I feel honoured to lead Alagappa University as its ninth Vice-Chancellor. This University has emerged as an icon of inclusive rural higher education in south eastern part of India. It is the dream child of Padmabhushan Dr. RM. Alagappa Chettiar, a globally renowned education philanthropist and a visionary par excellence, established a chain of education institutions in 1950, due to his strong belief that this resources starved rural populace and the region can be empowered only by enforcing education. Though his vision charged tireless efforts started yielding fruits much early, his dream became true only in 1985 when Alagappa University emerged from the seeds he has sown. The vast area of 440 acres studded with the academic blocks and hostels generously donated by him formed the nucleus for the University named after him and created by Government of Tamil Nadu.
The University was accredited with “A” grade by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) in 2005 and re-accredited with “A” grade (CGPA 3.21 out of 4) in 2011. Alagappa University has been awarded A+ grade by NAAC (CGPA 3.64 out of 4) in the third cycle of assessment in 2017. It is the first State University in Tamil Nadu to receive A+ Grade. Alagappa University is one of the 32 Graded as Category-I University and Granted Autonomous by MHRD-UGC from among 864 Higher education institutions in India. The University is also ranked 27th out of 864 Universities Contested and 43 out of 1192 institutions in India in NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Frame Work) of MHRD in 2018.
The University’s meticulous efforts to keep the clean and green environment and the resultantly stimulated academic ambience lead to the conferment of ISO 9001: 2015 Certification Award for Quality in providing Higher Education and Research Activities in 2015, Clean and Green Campus Award (NICER) in 2016, World Environment and Livelihood (WEAL) Award in 2017 and IAB Blind Empowerment Champions in 2018. The University has secured Third position at National Level in Swachhta Ranking of Higher Educational Institutions and for which the University has been identified as one of the Centres on Swachh Bharat by MHRD, New Delhi.
Mr.A.Selvaraj, a student of Alagappa University Para Sports Centre, Karaikudi, brought laurels to the University by winning the prestigious gold medal in Javelin Throw with a performance of 26.54 metres at the 7th World Dwarf Games held from 04-08-2017 to 12-08-2017 at Gulpeh, Ontario, Canada. He has been awarded with Rs. 5.00 lakhs by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and Rs. 7.00 lakhs by the University.
Started as a humble unitary University with 4 Departments, 2 Constituent Colleges, 331 Students and 12 Teaching Faculty, it has emerged as an affiliating University in 1985. In a short span of 33 years, the University has grown today with 4 Faculties comprising 11 Schools, 39 Departments, 3 Constituent Colleges and 9 Directorates / Centres, offering over 187 Programmes at UG/PG/M.Phil./Ph.D. levels. Besides, the University is offering about 66 Programs under the Distance Education mode and another 83 Skill–Oriented programs through collaborative mode. The University now offers overall 434 academic programmes with student enrolment of 1.14 lakh and regular/Adjunct faculty strength of 318. Further it governs 40 Arts and Science Colleges affiliated to it from Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts. The exceptional growth in all key domains of higher education, Alagappa University is an inspiring model for the other institutions to emulate.
Educational empowerment of a student, I believe is the best service to the society. Over 1.14 lakh students enrolled in various programmes in particular are benefitted from curricular enrichments, state-of-the-art, laboratories, other infrastructure and instructional facilities, examinations and administration reforms by way of automation.
To cope up with the changing teaching–learning process, ICT enabled 89 smart class rooms have been created in the academic departments. Free 24x7 internet access, Wi-Fi enabled class rooms, faculty libraries and the Central Library with RFID and INFLIBNET facilities, hostels with computational facility and internet access, GPS fitted cycles (mobycy) enabling the inter departmental and inter campus mobility of students and the lush green campus providing stimulative academic ambience are the uniqueness of the University. Scholarships and fee waivers for the top ranking students of each Department, internship of PG students in top 300 universities, support for National/International travels for conferences, lectures by large number of adjunct faculties of eminence from India and Abroad are the special virtues for the students of the University.
The Village Placement Programme forming the part of the curriculum is yet another avenue for the students that provides options for the students to understand the rural realities and to evolve solutions for the development of the rurals through their respective disciplines. This will not only generate chistled citizens for tomorrows nation building, but also to build themselves. On the other hand, skill development programme offer theoretical and practical training to the students to be employably self-reliant. In addition, students receive training to face competitive examinations like SET, NET, TET and Civil Services Examinations through the specially created ‘STUDY CIRCLE CENTRE’ in the University.
