A Talk with the Director: Part One4 min read
Dr. Gopalakrishna Prabhu joined Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) as a lecturer in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering in 1989 before going on to serve Manipal University (MU) in various capacities.
With an M.Tech from MIT and a PhD from Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Dr. Prabhu was a proficient academician. However, it is his refreshingly open engagement with students and his innovative ideas that has won the student community of Manipal over in his short tenure as director of MIT.
With the institute closing in on its 60th anniversary, the ‘Student’s Director’ sat down with The Manipal Journal for an exclusive interview. Here is what he had to say.
What changes can we expect in Manipal this semester?
As for academics and the course module, we’ve laid an option of open electives wherein students get a vast option of elective subjects to choose from and receive equal credits for the same. By doing so, it becomes easy for students to discover their interests and know their calling for subjects other than engineering and also boosts slow learners a great deal.
Activities like Formula Manipal or any other innovative and passion driven tasks which were earlier not given credits would be acknowledged and counted upon.
The “Walk with Director” initiative to welcome the freshman students of MIT was met with an overwhelming response. What were your thoughts on that?
Firstly, I would like to say that it was the brainchild of my colleague, Balakrishna S Maddodi, and it boosted a mutual interaction not just between the students but also the parents. I wouldn’t measure the success of the initiative by the huge turnout, but by the interaction all the participants had. I will also hold such walks every Sunday, considering the senior students too want a similar session.
Manipal University has been accredited with an ‘A’ certificate from NAAC furthering its reputation in the field of higher education. Is the University looking to expand even further now?
It’s not the first time that MU has been accredited, but it’s a re-accreditation. Lately, there has a been a mandate by Ministry of Human Resources and Development for all deemed universities to be accredited by NAAC whereas the government institutions don’t have to follow suit. Now that we’ve gained the highest “A” grade accreditation, we’re planning on expanding our institutions nationally and worldwide with invitations from Jamshedpur, Sri Lanka etc.
With the new food court being constructed near the 16th block, a major part of the lush serene greenery would be eradicated, however, it would also ease the students’ access to the food court. Isn’t Manipal slowly transforming into an urban jungle?
No, definitely not. The maintenance of the green patch is only suitable for grass to grow, else it is nearly impossible for us to grow trees keeping in mind of the soft land. Alternatively, we’re also planning to propose an open air theatre near the new food court which will be accessible to all the students of the university.
The news of Rajeev Suri visiting Manipal for the Convocation programme has caused a lot of excitement within the student community. Can you tell us how the administration made it happen?
With the 60th anniversary of MIT in 2017, we have planned various breakthrough initiatives in the campus. Inviting Rajiv Suri, CEO Nokia, was one amongst them and we also plan to invite Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft Corp sometime in the near future during our annual alumni meet.
You have been informatively active on social media and always provide insights about the happenings in Manipal often encouraging students for their work. How does it feel to interact with them on a personal front?
Until becoming the director, I wasn’t very tech savvy. Of late, I’ve realised that using social media to propagate new ideas and interact with my students and fellow colleagues has become way efficient and effective. It also encourages students to opine about the ongoing issues in Manipal and my effectiveness to resolve it at its earliest.
The rules and regulations set by the university for boys and girls differ a lot, considering the hostel permission times. What can be done to provide equality for all?
The hostel perm times are being stabilised for both boys and girls, and would soon be equal for both.
Since the time of interview, hostel rules have been updated to be equal for both boys and girls.
Edited by Anirban Paul