– Article by Sheetal Sohoni.
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing” -Albert Schweitzer
I had some wonderful memories from my visit to K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering’s (KJSCE) campus in December 2018. The fresh raw energy of engineering students and their mentors is palpable from the gate of the institutions. The institute is located in a suburb of Mumbai called Vidyavihar, in Maharashtra. KJSCE has capitalized on its prime location by attracting brilliant minds, both in terms of students and faculty members. The institute was established in 1983 by Padma Bhushan Shri Karamshibhai Jethabhai Somaiya and received autonomous status in 2014. The institute ranks at 182 in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering became a consortium member institution of Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) in 2017, and has been actively involved in various IUCEE ini- tiatives over the years. Two of the faculty members of K. J. Somaiya, Mrs. Arati Phadke and Mrs. Sangeeta Kulkarni are Associate Editors of IUCEE’s Journal of Engineering Education and Transformations (JEET).
KJSCE has realized the importance of continuous improvement and adaptation to retain its high standing in this ever-changing world. The institute has adopted multiple changes in both their curricula and day to day to running. Some of the initiatives taken by the institution are examination reforms, reforms to the process of hiring new faculty members, constructing amenities to accommodate special needs and differently-abled students, and giving a voice to the LGBTQ community. These initiatives not only set KJSCE apart from its peer institutions but can also be used as an example for bringing on changes at other institutions.
For any organization to flourish and develop, it needs vision, passion, perseverance, and patience from its top leaders. One such able leader at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering is its Principal, Dr. Shubha Pandit. She is a dynamic lady and has been a pioneer in bringing on lots of changes at the institution. One thing we were amazed to observe was that Dr. Pandit was able to address any student that visited her office by their name, without them having to introduce themselves. This is a big feat considering there are around 2000 plus students, and every year new students become part of the KJSCE family. She is approachable, and gives a patient ear to all the students. Shubha is a strong proponent of institutional democracy and gives an equal platform to all the stakeholders. During our visit, we had a first-hand experience of observing her interaction with her students and faculty members. No wonder, KJSCE students and faculty members have only good things to say about her.
K.J Somaiya College of Engineering has adopted a curriculum which focuses on providing students practical education rather than focusing on just the theoretical aspects. Students at KJSCE get a chance to select electives, which are taught by industry experts. Faculty members are
There is also a provision of additional credits, which help students to design their own degree to some extent. Students can also audit courses to get an idea about different fields. Apart from this, students are encouraged to take courses in creative fields like photography, painting, and sketching. This type of education helps in developing a well-rounded personality.
If you want to convey your message effectively, you need to speak the language of your audience. Today’s students are quite different from their predecessors, not only in terms of learning methods, but also in terms of accessibility of information. Realizing this aspect of student learning, KJSCE is developing their own learning management system. The institute also involves their alums to teach courses and to connect with its students. On being asked about her experience at the institution, Sakirthana, a third year Electronic and Telecommunication student said that at the institution she not only got a chance to learn the theoretical aspects of the process of design, but she also was able to apply it in a live project. She is part of a departmental project mentored by head of the department. Mrs. Arati Phadke, Mrs. Sangeeta Kulkarni, and another faculty member, Mrs. Rachana Desai reinforced the importance of project-based learning, inter and intra disciplinary curriculum, and inculcating professional skills among students through the curriculum. On being asked about their experience with IUCEE’s IIEECP certification program, they shared similar views. According to them, even though IIEECP is a bit expensive, it is easy to adapt, intuitive, and more tuned with research in engineering education than other available programs.
K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering is an exemplary institution for all academic institutions that want to bring in changes in terms of curriculum development, conducting examinations, faculty hiring process, accessibility reforms (for special need and economically weaker students), and approachability and openness for the LGBTQ community. IUCEE team extends its best wishes, and are very happy to have KJSCE as a contributing partner. For more information please visit KJSCE website at www.kjsce.somaiya.edu