The University of Roorkee (UOR) established by the UP Act No.IX of 1948 is situated amidst verdant surroundings not far from the stately Ganga Canal in a campus of 365 acres. Historically, the university has its roots in the Roorkee College established in 1847 as the first engineering college in the British Empire, which was soon rechristened Thomason College of Civil Engineering in 1854 after its mentor James Thomason on his demise in 1853. In the march for continuing industrial development, this college has played a vital role in providing indigenous technology and technical manpower to the country. The distinguished services of this institution to the nation were recognized when it was presented the Charter on November 25, 1949, elevating it to the first Engineering University of independent India. The institution has had a phenomenal growth over the past 150 years and now offers 10 undergraduate courses in engineering and architecture and 46 postgraduate courses in engineering and technology, architecture, science and management, besides research at doctoral and post doctoral levels. In addition, various certificate and diploma courses, consultancy and in-service training are offered through its 18 academic departments and 23 centres for research. It has a satellite campus at Saharanpur, housing the Institute of Paper Technology, in a 26 acres campus.
The university has a faculty strength of 356 and student strength of about 3000 including 262 research scholars. About 280 of these are girls and nearly 200 are from a number of developing countries of Asia and Africa.
The university volunteered to be assessed by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, Bangalore and submitted its Self-Study Report in August, 1999. NAAC constituted a Peer Team to visit the University and to validate the Self-study Report. The team members comprised Prof. M.Anandakrishnan, Vice-chairman, Tamilnadu State Council for Higher Education, as the chairman of the team and Dr. V. Ramamurti, Professor of Applied Mechanics, IIT, Chennai; Dr. B.N. Das, INSA Scientist, IIT, Kharagpur; Dr. A. Sridharan, Professor of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, as members. The Peer Team visited the University from 1-4 of November, 1999. Prof.A.Gnanam, Chairman of NAAC was with the team throughout and Dr.Antony Stella, Deputy Adviser of NAAC facilitated the Peer Team visit.
The Peer Team carefully studied and analysed the Self-Study Report submitted by the University of Roorkee. During the institutional visit, the team went through all the relevant documents; visited the departments and the facilities; and interacted with the various constituents of the institution. The academic, co-curricular, extra-curricular, sports and extension facilities of the institution were examined. The Peer Team interacted with the Syndicate, the Vice-Chancellor, faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni of the University. Based on the above exercise, and keeping in mind the seven criteria identified by NAAC, the Peer Team assessed the institution for the quality of education offered there. The assessment of the institution under various criteria, the commendable features of the institution as well as the issues of concern are presented in the following pages.
The University has 49 academic units consisting of 18 departments, 23 Centres and 8 other units. It has a total enrolment of 2951 students, out of which 1546 are undergraduates and 1143 postgraduates. Besides, the University is now embarking on a twinning arrangement with the Agricultural Research and Advisory Board, Malaysia and University of Putra, Malaysia besides entering upon an MOU with some university in Germany. A large number of students from foreign countries undergo studies for various programmes/courses including a special batch from Rawanda. Water Resources Development and Training Centre and the Department of Hydrology run international courses for in-service engineers.
There are 97 academic programme options in the University which include as under:
· undergraduate programmes in conventional Engineering like Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics and Computer, Metallurgical, Chemical and Paper Technology
· 46 post-graduate degree programmes in engineering and sciences,
· 9 diploma programmes
· 19 Ph.D. Programmes
· Since 1998 the department of Management Studies offers the MBA Programme.
This wide range and levels of programmes offered are impressive. The temporal plan of academic work is semester system. The credit system of instruction with scope for expanded electives has been introduced recently. This offers flexibility to students in the choice of courses of their specific interest from other departments as well. The mission of the University was reviewed and reinterpreted in 1997. The outcome was the new mission statement and Vision-2020 document, which is expected to provide new direction for the future growth of the University.
