Assessment Report On

Institutional Accreditation Of

Seethalakshmi Ramaswami  College (Autonomous) Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu

Section 1 : Introduction

The Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College was started as an Intermediate College in 1951 with only 11 students.  In 1957, it became an Under-graduate College when degree courses were introduced in Economics, Mathematics and Chemistry.  With the introduction of a M.Sc. course in Mathematics, the College blossomed into a Post-graduate College in 1963.  It started offering unaided self-financing  courses in 1981.  The College is affiliated to the Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli.


Over the years, the College has grown into a big institution.  It is located in the heart of Tiruchirapalli between the river Cauvery and the Rock Fort.  It has its own campus of about 20 acres with all essential infrastructure facilities.  Today, the College offers 14 under-graduate courses and 8 post-graduate courses. In addition, 4 under-graduate courses, 4 post-graduate courses, 5 diploma courses and 2 certificate courses are conducted on a self-financing basis. Research programmes leading to M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in 5 disciplines. A vocational course in Advertising, Sales Promotion and Sales Management  has been  introduced this year (1998).  The  College has at present 137 teachers and 2470 students in the regular aided courses. The self-financing courses have 65 teachers and 1173 students.  The College was conferred autonomy in 1987.  The motto of the College is 'Nothing Equals Wisdom".


The Peer Team consisting of Dr. K. Gopalan (Chairman), Prof. V. R. Shirgurkar and Dr. Sr. P. Marietta visited the College from 21st to 24th October 1998 for assessing the institution for accreditation.  The Team was accompanied by Dr. Latha Pillai (Deputy Adviser, NAAC) and  Mr. B. S. Ponmudiraj (Academic Professional, NAAC).  The Team had extensive interaction  with the management, the joint director of collegiate education (Dr. R. S. Jagdish Bose), the representative of Bharathidasan University (Dr. T. Ramalingam), principal, faculty, staff, students, representatives of various associations & unions and others concerned.  The Team also examined a whole lot of relevant documents.


Section 2 : Parameter - wise Analysis


Parameter I : Goals and Objectives


The College was established "with the main objective of moulding women graduates nurtured in Hindu tradition and culture".  To keep  up the ideal of Hindu tradition and culture, there are three temples and a Rama Prarthana Mandapam on the campus.  Every day, life on the campus begins with prayers  and devotional songs, and also bhajans on Fridays.  The monthly common prayer and the `Kuthuvilakku Pooja' conducted on every new moon day are  the other two special features of the life on the campus.


The goals and objectives are reported to have been reviewed and revised since autonomy was conferred on the College in 1987.  The present goals and objectives include empowerment of women, inculcation of social and environmental awareness, and development of self-reliance reflecting contemporary concerns.


It is advisable to publicise the revised goals and objectives of the College more prominently through the college handbook, prospectus, calendar and such other means.  While the College is certainly trying to attain its goals and objectives through its curricular, co-curricular and extension programmes, it appears that the approach is a little conventional and conservative.  There is a case to make the approach more dynamic and liberal with sensitivity to today's fast-changing socio-economic situations and global expectations.


Parameter II : Curriculum Design and Review


After the attainment of autonomy in 1987, the College has attempted to redesign the curriculum of several of its courses improving the syllabus contents and introducing changes in curriculum transaction.  Several employment- oriented subjects/papers such as project planning & control, strategic financial management, operations research & computers in business, temple architecture & tourism, communication electronics, horticulture, sericulture and  journalism have been introduced in the relevant existing courses.  The new courses introduced include B.Sc. Health Care & Hospital Management, M.Sc. Bio-Chemistry, M.Sc. Computer Science, M.Sc.  Industrial Electronics, and Post-graduate Diploma in Computer Applications.


The academic activities of the College seem to be too internalised. The College has to open up and interact with a whole lot of outside agencies. The College needs to have comprehensive guidelines for initiating, reviewing, redesigning and monitoring of academic programmes.  It should also have a suitable and improved mechanism to seek the views of R & D organisations, industry,  business sector, service sector and such other employing agencies on curriculum design and syllabus.  Representatives of R & D organisations, industry, business and commerce could  perhaps be included in the administrative and academic bodies of the College. The mechanism for the use of feedback from various sources including academic peers has to be streamlined and further strengthened.


