Professor Sundararajan Ramachandran
Professor Sundararajan Ramachandran is currently serving as Vice Chancellor at Hindustan University, Chennai. Prior to this he has served as a Vice Chancellor in University of Madras (2006 – 2009) and Vels University (2009 – 2013). Professor Ramachandran’s research career started in the year 1978 as a research fellow at the Center of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University, Porto Novo. He received his Ph.D. in Marine Science in the year 1981; he was then awarded a National Scholarship for studies abroad by the Government of India. He studied in the University of Miami, Florida, during 1981 – 1985 where he earned his second Ph.D. in the field of Biological Oceanography. He joined Anna University, Chennai in the year 1986 as Assistant Professor and served Anna University for 20 Years in various capacities such as Professor & Director. He earned his D.Sc in the field of Coastal Studies from the University of Madras.
He took several initiatives in the field of coastal management and was entrusted with several important tasks under various ambitious national programmes such as National Oceanographic Information System (NOIS), Marine Remote Sensing Satellite Information System (MARSIS), Coastal Zone Information System (CZIS) etc. funded by Department of Ocean Development, Government of India during early 1990s. The main objectives of these programmes are to map and monitor coastal and ocean resources and its associated environments along Indian coast including the Island groups in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea. Multisensor multidate remote sensing data were analyzed and suitable methodologies and techniques have been developed applied and validated through these national programs. Under his dynamic leadership along with a group of young scholars in his team he took the above initiatives over a period of ten years, which helped him to establish an autonomous Institute for Ocean Management in Anna University in the year 1998. He was the founder and First Director of this Institute during 1998 – 2005. Prof. Ramachandran has served as the Director of Research at Anna University from November 2005 to September 2006.
Professor Ramachandran has made more than 40 academic visits to various institutions in abroad during 1990 – 2010 especially to implement several international collaborations in the field of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and higher education. As a Course Director of the UK Department for International Development ICZM training and capacity building programme he has made tremendous contributions in implementing ICZM programmes in India. He took serious attempts in the preparation of science based people-centered coastal management plans for all important “hot Spots” along Indian coast including the Andaman & Nicobar group of Islands. As an Expert Member in more than 45 National Committees he has made significant contributions in strengthening the implementation of ICZM for Indian coastal zone in all levels. He has initiated research in areas of every day application and has accorded priority to many modern disciplines such as Coastal Zone Management, Port and Harbour Management, Coastal Ocean Studies, Environmental Studies, Disaster Management etc. Prof. Ramachandran has published more than 285 research papers, edited 11 books; guided 28 Ph.D’s and completed 52 research projects with a funding support of about 200 million Indian Rupees.
Today’s higher education is characterized by massive expansion and wider participation. Greater Internationalization of Higher Education has lead to increasing emphasis on performance, quality and accountability. The objectives of learning outcomes are to support knowledge economy as well as to provide the knowledge necessary for the social mobility and economic progress essential to societies across the globe. Enabling higher education graduates with global skills who are not only be employed anywhere but also could become entrepreneurs is part of the desired learning outcome. In addition, the global student should be able to deliver high quality research outputs. Achieving learning outcomes require the following:
(a) Focus on imparting knowledge and technical know-how and delivering content, rather than generating content / know-how
(b) Offer Courses that are in sync with market requirements
(c) Curriculum designed in consultation with industry practitioners
(d) Combination of theory and practical methods in pedagogy
(e) Mandatory internship before the final year
(f) Adopt pedagogy that focuses on developing critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, while emphasizing student learning outcomes
(g) Entrepreneurship training to build future leaders
(h) “Liberal arts approach” to education to create well-rounded individuals
(i) Use ICT tools in pedagogy
(j) Mix of face-to-face and online delivery of content
(k) Partnerships with Tier-1 and 2 international institutions to provide global exposure.
Further, the learner-centered education is also very important in achieving the desired learning outcomes and this should include:
(a) Transformation of the student’s role from a ‘passive player’ to an ‘active participant’
(b) Role of a professor is that of a ‘facilitator’ as opposed to an ‘instructor’
(c) students are encouraged to take greater responsibility for their learning outcomes
(d) Students shall have to encouraged to be reflexive and thoughtful learners, learning from themselves, their peers and their immediate environment.
The Indian Higher Education Vision document focuses on Access to low cost, high quality Higher Education for students at all levels through a three tired differentiated University system.