Most of the courses are career oriented. The structure of the curriculum is normally reviewed thoroughly for major changes, once in 5 years for the PG programmes and for UG programmes it is done once in 10 years. However, the faculty members have the freedom to update the content and syllabi as and when necessary. The UG curriculum could benefit by a five-year review as well. The University formulates the curricular content of new programmes through the Boards of Studies, Special Committees and National Curricular Sources. Whenever a UG or PG programme is to be initiated the University obtains the approval of statutory bodies like AICTE or of the UP government. This process takes about a year after a programme is conceptualized.
Four new PG programmes have been introduced during the last 3 years. It is observed that initiating the programmes is through the Boards of Studies, which comprise primarily internal members. In formulating such programmes the interaction with the academic peers and industries is desirable. To some extent this need is met through the Academic Council which consists of 15 percent external members.
The University has maintained several academic linkages with reputed institutions and universities both inside and outside the country which add value to the academic activities of the university.
Co-curricular and extra curricular activities carry 10% weightage in student grades. This helps students to improve their overall personality development and team spirit. Seventy-five percent of attendance is the minimum requirement to complete any course. This helps to maintain student discipline and ensures regularity.
Criterion II: Teaching – Learning and Evaluation
Teaching–learning and evaluation are carried out well. Recently (1999) the University has started the credit system, which enables the students to take courses from other departments. The academic programmes of the University follow the semester system. The students at the undergraduate level are admitted on merit through a joint entrance examination conducted all over India. For post-graduate courses, students are selected through GATE Score/GATE Score + Special Tests. Admission to some programmes not covered under GATE such as MBA and MCA are done through special tests conducted at various centres. There are 1546 UG students and 1143 PG students, about 30% of whom are from other states. Apparently there is a need for providing bridge/remedial courses for new entrants who may have some deficiencies in specific areas of studies.
There are adequate, well qualified and experienced teachers in the University. Almost 30 to 40% vacancies exist among teaching faculties. In many cases “guest faculty” are taken to make up the shortfall. Delay in recruitment is primarily due to non-availability of the right kind of faculty members under certain categories and due to inherent procedural delays. However, the students’ interests are not sacrificed.
Inspite of being a State University, teaching faculty are drawn from all over the country and at present about 30% are from the other States. The teachers are motivated and dedicated. However, it is observed that the composition of the faculty consists of a significant percentage in the age group higher than 45 years. The interdisciplinary character of the programmes would be strengthened by the induction of younger faculty with exposure to recent educational training.
The University has a system by which the teaching performance of the faculty is evaluated. Any teacher whose performance is below par is advised suitably. This has a salient effect in removing the deficiency in the teaching done by the faculty. Teachers are encouraged to attend national seminars and conferences to keep abreast with developments in the subjects. More than 20% of the faculty members have availed themselves of this opportunity.
The University has a “Continuing Education Programme” which attracts a large number of participants through several activities. The research areas have contributed to improve the quality and content of the UG and the PG programmes of other institutions. Similar initiatives for their own faculty are desirable.
Every student is required to give one/two seminars and submit a dissertation project at the end of both the UG and the PG programmes. Modern teaching aids are used to make the teaching–learning process effective. However, access to some of the sophisticated instruments for the students may be enlarged.
It also appears necessary to offer the students greater practical exposures in laboratories and on the job experience. Especially the students must have the option to propose or formulate the projects of their interest instead of choosing from a limited list.
The practice of continuous internal evaluation with student seminars, assignments and tests is followed. The introduction of internal assessment creates a special responsibility to avoid predictability and repeatability of questions through special efforts of the teachers.
Research work in the University is carried out through Master’s and Ph.D. programmes. Besides, sponsored research through funding from outside agencies is also carried out. At present there are 81 ongoing research projects funded by various agencies with a total outlay of Rs.7.9 crores. Forty-five new projects are also being proposed. The Central Library subscribing to 478 journals, well-equipped laboratories and computing facilities at the department and the University levels provide the proper climate for carrying out basic and applied research. Two hundred and fifty students have registered for Ph.D. out of whom 66 are part time scholars and 45 have fellowships. Thirteen postdoctoral fellows are on rolls.
