Reading Time: 10 Minutes

InsIghT presents a review of the work done by the current GSAA-UG Dhanasree Molugu over the course of her tenure till date. The General Body Meeting, or GBM, for the institute academic council will be conducted on the 6th of November 2013 from 8:00 PM to 9:25 PM.

**A brief summary of the advances in each sub-field has been provided. Please click on particular manifesto points to know more about the work done on each of them.

Academic Resources and Infrastructure

A lot of effort has been put into getting work regarding Academic Resources and Infrastructure done. It so happened that the relatively minor issues were the ones that required no assistance from bodies other than the Academic Affairs (AA) council – and were thus, executed satisfactorily. However, the points that had to pass through the administrative chain of command (such as opening the library 24×7 or ensuring updating of course info on ASC) have faced major bottlenecks.

[gsreview title=”Propose to have library open 24×7 starting from a week before midsems and endsems” color=”blue”]The library’s staff crunch woes and renovation delays have kept this point from being executed despite approval and sanction of temporary workers from DDAIA.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Promote Library Student Assistantship and propose an increase in stipend” color=”blue”]This has been frequently communicated to the Assistant Librarian, but no action has been taken by the Library so far. [/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Propose to improve the Book Bank facility by getting more copies of course reference books with the help of Department Councils” color=”blue”]The list of course reference books has to be prepared individually by each Department. This list will then be forwarded to the Library at the end of this semester, and the books should be available in the Book Bank next semester.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Create Homepage Generator App to help students utilize their allotted free space on” color=”blue”]The Homepage Generator App has been up since early this semester and has been used by close to 500 students for preparing their homepages.

An addendum has been planned to try and fetch the student’s interests in general and research work in particular from their homepage and make this data available to their respective FacAds, thereby enabling them to better guide the students.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Develop Tracking Facility in online enquiry portal to get updates on the status of student’s academic related queries ” color=”blue”]The Tracking Facility has been incorporated into the Query and Grievance Portal, which is most needed (and hence, most publicized) during registrations. There wasn’t much awareness created about the same this semester since the site had its own teething problems at the time. It’s expected to be publicized a lot more aggressively in the even semester.
[gsreview title=”Establish Integrated Information Management System (IIMS) – Online notices with selective subscription to academic information such as scholarships, seminars, and exchange programs” color=”blue”]This will be incorporated within the InsIghT Chrome Extension to be released in January.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Ensure updating of course info on ASC, and try to incorporate evaluation policy before registration” color=”blue”]A list of updates was drafted and forwarded to the Academic Office, but the updates never showed up on ASC.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Ensure speedy set up of IITB-Wireless WiFi connection in departments’ common areas” color=”blue”]A list of the common areas has been sourced from every department, and the WiFi connection has already been set up in some of them. The remaining will be completed upon acquirement of routers – which have already been ordered.[/gsreview]

Student Support Services

Almost all events to be conducted in the SSS have seen significant progress. However, a few major initiatives such as the Spoken English classes and GD/PI sessions which could, perhaps, have benefitted a larger section of the student population this semester have been planned for the next.

[gsreview title=”Launch GROW – Personality Development Program engaging students in the organization and execution of Student Council activities on a voluntary basis” color=”blue”]Month-long personality development classes were conducted by Achiever’s Zone, a professional Business consulting and training organization. While some 300 students had originally registered for these classes, 30 people were finally enrolled.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Establish Tutorial Services Center” color=”blue”]The TSC was established early this semester for freshmen and some sophomores. While the initiative to help out weaker students has been generally well received, there have been complaints of mismanagement.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Develop an online slot-preference interface to provide tutoring appointments with TAs and voluntary tutors” color=”blue”]An online slot-preference interface was developed and launched, but was not well-received, particularly because freshmen lacked access to an internet connection early on in the sem.
[gsreview title=”Propose to award Honorary TAship to the voluntary tutors” color=”blue”]Attempts have been made to incorporate this with an approval granted by the Dean SA. Since the proposal is still pending DDFEA approval, awarding an Honorary TAship will not be possible this semester.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Propose to set up Writing and Communication Center which organizes Spoken English classes, Resume and SOP writing workshops and GD/PI sessions” color=”blue”]Spoken English Classes: Along with the ISIR, the AA council has gotten in touch with the British council to conduct two forms of classes – at a beginner’s and an intermediate level next semester.
Resume and SOP Writing Workshops: Both of them have been conducted – the first by an alumnus, Zishan Hayath, and the second by Education USA.
There has been no progress on GD/PI sessions, with the specific intent of conducting them in the even semester to prevent the sessions from being placement-centric.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Promote facad-student interaction through informal events & regular Academic Advising Sessions” color=”blue”]Though the idea to conduct informal events for faculty-student interactions has received mixed responses from departments, three departments have already conducted these sessions this semester.
There has been no update on conducting regular Academic Advising Sessions.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Improve the counseling services with specialized counselors and easy access through a helpline” color=”blue”]A major improvement in counselling services is planned this year, with a new professional counsellor taking charge of a new office allocated in the Main Building.
Tata Institute of Social Sciences has been contacted to open a 24×7 helpline specifically for IITB students, though the process is in its preliminary stages.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Organize IIT-Bombay Non-Technical Summer School that includes courses on foreign languages, finance, web development, marketing, and photography among others” color=”blue”]A non-technical summer school was organized in the summer and saw a good response from the student body. The workshop on web development, however, will take place in the winter vacations.[/gsreview]

