. A major renovation and redesigning of the entire campus are in the pipeline as well. We also have a 40-acre satellite campus to develop from scratch.