The following is the summary of the research output. For the year 1998, for which complete information is available, there were 117 journal publications from science departments with the faculty strength of 115. This works out to about one publication per faculty per year. In Engineering with the faculty strength of 295, the number of Journal publications was 100. This works out to 0.29 publications per faculty per year. Number of Ph.D. degrees awarded for Science department was 93 for two years, which works out to 0.4 per faculty per year. For Engineering it was 64 for two years working out to 0.15 per faculty per year. The reasons for this level of performance were discussed with the faculty. It is understood that one of the reasons could be that the students do not pursue higher studies in engineering or science since they get good placement when they complete their Bachelors or Masters programmes. It is felt that the faculty members could effectively translate the research output from the sponsored projects in the form of publication by writing papers or books of their own.
Consultancy output for two years for the University, as a whole is Rs.348 lakhs. This works out to a figure of Rs.0.43 lakhs per faculty per year. Closer examination of the output reveals that the department of Civil and Earthquake Engineering contribute Rs.253 lakhs (nearly 70% of the total output). The Departments of Electrical and Electronics with the faculty strength of 55 have the consultancy earning of Rs.29 lakhs. Consultancy earnings from some of the traditional engineering departments like Mechanical, Chemical and Metallurgy with faculty strength of 74 works out to Rs.23 lakhs. This figure seems to be too low. While recognising the limitations in securing consultancy projects in view of the location of the University, the team feels that special efforts are required from the departments to improve their consultancy level. There is sufficient scope for these departments in this direction.
The faculty members participate actively in extension services through Science and Technology Enterpreneurship Park (STEP), Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) and Continuing Education Programmes. They organise extension lectures and conferences at the national and international levels. The faculty and students participate in the community related services like NSS, NCC, school education and milk supply.
Criterion IV: Infrastructure and Learning Resources
For the current levels of programmes and admission capacities, the campus has adequate space to accommodate various departments, centres, utilities like library, computer centre, general administration, sports grounds and buildings, hostels (separately for UG, PG, Ph.D. students), bank, canteen and other necessary facilities. Because the University is very old, most of the buildings show signs of aging requiring special attention.
The University has both central and departmental libraries. The central library has been making continuous efforts towards the total automation of its function and services. An On-line Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) has been installed. Four Pentium computers have been added as terminals for the use of members. The CD-network system has been integrated with the OPAC. Ten CD-ROM databases have been acquired recently. Thus the library is reasonably modern giving good services to students and faculties.
The budget of about 1.1 Crore rupees per annum to the library is reasonable. Careful selection is made with respect to journals keeping in mind those journals subscribed by sister institutions in the town. Totally 478 Journals are subscribed with the addition of about 4200 books in the current year. Total number of books and journals amounts to 2,71,200 and the ratio of library books to number of students works out to be 90:1. The library worked for 348 days last year. It is open between 9 am and 10 pm on Monday through Saturday and on Sundays between 10 am and 6 pm. The library provides facilities for photocopying and access to video films, microfilms, CD-ROM, e-mail and Internet.
The Computer centre has Tata ELXI power series 3220, Silicon graphics work stations, DEC Alpha server 1000/333 MHz, DEC Alpha server 400/133 MHz and Multimedia based Pentium desktops with MMX Tech. PARAM 10000 is to be added shortly. The centre works between 8.00 am and 11.00 pm on all working days. A campus-wide fibre optic backbone has been established with outlets to the various departments. The internal networking of the departments has also been completed. The system is expected to be operative very soon.
The Information Super Highway Centre (ISC) was established in 1996. Along with VSAT system it provides services to the University community through dial-up lines, which would be upgraded once the campus-wide fibre optics networking becomes operative. The objective of the ISC is to provide state of the art infrastructure for voice, video, and data communication within and outside the University and to develop virtual classroom fitted with video–conferencing and broadcasting capabilities. Nearby engineering colleges can be supported with distance education.
