It is natural in the course of a faculty’s life to take up administrative roles in the institute. Rolling positions of Deans, HoDs is something faculty would do at least once in their career. While it is very prestigious to be a Dean or HoD, it also means less time for research, attending more meetings etc. So, obviously it was a mixed emotion when I started as the Associate Dean of Communications and Alumni starting July 1, 2017. I was excited that I will be interacting with students/alums all around the world. This is something I have been doing for past some years on my trips to various cities in India and abroad. Now I will be doing it more formally. I will also be interacting with faculty more often now. I will get to know their research better, so that my team and I can share it on different communication platforms such as IIITD website, Facebook page, etc. I will get the opportunity to showcase the accomplishments of students and faculty, two main stakeholders of the institute, through various channels of communications.
Another aspect I was excited about was, being able to work with an excellent staff of the office of the Dean of Communications and Alumni along with inputs from the staff of various other departments like academics, HR, Placements, etc.
I started off with all these exciting thoughts and some apprehensions and now it’s been four months since I have been doing Deangiri! In the past four months we have had alumni meet ups in three cities, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Noida. It is always refreshing to see our past students doing great work, in industry or academia, they never fail to make us proud.
From our various interactions with the alums we realised that many were curious about the status of IIITD construction, Phase II. They were eager to know its progress and wanted to know about new facilities being added to the existing infrastructure. So we did a Facebook Live of the new Academic Block, we had 25+ alums join from all around the world.
About two weeks into Deangiri I was told to prepare an annual report of the institute. This came as a surprise. Not just preparing it but also presenting it to the Board of Governors. I must accept that it was only an average job done, given the little time. But the bright side of the whole endeavour was, I got to know the institute better. As a professor one is more focussed on his/her own research, students, courses, etc. and not much aware of the institute as a whole. This annual report helped me look into IIITDs achievements at a broader level, where we stand today in the country / ranking and why, what are our strengths and where is the scope for improvement. There are so many statistics; average pay packages our students get, number of students getting placed in A* companies, variety of funding agencies, and so on …
We also had interactions with faculty groups, student groups, PhD students groups, and alums to get inputs on what they would like our office to do. What are their needs and where our office can help to make their stay at IIITD more exciting and fulfilling? Many interesting ideas were discussed and we will take up some of these over the next few months.
Very soon we will start a new feature on IIITD’s website, ‘Behind-The-Scene’, where we will get to see who keeps our gardens beautiful or keeps our campus safe, the library staff or the finance office. All these people are like those backstage artists who never get the spot light yet are like pillars behind our successes. So it will be good to know them a little up close.
In January, we will organise Retrace, an annual home coming for alums across the world. This year the event will be followed by a happy hour and a sleep over. Like I said before, all credits to our discussions with various groups, they have come up with some really cool ideas to make this Retrace a memorable one. The day long programs will be followed by a happy hour at the Director’s Terrace garden. Some alums are totally excited about staying in the hostels that night. We think it will be very nostalgic for them to re-live their days on the campus. Our new hostels (construction, phase II) are getting ready just in time for this sleep over.
To conclude, I never imagined this responsibility will be so exciting. Thanks to IIITD community. There is a lot I am learning in the process. My only hope is, I am able to add some value to the institute as the Associate Dean of Communications and Alumni.
On a lighter note, not sure if it has to do with my deangiri, but I observe more people in campus exchanging pleasantries with me. I have become popular 🙂 !!!