Welcome to Alumni Meet

Dear Alumnus/Alumna, March 13, 2009

The program for the proposed Workshop-cum-Symposium-cum-Alumni Meet, scheduled to be held from May 6-10, 2009, is now final. Please access http://chemeng.iisc.ernet.in/molsim/ for more information on the workshop (May 6-8, 2009) and the symposium (May 9, 2009). This letter is about the Alumni Meet, scheduled to be held on Sunday, May 10, 2009. A large number of you responded to my first mail and expressed your desire to participate in the proposed Alumni Meet. I thank you all for your continued interest in the department, even when we have not made any formal effort to maintain contact with you. We are hopeful that the proposed Alumni Meet will be an eventful one, as you can see from the structure of the Meet (in Table below).

Program for the Alumni Meet

8.00-9.30 am Registration
9.30-10.15 am Opening Address
10.15-10.45 am Coffee Break
10.45-12.30 pm Session on `Student Training
12.30-2.30 pm Lunch-cum-poster session
2.30-4.30 pm Department-Alumni interaction and Outreach'
4.30-5.00 pm High Tea
5.00-5.30 pm The Concluding Session

Please consider this letter as an invitation to attend the Alumni Meet. We are trying to arrange some guest rooms in the institute and a get-together dinner on the previous night (May 9). I will update you on this issue in near future. As you can see from the format of the two sessions (on the next page) we need at least two speakers each for six themes. I will be grateful if you could also consider through this letter our call for volunteers to speak on one of the six themes. You can choose the theme you like for a focussed talk of 8-10 minutes of duration. (This document is also available from ``http://chemeng.iisc.ernet.in/alumni2009/''.)
I look forward to receiving confirmation of your participation in the Meet. Please register yourself on the website for the Alumni Meet (``http://chemeng.iisc.ernet.in/alumni2009/'' ). I hope that you will consider volunteering for a theme close to your heart, or encourage someone who you know has interesting ideas for this occasion, and will be happy to deliver a focussed talk.
Please do not hesitate to write to me if you have any suggestions or queries.


Opening Address

It will cover how the department has evolved over the years, and the vision for the coming years.

Session on `Student Training'


This session, proposed to be held up to lunch time, will open with a short talk on what constitutes `student training' at the present time. This will be followed by short and focussed talks by the alumni, students, and faculty covering three sub-topics, detailed below, one after the other. We would like to identify at least two to three speakers for each sub-topic well in advance. The others from the audience will be encouraged to bring out issues, missed by the designated/volunteer speakers . The session will end with a panel discussion to arrive at what needs to be done to strengthen various aspects of the student training.

The training imparted through courses

We can discuss in this session the effectiveness/usefulness of the material being taught, effective teaching strategies in our context and how these could be further strengthened. These could be discussed in the context of the background of the incoming students. We can also discuss initiatives that may help every incoming student realize and grow his/her potential and skills.

Strengthening of research experience

We can discuss the salient features of the research training our department provides, as perceived by the graduating students. Time required to finish research training and the breadth and depth of the research experience acquired by the students could also be discussed in the context of graduating student's career. Suggestions on strengthening research training could be invited and discussed.

Overall personality development (soft skills) of incoming students:

We continue to get a mix of students. Some are outspoken and ready to participate in any discussion, and some others shy away from everything. Discussion in this session could focus on what constitutes personality development and how much of it should the department try to augment by devising new activities. How have we done in this regard in the past? Do we need to do more? How much more? Resources and logistics! It is this area which I believe can benefit exclusively from the participation the alumni only.

Lunch-cum-Poster session

The poster session is organized to make the alumni aware of the current research activity in the department.

Department-Alumni Interaction and Outreach


Like the forenoon session, this session will be open with a short talk on various modes of continued interaction between the department and the alumni. The volunteers and/or designated speakers are expected to talk on the following overlapping issues in this session. The other participants in the audience can bring out issues missed by the speakers.

This session will end with a panel discussion to consolidate findings/proposals if any.

Perception of department among students, researchers, and practitioners in industry

The alumni must have come across the attributes, good or bad, fixed on them by virtue of being a graduate of our department/institute. We could discuss these and ponder whether the present state of affairs should continue or there is scope for change, and how!


How to attract bright students to the department and the role alumni can play in this.

Department-Alumni interaction:

In my view, this has been at ground zero level all along. There is plenty that can be achieved under this umbrella, as shown by a number of institutions in India itself. It requires someone from alumni/faculty to envision, develop a team of dedicated people, move forward to generate a workable plan, and then execute it to make this vision possible. Do we have enough such people among us to progress in this area?

Concluding Session (After High Tea)

The last session is of course on generating action plans; the burden of executing these will be on the present faculty of the department and the alumni. Once again, we must discuss to arrive at achievable targets, and comeback in perhaps three years time for a large scale meeting to review. We could follow up with a yearly small scale meeting between the department faculty and alumni representatives.

Document is prepared by:

Sanjeev Kumar 2009-03-20