Parameter III : Teaching, Learning and Evaluation


Faculty recruitment is done as per the rules of the state government.  The list of candidates is obtained from employment exchange. According to the state government rules, all teachers should know Tamil. The selection committee consists of the Coordinator of the College, the head of the concerned discipline and a senior faculty from another department.  Teachers are encouraged to have a teaching plan.  Non-conventional methods such as seminars, discussions, quizzes and  demonstration experiments are used in the teaching - learning process.  The College has media facilities including charts, projectors, TV, VCR, computers and such other items. Teachers are allowed to attend seminars, conferences  and workshops as part of their professional development programme.  They are also encouraged to improve their academic qualifications by registering for M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes. During the past 3 years, 3 teachers have been rewarded for successful teaching innovations.  A lot of good innovative practices are in vogue here and there in some departments. But they need to be codified and documented properly.


Students are admitted as per state government orders with reservations for various categories of backward classes. A corpus fund has been created to help economically  backward students. Only in some programmes are the knowledge and aptitude of students tested at the entry level.  There is no provision for enrichment courses to the advanced learners.  In most programmes, no bridge/remedial courses are offered to the educationally disadvantaged students.  There is provision in the time-table for self study by the students in the library.  There are also several meaningful co-curricular activities. The college is in the fore-front in cultural activities.


Student evaluation is on the basis of continuous internal assessment (25%) and end-of semester examination (75%).  Continuous internal assessment is done based on 3 cycle tests and a pre-semester examination.  Cycle tests and pre-semester examinations  are conducted by the respective departments.  End-of semester examinations are conducted by the Controller of Examinations, who has streamlined the procedures very methodically. Double valuation procedure (1 internal and 1 external) is adopted for post-graduate programmes, the head of the department being the Chairman of the passing board. Examination results are, by and large, very good. Medals and cash prizes are awarded to students for academic excellence and outstanding performance.


The college is governed by the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act of 1976 and its Rules, which do not seem to cater to the concerns and requirements of an autonomous college. Recruitment of teachers is done through local employment exchange. The procedures prescribed are cumbersome and time-consuming. There are enormous delays in filling up vacancies. It would be advisable to effect recruitment of teachers through open advertisements in national newspapers.  While the regular teachers and staff of the aided courses get government scales of pay, teachers of the self-financing courses are given consolidated salaries. There is no provision for sabbatical leave. Other types of leave such as casual leave, medical leave and earned leave are granted as per state government rules.  The teachers and staff of the self-financing courses have different service rules. It would be worth-while to have an appropriate mechanism for the annual self-appraisal  of teachers as well as for their assessment by peers and by students.  There is a strong case to make all teachers computer-literate and train them in the use of multi-media materials. CAL packages should be developed and used on a larger scale. A programme of action should be drawn up to train all technical staff on a time-bound basis with a view to updating them in their respective fields.


Parameter IV : Research and Publications


The College is trying to encourage and promote research by faculty.  The departments of Physics, Chemistry, History, Economics and English offer M.Phil and Ph.D. programmes.  Of the 137 regular teachers on the rolls at present, 41 teachers are Ph.D. degree holders and 14 teachers are now registered for Ph.D.  Four teachers (from Chemistry, English and Physics departments) are recognised for guiding research at Doctoral level.  During the past 5 years (1993-98),  59 papers have been presented by the faculty (of the departments of Chemistry, English, Mathematics, Botany, Zoology, History and Physics) at various seminars and conferences at national and international levels.


The College has a lot of potential to promote research further.  More teachers should try to get recognition for guiding research at Doctoral level.  Teachers should be encouraged to submit research proposals in their respective fields to funding agencies such as UGC, DST, DOE, CSIR, ICSSR and ICAR.  The College should evolve a mechanism to scrutinise research proposals before they are submitted to funding agencies.


The College should also try to publish monographs and reports of research and innovations done in the College and exchange them with other institutions and R&D organisations.  Research can also be promoted at the under-graduate level by giving meaningful and relevant problems for project work.  This will enable all departments to inculcate research culture.


Parameter V : Consultancy and Extension Activities


The College does not seem to offer any consultancy and testing services in a formal professional sense.  Hence no funds are generated through consultancy activities.  The College should consider framing rules for individual as well as  institutional consultancy with a view to encouraging its teachers to offer consultancy services in the areas of their expertise.  There are a large number of highly qualified teachers in the  College who are capable of giving consultancy services.  Numerous are the benefits of offering consultancy.  A fertile area where the College can enter is development consultancy.


The College is doing very well in extension activities. Extension work forms part of the curriculum in some courses. Extension services are rendered mainly through  National Service Scheme (NSS), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Campus Diversity Initiative (CDI) and Youth Red Cross.  The CDI programme sponsored by the Ford Foundation of USA  aims at promoting a harmonious blending of cultural, religious and socio-economic diversities. Extension activities include medical camps, blood donation camps, environment awareness programmes, health & hygiene awareness programmes, and adult education & literacy programmes.  The College  has adopted 2 villages (`Mullikarumbur' and `Mullainagar') for community development.  A magazine titled `Palam' is brought out to motivate the young children in these villages.  However, participation of teachers and staff in extension activities is insignificant.


