This article is part of a series of interviews we did with the Gymkhana election (2017-18) candidates. The goal was to discuss and enunciate their key points and agenda. We hope it helps the reader understand the views of the candidate in a wholesome manner.
Let’s get started with our interview of Sandeep HM, who is standing for the Secretary of Academic Affairs post.
Hello, Sandeep. What do you feel would be the one defining achievement of your tenure?
I want to set up an academic grievance form with proper updates. The whole of Gymkhana is facing an accountability issue and I will put together effort along with my team to solve that. I will integrate this into the Gymkhana portal that the other candidates have proposed.
Grievances and Updates
Such promises have been given before. What would you do that previous Gymkhana did not?
The key difference here is that status updates on all the complaints and queries will be given. If I talk to the academic section or the respective dean regarding this, I will keep adding such updates. This will let people know that their problem is being addressed and when they can expect it to be resolved.
I will integrate this with the portal the other members have proposed and be sure to update it regularly.
You’ve talked about setting up different kinds of databases. Let’s start with the faculty projects one. What led to you this?
In my own department, professors have mailed us asking for students interested in doing a certain project. I’ve also heard of such projects from other departments as well. Many students apply to these as it’s a great experience for them.
It seems that professors could just send mails and not go through this extra – would professors actually be open to your portal?
I think so. I’ll make it simple to use so that it wouldn’t be extra effort on their part. They need not even provide a big description but just the general topic.
Regardless, the CRs can ensure that archived projects are maintained in the database so that students in the future can look at what projects are done by which faculty.
Moving on to the student projects database. It was pointed out that it has been tried before and did not work out. What would you do differently?
I’d convince the CRs of the utility of such a database and encourage them to collect and maintain the information. It’ll take some effort but I hope that it gains traction.
There was one session this year with higher studies where alumni studying MS/PhD in the US participated in video calls with students here. What other topics do you feel would an alumni session be very helpful on?
We should do this on placements, as well as higher studies. On top of that, we should also hold sessions between seniors and juniors on placements and especially, internships. The timing of these sessions is crucial and I will do it when students are eager about this and can benefit from it.
One point in your agenda a lot of people would be excited by is the LH1 as a study room. The reason it wasn’t implemented this year were some issues with the loss of microphones and the institute did not allow it any further. How would you overcome that?
I understand that it would not be easy but it’s essential and I want to convince the Academic section of its use. We can also go forth with UDH if that’s feasible.
Regarding your opponent’s agenda, is there anything you’d like to point out as not feasible? Anything you would do differently?
I think that this idea of appointing branch counselors among the students is unnecessary and not feasible. With this small community (relative to other IITs), the Academic secretary should be able to handle all responsibilities. I also believe it’ll be hard to appoint such dedicated members. The overlap of responsibilities between branch counselor with the Academic Secretary and with the CRs is too much and would lead to confusion.
I have a better solution that’s simple and effective. During CR meetings, which will be held once a month, I will keep a record of all branch-specific issues and ensure that I help the respective CRs resolve it. With regards to the counseling aspect, I propose that we should add an extra responsibility to CRs that they should offer counsel to their junior CRs. They should also be a gateway for any queries that juniors have to their seniors. This is an efficient way that fits well with our model.
What’s your experience with the Academic council and why do you want the post?
I was a CR in my first year and I enjoyed the responsibility. I helped resolve many major issues with timetabling and helped introduce new course options for my batch. I like the role and I want to be at the service of the students and have decided to stand for this role.
DISCLAIMER: the Literary Society is not endorsing any candidate. These interviews are just to discuss views and agendas and we are open to all candidates.