Dr. T.G. Arul is the Principal of St. Mary’s Engineering College, Hyderabad. He has been in the academic sector for 16 years along with 5 years of industrial experience. As the Principal, he aims at producing innovative engineers with a problem-solving attitude who contribute to society’s welfare.
What are the key factors that keep you connected with the education sector?
“The revolutionary vision required to bring about significant changes”
Here we make a significant contribution towards a sustainable society for the 21st century by conducting ground-breaking scientific and technological research. The process is acknowledged as world-class, by training scientists and engineers with a genuine commitment to society and by helping to translate knowledge into technological innovations and activity with both economic and social value. The motto all along has been “To produce self-motivated and responsible engineers of the highest quality who can help solve the societal and engineering challenges of the 21st century through creative workable solutions”. Our situation is not comparable to anything in the past. It is impossible, therefore, to apply methods and measures which at an earlier age might have been sufficient. We must revolutionize our thinking, revolutionize our actions, and must have the courage to revolutionize relations among nations of the world.
What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
“Laissez-faire leadership to promote a healthy work culture”
A leadership philosophy is a structured approach to leading others. Leaders often write philosophies as a guiding statement for reference while leading a team. Strong leaders who understand the difference between demanding institutions and encouraging faculties to pursue a common goal often garner respect for their authoritative leadership style. This helps to make our work environment less stressful and more productive, as well as keeping us on track and aligned with our core beliefs and values. I lead by facilitating open communication and trying to bring out the best in every faculty member, Successful engineering leadership involves helping individuals work together to achieve team and institution goals. To support the team effort, I’ll provide communication, motivation, guidance, and more.
How do you strategize about the key programs and plans for the marketing and administration of your Institute?
“Having a reliable and dedicated administration”
Times have changed, and many institutions are finding that they need to engage in strong marketing tactics to thrive in today’s market. Marketing plans are the roadmap to success for the institute, keeping you on track with your initiatives throughout the year and, ideally, the next several years. It’s easy to get sidetracked when great ideas pop up, but like on a road trip you’ll never reach your destination if you keep adding new stops along the way. The institution’s marketing plans streamline what you do and outline why you’re doing it. Validating these important decisions is important for gaining support for the plan and ensuring that you continue to move forward with positive progress. The administration likely knows where the institution needs improvement, and you can dig into your databases to get benchmarking information on how these initiatives have been performed in the past.
What can an inbound student gain from studying here in your institute/ university/ school?
“Keeping the resources accessible for the student’s ease”
The benefits of a college education include career opportunities like better paying and higher-skilled jobs, but studies have shown that it also leads to overall happiness and stability. Inbound marketing is a marketing technique that is intended to draw visitors and potential customers in, instead of outwardly pushing a brand, product, or service onto prospects in the expectation of producing leads. Students have access to the internet for information about anything and everything. Similarly, they have a lot of options and choices. They can access the details, specifications, pricing, reviews, and alternatives to any product, service, or brand around the clock. To stay relevant we have to adopt various strategies and techniques to attract the attention of your target students and make my college brand more relatable, trustworthy, and attractive than other colleges.
How does the curriculum of St Mary's Engineering College ensure the best practice of industry?
“Having defined specifics and goals”
Documenting the curriculum improves the teaching process. It gives teachers tangible resources and goals, stimulates creativity, and enables self-reflection. And, most importantly, documenting curriculum improves student outcomes. All the advantages described by respondents culminated in this shared goal. The following best practices stand out in the higher education environment because they are easy to implement and are fully student-oriented.
- Describe your vision, focus, objectives, and student needs.
- Identify resources.
- Develop experiences that meet your objectives.
- Collect and devise materials.
Any insights into how your university could be more welcoming to students of different races or economic backgrounds?
“Including the parents in the student’s journey irrespective of their background”
A welcoming institute environment creates the foundation for making families feel comfortable with the college community. Research shows that family engagement is important to student achievement and success. Parents who feel intimidated by or excluded from their child’s school environment may be less likely to engage in their child’s education and may be less able to support student success. To ensure that all families feel comfortable engaging with the institute, the students and families from diverse backgrounds should “see themselves” throughout the college. By creating a welcoming atmosphere that reflects families’ backgrounds, institutes let families know they are valued members of the school community. Create learning opportunities for both adults and students, such as inviting parents and the community into libraries to read to children. Host English language classes and job-search coaching sessions for families. Partner with external organizations to provide institute-based support to parents.
What do you think your roles and responsibilities to the University and the students are?
