Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Professor Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam is the Vice Chancellor of Saveetha Amaravati University. He did his B.Tech from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati AP in 1998 and M.E from BITS Pilani in 1999. He also holds his Ph.D. in Computer Vision and Image Processing from the prestigious Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS Pilani) under the esteemed guidance of Prof. R K Mittal, Director, BITS –Pilani, Dubai in 2006.
Prof. Rajesh Siddavatam is the recipient of prestigious IEEE Senior Member AWARD in 2012 and ACM Senior Member AWARD in 2015. He has total Academic and Professional Experience of 17 years out of which 10 years with BITS Pilani in various Administrative positions.
Prof. Siddavatam was the Founding General Chair of IEEE ICIIP 2011 and 2013 - IEEE International Conference on Image Information Processing related to Computer Graphics, Computer Vision, and Image Processing. In 2015, Prof. Siddavatam conducted the IEEE International Conference on Computer Graphics, Vision and Information Security as General Chair. He is also the Member of IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee and IAENG. Prof. Siddavatam is currently serving as Reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, Elsevier International Journal of Visual Communication and Image Representation, Elsevier International Journal of Applied Mathematics and Computation, and Program Committee Member of innumerable IEEE and Springer International Journals and Conferences Worldwide.
He has published around 55 International Refereed Papers in reputed International Journals and Conferences and supervised 3 Ph.D. students in the areas of Computer Graphics, Biometrics, Watermarking, Steganography and Image Processing.
Prof. Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam’s experience in the education industry
Education is the most important part of life. Every parent has a dream that their child has to graduate from a top university. Education is given the highest priority, making it the best industry to work in. I have worked in BITS Pilani for 10 years, I have done 3 degrees from BITS – 2 M.Tech and 1 Ph.D., BITS is my role model. I want to make Saveetha Amaravati University exactly like BITS.
Significant challenges faced by Prof. Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam as the Vice Chancellor of Saveetha Amaravati University
Saveetha Amaravati being a new university under Andhra Pradesh private universities, getting the act, the statutes of the university and land acquisition are a few challenges I have faced. I consider, getting about 166 acres of land for Saveetha Amaravati University Government of Andhra Pradesh through G.O is my greatest achievement.
Every single day is very challenging, I’m involved in meetings with a lot of Sr. IAS officers, Secretaries. Chief Minister, Mr. Nara Chandra Babu Naidu is wishing to make Saveetha Amaravati University one of the best in the country. I’m proud to be acting as a bridge between Govt. of AP and Saveetha Amaravati University.
Curriculum at Saveetha Amaravati University
Saveetha Amaravati University is a deemed university. We are not affiliated with any Government University. Hence, we have our own Academic Council, the board of studies. We strictly follow parameters of UGC. We don’t believe in monotonous classroom teaching. We are starting off with paramedical courses - bachelor of Physiotherapy, Allied sciences. Our program is more like an interactive discussion rather than a classroom. For example, one anatomy lecture at Saveetha contains 6 intervals, a 20 min discussion followed by a 20 min practice. Then we proceed to the next topic giving them a hands-on experience. Be it Engineering, Medical or Law, quality of both student and faculty is important, our university’s Teaching Learning Process is positively oriented towards student’s overall development.
Goals in mind for Saveetha Amaravati University for the next few years
In my three-year tenure as a Vice-Chancellor, I will initiate productive step by step procedures to make Saveetha Amaravathi University no 1 in India, setting a goal to make it a No.1 university in the world.
Quality of education in Saveetha Amaravati University
I believe in Teaching Learning process and building a perfect impeccable system as system drives process and process gives us end- results.
School culture at Saveetha Amaravati University
At Saveetha Amaravati University positive culture is already built. We have about 50 students registered for ParaMedical - Allied sciences, and 50 students for Bachelor of Physiotherapy (B.Pt). We can accommodate about 150 more students into the different programs we offer. Currently, we are planning on building the hospital, followed by college. Culture is automatically established by sticking on to Phase wise process and discipline. I handled the whole PR in BITS, also was in-charge of the whole admission procedure through BITSAT. Saveetha University has set plans of having MBBS, Dental Sciences, Engineering, Management and Law in its premises.
Prof. Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam’s relationship with the students
The university timings are from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. I make myself available to interact with students every day at around 4 pm without fail, trying to understand their requirements and problems if any.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Saveetha Amaravati University
We are not into a regular form of engineering, I consider Paramedical and Allied Sciences very special niche courses. We are starting a Physiotherapy clinic for general public creating direct opportunities to students. We are setting up Operation theatre, diagnosis, critical care, etc., and have a wide range of courses like Anatomy, surgery, physical diagnosis, family medicine, pediatrics, etc.
Prof. Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
My Profile speaks my leadership style:
I have started my career with BITS in 1998, worked there for almost 10.5 years looking after the entire admission procedure, designed BITSAT exam, I was a member in the founding committee of BITS – Hyderabad, moved to Hyderabad for the same from Inception in 2006 to Completion in 2008.
I worked at JP University during 2009 - 2013 as a Director of Image Information Process and also a professor. In a span of 5 years, I have the major role in establishing MOU with foreign universities. I along with my research team have worked on Computer graphics, Vision and Image processing, have done projects with foreign universities for cancer detection on indications of cancer, symptoms. I gave first conference in IEEE ICIIT, followed by conferences in 2011, 2013. I have worked with professors from the University of Maryland, University of Edinburgh and Dr. Gaurav Sharma from New York. I strongly believe that University is for research and college is for teaching.
I moved to KIIT University in 2013, as a Central Dean for Quality Assurance for all the 17 schools of KIIT University Bhubaneswar, I used to report directly to Dr. Achyutha Samantha- founder and chancellor of KIIT. I have a major role in the Accreditation process and in streamlining the entire Ph.D. programs of the university, first online feedback system was established by me. Internal Quality Assurance cell IQAC, was also strengthened.
I moved to Adamas university, Kolkata in 2015 as Pro-Chancellor and was responsible for establishing all the systems there.
Since 2017, I’m the Vice Chancellor of Saveetha University and I have set myself goals to sign MOU with Foreign Universities for providing better research facilities to students of Saveetha University.
Changes in the education system of India that Prof. Dr. Rajesh Siddavatam would like to make
Many changes are required, but this is a government thing. We need at least one research driven Government University, with proper govt. reforms. In top 100 universities for technical studies and engineering, there is no Indian university. That’s the reason we need to focus on research. Even established corporates can think about establishing a top research-driven university. At Adamas, we are trying to build a world-class research-driven university, but it will take time.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
I believe that youth should have a concrete understanding rather than an abstract understanding regarding what they would like to become in future. One should have dedication and perseverance to achieve. I want them to make choices by taking time to understand about any particular course which will lead to automatic excellence. So, follow your dreams, go with your instincts.
First, you should be ethical, disciplined, dedicated and thorough professional, only then you succeed in life.