Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Rajashree Pandiyan is working as the Assistant Professor of English & Coordinator of PEP (Personality Enhancement Program) at IFIM College, Bangalore. She did her graduation in BA (Honours) English Literature degree from Bharathidasan University with specialization in Communicative English. At the Master’s level, she has done MA., Mass Communication and Journalism from Alagappa University. She’s also a Ph.D. in English Literature from Periyar Manniammai University. Dr. Pandiyan’s areas of interests in Research are British Literature, English Language, Linguistics and Semiotics. She has published papers in international Journals, delivered guest lecture in various universities and colleges.
Teaching is her passion and she gets immense satisfaction from the joy of imparting knowledge. She thinks that “there is no darkness only ignorance”. Working as the HOD of English at St. Francis de Sales College, Bangalore has provided her the prospect to instill interest in students for English literature and language. It has also given her the opportunity to groom and train youngsters to face the corporate world with confidence. Literature and Linguistics has always been her favorite subjects. This interest helped her enjoy working on the doctoral thesis on a semiotic analysis of Wuthering Heights. The profound joy is also acquired in teaching the same. As a faculty of PEP, IFIM It is exciting and enriching experience.
Dr. Pandiyan’s past experience as the HOD and her take on what makes the education sector the best to work in
I headed the Department of English for more than five years and the experience gave me the opportunity to hone my leadership skills. My primary focus as a HOD was to instill interest in students for literature because I strongly believe that literature serves as a gateway to learning of the past and expands the knowledge and understanding of the world.
Working in the education sector as teaching faculty directly impacts the future of a generation and we get an opportunity to implant knowledge in young minds. We develop a close relationship with students and academic community that helps to inspire and get inspired.
Dr. Pandiyan’s philosophy of leadership and her leadership style
I believe in a leadership style where courage and humility go hand in hand. Great listeners are great learners and such leaders are constantly self-evaluating which eliminates the risk of being rigid.
Being the coordinator of PEP, Dr. Pandiyan’s view at the growth of students through placement opportunities at IFIM College
We strive to provide corporate exposure to students which inspire them to dream big. Our mission focuses on ‘Continuous Employability’ and we motivate every student to make use of the ample placement opportunities provided. Our students’ minds are tuned from Day 1 towards ‘corporate readiness.’ As the Coordinator of (PEP) Personality Enhancement Program, I see potential in undergrads to make the best of the tremendous placement opportunities on the campus. The PEP has a well-designed curriculum that focuses on both lifestyle and life skill enhancement. Preparing and facing an interview is a great learning experience for every individual and such an exposure while at graduation helps youngsters to identify and improve their capabilities.
Dr. Pandiyan on how her area of research in English literature helps the students of management face the corporate world
My doctoral research in the area of semiotics holds significance in all walks of life especially in fields like marketing and management. Semiotics is the key to unlock the mysteries of the world. I continue to work on my area of research by applying semiotics to literature and various other disciplines. Somewhere along the line, the world has come to think that literature is not significant anymore. Literature teaches us that imperfection is not always bad and that normal can be boring which I think is now the order of the day.
Management students are constantly told about the importance of being different. A student of literature or humanities for that matter will understand that nothing is just black or white and that the grey area in between is the most important. We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity. My research and knowledge of literature help to transcend this knowledge of critically analyzing a situation and thereby develop the ability to make the right decisions.
Ideal school environment for Dr. Pandiyan
An ideal school environment is where both students and teachers have a thirst for knowledge. It is a continuous process and when one stops learning, he stops growing which is perilous. I am reminded of Tennyson’s poem, ‘A little learning is a dangerous thing’.
Top qualities that an aspiring Journalist must possess
There is a stigma in society that implies one who is more inclined toward science and math will somehow be more successful in life. Times have changed and as you state, a large population of students is inclined towards Journalism and other creative fields of study which is a welcome change. The truth of the matter is that it is a highly competitive field and focusing on the prescribed curriculum alone will not be enough. A student of Journalism has to keep himself updated and we at IFIM provide ample industry exposure by taking them on media tours and inviting senior journalists and media persons to the campus to interact with our students.
Curriculum of IFIM College
IFIM College is affiliated to Bangalore University and the biggest challenge we face is to introduce programs like PEP along with the prescribed curriculum. We have initiated programs like PEP & SIP that will help the overall development of our students wherein we ensure that they are both academically and ethically ready for industry. We intend to overcome the challenge by making our students understand the importance of such programs and fortunately they are responding positively. I think this is the advantage of UG and PG students studying in the same campus which helps the undergrads draw inspiration from their seniors. The buzzing activities throughout the year at IFIM Campus keep our spirits high.
Dr. Pandiyan’s relation with the students and availability for them
As a faculty of PEP, Journalism and English, I am fortunate to get the opportunity to interact with all the students of IFIM College. I enjoy interacting with my students virtually and online. Students are free to meet me anytime at my office. I also use email groups and Facebook at work as forums to interact.
Suggestions for the current youth and aspiring students
I fear that easy access to ‘unlimited knowledge’ has become a threat to the practice of learning. Though it is a huge advantage that everyone has access to information, the current generation can easily cease to learn. Learning from practice facilitates the process of mastering a skill or talent. The youngsters of today do not accept failure easily so I see a positive side to it. I believe that their urge to excel will compel them to learn.
Goals in mind for IFIM College
As a faculty, my focus is on motivating my students to make the best out of every opportunity that comes their way and have a humanistic approach to life. If all of us at IFIM are committed to our mission of ‘nurturing holistic, socially responsible and continuously employable professionals’, I think we can be proud of the kind of individuals we present to society.