As part of its Staff Enrichment Programme, the Department of English of St Teresa’s college organized a one day National Seminar on Autonomy: Prospects and Challenges on 20 October 2015 at the college Seminar Hall. The resource person for the seminar was Dr Kalyani Mathivanan, Former Vice- Chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University. Also present on the dias were Dr Sajimole Agustine, Principal of the college and Dr Tessy Anthony C., Head of the Department of English.
The first session commenced at 9.45 am after prayer. Dr Tessy Anthony C. who welcomed the gathering highlighted the significance of the seminar in light of the fact that St Teresa’s College had become an autonomous institution only recently. She also introduced the resource person Dr Kalyani Mathivanan, the first lady Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University to the gathering. The welcome address was followed by the lighting of the ceremonial lamp. The principal of the College Dr Sajimol Augustine delivered the Presidential address. She spoke on the topical relevance of the seminar and congratulated the department on taking up such an initiative. The key note address was rendered by Dr Kalyani Mathivanan who was all praise for the remarkable achievements of the college over the years including the commendable A grade NAAC accreditation. She observed that although autonomy entailed academic freedom, it also required a lot of hard work and as a women’s institution the college was better poised to lead the way.She stated that change is the only constant in life and our success depended on how we adopt to it.The academic independence given to the institution can be fully utilized to update , revise and keep abreast of developments by incorporating and revising the syllabus as and when needed, contrary to waiting for the University to revise the same after the stipulated years . Flexibility in schedules should ensure implementation within realistic sessions. The college should not compromise on the quality of faculty and infrastructure in their attempt to implement changes in examinations and syllabi . Inspiration can be drawn from proven world class autonomous institutes like IIT, NIT, IIMS etc.
The knowledgeable student generation of today are an asset to the society and should be given a chance to get involved in the process, especially in the preparation of the syllabi. Experienced teachers who have proved their academic dedication should also be a part of the committee to implement positive changes in the academic scenario.
The second session of the seminar was an interactive one during which the faculty and students posed several questions to the resource person. When the students and the faculty expressed their apprehensions about autonomy especially regarding the fact that the institution still has to adhere to the rules of the university, Dr Kalyani urged them to consider the best from the past, see what is needed in the present and have a vision for the future. Regarding the fact that there is a time constraint for implementing the programmes, Dr Kalyani observed that it all depended on effective planning and streamlining of activities with utmost sincerity and passion. The higher the aspirations the higher will be the responsibilities. Women in power could be targeted and what was important was the support from fellow women. Cooperation from all sections to implement change is vital . The institution should be above everything. She also stressed that people may come and go but the dignity of an academic institution should be preserved under all circumstances.
The seminar came to a close with the vote of thanks proposed by Ms. Preeti Kumar of the department.