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Silicon Valley Indian Engineering Education Forum 2018

– Article by Dr. Claire Komives.

Silicon Valley Indian Engineering Education Forum, May 19th 2018, San Jose State University Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering.

While in the US it is understood that industry professionals play a significant role in shaping engineering programs at universities, industry participation in Indian colleges is not yet part of the culture, especially for colleges that are in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. To this end, we hosted the Forum in Silicon Valley where Indian engineers, many of them successful entrepreneurs, reside and work.

Dean Sheryl Ehrman of SJSU College of Engineering opened the day with a brief welcome followed by a summary of IUCEE by Krishna Vedula, Executive Director of IUCEE. The key take-home message was that US resident Indian professionals can help Indian colleges by giving one webinar a year, delivering a short course or visiting a college when they visit home.

Following Prof. Vedula, Vice Chancellor Ashok Shettar, KLE Technical University – Hubballi, described the process of evolving from an affiliated Tier 2 college to an autonomous college to a deemed university. The three pillars of their transformation were to 1) build a distinctive educational experience for the students, 2) transform their leadership and governance, and 3) play a generative role in regional development. After describing dramatic changes in their educational platforms that would foster creativity and innovation by their students and strategies to transform their governance and leadership, he described how, as an autonomous institution they were able to incorporate an entrepreneurship program into their college starting from the Freshman year and developing through the course of their curriculum. Since they began this effort in 2008, over 40 companies have been incubated in Hubballi enabling over 550 jobs in their city.

IUCEE is eager to enable such programs in every Tier 2 AGK Karunarakan, CEO of MulticoreWare spoke next, presenting a convincing story of how entrepreneurship can significantly improve both the economy in India as well as opportunities for engineering graduates to apply their creativity and initiative for the betterment of society and their families. MulticoreWare has hired many engineering graduates from Indian colleges and their team is eager to be more involved in assisting Indian colleges to understand the needs of industry with regards to the skill set of graduating engineers.

Following AGK, Vivek Wadhwa delivered a presentation on Exponential Innovation. Professor Wadhwa is a Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie AGK Karunakaran delivering keynote at SVIEEF 

Mellon University in Silicon Valley and is well known as a indicated columnist for the Washington Post and author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future. He recently won the Silicon Valley Forum’s 2018 Visionary Award. He demonstrated how new technologies have improved product development from robots to medical treatments at an exponential rate and we are at the cusp of significant advancements in a number of fields. His presentation will be an upcoming Virtual Academy webinar for Indian faculty who are members of the IUCEE consortium.

Following Professor Wadhwa’s presentation, the attendees participated in three breakout sessions. The sessions were Entrepreneurship for Indian Colleges, Emerging Technologies and Executive Roundtable: the skillset of the graduating engineer and how we can improve and assess. The Emerging Technologies session was moderated by Preethy Padmanabhan, Director, Business Strategy, Operations, Head of Vertical Marketing at Nutanix in San Jose, Ca. The Executive Roundtable was led by AGK Karunakaran and the Entrepreneurship session was moderated by Sandeep Shroff, CEO of MyStartupCFO in California. Following the breakout sessions was a working lunch with the moderators sharing with the full group the principal discussions from the breakout sessions. These sessions set a path for future assistance by Silicon Valley professionals to assist Indian engineering colleges.

The IUCEE was the principle sponsor of the SVIEEF with the aim of connecting with Silicon Valley Indian professionals. The event was co-sponsored by the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at SJSU through the assistance of Dean Sheryl Ehrman, The SJSU College of International and Extended Studies also co-sponsored the event. The Silicon Valley Indian Professionals Association (SIPA) assisted, through the efforts of Alok Garg, SIPA Marketing Manager, to market the Forum. SIPA is a professional association comprising a network of over 4000 professionals working in Silicon Valley industries. Special thanks also to AGK Karunakaran, board member of The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE Silicon Valley) for helping to plan the event and introducing many new professionals to IUCEE.