EnPoWER – Engineering oriented Promotion of Work Experience and Research

Focussing chiefly on providing industry exposure to students, the visible progress in this section has been insignificant. With many of the activities tied up the launch of the Innovation Centre, it remains to be seen exactly how successful the execution will be. The only set of events fully executed are the workshops and mentoring sessions organized in collaboration with Treelabs this summer.

Industrial Exposure
[gsreview title=”Launch Industrial Learning Program to promote industrial projects as SLP, BTP, DDP” color=”blue”]The program has sourced two projects so far, while the plan is to float 10-15 projects by the end of the tenure after receiving feedback for the first two projects.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Conduct Industry Day in collaboration with IRCC involving interaction between industrial representatives and students through exhibition of Research and Technical Projects” color=”blue”]Industry Day is planned to be organized in January, in collaboration with IRCC. This will coincide with the launch of the Innovation Centre.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Facilitate patronship and sponsorship for projects and competitions through the Industry Corporate Alumni Network in collaboration with SARC and IRCC” color=”blue”]This is tied up with the coming up of the Innovation Centre. Alumni who are willing to fund projects will be contacted, and the students will then pitch their ongoing projects to these alumni. Speed mentoring will also be involved, where specific alumni will guide mentee students regarding technical matters of the project.[/gsreview]

Research and Innovation
[gsreview title=”Create Re-Search – An online database, listing all research facilities, projects undertaken, faculty and student profiles, and available research opportunities” color=”blue”]An online interface for the same has been created, but there hasn’t been any progress on sourcing data for the site.[/gsreview]
[gsreview title=”Provide mentoring & organize training workshops, brainstorming sessions in collaboration with Treelabs to assist students in exploring research opportunities and their practical applications” color=”blue”]The same was carried out in the summer, with 10 projects being floated, each of which was mentored by senior UG students, in addition to the help provided by Treelabs.. A workshop on MATLAB was also held with their collaboration.[/gsreview]

Academic Reforms

As with any change in the Institute’s policies, the set of reforms suggested are moving at a glacial pace. Reforms in the Minor curriculum and the choice in department electives, and the introduction of software-based labs/courses are all issues which will need approval independently from each Department to move any further. Reforms in FacAd selection, enhancement of the FacAd handbook and the Industry and University Curriculum review, however, will only see progress next semester.

[gsreview title=”Propose to incorporate the following reforms in the Minor curriculum:

  • Higher flexibility by allotting 2 minor slots and a more extensive minor course list
  • New secondary procedure for Minor allotment based on evaluation of related project work
  • Allow students to undertake projects in place of courses to fulfill minor degree requirement
  • ” color=”blue”]Dean AP’s approval for these reforms has been granted, but there is a long chain of things that must go right in order to make these reforms a reality. Most of these events, however, are out of the control of the AA council – namely approvals from Heads of Departments, DUGCs and the UGAPEC before the idea is pitched in the Senate.
    Even optimistically, the process will take at least a year before it nears completion. In parallel, various Department heads have been approached independently to permit students to tag courses that are equivalent to the Minor courses as ALCs and then re-tag them an minors. The Electrical Department has shown most promise in this regard, by having agreed to the above suggestions for 4 of their 5 Minor courses. [/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Propose to consider DAMP team review in selection of facads and improve the facad to student ratio” color=”blue”]Hasn’t been taken up yet.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Enhance the existing facad handbook with information on facad responsibilities and common registration issues” color=”blue”]No progress on this front yet. The first task will be to review the existing facad handbook before the process of enhancement can begin.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Propose to prepare lists of courses from other departments which can be tagged as department electives and update the honors lists with the help of department councils” color=”blue”]A list of such courses was crowd-sourced via a google form and has been forwarded to each DG Sec to present to the DUGC. It is now out of the purview of the AA council.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Follow up on the Industry and University review of Curriculum in collaboration with Placement Cell and SARC (FAN), in addition to the department level reviews” color=”blue”]This has been postponed to the next semester.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Propose to introduce Software-based courses/lab into department curriculum through DGsecs” color=”blue”]While Department Secretaries have been asked to push for these reforms in each of their departments, software-based workshops have been planned in the Winters as a contingency measure.[/gsreview]

    Career Cell

    Career Cell has been very active this year, having conducted a large variety of events in almost all fields . Conspicuous by their absence, however, were awareness sessions regarding student exchange programs.