The NCC unit of the College has done exceedingly well.  It has produced many all-India  cadets.  It is note-worthy that cadets of this College get selected to visit foreign countries under various international Youth Exchange Programmes year after year.  In addition, they are invited to participate in the Republic Day parade at New Delhi every year.  They also actively participate in various adventure sports such as mountaineering,  rock climbing and trekking.


Parameter VI : Organisation and Management


The decision making bodies of the College include Governing Body, Finance Committee, Advisory Board, Academic Council, Curriculum Committee, Boards of Studies, and Planning & Evaluation Committee.  The Governing Body consists of the Managing Trustee, Coordinator of the College, principal, one representative of the university, joint director of collegiate education and two selection grade lecturers.  The Finance Committee consists of the Managing Trustee,  Coordinator, principal and one selection grade lecturer.  The College Advisory Board consists of the principal and the heads of various departments.  Other committees include among others the Awards Committee, Students' Welfare Committee, Admission Committee, Examination Committee and  Magazine Committee.  All policy decisions are taken by the Governing Body.


The Management is totally committed and devoted to the growth and development of the college amd maintains excellent rapport with the faculty, staff and students with a missionary zeal.


The College is reported to have formed mechanisms for consultation with teachers' association, staff association and students' union. It appears that they have not raised any issues during the past 3 years.  It is reported that the College has not lost any working days in recent years.  There has also not been any violation of code of conduct and ethics by the teachers and staff.  The academic calendar  is published in June every year and it is strictly followed. The College has not made any efforts to attract foreign students.  The College has taken Internet connection very recently. Computers are made use of for some items of administrative work.


It is for consideration whether there could be more decentralisation of powers in the organisation and management of the College. The College will do well to prepare a specific perspective plan for its further development in the next 10 years. Such a recommendation was also made by the Bharathidasan University's Review Committee, which visited the College on 22nd April 1997 to consider extension of autonomous status to the College.


Parameter VII :  Infrastructure Facilities


The College has a campus of about 20 acres with buildings which accommodate among others two administrative blocks, various departments, computer centre, library, seminar halls, hostels, auditorium and cafeteria.  The classrooms and laboratories are spacious and well-furnished.


People are permanently employed to ensure maintenance of buildings, electrical installations, drainage, water supply, security and such other facilities. It appears necessary to link up all the departments, computer centre, library, administrative office and other facilities through a modern inter-com telephone system.

Parameter VIII : Support Services


The College has a central library with a holding of 75,000 volumes.  It subscribes to 90 periodicals and journals.  In addition, most of the departments have their own libraries and audio-video facilities.   The library  is open to the students from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. on all week days.  Books are issued to students from 12.45 p.m. to 1.45 p.m.  The library maintains a book bank, which lends text books to deserving students.


The College has a computer centre (named Srinivasa  Computer Centre) with state-of-the-art equipments and related facilities.  It has a tie-up with Kashyap Radiant Info School (which is a joint venture with Radiant Systems Inc., USA) to provide computer education using modern methodologies.


The College has a big play ground, 2 basket ball courts, 2 volley ball courts and a room for indoor games.  It also provides facilities for hockey, badminton, table tennis, kho-kho and chess.  The College has very strong sports teams.  Many students of the College find a place in the university and state teams.  Students talented in sports are given extra credit in the continuous internal assessment.


The College has its own press (which is a little out-dated) and  xerox centre.


There are hostels for under-graduate and post-graduate students, and they accommodate about 700 students.  The hostels have fully mechanised kitchen for preparing food under hygienic conditions. The College has a cafeteria, which is one of the favourite haunts of the students.


The College does not have a health centre.  Nor does it have a welfare fund of its own to give loans and financial assistance to needy teachers and staff. The College has a teachers' association as well as a staff association.   Of the 137 regular teachers, 87 are members of the teachers' association.


Efforts should be made to totally computerise the central library and also link it up with Internet as well as Inflibnet.  The library should have  inter-library borrowing facilities.  With so many post-graduate programmes and research going on in the College, there is a strong case for extending  the library timings and for keeping it open even on Sundays and holidays.


It would be useful to set up an advanced instrumentation centre as a common facility to take care of the repairs and maintenance of  sophisticated instruments in the various departments and to promote interdisciplinary research. It would be a good idea  to establish a non-resident students centre for the benefit of day-scholars.