Hostel facilities are very good for both boys and girls. There are separate hostels for UG, PG and doctoral students along with reading, music and TV rooms. Particularly all the students are accommodated in the hostel, most of them in single rooms. There are 124 suites for married students. There is a separate hostel for ladies with a capacity of about 220, which is not sufficient to accommodate the existing strength.
Traditionally the University lays emphasis on physical fitness and personality development of the students. The University Sports Association, Himalayan Explorers Club, Students Club, Cultural Society and Hobbies Club, provide ample opportunity for the students to spend their time most usefully out side their studies. It is a must for every student to select one activity to acquire proficiency and students are evaluated. Sports also provide a strong and continuous interaction between the faculty and students.
The Sports Association provides opportunities to students in 15 popular games like Cricket, Hockey, and recently with Yogic exercise. Squash and rowing games are very popular. Many students have participated in the inter institutional meets and have won many gold, silver and bronze medals.
Hobbies Club is yet another popular extra curricular activity with seven active sections like electronics, fine arts, philately etc. The University has a printing section, which brings out in-house University news bulletin.
There is a health centre in the campus providing both out patient and hospitalisation services with six medical officers and one medical Superintendent. All necessary medical lab facilities and an ambulance are available. There is a compulsory medical checkup for the students, teachers and non-teaching staff and their records are well maintained. In all the above facilities, a faculty adviser is associated which is a welcome feature.
Criterion V: Student Support and Progression
The brochure and prospectus contain sufficient information to attract young boys and girls of the country and abroad to get the benefit of the courses of different levels required for career building. The distribution among various academic programmes of different levels is quite satisfactory. The dropout rate is negligible and pass percentage is quite high.
Though the placement section is found to work efficiently for campus recruitment of the UG students passing out from the University every year, it does not fulfil the needs of the PG students. Arrangements for academic as well as personal counselling are adequate.
The Alumni Association promotes and encourages the members to take active interest in the activities and development of the University. It also channelises funds for instituting fellowships and other welfare activities.
Financial aid to students is available through Central and State Government. Scholarships in the form of merit scholarship at U.G. level and fellowship in P.G. level. In addition, there are trust scholarships and freeships. Provision has also been made for helping the needy students through student loan and aid fund.
In the context of student support programmes, the University faces the challenges of resource mobilisation through increasing fee structure. Necessarily this raises the question of adequate support to poor students who might otherwise be discouraged from seeking admission. Some schemes such as MBA are apparently supportable through self-financing schemes.
Career guidance to the students will be an essential requirement of the University functions. It would also be necessary to attract major employers in the public sector institutions such as DRDO and ISRO, in addition to the current practice of attracting the private industries for campus interviews.
Criterion VI: Organisation and Management
The structure for governance of the Roorkee University is similar to that of most of the University systems in India, consisting of a Syndicate, Academic Council and a Senate. The Syndicate, which has the final management responsibility, was until last year an unwieldy body constituted under the original Roorkee University Act, 1948. The original Act prescribed all professors as members of Syndicate, when there were only three departments. The Act was amended last year with balanced composition and functional size to include the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, three heads of departments and one Director or co-ordinator of academic centres to be nominated by the Academic Council, Dean of Students Welfare, nine representatives of teachers, four faculty to be elected by the Senate, four Chancellor’s nominees and Secretary of Technical Education. The Vice-Chancellor presides over the Syndicate, which normally meets once in 2 months. The Academic Council consisting of all Heads of Departments, and a cross section of other representations presided over by the Vice-Chancellor, is responsible for all academic matters. The Senate is a larger body consisting of several cross-sections of representation which meets once a year presided over by the Chancellor.
The amended Roorkee University Act, which came into effect this year is expected to facilitate the overall management functions efficiently and also the procedural aspects of management will be considerably improved with the present management structure
The University has evolved a Vision-2020 document setting forth the broad directions for its growth during the next 20 years. Its implementation would require a strong and supportive organizational framework. The present indications are positive.