Alagappa University has opened its flood gate to differently-abled youths through various programmes such as B.Ed. and M.Ed. in Special Education, Model School for special children, Vivekananda Centre, Centre for Multi Model Materials Production for such children and Para sports Centre with facilities for coaching for sports events on a regular basis. It is a matter of great pride indeed that in the Para sports events, our students have won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the International and National levels. The University has emerged as a multi-faceted institution catering to the needs of divergent student population.
The research in cutting edge areas is the hall mark of the Alagappa University. The University has made marks and milestones through 2954 publications in SCOPUS indexed journals with h-index 62 and 59 Web of Science and more than 41 patents. During the short span of 33 years, research citations have crossed 30327 of SCOPUS and 26211 of Web of Science. So far the total number of Ph.D. awarded by the University is 1811. The continuous inflow of fund from Extramural research projects constantly propel the faculties to be in the corridor of High end research uninterrupted. Besides, Under the Alagappa University Research Fund (AURF) Scheme, the University has deposited in the bank a sum of Rs.10 Crore as Corpus fund. The interest amount earned alone is used for award purposes. This scheme is intended to motivate the young researchers and also to recognize the researchers who have made significant contributions in research. Applications are invited and awardees are selected by a panel of external experts of the faculty concerned based on the merit and research output. This AURF – Alagappa Excellence Award for Research is presented to faculty members of this University annually who have excelled in Research. Monthly fellowship of Rs. 20,000/- to Indian Ph.D. scholars, National / International travel support to attend conferences, short-term internship in Labs of World Class Universities. International Doctoral Fellowship (IDF) – Rs. 30,000 /p.m, International Post-Doctoral Fellowship (IPDF) – Rs. 65,000/ p.m, visa processing and travel expenditure, subsidized stay in well furnished International Students’ hostel, etc. have been initiated to attract Foreign nationals to the University.
Within 33 years of its establishment, 1811 Ph.D. degree holders have been produced. To its credit, this University has 6 UGC-SAP (Special Assistance Programme) Departments and 5 DST-FIST(Facilities for improvement of Science and Technology) Departments. During the last five years, the University generated Rs.81.67Crores from DST-PURSE, DST-FIST & UGC-SAP etc. and resultantly from MHRD-RUSA also, for creation and upgradation of infrastructure facilities. It is ranked 3rd in international collaborative research publications and 7th in Citations Index among the top 50 Universities in the country under SCOPUS and Web of Science database.
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 76 National and International institutions.
The multi-skill-set development of the learners and also the development of the neighbourhood community are important in any scheme of education. The University takes care of this, through co-curricular courses. Innovative extension in the areas of education to Special children, Para sports, Skill Development, NSS, YRC, RRC, Placement vistas, Coaching Centre for Competitive Exam, Village Placement Programme, Village adoption and also empowerment of rural women enabling the rural society around to attain newer horizon. There are over 38 Cells/Clubs/Centres that provide opportunities for students to learn and also serve the society in many divergent ways.
Over 40 Arts and Science Colleges affiliated to the University in the rural districts of Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram propagate the sprits of the University to the rural students. These colleges take the higher education to the first generation learners from remote villages, thus ensuring the thrust word of the MHRD ‘Access’, and provide true support to the University in its ambitious journey. By providing education to the rural girls in larger percentage these colleges enforce the philosophy of women empowerment and there by the inclusiveness and Equity profounded and practiced by the University campus. Faculty members of Affiliated Colleges have been given training in Soft Skill development through programmes by the Skill Development Centre of the University. Specific training on Spoken English have been given by the Department of English and Foreign Languages of Alagappa University. The University is constantly purusing this in order to transfer the high end academia to the rural students through the teachers of the affiliated colleges.
To provide opportunities of higher education for those rural youths who could not avail regular academic programmes, the Directorate of Distance Education (DDE) of Alagappa University was established in the year 1992 and offers traditional and non-traditional programmes in different spheres of education. It is a boon to those who are employed and otherwise unaffordable segments for regular programmes. Efforts are on to strengthen and streamline DDE through new initiatives and innovative courses that will provide a wider choice for students.
At this juncture, I am bound to gratefully record the illustrious services rendered by my predecessors in building this temple of learning. With all these innovative, meritorious and sustained efforts in teaching, research, extension and rural empowerment; highly motivated faculty, stimulated staff and the emotionally attached society around; as the Vice Chancellor, I am confident, that this University will be upgraded to “Institute of Eminence” by MHRD-UGC in a short span of time from now. It is my inbuilt ambition to upgrade the University as a ‘National Centre for Excellence’ and to elevate it to a World Class University. I am optimistic that it will be realised, as the revealed in the recent NAAC accreditation and the beeline of Awards and recognition that follow it.
Prof. N. Rajendran