Parameter IX: Student Feedback and Counselling


The College is reportedly using the ward system, under which 20 to 25 students are allotted to a teacher, who is expected to guide and counsel them.  Feedback is collected from students on matters such as teaching methods, infrastructure facilities and student services.  Progress of students is intimated to the parents through progress cards.  A `parent-teacher meet' was organised for the first time in January 1998.  It is proposed to have such meetings once every year.  Prospectus is made available to students in the month of May every year.  Financial aid is given to students in the form of scholarships of various kinds.  About 900 under-graduate students and 53 post-graduate students have been benefited through such scholarships during the current year.


A placement cell was started in the college last year (1997-98) .  The placement cell seeks to interact with leading industrial and commercial organisations to arrange training, project guidance and placement .  The cell has  been able to arrange campus interviews for final year students of certain courses by firms/companies such as Nestle, SRA Systems (Madras) and Arkins Systems (Madras).  Quite a few students have got placements/jobs through these interviews.


The College appears to be on a weak wicket as far as `guidance and counselling' is concerned.  Even though a few teachers have participated in a one-day workshop on counselling in January 1998, none of the teachers seems to be professionally qualified to do `guidance and counselling'.  It would be useful to have a couple of professionally trained counsellors on the rolls of the College to advise  students on their problems.


The College is reported to have an alumni association. But, it is not active enough.  The College does not have a mechanism to keep track of its old students.  It would be  useful to keep track of at least those students who have made a mark and thereby activate the alumni association to the advantage of the College.


Parameter X : Generation and Management of Financial Resources


The main sources of income are government grants, UGC grants, various types of fees, management contribution, donations and of course funds generated through self-financing courses. The statements of income and expenditure for the  year 1997-98 indicate that the total income of the College during the year was Rs.322 lakhs, all of which has been utilised. There is internal as well as government audit of accounts. There have not been any audit objections in recent years.


It would be necessary for the College to find ways and means of raising resources.  The College could go in a big way to offer consultancy and testing services on a commercial basis. Funds can also be generated by submitting meaningful research proposals to various funding agencies, to which reference has already been made.  The computer centre could be made to work in 2 or 3 shifts, as is being done by many institutions.  Some of the  existing infrastructure facilities could be hired out.  Foreign students could be attracted and admitted to the various programmes offered by the College as part of resource mobilisation.


Section 3 : Overall Analysis


The Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Tiruchirapalli is a well-established institution of very good standing and high reputation.  It is a government aided college with autonomous status.  It has a good campus with all essential infrastructure facilities and support services. During the past 47 years of its existence, it has done yeomen service to promote education of women and to empower them.  Through its curricular, co-curricular and extension activities, it has carved out for itself a pride of place in the academic world.


While the College is undoubtedly a very good institution, its approach appears to be a little conventional and conservative.  There is a case to make the approach more dynamic and liberal with sensitivity to today's fast-changing socio-economic situations and global expectations. The academic activities of the college seem to be too internalised. It would be very useful if the College could open up and interact with a whole lot of outside agencies concerned with education and training. The College should have a suitable and improved mechanism to seek the views of industry, business and service sectors on curriculum design and syllabus.  Their representatives could perhaps be included in the administrative and academic bodies of the College.  The inbuilt  mechanism for the use of feedback from various sources including peers could be further strengthened.


The College appears to be burdened with the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act of 1976 and its Rules, which do not seem to cater to the needs and concerns of an autonomous college. The College should consider effecting recruitment of faculty through open advertisements in national newspapers. This may be done in consultation with the state government.  An appropriate mechanism should be evolved for the annual self-appraisal of teachers and for their assessment by peers and possibly by students.  There is ample scope for more wide-spread use of educational technology and multi-media facilities in the teaching-learning process.  A programme of action should be devised to train all technical staff on a time-bound basis with a view to updating them in their respective fields.


The College has a lot of potential to promote research.  Teachers should be encouraged to submit research proposals in their respective disciplines to funding agencies such as UGC, DST, CSIR and ICSSR. The College should consider publishing monographs and reports of research and innovations done in the college and exchanging them with other institutions and R&D organisations.  The College could also offer consultancy and testing services on a commercial basis.  The College has immense potential to further strengthen its extension activities.


The College will do well to prepare a perspective plan for its further development in the next ten years. While the support services provided by the College are commendable, there is perhaps  need to set up a health centre on the campus. There is also a strong case to link up all the departments and other infrastructure facilities with an inter-com telephone system.


The central library should be fully computerised and linked up with Internet and Inflibnet.  There is a strong  case for extending the library timings and for keeping it open even on Sundays and holidays.  Setting up a sophisticated instrumentation centre as a common facility will be a progressive step.  The College should consider undertaking  effective measures to mobilise additional resources.


The Peer Team places on record its appreciation of the enormous amount of good will and cooperation extended to it by the management, principal, faculty, staff, students and others concerned.