The University has maintained a long tradition of committed and competent faculty. High level academics with relevant research and professional competence are required for appointment at all levels of faculty. In spite of the University adopting the pay-scales of IIT system, the number of unfilled positions is significantly large especially in the reserved categories. However, it is commendable that the University has not allowed this shortfall to affect its academic commitments to students.
The future expansion of the University in terms of overall size and specific programme areas is under consideration. In this context the problems of attracting sufficient number of competent faculty may be an issue to be taken into account.
As a residential University, the faculty and students are provided with adequate facilities and means for interaction at various levels. The evaluation of faculty performance by the students is a commendable practice. The newly established campus wide fibre-optic backbone and connectivity is expected to be enlarged to facilitate introduction of modern communication capabilities, innovative teaching techniques and efficient administrative services for the faculty, staff and students. It is notable that the investment in this facility has been managed from the internal resources generated by the University.
The limited area of about 360 acres for a residential campus for about 3000 students, UG/PG programmes & faculty houses combined with the various buildings and facilities evolved over a century and a half presents a crowded and somewhat declining upkeep. In the context of reduced governmental funding for higher education, the University faces the challenges of finding expansion space as well as finances for repair and maintenance.
The ability of the departments to obtain sponsored research projects seems high. However, these schemes are mostly from governmental agencies. This will be spent mainly on the project related activities. The consultancy level is also at a reasonably healthy level. However, these sources can yield only limited internal revenue for the University.
There are several endowed chairs. This will enhance the academic and research outputs.
There are efforts to reduce the quantum of support staff or retrain them to upgrade their skills. The grievance redressal mechanism of the University covers both faculty and staff.
The fee structure has been enhanced recently but not to the levels in the IITs. The University largely depends upon State funding by way of block grants which meet the salary of the faculty and other staff as well as certain categories of operational costs. The University has to comply with the audit procedures prescribed by the State government. The resources that have been generated through extra budgetary support such as endowment and consultancy are kept in a separate University development fund which is managed by the University for its needs outside the state government support. This system appears to provide the required flexibility and expediency in undertaking special developmental tasks.
In order to maintain its standard and reputation, the University would need a considerably high level of organisational funding in coming years. The University has plans to mobilize additional resources through multiple channels including expanded marketing of its educational services within and outside India, encouraging alumni contributions and increasing industry collaborations.
In these efforts, the initiatives launched by the University from this year to introduce flexible curriculum, credit system and internal evaluation will go a long way in strengthening the programmes of the University. At the same time the University may need to guard against academic fragmentation and duplication of efforts even inadvertently. There is a need to attract new generation of faculty who would be amenable to adopt an inter disciplinary approach more willingly than the older generation. This will be helpful to move with the global educational trends of multidisciplinary technological/scientific integration and to utilize the available space, faculty and equipment optimally.
Criterion VII: Healthy Practices
Over the years the University has adopted and reinforced several healthy practices in the best interest of the academic activities. This includes the introduction of need-based courses, self-financing courses, credit system, tailor-made courses for the industry and examination reforms. The University has endeavoured to match the norms of the IIT such as in the case of student-teacher ratio, qualification, and pay scales. It has been in the tradition of the University to emphasise regularity in attendance, discipline, absence of ragging and prevention of undesirable habits among students and encouraging students towards extra curricular activities and services.
The University has deliberately sought and achieved a variety of linkages with institutions in India and abroad as well as with several industries of special relevance to programmes with the University. Some of these efforts have resulted in creation of two Chairs of Excellence by the Railways besides the HUDCO Chair and earlier Chairs.
Some of the faculty members have received awards in recognition of their academic and research contribution. In the years to come, in order to sustain these efforts, the University may have to consider the issues such as avoiding fragmentation and duplication of academic programmes, strengthening fundamental research and original designs and product development and their larger mission towards the society.
