Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Sunil K. Somani is presently the Vice-Chancellor of Medi-Caps University, Indore. Academically, he graduated in BE Mechanical (Hons), from Indira Gandhi Government Engineering College, Sagar (MP) in the year 1989. He passed ME (Design Engineering) from College of Engineering, Pune (Maharashtra) and was awarded Ph.D. (Mechanical) degree in 2004 by Devi Ahilya University, Indore (MP). He is keen on studying various subjects and done various diplomas/ postgraduate diplomas viz DIM, PGDIM, PGDOM, PGDFM, etc.
Dr. Somani started his teaching career at SSVPS College of Engineering, Dhule (Maharashtra) in 1991 and switched to the industry in R&D departments in 1995. He worked with Khimline Pumps Ltd., Airoli, Mumbai (Maharashtra) and Gajra Bevel Gears Ltd., Dewas (MP) and Graubar Designs, Indore (MP). After more than three years of industrial experience, he came back in the teaching profession by joining the prestigious Institute of Engineering and Technology, DAVV, Indore (MP) in 1999. He joined Jawaharlal Institute of Technology, Borawan (MP) as Principal at the age of only 39 years. Later, he worked with Swami Vivekanand College of Engineering, Indore (MP) and Adina Institute of Science and Technology, Sagar (MP) as Principal. Since 29 July 2009 to 7 December 2015, he worked as Director of Medi-Caps Institute of Technology and Management, Indore (MP).
He has taught various subjects at UG and PG level like Engineering & Machine Drawing, Theory of Machines, Strength of Materials, Dynamics of Machines, Machine Design, Vibration and Noise Control, CAD-CAM, etc. Dr. Somani has taken various responsibilities in different institutes like examination senior superintendent, central valuation in-charge, discipline committee, annual function committee etc. He was also the Hostel Warden and Prof. In-charge (Library). He has coordinated many seminars, workshops, and expert lectures.
Dr. Somani is also an international chess player and coach. He has represented India in Correspondence Chess Olympiad. He was a selection committee member (Chess) at Devi Ahilya University. He has participated at State, Nationals, Inter-varsity level. He was MP State Junior Chess Champion and was board “A” player of Inter-varsity Runner team of Dr. H.S. Gaur University, Sagar. He was India Champion of All India Correspondence Chess Association.
He has guided more than 60 undergraduate and 21 postgraduate projects, seminars. He has guided 3 Ph.D. and also guiding 5 Ph.D. candidates. He was Chairman, Board of Studies (Mechanical Engg.) in DAVV. One of his publications, “Computer Simulation as Teaching Aid (A Case of Mechanism Study)” was awarded best paper, first prize in Professional Category at Technology, Raipur.
Dr. Somani has two books to his credit: One book (Adapted copy) Machine Design – Schaum’s Outline Series – Tata McGraw Hills and another book (Co-authored) Basic Mechanical Engineering – Dhanpat Rai. He is life member/member of various professional bodies viz. IE (India), AMM, ISTE, MPCA, AICCF, CCAI etc. He has attended several workshops, short-term courses, and training.
Dr. Somani’s experience in the Education field
Time and technology have moved far ahead. The Internet has revolutionized the whole world. And with IoT, it has changed the lifestyle of each and every individual. 28 years back, when computers were not existing, it was nearly impossible to think of a gadget in the hand which could control even the gates of our garage. Technology has empowered a layman to do wonders. The scenario is pretty much changed; the students have a laptop, or a palmtop to work on, the digital classrooms have made learning easier. MOOC enables a student to learn from teachers of any corner of the world. But yes, no one can deny the need of a teacher. A teacher was, is and will always be the center point of learning. We just need to strike a balance between the old and new methods.
Dr. Somani on his time management
The Almighty has designed a day perfectly, all we need to do is plan in a wise manner. One way is to decentralize the tasks, but this also demands a lot of trust. The team on our campus is experienced and for most of the tasks, I just need to steer. Other than this, nothing in this fast world can be accomplished without multitasking. Thanks to the technology once again, which helps me with this.
Top qualities that an aspiring student must possess
Every problem comes with many possibilities and their prospective solutions. But an engineer is one who is smart enough to tackle problems gracefully. The main motto of an engineer should be to make life easier and better. Since a large number of students are taking admission in engineering courses, it had reduced this quality. But now, the parents and students are smarter and understand that there are many other courses also which allow the same success rate.
Dr. Somani on how Engineers make the best Entrepreneurs
Since the industrial revolution, the nations have come together. Now, a person sitting in a remote village can display and sell his goods to any part of the globe. An entrepreneur is creative, hardworking, and so is an engineer. The Honorable PM Shri Modi has also emphasized on Skills Development and Make in India. Our EDP Cell i.e. Entrepreneur Development Cell does the same task – it guides the students who aspire to their own business.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Medi-Caps University
The placements at Medi-Caps have always been our strength. Our syllabus is designed in collaboration with the industries. The students are trained in such a manner that they are market ready as soon as they appear in the campus interviews. There are some students from a heterogeneous background and we take special care of them. Right from improving their communication skills to their interview techniques, all is taken care of by the faculty members. Even at the time of recession, we were able to place most of our students into good companies. We look forward to the same scenario ahead also.
Dr. Somani on establishing world-class education at Medi-Caps University
Medi-Caps has tie-ups with foreign universities. We plan to start student exchange programs where our students will visit their universities and vice-versa. Other than this, our syllabus and teaching methodology includes lectures on MOOC (massive open online course). This will give a global exposure to our students and make them wiser and more confident.
Dr. Somani on his relation with the students and his availability for them
We have always practiced open door policy at Medi-Caps. Students or faculty members can come to me directly to raise or solve any issue. However, they are advised to maintain the hierarchy of coordinators, HODs and then Deans, but in either case, I am always available. We also personally take a feedback from the students, apart from the regular, formal feedback system, which ensures closeness with them.
Message to the students looking forward to taking admission in Medi-Caps University
Success has no shortcuts. This generation feels that everything should be available to them in one-click-time. They must understand that patience and hard work are the keys to success. If they reap these qualities in their lives today, the end-result will be much sweeter. So, they must keep faith in themselves and keep their energies in the right direction. I am sure nothing in the world can beat them.