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 Karthik BV, who is standing for the Secretary of Academic Affairs post.
The Big Picture
Hello, Karthik. Let’s start off with your goal as the Academic Secretary. If there’s one achievement you’d like to pull off and be remembered by, what is it?
It’ll definitely be the introduction of branch counselors. I think it’s essential and now would be the right time to start. Please see my agenda for a description of the role.
What made you come up with that idea?
I knew that this was already implemented in older IITs. It’s a very efficient way to manage issues that are branch-specific and also help seniors guide juniors from a particular branch.
In a way, it looks like the BC role is redundant and overlaps with the role of the Academic secretary and the CR and would lead to confusion. What would you say to that?
Looking in the future, IITH would have a large student strength. Then, the Academic secretary would definitely not be able to manage all branch-related issues. The role of a BC would be crucial then. I’d like to prepare for that by introducing the role as soon as possible and develop it. I’ve spoken to current Gymkhana members and they have a good opinion of this.
This system will help students get help from seniors and for coordination with internships, etc. It’ll also help faculty in coordinating with the students.
Where did you get the idea of a toastmaster’s club?
I’ve actually attended toastmaster’s club meetings in Hyderabad and have found them to be very helpful. I believe it’ll be a great benefit to the student community here. They’re very open to partnering with colleges and as I’ve mentioned in my agenda, they’re partnered with many older IITs.
Their fee is also very little so it wouldn’t be an issue with the Gymkhana.
I kinda find their description vague. How exactly would a session go and would it be popular?
Sessions would comprise of activities like Just A Minute and other speaking games. The toastmaster’s website has a good description.
We can hold these sessions once every two weeks or so. As I mentioned above, I’ve attended sessions myself and have personally found it to be very helpful and I’ve heard that from my friends at other IITs as well.
There was one an alumni information session last semester by alumni who were pursuing their MS/PhD in the USA. What other sessions do you think would be useful? And what about sessions between seniors and juniors?
I think the major topics where such sessions are essential are on the application process and the qualifying exams, like GRE/TOEFL. Some colleges might have specific cutoffs or preferences of exams so alumni could bring awareness of that. Aside from that, the sessions we usually have on placements would be kept.
And what about sessions between seniors and juniors?
We will keep sessions on topics like placements and internships. With the introduction of the branch counselors, I hope it’ll be easier for juniors to easily get guidance on any academic topic. I’ve listened to the issues that the current Gymkhana faced and what students have told me and I’m sure that this is the right step forward.
Is there anything about your opponent’s agenda that you would like to talk about?
During the debate, it was pointed out that the project’s database idea had been tried before and have not worked out. I agree and think that it would be simpler to just contact seniors directly and find out about projects.
I also think it’d be nice if the departments can showcase some projects on their website as a sign of achievements. Branch Counselors can coordinate between the students and faculty in that regard.
What’s your plan for summer courses? The intimation has always been given very late into the semester.
We should start getting feedback from the students after the first segment itself about what summer courses they want. This information will be immediately shared with the department and hence, it’ll help with the planning of summer courses.
What’s your experience with the academic council?
Aside from the problems I’ve faced myself when I was a Sunshine mentor, I had to help my mentees out with their academic queries and problems. I got to know about the issues faced and now I’d like to work towards making the system better.
Any final points you’d like to mention?
I’ve listened to many students from all batches and have based my proposals on “Fractal Academics” accordingly. The particularly picked points that I believe are particularly feasible. I hope that my agenda as a whole shows that I’m looking to not only improve the current functions of my role, but increase its influence in other areas of college life as well.
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.