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     Dr Gupta hopes to make PEC world class

Chandigarh, July 30 2005
This man hopes to take Punjab Engineering College (PEC) to the pinnacle of success and ‘perseverance’ and ‘determination’ are his keywords. For Dr Vijay Gupta, the institute’s newly-appointed Director, this deputation is a “mission”, as he strives to build PEC as the “best teaching institution”.

Recently awarded a citation for his exemplary teaching at IIT Kanpur, he brushes the honour aside as “routine” saying that “what should matter is what we achieve here instead of there now”.

The journey is not easy, for PEC has seen several changes in the past one year. Dr Gupta says, “With the kind of budget and facilities we possess currently, we may not take it to the top rung of research in the next five years but we hope to attract worthy faculty members and to excel in application oriented research, taking care of the problems of the industry”.

These are doughty words indeed, but he points to a heap of papers lying near him, “Look at that, a 1,500 pages of the agenda we have planned for this place. We are working day and night to take PEC to where we believe it belongs”. The volume reflects the academic objectives PEC envisages to achieve, the challenges before them and the strategies to realise these objectives.

The buzz word is dynamic change. “We are working on alumni funding and have even formed an advisory committee to improve interaction with our alumni. It is not only about funding, we are looking at roping in their expertise and experience in full measure,” affirms Dr Gupta.

A program to garner international students is also on the anvil as are several curriculum changes and administrative upgrades to make the facilities top-notch. As for attracting good faculty, Dr Gupta believes that while PEC may not be able to offer more money, “it has a good working environment and the freedom to develop professionals that will get us the people”.

“We need to reach deeper into undergraduate education, look at the technical orientation of education, help students over reach and then reward them for that. Introduce new ways of doing things.”

Does the balancing act between his pressing administrative role and his teaching pull at the seams? “I cannot live without teaching and I will always find the time for it. Over the years I have learnt to define administrative processes and juggle other activities. Everything can be achieved,” Dr Gupta replies. In fact, an introductory course on engineering design is being taken by him in the new semester!

He comes highly qualified to run the establishment. B. Tech from IIT Delhi, Ph.D from the University of Minnesota and a professor with IIT Kanpur thereafter, Dr Gupta has run the gamut of educational experiences and administrative management.

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