Assessment Report on
Institutional Accreditation of
Lady Doak College (Autonomous)
Madurai, Tamil Nadu
Lady Doak College, Madurai, is an autonomous, grant-in-aid women’s college established in 1948. The college is now affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University. Autonomy was conferred on the college in 1978. The mission of the college is to impart quality higher education to women students of all creeds without any discrimination. The college has earned a reputation of its own in women’s education.
The college volunteered to be assessed and accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). The self-study report necessary for this purpose was submitted to NAAC in November 1999. The three-member Peer Team consisting of Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai, Vice-Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, Prof. J. Ramanna, Former Director of Collegiate Education, Government of Karnataka, Bangalore, and Prof. P. Pramada Devi, Principal, Osmania University College for Women, Hyderabad visited the College on 13,14 and 15 December 1999 for an on-site evaluation of the self-study report and for interactions with all the academic and administrative components of the institution. The pre-visit analysis of the self-study report, visits to the various departments and facilities, interaction with the college community in 10 sessions during 3 days and an in depth analysis of the performance provided the following observation and insights which are pointers to the quality of the institution. In addition to the detailed examination of the documentary evidences related to administration, academic governance and evaluation, the Peer Team also interacted with the Board of Directors and the Executive Council, the Principal, students, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and alumnae. The reports related to the performance of the college under autonomy were also perused. The summary of the findings are given below.
Section 2. Criterion-wise Analysis
Criterion I: Curricular Aspects
The College has been autonomous for the last 22 years. Consistent with the institutional goals and objectives, there have been successful attempts to design a diversified, meaningful curriculum which is relevant to the region and the time. The courses offered by the college are different from those offered in affiliated colleges.
The conduct of a total of 37 courses starting from the certificate courses to the M.Phil. programme under the regular as well as self-financing stream, is an indication of the extent of programme options available in to students in the institution.
The periodic revision of curriculum which is a requirement of the continuation of autonomy has been strictly carried out. Basic, applied and interdisciplinary aspects of the subject in question have been interwoven in the curriculum. The curriculum takes care of the need of advanced higher education requirements (vertical mobility) as well as relevance to other disciplines (horizontal mobility and interdisciplinary). Every five years the curriculum is widely revised. Minor, marginal revisions to incorporate new topics, keeping in view the developments in the field, are evident. This has provided the students a unique opportunity for learning in interdisciplinary areas like environmental science, astrophysics, biophysics, physics of sports, physics of music, practical banking, American studies and industrial microbiology.
Value education, women’s studies, computer expertise, research methodology and participation in seminars and field work are compulsory for all students. NSS, NCC and sports are also integral parts of the curriculum. Skill as well as knowledge are given the necessary emphasis in all the programmes. Courses outside the curriculum are offered to augment job-opportunities. Clinical diagnostics, secretarial practice and certificate/diploma courses in computer and information management subjects illustrate this point.
The college has evolved a characteristic administrative and academic structure to take care of the dynamic changes in the curricular aspects. The Curriculum Planning and Evaluation Cell, the Boards of Studies and the Academic Council function effectively making full use of the expertise from universities, research institutions and industrial concerns. There is a formal mechanism to seek views from students, faculty and other experts. All these efforts point to the development of a dynamic curriculum, which is the need of the hour. These efforts and positive steps can lead to complete fruition only when the choice-based credit system becomes operative. The stage is set for this innovation.
While considerable work is going on to update syllabi, offer interdisciplinary courses and to provide course options, the curricular impact or stakeholders may be evaluated by a wide feedback from different components to test the efficiency of curricular reform made so for.
The institution follows the reservation policy adopted by the Government of Tamil Nadu in making admissions. All UG admissions are based on the marks secured at the intermediate level while entrance tests are conducted both at the PG and the M.Phil levels. Conducting bridge and remedial courses to all the newly admitted students for seven to ten days is a good step taken by the College to give a general orientation to all. This helps students from rural areas and those who are weak in English.
The college follows the semester system. Besides regular classroom teaching, involving students in seminars, project work, etc both at the UG & the PG levels is commendable. The provision made available for guest lectures gives a good exposure to students and also motivates them for higher learning. Use of audio visual aids and construction of models help in practical involvement.
Besides offering a wide range of optional courses, the college has made participation in the NCC, NSS and sports obligatory. The College has six units of NSS and students are made to participate either in NCC or NSS or sports. Students who participate in co-curricular activities are helped to make up the loss of regular classes through extra classes and special examinations arranged for them.
Periodic assessment of student progress is followed. Internal assessment tests, assignments and seminar participation ensure the continuous assessment process. The college follows the method of double valuation/collective valuation in both the undergraduate and the postgraduate exams. The assessment and valuation are transparent. Students have a provision to approach the teachers in case of any doubt.
The College has an adequate number of qualified faculty to handle various courses. The Management permits the Principal to recruit faculty as per the rules and regulations laid down by the government and fill in any vacancies. Teachers are involved in research. Participation in and conduct of, seminars is encouraged by the Management. Members of faculties have freedom to publish research articles. Ninety percent of faculty have one step higher qualification than the mandatory level and 25% of them are Ph.D. holders. The care taken by the faculty to prepare the handouts for the special courses offered is commendable. Preparation of teaching plans, adhering to schedule and making themselves available for students after regular college hours show the dedication and commitment of the teachers.
