BMSCE IAA

BMSCE, International Alumni Association

State of BMSCE: A message to BMSCEIAA and BMSCE from an ALUMNI in 2004

Posted by bmsceiaa on November 17, 2006

State of BMSCE: A message to BMSCEIAA and BMSCE from an ALUMNI in 2004

From: “Vasant Honavar” <v.honavar@worldnet.att.net>

To: “‘Venkatappa Kumaraswamy'” <bmscealumni@yahoo.com>
CC: v.honavar@att.net
Subject: RE: State of BMSCE
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 2004 00:03:43 -0500

Dear Kumaraswamy:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I was out of town and away from email for a few days.  I am not really sure I understand all the factors that may have contributed to the decline in the quality of students and the quality of education at BMSCE. I suspect it has to do in part with the uncontrolled proliferation of Engineering colleges in Karnataka,  difficulty of recruiting qualified and dedicated faculty (especially at a time when industrial opportunities are abundant for those who have a strong academic record) and the competition among many colleges to attract the best students. Clearly, the students who are complaining so loudly would have gotten into a better institution than BMSCE if only they had the credentials necessary to do so.

There are some rather simple things that BMSCE administration could (and should) do to improve its image. BMSCE needs a professional looking web page – one that provides information about the credentials of its faculty, qualifications of the incoming class, performance of BMSCE students in university-wide exams, placement data about its alumni. It needs an external advisory board – made of industrial and academic leaders – including its own alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers after graduating from BMSCE. Lastly, BMSCE needs to focus on quality, and not quantity – and do whatever it can to attract the best qualified students. And it needs to hire the best qualified faculty – if necessary, by offering salaries and work environments that are competitive with those offered by competing institutions (e.g., the  IITs). The institution needs to maintain good relations with the alumni and set up an aggressive, professionally managed, independently audited, fundraising campaign (as opposed to collecting “donations” which are in effect bribes for admitting students with questionable credentials). The institution’s revenues, budgets, and expenditure should be made a matter of the public record so that there is no room for corruption or underhanded deals. If the college administration and management are willing to take these steps, things will begin to change for the better. Honestly, while my educational experience in BMSCE was wonderful (thanks largely to dedicated faculty and my classmates), even during my time, there were plenty of problems with the college administration. The behavior of the administrative and laboratory staff left a lot to be desired. . Please feel free to pass this on to the administration if you think it would be helpful. All of this is commonsense – so I am sure the administration has heard this before.

I would like to help, but at this juncture, given the other demands on my time, the best way for me to help would be to work with a small group of my friends and classmates to achieve something tangible – e.g., setting up a scholarship. I am pursuing this, and I hope to see it realized by next year. As for getting involved in a more significant way, if I see some tangible evidence that the college administration is serious about improving the quality of education offered by BMSCE, I would be happy to help by doing my bit.

My home number is 515 292 4574. I am usually difficult to get hold of at home. Email is probably the best way to reach me.

Regards,

Vasant Honavar

_____________________________

Vasant Honavar <v.honavar@worldnet.att.net> wrote:

Hello. I graduated from BMSCE in the 1980s. I can’t speak for what BMSCE is like today. But my classmates and I received a very good education at BMSCE during our time. BMSCE at that time offered only undergraduate degrees. Most faculty who taught us did not have Ph.D.s. although some completed their Ph.D. later. Despite that, we had some excellent teachers – SRK, DVL, PSS, Alasingar, HNM to name a few – teachers who loved to teach, teachers who were very knowledgeable about the material they taught, and were an inspiration to us. That does not mean that every teacher that we had was of the same caliber as the ones I mentioned. We had a couple that did not measure up. But all in all, we had good teachers. BMSCE students used to do quite well in the university-wide examinations, especially in Electronics (EC) and Electrical Engineering (EE) branches. BMSCE students routinely used to show up close to the top of the graduating class in EE and EC tracks in Bangalore university. A sizeable fraction of the graduating class in EC and EE from BMSCE would get into decent US universities with assistantship offers. Several of my friends and I came to the US for graduate studies after finishing my BE at BMSCE – it was the thing to do before the economy and IT industry in India began to take off in the 1990s. We found that the education we had received as undergraduates in BMSCE had prepared us well for graduate study. One of the most useful courses that I took at BMSCE as an undergraduate student was a course on Probability, Random Variables, and Information theory taught by PSS using based a text authored by Papoulis. SRK and DVL could teach anything and make it interesting and fun. And we had some good mathematics professors – RP and HN.  I have no knowledge of the situation in BMSCE now, but if I were to believe what I am reading from some of the more recent graduates, it appears that BMSCE is not what it used to be which was arguably among the top two Engineering colleges in Bangalore University. If that is the case, it is rather sad. I hope the students, faculty, administration, and alumni can work together to turn things around for the better.

Vasant Honavar

Professor and Director, Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory

Professor and Director, Computational Intelligence, Learning, and Discovery Initiative

Professor and Chair, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Professor and Director of Research

Department of Computer Science

Iowa State University

http://www.cs.iastate.edu/~honavar/

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