    [gsreview title=”Organize IITB University Fair to aid students in the apping process through interactions with representatives of eminent universities worldwide” color=”blue”]Four countries were involved with the IITB University Fair this year – Canada, France, USA and Germany.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Conduct orientation sessions to create awareness regarding student exchange programs” color=”blue”]No sessions have been conducted so far.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Launch Career Counseling with Alumni taking student preferences through online slot scheduling” color=”blue”]Should be up and running by the next semester. An extension of ASMP, this will involve speed mentoring slots with alumni, which can be selected through online scheduling. The alumni will be brought in in association with SARC.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Conduct Career Talks, Workshops to provide students with insights into diverse career options” color=”blue”]Several Career Talks like those on Air Force, Finance etc. have been conducted and more are lined up for the next semester. A workshop by Facebook on how to crack a coding interview was also held.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Compile Career Guidance Database – a collection of Career Awareness resources such as videos, case studies and articles aiding students in placement preparations, apping, IAS, and other careers” color=”blue”]Website is ready, but it hasn’t been launched on Gymkhana yet. As of now, more information about placement preparation is required for the database, though several blogs about apping, career options etc. are ready.[/gsreview]

    Technical Activities

    Two more events have been tied up with the launch of the Innovation centre. Again, they can only be judged when the Innovation centre comes up.

    [gsreview title=”Technopreneur Promotion Programme – Collaborate with SINE and E-Cell to provide exclusive support and mentoring channel for Technical projects to develop them into a commercial product” color=”blue”]Process has begun. Its completion is planned to coincide with the launch of the Innovation Centre.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Facilitate establishment of Innovation Centre to provide equipments and a common workspace for students to pursue technical activities” color=”blue”]Expected to be launched in January. A space next to Treelabs has been finalized for the Innovation Centre.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Provide timely information and updates on National and International Technical Competitions” color=”blue”]Many such notices and updates already reach the IR and AA offices. The plan is to create an online system to make it easy for the concerned officials to forward these notices to the AA council. However, no progress on this front has been made yet, though there are some plans for next semester.[/gsreview]

    2 year MSc Academics

    The problem with 2 year MSc academics is that IIT Bombay considers them as Undergraduates, even though they are here for a Masters’ degree. While no MSc students were brought into the council, their issues are being dealt with in co-ordination with the PG council.

    [gsreview title=”Work with Placement Cell to include MSc Internships with the help of 1st year MSc coordinators” color=”blue”]Since first year MSc students don’t have a CPI to show in their first semester, this can only be done next sem. In the absence of first-year MSc co-ordinators, the AA council will play a role analogous to ICs , i.e. dissemination of information to students.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Ensure representation from the MSc students in the academic council to”>”>dresses.html”>”>dress their issues and timely dissemination of information” color=”blue”]There are currently no such MSc representatives in the UG/PG AA councils. In order to”>”>dresses.html”>”>dress their issues, the UG coucil co-ordinates with the PG council, since – though they are technically Undergraduate students in IIT Bombay, their concerns more closely resemble those of other PG students.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Conduct Department Induction Sessions for MSc students to acquaint them with academic facilities” color=”blue”]To acquaint entrants with academic facilities, Induction sessions were planned with the help of mentors from each of these departments. The induction programs could not be carried out in departments where selecting these mentors proved to be a tough task.[/gsreview]

    Group for Rural Activities (GRA)

    Institutionalization of socially minded bodies and their active representation in the council were points that were not actively pursued by these bodies, let alone the AA council. In the long run, however, the need for both these points is clear to all concerned. The last point concerning development projects has seen some progress, but will only yield results next semester.

    [gsreview title=”Propose to provide institutional support and funding to socially minded and volunteering groups such as Samwad, Abhyasika (GRA related bodies)” color=”blue”]No attempt has been made towards institutionalizing them so far but none of the volunteer / socially-minded groups have voiced any such requirements this year either.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Provide a platform for the students to engage themselves in development projects through NGOs and social ventures” color=”blue”]Ekjaa foundation has been approached to set up a volunteer fair next semester, where NGOs will set up their stalls and students can get an idea of their work by interacting with them.[/gsreview]
    [gsreview title=”Allocate a position for a nominee in the council to adequately represent the interests of the social body and actively encourage students’ participation in their activities” color=”blue”]There already existed a post of a GRA Co-ordinator and he was, by default, chosen as a point of contact between the AA council and voluntary bodies. Vishal Kumar, the GRA Co-ordinator, however, has not felt a need to approach the council for any help so far.[/gsreview]