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The Institute General Body Meets (GBMs) are conducted twice every year with the intent to provide all students a convenient mechanism to provide feedback and addressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dress concern to the student representatives responsible for various amenities on campus.

The UG Academic Affairs Council GBM is scheduled from 8:15pm on 1st November, 2014 at the IRCC Auditorium in SOM.

Kanish Soni

This review is split into three parts.

  • The first summarizes the findings of a survey conducted among the student body.
  • The second describes, in depth, the progress made on initiatives the council attempted / intended to push through.
  • The third is an excerpt from the General Secretary leading the council. However, in this case, the General Secretary did not wish to submit an excerpt.
Infographic Credits - infogr.am

Infographic Credits – infogr.am

Next, 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.

[gsreview title=”Academic Resources and Infrastructure” color=”blue”]The Acad council is aiming to set up AC study rooms in each hostel with the collaboration of the Hostel Affairs council. The approval of the AC committee is pending however, and the project is unlikely to be completed in the near future. Vending machines are also being proposed for the academic and hostel area.

There have been complaints from the student body regarding the condition of the library, as well as requests for having it open 24 hours a day.

As for academic resources, the possibility of having a collated academic archive of past course offerings has been suggested to the Department GSecs. The system has already been in place for a few years (carried out by the DAMP teams) in certain departments including Mechanical and MEMS, but will require the cooperation of the individual DGSecs to be set up in all the departments.
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[gsreview title=”ASC Reforms” color=”blue”]
The functioning of ASC during registration has left most of the student satisfied. Reforms such as having SMS Notifications regarding grades, revising course descriptions, and creating a list of equivalent courses are expected to be taken up by the next semester. Having a centralized online fine portal and online application for transcripts and reissue of I-Cards have been dropped due to practical infeasibility.

An online approval system is in the making for tagging of courses. A similar idea may be implemented for dropping of additional learning courses. In addition to this, a major ASC glitch which allowed students to check grades and register/de-register for anybody else has been patched up.
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[gsreview title=”Student Support Services” color=”blue”]

Student Support Services and Career Cell successfully organized the Non-Technical Summer School during the summer holidays, which saw over 400 people registering for the 10 courses on offer. As far as regular summer courses are concerned, the Acad council also utilized a dummy registration portal to get an idea of the courses that were to be run and possible number of students staying back during the summer. Also, a query and grievance portal is being maintained which is addressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dresses.html”>dressme.co.nz/ball-dresses.html”>dressed regularly by the GSAA, ISAA’s and the department councils.

There have been reports of inefficiencies in the SSS tutorials, in areas such as TA allotment and the actual conducting of the tutorials. There have also been complaints of insufficient publicity. A formal procedure for TA selection coupled with a regular system for intimation of tutorial timings might help to solve these problems. However, SSS did successfully conduct tutorials sessions in Hindi for the freshmen registered for the English Learning Programme, to tide them over until the programme was officially under way.

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[gsreview title=”Career Cell” color=”blue”]

The Career Cell has been active this semester, holding information dissemination sessions about higher education as well as talks and workshops regarding placements and internships. This included a tie-up with SARC during the Core Weekend and a session conducted specifically for third year students by REC & Associates. These talks saw reasonably high attendance from the student body. The Finance and Consult Clubs have also been conducting seminars and workshops regularly. The Analytics Club has not seen much activity this semester however.

Apart from this, the Career Cell has also collated information regarding apping in one place and has created a Facebook group for students interested in higher education. They also released a video and a PDF for the dissemination of information regarding semester exchanges. The Career Cell website is nearing completion, and is expected to be launched by the end of this semester, having in one place a comprehensive collection of information and resources related to various career opportunities.
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[gsreview title=”Research Promotion” color=”blue”]

The council is currently working on an integrated portal for listing available projects in the institute, under the name “Management and Allocation of Projects for Students” (MAPS). The portal is under development and is expected to be completed by the next semester.

Ideas such as LabCAST, a project to create introductory videos on the different department laboratories, and a Department Open Day to facilitate interactions between students and professors have been proposed to the Department GSecs. These ideas have seen mixed reactions, but are expected to be taken up by at least some of the departments. The council has also received permission to publish an institute-wide research newsletter, although the actual sourcing of articles for this newsletter is yet to be done. Ideas such as eAlmanac (an online institute-wide calendar) and enabling CTARA project registration on ASC are yet to be taken up.

The council helped to conduct a Tech and R&D Expo this semester in collaboration with STAB. The Expo was quite successful, seeing a good turnout. However, there do seem to be major difficulties in the execution of ISPA. Few students take their projects seriously, let alone complete them, leading to a lack of support from professors and the department councils. Strong initiatives will need to be taken next summer if the council is to ensure that ISPA does not die out.
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[gsreview title=”Policy Reforms” color=”blue”]

Policy reforms such as having variable credit courses and making the course curriculum more industry-oriented have been pitched at the meetings of the DGSC. These require the approval and active participation of the Department GSecs to be passed however, and this has been one of the main bottlenecks during the current tenure of the UG Acad Council. The lack of any sort of accountability in either direction between the DGSecs and the council, and ideological differences between the two parties have been a major hindrance. This was also reflected in the DGSC meetings, which seemed to have no clear agenda and did not end with any decisive choices being made.

One solution that has been considered by the council is to have an additional point of contact between the Acad council and the individual departments, who will be accountable to the GSAA. Of course, this would again require the consent of the DGSecs to set into motion, and this idea has had generally mixed reviews among the DGSecs and DAMP heads.

For the moment, most of the interactions between the two parties occurs over e-mail (and sparsely at that), with just 2 DGSC meetings having been convened. It is possible that simply increasing interaction would help the acad council and department council resolve any differences in ideology they may have. Either way, it seems to be clear that a greater extent of collaboration between the two sets of councils would ensure more effective and transparent functioning of both, and perhaps bring about significant and useful changes in the academic policies of the institute.
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Do come to the GBM starting 8:15 PM on 1st Nov. at IRCC auditorium. Your views are important to us.