Mangaluru: Academicians agree that while campus and industry experience play a key-role in foundation-building of students, social consciousness and sensitivity to the society turn them into responsible citizens, who act as a building blocks to the communities.
The holistic exposure provided by St. Joseph Engineering Colleges’ (SJEC) to its educational, industrial, social, research and other extra-curricular avenues has been paying dividends since inception, and now retold and revisited as success stories of the Dakshina Kannada’s institute accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
As academic centered engineering graduates of other institutions face challenges in seeking employment, St. Joseph Engineering Colleges’ (SJEC) with campus-industry focus gives students an extra edge in gaining industry experience, academic experts agree.
“It acts as a multiplier effect in gaining employment. Most engineering graduates have a hard time seeking employment, but if the industry engagement and entrepreneurship courses creates opportunities in the campus itself,” says Dr. Rio D'Souza, Principal, St Joseph Engineering College.
For instance, SJEC has collaborated with Kanara Entrepreneurs to help students to learn about entrepreneurship. During the course, representatives and resource persons from the Kanara Entrepreneurs shared their experiences and expertise with the students here.
Dr. Rio said, “Everybody who participates in this six-month training program gets a certificate. The training programs have helped students develop soft skill and communication skills.”
Though these programs began as an experiment they have helped the students in boosting their career prospectus.
“One of SJEC’s alumnus, John Baptist Rodrigues was featured in the New York Times as he was recognized in Collaborizm, an online collaborative workspace and freelance marketplace, for inventing CoffeeBot, a Bot that delivers coffee to people in their workplaces,” SJEC officials said.
Encouraged by these developments, SJEC has also partnered with the Department of Information Technology, Biotechnology and Science & Technology (IT, B and S&T) under the New Age Incubation Network (NAIN) and set up an Incubation Centre with intention of encouraging and funding students, research scholars and alumni to come up with solutions for local needs. The incubation Centre was set up with condition that the students from SJEC should be involved in the start-ups that it will fund in the hope that their students are benefited.
Last year, SJEC tied up with Eagleton Ventures to conduct Hackathon which had students submitting innovative ideas to them. There were 49 ideas provided by the students, out of which 10 were long-term. The college plans to support three or four of these ideas under the New Age Incubation Fund.
The event was called 'Anveshan,’ which is again going to be held this year as ‘Anveshan Reloaded’ since the new incubation set up is almost ready.
Students of SJEC participated on various projects. They exhibited one of their projects in the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) exhibition held at Bapuji Institute of Engineering and Technology in Davanagere and won ‘The Best Performing College of the State.’ Out of the six projects that were presented, two of them won the prestigious ‘Project of the Year’ award.
“The projects were on agriculture and technology, to help farmers. Since many students hail from agricultural families, they know the issues faced by the farmers, and thus come up with solutions,” Dr. Rio added.
With four engineering courses already being accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for Outcome Based Education (OBE), the accreditation goes a long way to ensuring the quality of education provided by SJEC and increasing the employment prospects for their students. SJEC further aims to gain autonomy so that they can have the opportunity to design their own syllabus. They believe this would help the students become better engineers.
The college says that with the tie-ups, it is confident about the students’ abilities which is why they encourage the students in coming up with projects from the first year, instead of providing them with theoretical knowledge. Students undergo training in the tinkering lab, engineering exploration lab and smart lab and are made to work on simple automation projects, thus giving them a first-hand experience.
“The students take initiatives to create projects that have very less to do with the core subjects they are studying. This includes building robots, aero modeling, and designing automobiles. The college plans to open up a ‘Centre of Excellence’ where they plan to make multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary engineering branches rather than just one discipline. Even labs will also have multi-disciplinary approach. The aim is that students gain knowledge over more than one discipline,” Dr. Rio added.
Further, with a special emphasis on research, the college has research centres in almost all the departments. There are more than 50 students who are working on getting a Ph.D. There are about 30 Ph.D. holders from SJEC.
Beyond academics and projects, SJEC says that it is essential that the students actively take part in social interaction. It is for this reason that they are taken to visit orphanages or old age homes on a regular basis.
The students, as a part of SJEC’s social initiative, are taken for field visits and industrial visits. During such visits, students observe various issues that are faced by the industries and are then encouraged to find solutions and build projects around that. Amidst all this, the college also focuses on providing the students with basic theoretical engineering knowledge as it’s important for everyone to have strong fundamentals.
“The college, with its students, plans to adopt five villages and help them with women empowerment, sanitation, etc and provide solutions in every possible way as an engineer,” D’Souza from SJAC said.
Students are also involved in studying medical technologies and applications. Fr Muller's Medical College has a tie-up with SJEC for the same purpose. The students mainly focus on helping the physically disabled as well as people who have other diseases too. Students are working on developing devices like prosthetics.
With V-ACT, where 'V' stands for values, 'A' stands for aptitude 'C' for career counselling and 'T' for technical training as its core value, SJEC college alongside its staff aim to help their students in every endeavour as much as possible.
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