Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PsyMHA inauguration (BSc Psychology, Coimbatore)

UG Department of Psychology at Sree Saraswathi Thyagaraja College inaugurated PsyMHA (Psychology Mental Health Association) on August 8, 2014.
Dr Rabindranath from Aliyar Temple of Consciousness was the Chief Guest. It was a proud moment for all the students enrolled for BSc Psychology.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

BSc Psychology - Coimbatore, Innovative Learning Experience at Sree Saraswathi Thyagaraja College, Pollachi

Field Based Learning & Blended Learning 

BSc Psychology


What is Field-Based Learning?
Field-based learning is a teaching-learning process in which teaching is extended to a field or site outside of the classroom or laboratory, exposing students to a real-world setting. Students learn through direct interaction with an environment, place and people instead of textbooks or lectures.
Field-based learning serves as a wonderful alternative method of teaching-learning aimed at students who prefer visiting places rather than sitting in the classroom and listen to boring lectures.
Field-based learning is generally chosen because the experience:
·        provides an opportunity to present materials, objects or phenomena that are not accessible otherwise to students in a way that enables direct contact and interaction
·        provides students with an opportunity to practice skills or techniques that cannot be taught in the classroom
·        stimulates higher understanding and reinforcement of previously learned classroom material
·        stimulates an appreciation for, concern or valuing of the visited environment

What is a Blended Learning?
Blended learning refers to a combination of instructional delivery approaches. Blended learning integrates traditional face-to-face instruction with various electronic (Web-based) approaches and other activities (like using tab, wi-fi and smartphones in the classroom as a tool to learn and acquire knowledge) . Blended learning includes formal and informal activities that promote learning. Blended instructional approach is becoming an increasingly common and desirable today.
                                                       (http://www.queensu.ca)
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Sree Saraswathi Thyagaraja College (Autonomous) at Pollachi, Coimbatore is starting BSc Psychology in the academic year 2014-2015.
The department will have 3 faculty members.
Since this is an autonomous college, a syllabus with some unique courses and special seminar topics are prepared so that the course is very interesting and exciting for the students as well as for the faculty who teach.
The Psychology department will be closed associated with the existing vibrant counselling centre with more than 500 peer counsellors and therefore will have amble opportunities for both staff and students to have various activities, counselling experience, peer counsellor training together with other well-being and social outreach activities.
Those who have completed plus2 are welcome to join and have an unique experience. 



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brazil World-cup 2014 and Fakers



As the world cup games went on, I started to hate the game because often I get the feeling that I am watching WWF. if an opposite side player touches another one, he falls and cries for help.... Flopping and faking injurious increased notoriously and it spoiled my desire to watch the game. Except few teams, majority of the teams use this dirty trick of falling on the ground for a very causal touch of the opposite team player, howling as though you’ve in the verge of death until the referee grants a penalty kick or shows a yellow card. The moment it is granted, the fellow in the death bed jumps up like a hoarse and ready to take the penalty kick… weird … and dirty bastards… As a writer in a website narrates, “It is the mindset behind today's player to fall to the pitch and roll around in agony as if death itself were surely about to take them at any moment …… Only to miraculously return to the field moments later and, once the ball comes their way, running once again like the wind, forgetting they were so close to death just moments before”.


I am not a hardcore fan of soccer. However I love to watch the game more than any other sports. I was eagerly waiting for the world cup and bought a new TV at home and got cable connection in the house where I stay near my workplace.
My favourite team was Spain and alas they were out soon… Then started to like Brazil and Argentina. I printed the schedule and kept it on my table and marked the matches I would like to watch. Days went on… not days , nights went on  (because the first match time is 930pm in India and the second match is 130 am). I am force to burn the midnight oil to watch the matches.

Probably, the only person who can solve this problem and allow the people to watch a good soccer match would be the referees. Ignore a fellow who falls on the ground or ask the doctors to carry him out of the pitch… don’t allow a fellow who pretends to be in death agony to play and at once substitute him with another player… or refer to a third umpire by the help of technology and if found faking, ban him for couple of forthcoming matches with a hefty fine.
It is really a shame to watch Netherlands player Robben made a fake fall and got a penalty kick that eventually gave them a birth in the next round. The irony is that Robben himself confessed to the press that it was a fake fall and made the referee a fool. Robben must be kicked out of the world-cup. In the next match when I saw Robben playing against Costa Rica, I felt like spitting on that idiot who is a cheat and coward…

Hopefully, in the coming days fifa will come up with some strong guidelines to safeguard the game against these floppers and fakers so that simple souls like me can watch the game uninterrupted and also in peace.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

SMS College of Arts & Science, Perur, Coimbatore

SMS College Coimbatore - Perur

Gave a talk on  Life Goal Setting at SMS College of Arts & Science, Perur.
The novel thing about the college is that Blended Learning is being introduced there by the Principal and staff.
It is a small college with committed faculty which will give best personal attention to each student. Former DIG of Prisons Mr.Govindarajan was also a quest.