“Providing leadership, direction, and coordination within the institution”
The Principal will be responsible for the statutory as well as operational duties of the Institution. The purpose of the role is to develop and implement the best practices of Academics and Research in the Institution to ensure the holistic development of the students and staff. The Principal's main focus should be to develop and maintain effective educational programs within his college and to promote the improvement of teaching and learning with his college. Principals develop standardized curricula, assess teaching methods, monitor student achievement, encourage parent involvement, revise policies and procedures, administer the budget, hire and evaluate staff, and oversee facilities. Student responsibility occurs when students take an active role in their learning by recognizing they are accountable for their academic success.
What do you think should be the University’s top priority over the next 10 years?
“Help the members grow professionally and improve the learning experience”
The priority would be to upgrade the teaching ideas by introducing innovation in teaching and learning. These changes and updating bring in more efficient skills and self-development ideas, using time and resources effectively and hence, help us understand better ways to teach. The university must consider the following steps to improve the faculty’s performance:
- Create a Common Language of Instruction.
- Increase Teacher Feedback by Increasing Classroom Visits.
- Connect Student Performance and Growth to Classroom Teacher Performance and Appraisal.
Cost, distance from home, size, extra-curricular, and living accommodations are also factors that you should be revised regularly with the changing scenario.
When you first came to St Mary's Engineering College, what was your vision for the university? Has it evolved, and how far along in implementing that vision are you?
“To nurture the attitude of a leader and a lifelong learner among our students”
With the fast-paced ever-growing markets having a global outlook, the demand for well-trained multi-skilled engineers and entrepreneurs has risen. The competition in the industry has increased and so have the standards that define engineering. Institute of Aeronautical Engineering has always strived to excel in technical and managerial areas. Over the past 10 years, our strong alumni placed in prominent companies have made us proud. Our placements over the years have increased with many eminent companies visiting our campus. We make sure that students do not believe only in the textbook learning approach but also in a holistic approach required to nurture their latest skills. In a short span, we have successfully made a mark in the corporate world. Our students have always set high benchmarks, competing with students all around the globe. In line with the institute vision and mission, we aim at providing excellent academic ambiance, student-centric teaching-learning process, state-of-the-art infrastructure, highly qualified and experienced faculties, and an overall dynamic and disciplined workplace. I feel privileged to invite students seeking quality engineering education, academicians, recruiters, and industry professionals to experience the vibrancy with the budding technocrats of the future, at St. Mary's Engineering College Hyderabad.
Click here St. Mary's Engineering College Placement
What do you see as St Mary's Engineering College’s greatest strengths?
“Being student-centric in every sense”
Any institution’s strength lies in the students and the learned faculty. We have a strict screening process where the members are assessed regularly and their grievances are being addressed. We have been able to create a positive image for the college with our results and top-notch management. The system here is highly-efficient that leaves no stones unturned when it comes to helping students.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see, both for higher education in general and for St Mary's Engineering College specifically?
“Offering competency-based education”
Many public school teachers also cite student attitudes, such as apathy and disrespect for teachers, as a major problem facing schools today. A poll from the National Center for Education Statistics cited that problems like apathy, tardiness, disrespect, and absenteeism posed significant challenges for teachers. The age-old notion of the “one size fits all” teaching method has long outgrown, with the focus moving on to different styles of learners. However, it is still prevalent to some extent. Making the right use of technology, classroom management, updating the curriculum, and creating a global awareness also remain on the list of challenges.
Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
“Retain your individuality throughout your journey”
Your happiness is a reflection of your day-to-day life, the things you're doing, and most importantly, how you are doing them. Put yourself in a place that will help you grow, not suppress your growth. Surround yourself with people who understand, or at least make the effort to understand you. The object of Twain's essay is to point out that children are being reformed to become just like everyone else in society and that their individuality is being suppressed.
What are some plans that you’re currently (or will be) designing for St Mary's Engineering College international affairs and/or students?
“Acting in the university’s best interests”
The Office of International Affairs (OIA) has been established to enhance the quality of education and research and their service to society by creating an ecosystem for learning and world-class research. It helps in developing national and international collaboration and strategic partnerships. The office of International Affairs is headed by the Director (International Affairs). The body coordinates the university's wide-ranging international activities such as
- Recruitment of international students and faculty
- Encouraging study abroad
- Fostering international exchange and collaboration.
OIA strives to enable our students to gain international exposure through semester exchange, study abroad, summer program, etc., help the international students to have successful academic, cultural, and personal experiences while studying at the university and facilitate joint research.