Hello friends! First of all, I wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2020. At the start of this new decade, I was planning to take you on a small journey. It would involve some of the milestones that IIT Gandhinagar successfully and proudly crossed in 2019.
Let us begin with the latest annual rankings in different areas. According to the 2020 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, the Institute ranked 7th in the country and among the top 600 institutions across the globe. IITGN constantly strives towards being a zero-discharge green campus and was ranked 4th at the Swachhata Ranking Awards 2019, in the category: residential university – All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Another achievement was the five-star rating in the Eat Right Campus audit. Ensuring food safety and promoting healthy eating, IITGN became India’s first educational Institute to receive this rating from FSSAI.
Moving towards the shifts in pedagogy at the Institute, the academic programmes witnessed several significant advancements in the past year. The learning-by-doing paradigm of teaching strengthened the academic backbone of IITGN through numerous activities – the most recent example being the establishment of Maker Bhavan. A three-year project (Leadership Development Initiative), aimed at developing strong leadership skills and potential among students, started in August 2019. Since then, it has led to the conduction of several workshops, talks, and sessions to advance different aspects of becoming a lasting leader in the student community. On a different yet related front, IITGN wishes to enhance the writing skills of its students, and the Writing Studio is actively supporting them in this direction. A compulsory course on writing for all the postgraduate students recently started, and a certificate-based programme on scientific writing is on its way to us!
In terms of opportunities and partnerships, fundraising efforts have been exceptionally successful with several new chairs instituted in 2019 through generous support from the well-wishers of the Institute. Also, six alumni have set up six scholarships of one lakh per year to support and encourage the undergraduate students in their endeavours. Another point worth mentioning is the generous contribution of Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan (co-founder of Infosys) to support studies on the History of Mathematics in India.
Early 2019 saw the launch of the Dr. Kiran C Patel Centre for Sustainable Development. The primary purpose of this Centre is to become the principal resource hub for sustainable development in the country. Talking about the infrastructural developments, the second phase of construction is progressing well. All the existing hostels have centralized air-conditioning, and the laboratories possess cutting edge R&D architecture.
Through its community outreach and social impact programs, the Institute is committed to the upliftment of neighbouring communities. NEEV continues to leverage IITGN’s resources by offering comprehensive training to facilitate livelihood-related opportunities for village women and people. The student community contributes towards the welfare of underprivileged children through Nyasa. The Centre for Creative Learning (CCL) is proactively encouraging experiential education in the educational institutes. It was awarded the first prize at the Vibrant Gujarat STEM conference, by the Union Minister of Education. More than 6,000 school teachers and engineering college professors and over 50,000 students from all over India have benefitted through its novel teaching pedagogies.
Chalking out the plan for the next five years, IIT Gandhinagar wants to focus on four critical aspects – expansion, campus development, alumni engagement, and industrial partnerships. The first is to cross the 2,500 student-strength mark, witness increased graduation rates, achieve an increased number of post-doctoral researchers, and welcome more non-degree students, and international students. The second involves, better integration of infrastructure with human use and soft dimensions, and in the process, create and develop a robust campus management system across users and managers. The third is about building an influential culture of alumni engagement. In 2019, about 27% of the alumni made donations to the Institute. The next target is to raise this number to 40%. The fourth and last is the advancement of the Research Park, which will deepen the engagement of faculty and students with the industry and enable them to carry out impactful research.
In the words of Prof. Sudhir K. Jain (Director, IITGN), “I am looking forward to working with the IITGN fraternity on the next phase of our evolution as an institute of national and global reputation. IITGN’s success so far is a tribute to the collaborative work of its dedicated faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. I am excited about our future as we collectively push the envelope to raise our beloved Institute to ever greater heights.”