A stimulating workshop was held at the newly formed sprawling Oakbrook School of Business, Adalaj on the topic “Inculcating research for enhancement of Engineering Undergraduate teaching”, which remarked the presence of dignitaries from the field of engineering namely Dr. C Chatterjee, Director (Centre of Entrepreneurship Development), Dr P. A Joshi Dean and Professor (Faculty of Technology, Dharmsinh Desai University, Nadiad), Dr. K.M. Srivastava Professor(Mechanical Engineering, Indus University), Dr. D.M. Kale former Director General, ONGC (Energy Centre).
The workshop had a huge presence of young professors from the leading engineering colleges across the state. The honorable speakers inspired the participants with their views on the current scenario of engineering education in the country and the importance of Research at undergraduate level with their wise words and precisely prepared slides. The speakers encouraged the participants to foster the curiosity levels in engineering students and prepare them to think and come with novel ideas.
The workshop started with a cheerful speech from Dr. Chatterjee by enlightening the participants about the govt. policies and readiness of Govt. to fund various research processes. Dr. Chatterjee has over 16 years of experience in various capacities in the field of Administration, Project, Training Production, R& D, Quality & Process control and Management Information System in industries and Policy formulation for the Government. Currently, he is working as Director, The Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) Govt. of Gujarat, with a responsibility of Skill & Entrepreneurship from its 5 Regional centers across the state besides establishment of over 300 skill development institutes. He also works as Head of Project & Technology Division at iNDEXTb, Govt. of Gujarat for over 20 years.
Dr. Chatterjee said that the one of the main factors that affect research and skill development is lack of training. The individuals do not possess enough talent and their lack of training hampers their path towards success. He said that Indian economy is growing rapidly and it requires a huge number of skilled individuals to foster its growth. He added that the Govt. is providing a stepping stone to talented students by establishing several Centres of Excellence (CoE) across the state. He concluded his speech by saying that the Government is ready to provide funding if there is apt talent to use that funding judiciously.
The second speaker at the workshop was Dr. P.A. Joshi, professor of Chemical Engineering and Dean, Faculty of Technology, Dharmsinh Desai University, Nadiad (Gujarat). He has more than 28 years of UG and PG teaching, research, administrative and consultancy experience and his interests are in the area of energy, environment, fluidization engineering and mathematical modeling. Dr. Joshi was selected from Gujarat for the World Bank’s Capacity Building Program for Environmental Protection. He is also associated State level Environmental Impact Assessment Authority constituted by Ministry of Environment; BEAIL, Ankleshwar by Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India and Technical Committee formed by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB).
Dr. Joshi started his speech by talking about the routine in which engineering college run in our state. He said that the colleges today focus more on completing their syllabus rather than researching. The learning today is majorly textual and students are not encouraged to think out-of-the box. He said that research can be inculcated by continuous practice; he gave the famous example of Wright brothers, who practiced and kept on improving their model of an airplane. He also showcased a presentation which comprised of several facts and figures about the amount and impact of research in engineering colleges of our state. He asked the fellow participants to adopt innovative ways of teaching i.e by developing an interactive environment in the class.
Dr K. M. Srivastava holds a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering with specialization in Turbomachines from IIT Madras and a MBA. He has an enriching experience of more than 40 years in the area of engineering research and design. He has extensively engaged for nearly twenty years in the research & development (on thermal power plants IIT, Madras, NAL, Bengaluru, research engineer (TV/TVLT Dept.) He also carries with him an experience of about 14 years in design & engineering, manufacturing, site-support, customer-interaction, Research and Management of Thermal power stations at BHEL. His passion for R&D and teaching made him join academics, currently; he is associated with Indus University, Ahmedabad.
Dr Srivastava started his speech by defining “Research for the sake of research development & other use”. He stated that in order to inculcate skill based learning, infrastructure is extremely important but, infrastructure is not limited to beautiful classrooms and laboratories. It also means by creating an environment that facilitates learning. The mindsets of the upcoming students need to be improved and should be steered towards research.
He advised the professors to stimulate the students’ thought process & make them think and thereby putting their brains to use. He further said that students should be engaged towards research and share their ideas and get them tested by their peers. He concluded his speech by saying that a teacher must identify good students and nurture them in order to foster research in their respective fields.
Dr. DM Kale is the former Director General of ONGC Energy Centre. He holds a Doctorate in Astrophysics from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He has more than 26 years of experience in Reservoir Management of Oil & Gas fields. He has conceptualized several schemes for enhanced oil recovery and shouldered responsibilities heading Exploration at ONGC. He has advocated the cause of non fossil, renewable energy sources. He has taken initiative in setting up “ONGC Energy Centre” for Research, Development & Demonstration of all Alternate forms of energy. He has won several accolades namely “Peter the Great” by Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
Dr. Kale initiated his speech by stating that Research is simply “Quest for Knowledge”. He further stated that our civilization has sustained and progressed due to our curiosity. He advised the professors to generate and encourage curiosity among students. He then showcased slides which comprised attributes of being a good researcher. Dr. Kale further added that a good researcher need not be a genius, he just needs to have a strong will and be passionate about the field of his/her research. He urged the participants to inculcate innovate methods of teaching, break the rules, change the game and thereby set new benchmarks. He ended his speech by giving the example of Thomas Edison, who invented the bulb. He told the participants that Edison attempted more than 365 times before finally being successful in creating the bulb and asked the young talent to be passionate and hardworking.