The institutional efforts made for faculty development are significant. Special mention may be made of the facilitating aspects of study abroad programmes, summer enrichment and college sponsored workshop/seminars. During the last two years itself, the college has organised 16 workshops for teachers. The college has also provision for study leave and during the last 2 years 8 teachers have availed themselves of the facility.
Self–appraisal is operative in the evaluation of teaching. There is also a mechanism to elicit information from students on evaluation of teachers, teaching and courses offered.
The institution has a good linkage at national and international levels. Through student exchange and faculty exchange programmes with institutions of higher education abroad like the Oberlin University, the College has trained students and faculty in thrust areas like Women's Studies and Service Learning.
The need to shift pedagogy from teacher centeredness to learner-centeredness may be met more effectively with scholar - self-reliance and academic independence which the college may specifically promote.
Criterion III: Research, Consultancy and Extension
The College is essentially an institution for undergraduate teaching. However there are instances of individual teachers and departments engaging in research, which has to be encouraged. The Faculty Research and Development Cell has been constituted to promote research activities. The institution also extends financial support for a few projects.
The department of zoology is a recognised centre for research. More than 50% of the faculty is engaged in research. About 15 teachers are on the FIP program of UGC during IX plan. Teachers are involved, one way or the other, in guiding student projects or in the research activities of their own projects. A good number of faculty are recognised research guides. The number of books published by teachers in the department of Tamil and the research papers published by various departments give a high profile of research culture prevalent in the institution. The department of Chemistry and the Women’s Studies Centre have the potential to offer consultancy and they may have to explore the possibilities in this direction.
True to the spirit of the objective, the College takes care of co-curricular activities like NCC, NSS and sports. Six units of NSS and their participation in extension activities and camps evidently show their social commitment. NCC is another wing which brings laurels to the college by their participation in the Basic Leadership Camp and the Republic Day Parades. Championship in team events and athletics for the past 6 or 7 years is a commendable achievement in the field of sports. Participation of the faculty in extension activities is appreciable. With the encouragement given by the college administration and faculty and with the immense potential in the youth, the institution has further scope to improve the activities of the three wings namely NCC, NSS and sports.
Research activity is thin except perhaps in one department. Work under autonomy could have augmented research and also helped to generate income from consultancy.
During the past 51 years of its existence the college has gradually expanded its facilities in the form of buildings, laboratories, library, hostel blocks and guest houses. The college owns a campus spreading over 17.3 acres housing 14 departments, laboratories, etc.
The maintenance of the infrastructure of the college is monitored by the Bursar in consultation with the Principal. The consulting engineer of the college recommends the repair works to be carried out under the supervision of a full time well-qualified Campus Manager. While the students of the aided courses use the class rooms spread over the day as per time table, those of the self-financing courses use some of the class rooms after 2 PM and thus ensuring the optimal use the available class room-space. Special rooms, auditorium and the student activity hall are put to maximum use by resorting to advance booking and use.
The different departments offer library service to their students. There is a book bank facility for needy students. The computerisation of the library is under process. This may be completed as early as possible. The ratio of the number of books to the number of students is 35:1 which is fairly good. The library has an open access system. The colour code for easy identification of books is an interesting provision. The library has 4 computers and a printer. The library has got a CDS/ISIS software package from the UNESCO.
The Central Computer facility consists of 97 computers with 17 printers with one computer connected to the multi-media projector. The various departments are equipped with 13 computers and 4 printers. The College office has 14 computers and 12 printers. The Computer Centre is managed by a systems analyst. Annual Maintenance contracts have been made for the computers, printers and the UPS. The software required, is obtained from the Centralised Computerised Centre.
The college has an effective intercom network. All classrooms are connected to the public address system. Linking the departments, the computer centre, the library and the administrative officers by intranet is nearing completion.
The services of a College Doctor are available on call. The doctor does annual medical inspection for students. The services of a qualified nurse and a resident clinic assistant are available. The health care centre has 6 rooms and 17 beds and the requisite medical equipment and apparatus are available.
The College has a Physical Education Centre with facilities like basketball courts (2), volleyball courts (2), ball badminton courts (2), Kho kho field (1), Kabaddi field (1), throw ball court (1), stadium with gallery (1) with indoor facilities like Table Tennis, Chess & Caroms. Students have distinguished themselves by winning overall championships of Madurai Kamaraj University for 6 successive terms and a trophy for sending maximum number of students as members of university teams.
Accommodation is available for 400 students in the six college hostels and guest house facilities are available.
Perhaps a master-plan could have projected the sufficiency of infrastructure for programmes to be offered during the next ten years.
The success rate of students in examination is very good. Financial aid is provided to the needy students. During the year 1998-99, 37 students got merit scholarships, 80 students from the State Government and 443 from the Central Government.
