I feel honoured to lead Alagappa University as its ninth Vice- Chancellor. This University is a classic example of inclusive rural higher education. This University is the dream project of Padmabhushan Dr. RM. Alagappa Chettiar, a philanthropist and a visionary par excellence. His dream came true with the formation of the University on 09.05.1985. The total area of 440 acres is the generous donation of the Founder. Started as a humble Unitary University with just four Departments and two constituent Colleges, with an enrolment of 340 students and faculty strength of 35, and then converted into an affiliating University in 2002-2003, the exceptional growth in all key domains of higher education, Alagappa University is an inspiring model for other similar institutions.
In 2005, the University was accredited with “A” grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and in 2011, re-accredited with “A” grade ( CGPA 3.21 out of 4). In 2017, Alagappa University has been awarded A+ grade by NAAC (CGPA 3.64 out of 4) in the third cycle of assessment. It has become the first State University awarded A+ grade by NAAC in the State of Tamil Nadu.
Alagappa University received ISO 9001: 2015 Certification Award for Quality in providing Higher Education and Research Activities and Clean and Green Campus Award (2016) & World Environment and Livelihood (WEAL) Award (2017) from National Institute of Cleanliness and Education Research (NICER), New Delhi.
Under the UGC (Categorization of Universities for Grant of Graded Autonomy) Regulations 2017 (draft), Alagappa University has been categorized as Category I University as it has been accredited by NAAC with a score of 3.64.
The University has 5 Faculties comprising 15 Schools, 34 Departments, 9 Directorates & Centres and 2 University Constituent Colleges of Education and Physical Education. Besides, it has 33 Affiliated Colleges, 6 Evening Colleges and one Constituent Model College of Arts and Science at Paramakudi spreading over the two Districts of Ramanathapuram and Sivagangai. The University offers 434 programmes with a student enrolment of 1.14 lakh and with a faculty strength of 226.
The amazing growth of Alagappa University on all significant dimensions such as research, teaching-learning, evaluation, extension, student enrolment, faculty strength, number of programmes, learning resources and student support services was possible on account of a transparent system of governance with a focus on sustained growth.
At this juncture, I am bound to gratefully acknowledge the illustrious services of all my predecessors, every one of whom had the vision to develop this temple of learning.
Service to the immediate society, I believe, is through empowering the student community of Alagappa University. The 1.14 lakh students enrolled in various modes of education – namely, University Departments, Affiliated and Constituent Colleges, Collaborative and Distance Education Programmes are benefitted on account of the continuous initiatives taken in the form of curricular enrichments, adequate state-of-the-art infrastructure and instructional facilities, examination reforms like digitisation and timely publication of results.
To cope with innovative curricular changes, smart solutions have been provided in all lecture halls. Free 24x7 net access, Wi-Fi in all class rooms, faculty libraries are provided. The Central Library is automated and digitised with RFID and INFLIBNET facilities.
Scholarships and fee waivers for the top ranking students of each Department promotes education of the bright learners, thus encouraging quality.
Through Village Placement Programme and Skill Development Programme, students are provided theoretical and practical training to be self-sustaining and develop employability competencies. In addition, students receive training to face competitive examinations like SET, NET, TET and Civil Services Examinations.
Alagappa University has extended its access to differently-abled youths through various programmes such as B.Ed. and M.Ed. in Special Education, a Model School for special children, a Centre for Multi Model Materials Production for such children, a Para Olympic Centre with facilities for coaching and sports events on a regular basis. It is a matter of high pride indeed that in the Para sports events our students have won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the international and national levels. Thus, the needs of divergent student population are fulfilled.
This is one of the strongest programmes of Alagappa University. The ‘h’ index for the University is 54. Our faculty members have published 600 quality research papers in the last three years alone in reputed international and national journals with high impact factors. Even during this limited span, research citations have crossed 6,000. The faculty members are entrusted with 78 major research projects from various funding agencies, with a total outlay of Rs. 32 Crore. Our University researchers have filed 22 patents to their credit. Besides, Alagappa University has created a research fund with a corpus, by name Alagappa University Research Fund (AURF) to the tune of 7 crore rupees; the interest earned out of this corpus has been earmarked for funding fellowship, travel grant and seed money for research projects to the faculty and research scholars.
This University has provided opportunity of higher education to a majority of first generation learners from remote villages, thus ensuring the first thrust word of the MHRD ‘Access’. Realizing fully the merits of educating women, which means educating the entire community, Alagappa University has 76% of girl students on enrolment, thus ensuring ‘Inclusiveness’ and ‘Equity’.
Faculty members of Affiliated Colleges are given training in Soft Skill development through programmes by the Skill Development Centre of the University. Specific training on Spoken English is provided by the Dept. of English and Foreign Languages of Alagappa University. Teachers trained thus will act as anchors and multipliers in their respective colleges.
Within 32 years of its establishment, 1,450 Ph.D. degree holders have been produced. To its credit this University has 6 UGC-SAP (DRS) Departments and 4 DST-FIST Departments. It is ranked 3rd in international collaborative research publication and 7th in Citation Index among the top 50 universities in the country under SCOPUS database (2010).
Experts from USA, UK, Sweden, South Korea, China, Australia, Canada, France, Muscat, Malaysia, Singapore, Greece, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Thailand have delivered special lectures and presented papers in Conferences. The University has linkages with 55 national and international institutions and executed more than 40 Memoranda of Understanding with such institutions.
To provide opportunities for Higher Education for those rural youths who could not enroll in regular academic programmes, the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) of Alagappa University was established in the year 1992, offering traditional and non-traditional programmes in different spheres of education. It is a boon to those who are employed and cannot afford to study full-time. Efforts are on to strengthen and streamline DDE through new initiatives and innovative courses that will offer a wider choice for students.
With factors like an active student and alumni involvement, excellent human relations among the stakeholders, a transparent decentralised administration, taking innovative initiatives on a regular basis, conscious adopting of ‘’Excellence in Action” as the watchword, ever growing instructional and infrastructure facilities, unparalleled commitment of the staff, as the Vice Chancellor, I am confident, this University will be upgraded to one “With Potential for Excellence” in a short span of time. It is my vision for Alagappa University to upgrade it as a ‘National Centre for Excellence’ and to elevate it to a world class university. I am optimistic that through meticulously planned programmes for sustained growth, this vision will be realised as already witnessed in the three cycles of assessment by NAAC.
Prof. Dr. S. Subbiah