Once you have the vision, do what you want, says IIT Hyderabad Director
Abhay Anand, 11 May 2016, #IIT Hyderabad
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Careers360 interviews Prof. U.B.Desai, Director of IIT Hyderabad, who shares how the fledgling institution has been able to stand out from the crowd. He talks on unique academic practices carries on the new IIT and the problem of faculty shortage. The IIT Hyderabad Director shares his views on importance of industry-academic linkage.

Read the interview of IIT Hyderabad Director to know what he says on Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship and its objective.

Careers360: How come IIT Hyderabad has done better than all the other new IITs?
Prof. Desai: We are located in Hyderabad. That might have helped us; we are also very aggressive in recruiting new faculties and starting new programmes. I think it was more in terms of having a vision and going after it 24*7. Our vision was that we wanted to have PhD students, wanted to have a strong research culture at the same time have a strong and innovative undergraduate programme. The philosophy is that once you have the vision do what you want and work hard for it, you will get the desired result.    

Careers360: Could you share some of the unique academic practices being followed at your institute?
Prof. Desai
: There are several of them. One of the important things that we have done is that we started with fractional credit courses. The idea was that when people come from industry and if they want to teach at an IIT they cannot teach a course that requires 42 hours and we decided to segment these courses into smaller chunks like one credit of 14 lecture hours. So we modularized the whole thing and we had people like former President Dr APJ Kalam coming and teaching at our institute. We also introduced a programme that would induce undergraduate students to undertake research.

Careers360: IIT Hyderabad has the least faculty shortage. How do you attract good quality faculty?
Prof. Desai: We have been very aggressive in recruiting people; we keep on having selection committee meeting. By and large most IITs have one selection committee meeting but in our case we have at least two selection committee meetings per department so it is more like you go aggressively after people and you would get some of the good quality faculty. We are very-very selective like if 100 people apply, in the best possible case three will get selected.

Prof. U B DesaiProf. U B Desai,
IIT Hyderabad

When the whole world around us is changing and way students are approaching things we cannot have academic programmes that were rigid the way as it was in the ’60s and ’70s because these are the kids who are growing up in 2015.

Careers360: How important is industry academia linkage?
Prof. Desai: It is very important, in today’s time. It is very crucial to create industry-academia linkage and it is important for institutions to have industry faculty come and teach as they will teach with industry perspective and more so we will have an industry person who starts a dialogue with us. We need to interact with each other a lot more so that we understand each other a lot more and it would help both sides to understand their strengths and weaknesses.     

Careers360: What was the objective behind starting the Center for Healthcare Entrepreneurship?
Prof. Desai: The idea came from couple of alumni and it focuses on ‘Make in India’ and ‘Start up India’ for the healthcare sector; the alumni are from IIT Bombay. We decided to have fellowship certification programme of one-year, which will be very intense; and after that, because the funding that is coming from alumni will be used to incubate companies in healthcare from what they have learnt, what they would learn will not be conventional courses, they will also be taught by people from industry and then they would spend some time in the hospitals to get something like clinical immersion. Initially we would select only ten candidates; our intention is to go slow, and this is somewhat akin to the Stanford Bio Design progamme (for developing leaders in biotechnlogy) that eventually leads to start-ups. 

Stay tuned to engineering.careers360.com for more news and feature articles on IIT Hyderabad

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