In the field of sports the college has the credit of sending maximum number of University Blues. Career Counselling is an integral part of the College activities. Academic Counselling facility is provided to all the students. It is recommended that a placement cell be established in the College to keep track of the placement of the graduate and other students. The employment cell in the College encourages students to be self-employed. The self-employment is promoted through the Career Guidance Cell and Skill-development Co-curricular programmes.
An Alumnae Association exists and is very active. It conducts the following activities.
(1) Every year the Alumnae Association organises a graduate reception and Annual Meetings of the Association.
(2) The Alumnae Development Committee runs the type-writing institute and tailoring institute. It also runs a crèche to provide child care facility to the faculty members, non-teaching staff and other employed women in the neighborhood.
Student progression seems to have been achieved to some degree by offering help and support in which students may rely. The college may be concerned about promoting initiative and self confidence among students who can thus progress into the competitive world of careers and research , field training ,publishing, research studies may constitute a totally different set of support strategies for this purpose.
The Lady Doak College is governed by the Katie Wilcox Education Association constituted under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956. Under the Board of Directors and rules laid down by the UGC for autonomous colleges, there is an Executive Committee & Finance Committee which jointly look after the functions to
- fix the fees and other charges payable by the students
- institute scholarships, fellowships, studentships, medals and prizes
- Approve introduction of new programmes of studies
- Consider budget estimates relating to the grants received/receivable from the UGC and other Govt. sources and income from fees etc.
- Consider audited statement of Accounts for the above.
The Board of Directors helps the Principal in the recruitment of teaching/non--teaching staff as per the State Govt. rules and regulations as and when the vacancies arise. Performance appraisal of all the members of the staff is undertaken every year. The Senates and the Academic Council are Advisory bodies consisting of the Heads of the Departments and they advise the Principal on all academic matters. The Faculty Association helps in achieving the effective coordination of various programmes of the college.
The Board of Directors meets once in three months. There is decentralisation of administration through delegation of responsibilities to appropriate academic bodies/committees. All the members of staff are encouraged to participate in decision making through ideas & suggestions emerging from different levels. Campus networking through computers, intercom, fax, intranet and internet facility and office automation are some of the examples of the use of modern technology for the efficient functioning of the college.
The college has an effective and up-to-date internal audit mechanism. The Management maintains a corpus fund which is available for supporting faculty appointments and other development programmes of the College.
Whereas opportunities are made available for participatory involvement in planning and decision making – an advantage in an autonomous college – by themselves they may not promote quality or even functionality. Hence an assessment of the effectiveness of these bodies in specific terms is crucial to make them effectively operative.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
In an ever growing and demanding field of education the institutions have a vital role to play, to meet the demand of job oriented, need based courses. The Peer Team is pleased to observe the college taking care of this aspect in its own way. The courses offered are modified & upgraded to meet need challenges.
The college has the privilege of using the expertise visiting international scholars. Their stay is fully utilised by the institution by means of extension/guest lectures.
The awards won by the faculty in the departments of Tamil and economics are worth mentioning.
Introducing women’s studies to improve the general personality and awareness of gender based problems is highly appreciative. The ‘Advisory’ method adopted by the college to see to the need and care of students in various aspects is laudable.
Goals and objectives of the institution are well met by involving the faculty and students in leadership, Management & interpersonal skills.
Good infrastructure, adequate facilities, computer centre with network facility and internet help modernize the functions of the college.
The college has effectively utilized the advantage of autonomy in the improvement of courses, in moulding examination and evaluation systems, programme option etc. It is a welcome aspect that it is soon going to switch over to the credit system.
To sum up, the Lady Doak College, Madurai has been pioneering in the field of women’s education in Tamil Nadu for the last five decades. While sticking to the noble goals and objectives of its founders, the institution has taken rapid strides in educational innovation and development. Started as a second grade intermediate college in 1948, raised to the status of a first grade degree college in 1957, upgraded to a P.G. College in 1961, and conferred the autonomy in 1978, the college has never hesitated to adopt new systems and practices of higher education. As early as in 1970 the college has participated in the College Science Improvement Program (COSIP) of the UGC. In 1976 it adopted the semester pattern. In 1993 it welcomed the self-financing pattern to start certain courses which could not be supported by the grant-in-aid programme of the government. The college participated in the UGC vocational courses programme by starting the Vocational botany (Industrial Microbiology) course. Research inputs and inter-institutional collaboration and linkages at a National and International levels are also encouraging.
While strengthening the activities along the above lines, the college may also direct its efforts for further growth in the following areas too;
- Computerisation of library (which is already in progress) and starting of online information retrieval facility.
- Pooling of the personnel and infrastructure resources of the library, computer science and information system courses for starting graduate and post-graduate courses in library and information science.
- Entering into agreement with industrial concerns, corporate houses, Banks and NGOs for collaborative teaching and training.
- Introduction of course and credit pattern or the choice-based credit system.
- Integration of the self-financing courses with the main stream of conventional courses.
With the excellent track record of the college, its commitment and the ambient academic atmosphere prevailing in the institution, the Peer Team feels that the college has all the potentialities for achieving international standards. While congratulating the entire college community, we also thank them on our personal behalf and on behalf of the NAAC, for the cooperation and support they have extended during the assessment exercise.