Section 3: Overall Analysis
The Peer Team, after going through the Self-Study Report and after its visit to various academic and physical facilities, is impressed by the progress of the University of Roorkee in translating its vision and goals of teaching and research into practice.
The Peer Team is convinced that there are a number of features of the University’s approach to the assurance of the quality and standards which it would wish to commend, as well as others which it would wish to bring to the attention of the University for further consideration. The Peer Team would like to commend the University for its many good practices, in particular,
· Wide ranging academic options
· Significant number of foreign students
· Twinning programme with Malaysian Institutions & MOU with some universities in Germany
· Recently introduced credit system and flexibility of elective options
· Documentation towards Vision-2020
· Weightage for extra-curricular activities and emphasis on attendance
· Balanced intake of UG and PG students
· Student admission through all India tests and significant number of students form other states
· Continuous internal evaluation of students
· Overall ambiance of the Campus, conducive to academic activities
· The institutionalised mechanism for the evaluation of the teachers by the students
· The well maintained and utilised facilities of the satellite campus at Saharanpur
· The propensity of the faculty to attract large projects from a few Government agencies
· The commendable participation of the faculty in supporting the extra curricular activities and extension services such as the Hobby Club and the Deaf School
· The well developed facilities for sports, library, computer centre, health centre and hostels with sufficient encouragement for students and faculty members to avail them
· Special efforts made by the university to provide modern infrastructure facilities such as fibre optic network, CD-ROM network and sufficient number of outlets for the use of departments, administration, faculty members and students
· The establishment, operation and utilisation of the University Science and Instrumentation Centre in a commendable way
· The well designed brochures of the activities of the university as a whole and the departments with extensive and useful information
· The efficient and effective placement services
· The noteworthy interaction the with alumni association
· Sufficient level of financial aid that is available to deserving students
· The change in the university Act that provides for more efficient governance
· The healthy relationship between administration and faculty
· The recognition and awards received by some of the faculty
As it continues to work towards its Vision-2020 and for assuring the quality of its educational programmes, the University may wish to consider the following:
· The undergraduate curriculum structure needs to be comprehensively reviewed once in 5 years instead of the present practice of about 10 years
· The Boards of Studies should have external members
· Considerable duplication of courses of similar nature among various department should be avoided
· Opportunities for professional development of teachers could be improved
· Need for induction of younger faculty with exposure to recent academic experience specially from outside the university needs to be considered
· The feed back from the students needs special attention
· The students should be provided opportunities for undertaking challenging projects
· Special care needs to be taken in avoiding the predictability of the questions in successive examinations
· Greater opportunity should be provided to students especially at the UG level to be exposed to sophisticated facilities
· Intra and inter disciplinary as well as cross departmental interactions need strengthening
· Optimising the programme of IPT either by relocating it in the main campus or by expanding its activities to raise the institution above the subcritical level needs to be considered
· Special efforts are needed to secure funding from many other Governmental, public sector, and private sector organisations
· The research output in terms of publication, especially in reputed refereed journals, patents, products etc. needs special efforts
· The scope for the level of consultancy efforts of some of the traditional engineering departments similar to the Earthquake & Civil Engineering should be enhanced
· Incentives for directing research efforts towards fundamental and frontier areas requires to be reinforced
· The role of the central computer centre, in the emerging context of increasing access to computers in departments deserves special attention
· The students should have sufficient opportunities to ventilate their view points with the higher level of administration including the Vice-chancellor
· The university will face increasing challenges in resource mobilisation especially through fee structure in the context of affordability by poorer families
· Career guidance to students in the emerging opportunities needs to be initiated in the early stages of the studies
· Maintenance and upkeep of essential services needs special care in view of the aging infrastructure
· The administrative procedures to enable efficient functioning of teaching and research activities require improvement
The Peer Team wishes to record its appreciation for the enormous amount of goodwill and co-operation extended by the institution towards the Peer Team. The team wishes the institution all success in its future endeavours towards the realisation of Vision-2020.