|SASTRA Chancellor Prof. R Sethuraman and Vice-Chancellor Dr. S Vaidhyasubramaniam.|
Tamil Nadu based deemed-to-be-university, SASTRA, has retained the highest grade of A++ awarded by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in the recently concluded fourth cycle of re-accreditation.
Headquartered near the ancient temple town of Thanjavur, The Shanmuga Arts, Science, Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA), also bettered its score to 3.76/4.00 in this fourth cycle from the 3.54/4 it had scored in the third cycle.
With this, SASTRA, led by its Chancellor Prof. R Sethuraman and Vice-Chancellor Dr. S Vaidhyasubramaniam, has been graded at the topmost position among all higher educational institutions in Tamil Nadu and has become one among the top five national institutions with such a score.
The peer review team of NAAC, which had visited the university’s primary campus at the laid-back town of Thirumalaisamudhram, recently, appreciated SASTRA’s research and social outreach activities apart from its modern infrastructure and proactive management style before arriving at this final score. With this latest re-accreditation, SASTRA will also remain as a Category 1 University for the next seven years.
After receiving the coveted re-accreditation at the nationally topmost level, Vice-Chancellor Dr. S Vaidhyasubramaniam was thankful to the Central and State governments, the entire SASTRA family of faculty, students & parents, and all other stakeholders for their continuous support and encouragement.
It is no wonder really that SASTRA has been steadily moving up in such accreditations, rankings, placements and all such metrics. The deemed university is noted for its proactive stance when it comes to furthering its academic and research standards, which has come to inspire generations of students.
SASTRA’s practice of giving Distinguished Alumnus Awards is very telling in this regard. In its latest round, four former students were selected as SASTRA Distinguished Alumnus. The university has a thriving SASTRA Alumni Association, which is now headed by SV Ramanan, Secretary, who is working as CEO (India & South Asia) of financial software major Intellect Design Arena. Himself a SASTRA Distinguished Alumnus, it was he who gave away this year’s awards.
The latest winners are, Manoj Varghese (of 1994 Mechanical Engineering batch), who is now Chief Platform Head - Mahindra & Mahindra; Prof. S Kalyankumar and Prof. K. Sundarajan (of 1998 ME batch), who are now professors of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alabama, USA; and C Vasudevan, (of 2007 Biotech batch), who is now a noted entrepreneur having co-founded the B2B startup, Ninjacart, which is India's largest fresh produce supply chain company, backed by Walmart, Flipkart, Tiger Global and others, and almost a unicorn now.
How do SASTRA students go on to be such high achievers? Much credit goes to the high quality faculty who have been handpicked by Chancellor Prof. R Sethuraman and Vice-Chancellor Dr. S Vaidhyasubramaniam. There are examples galore of such inspiring faculty in the rolls of SASTRA now, with a recent example being Prof. S. Swaminathan who was recently awarded the prestigious Prof. CNR Rao Bengaluru India Nano Science Award at the 12th Bengaluru India Nano, India’s flagship Nanotech Event.
Another SASTRA faculty who shot into limelight recently was Senior Assistant Prof. James A Baskaradas, of the School of Electrical & Electronics Engineering, whose innovative idea on the design of intercept receiver for electronic support systems won the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) Innovation Award contest - Dare to Dream 2.0. The idea conceived by Prof. James will be of much use to the armed forces in surveillance support, and his innovation is now under active consideration of the Technological Development Fund Scheme for transforming the idea into a prototype.
Apart from selecting, grooming and facilitating such stellar faculty, SASTRA takes immense efforts to forge the right kind of industry tie-ups. Two recent examples of such tie-ups were with Singapore based Cantier Systems and Tata Electronics. The first partnership has resulted in the setting up of the SASTRA - Cantier Centre of Excellence in the campus that will give students a headstart in next generation manufacturing technologies like Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Automation etc.
Under the tie-up with Tata Electronics, SASTRA students admitted to the two-year MTech degree in Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) Design will complete one year of the course at SASTRA campus in Thanjavur, and the second year in either Asia University or Yuan Ze University in Taiwan. The second-year curriculum will include practical experience in major lab facilities, and a six-month industry internship in Taiwan's advanced semiconductor manufacturing industry. Tata Electronics will help SASTRA to create the course curriculum and will also provide financial support for overseas education and training of these students.
With such world-class initiatives, however, it is easy for any university’s faculty and students to lose touch with the ground realities in India. But such things don’t happen at SASTRA, as the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor are very particular that the university should do more than its reasonable role in supporting the community around it.
Recently the university delivered free medical consultation at a camp organised in memory of the Founder Chancellor of the SASTRA University, S. Ramachandran at Thanjavur and Kumbakonam. An excellent medical team led by the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Ramachandra Medical University, Chennai, Dr. JSN Moorthy provided medical advice to the patients suffering from cardiac, neurology and ENT related problems at the camps. People from economically weaker sections in the Thanjavur district requiring surgery will be identified and the cost of surgery will be sponsored by the University.
In another major outreach to the community around it, 75 schools in Tamil Nadu have been provided with Virtual Reality (VR) facilities by Sastra University to promote digital education and interactive learning in the state. This will provide students at these 75 schools an immersive & experiential learning experience. This announcement was made as part of the National Science Day Awards presentation function organized by SASTRA.
Explaining this contribution from SASTRA to the greater cause of nation building and education, Vice-Chancellor Dr. S Vaidhyasubramaniam, said, “The VR facility each costing about Rs. 2 Lakhs at these 75 schools shall be loaded with pre-developed subject matter content that shall provide students creative pedagogical tools to appreciate science concepts & improve their learning outcome.”
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