Interview by Pratyasha
Dr. Mahendra Prasad Singh is designated as the Principal of Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur. His education qualifications include a Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), M.Tech and B.E. In all, 14 scholars have successfully completed and seven scholars are pursuing Ph.D. under his guidance.
Being an experiential personality, Dr. Singh has published 35 international, four national journals and has participated in more than 27 International conferences. His career spans over three decades in the field of engineering academics. He is an active member of professional bodies namely Institutions of Engineers, Life Member of ISTE and Life Member of the Indian Institute of Industrial Engineering.
Dr. Singh’s journey at Priyadarshini College
The college was established in the year 1990, and I got associated to it in the year 1991. I joined as an Adhoc lecturer, have worked as an associate professor, a professor and now I am the Principal of this reputed institute. I can proudly say that this entire journey has been and is still is a satisfying one.
As HOD of Mechanical Engineering, the intake has gone up from 60 to 240 now, and the college has grown up to an intake of 780. Also, we have also introduced various PG and Ph.D. Programs as well. Apart from this, we are the first institute to establish a research center at RTM Nagpur University.
Participative leadership philosophy and style
Speaking of leadership, I try to groom the faculties and coordinate with all the colleagues as per the assigned task. I try to form small teams that come together for a particular function and I involve myself for the task as well. This method helps me to understand the roots of the organization’s agenda, and also makes me understand the aptitude of each team member as well.
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Challenges help in understanding and developing an Institute
Serving as the Principal, I have to deal with the students, faculty and the management. I am the main link between them all and have to meet all of their expectations. So, it becomes my responsibility and a challenge for me to resolve the issues/ expectations as per their priority.
Another challenge that I have faced is to recruit experienced and motivated faculty members. They are an integral part of teaching and learning; therefore, they must be appropriately groomed.
An increasing rate of success at Priyadarshini
I believe that the institutes should groom themselves into three directions: Academic; Research and Development and Placement
Talking about Priyadarshini College, the academic performance of our students is excellent. Several students have qualified exams such as GATE and CAT, which shows the academic prosperity of the institution. As far as faculty members are concerned, more than 100 research papers have been published in International and National journals. Apart from this, the college has also been associated with several companies for placement processes.
Curriculum practices – Strong Network and Connection is the key to success
As a Principal, I hold regular meetings with the stakeholders, and industry experts are one of them. With them, we are able to design an industry-oriented curriculum. This helps the faculty members to provide feedback and incorporate industry requirements accordingly. As a result of this approach, we are connected to more than 300 industries to give the required exposure to our students.
Methods opted to build an unbiased and positive attitude among students
One of the foremost challenges that I have faced in this position is to maintain a healthy lifestyle at the campus. For this, we have developed an initiative called “Health and Happiness Club” wherein students are encouraged to undergo the course of Art of Living by Shri Shri Ravishankar. This is a compulsory course for every student in the college.
To improve the productivity of a person, one of the essential factors is Health. For this, the students are encouraged to participate in sports events organized in the college. We also have a lot of cultural clubs to nurture the hobbies of the students, such as Yoga and Art classes.
Priyadarshini provides coherent placement opportunities
To look over the employment needs of the students, the college has a dedicated team of skilled faculty members. They take psychological and aptitude tests of every individual to know their skill set and capabilities. They also examine the CV of every student and also arrange mock GDs to facilitate them with a glimpse of the actual process.
With the help of placement cell, the college organizes events such as “Laksh” and “Campus to Corporate.” Through this, the college has been successful in placing several students with reputed companies.
Methods opted to build a relationship with the students
Being a Principal, I make myself available to everybody in the college. The students and management can contact me either personally or through e-mails. To build an interactive environment, each department has its forums wherein students can interact with me regarding their issues. I have regular interactions with the Dean (Students Welfare) via whom we directly get to know about the ongoing and upcoming scenario happening within the institute. They provide us with regular feedback and concerns of the students. We also take necessary action regarding anything and conducts regular meetings with the Class Representatives, forum bodies, and student council. Doing so, eases the availability, and a systematic approach is encouraged.
An outcome-based approach towards faculty and students
It is essential to remain aware of the needs of both students and faculty members while planning an activity. With proper interaction, a great year can be planned. All academic policies should be well-defined and discussed beforehand with the concerned department. Therefore, clear cut policies are established, taking into consideration every aspect.
We also have implemented the departmental rule book wherein every Head of the Department has to go through the processes which are already established. The actions are, then, taken by them accordingly.
Suggestions to the young students
Students have a tremendous potential to achieve all the goals and dreams they have set. The only thing required to achieve the same is oper guidance and a direction! As a teacher, it is our job to guide them. I believe, a student should always have a plan and design their own goals. They must have a well-defined plan and execute the same in a systematic way.