Friday, April 18, 2014

Three Circle Student Empowerment Model for Rural Indian Colleges in the Digital Era

3-C Model Student Empowerment 



Abstract: The current Indian higher education over-emphasizes scholastic as well as intellectual features of development whereas various other areas are often neglected. In the past decades, rural Indian adolescents preferred jobs after completing their secondary schooling; however, digital natives look for college degrees rather than a job. This positive trend in the digital era has paved the way for an adverse situation in which an increased number of unmotivated, unrelenting, unfocused student force entering into institutes of higher education. Added to that, due to globalization, the mushrooming higher education institutions have made the traditional altruistic educational sector in India into a major business arena limiting the quality of input and output. Many educational institutions limit themselves to mere lesson oriented classroom lectures and thus fail to focus on the holistic development of students. The confused and distracted digital natives need guidance and direction in creating their future identity through education. 

In view of empowering the rural digital natives for holistic development, well-being and mental health, the authors prepare an Empowerment Program named Three Circle Model (3-C Model). This study gives rationale for this model and evaluates the efficiency of this model.


Monday, March 24, 2014

BSc Psychology at STC, Pollachi

 

Sree Saraswathi Thyagaraja College (Autonomous) at Pollachi, Coimbatore is starting BSc Psychology in the coming academic year 2014-2015. 

The department will have 3 faculty members.

Since this is an autonomous college, we have prepared a syllabus with some unique courses and special seminar topics so that the course is very interesting and exciting for the students as well as faculty who teach.

The Psychology department will be closely associated with the existing vibrant counselling centre with more than 500 peer counsellors and therefore will have many opportunities for both staff and students to have various activities, counselling experience, peer counsellor training together with other well-being activities for the students and social outreach activities.Those who have completed plus2 are welcome to join.





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Great Chola Temple @ Thanjavur

Last week I had a chance to visit the city of Thanjavur, the capital of the Great Chola Kingdom and the glorious Chola Architecture Rajarajeswaram (Thanjai Periya Kovil), the grandest construction of the Emperor Rajaraja Cholan (AD 985-1012). I have visited this temple so many times, but this time it was very special. As a mature man, I viewed this Granite Architectural marvel with owe. 
It is a huge complex filled with many temple, the bigger one in the middle, some sub temples, few halls and a massive wall and few towers. The whole complex is constructed of granite. It is said that the granite is not available in the neighbourhood and brought from a distance; in those days it was a real challenge to have such a huge structure.
Janetius, Thanjavur Chola temple  

The happy thing is there is no entrance free, and one can without any fee take photography/ videography with handheld cameras (except the sanctum sanctorum). Even the fee collected for car parking is very minimal.
Thanjavur

The climate is very hot now (March), probably November- January would be the best time to visit, or else you may burn your skin, if you visit the temple during the day time. 


Palio Sport, Fiat Car

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pollachi - Bangaluru trip via Dhimbham Ghats

I had a trip to Bangalore IIM. I purposely avoided the regular Salem- Hosur highway due to two reasons. i) plenty of vehicles on the road and I can see only fast moving vehicles and will be stressed , ii) nearly 400+ plus rupees tollgate payment.

I planned for alternative route and it was a correct and perfect choice. From Pollachi I took the Palladam road and around 12Km before Palladam took the right turn to reach Annur and Sathyamangalam – Chamrajnagar – Kollegal route and I thoroughly enjoyed it.









The roads were fine, no potholes, almost all thought the stretch it was good, except very few patched places and rough roads. Few months back I had a similar trip to Mysore in 4 hours in this route.
I really got what I wanted – the empty beautiful roads and natural scenery and driving in 100 + KM/H. Nothing to complain.
Pollachi to IIM Bangalore was 370 KMs and it took 6 ½ hours with a breakfast break and couple of other small breaks. The total travel time was 6 ½ hours and driving time would be 5 ½ hours. Not bad… covering 65KM per hour. Started at 615 am from Pollachi and reached Sathyamangalam at 8 am with a breakfast stop. Sathy – Dhimbham 27 hairpins in a span of 9 KMs was very memorable with fog and mist, reached Bangalore around 1245 pm. Kanagapura-Bangalore road had moderate traffic.


In the return trip started at 545am and reached Chamrajnagar at 830 for breakfast break and couple of other stopovers reached Pollachi before 1230pm. The mileage was good in my Palio sport. Normally I get 12.5 KM/L at an average and this long trip I was able to do above 13 (total cost of Petrol came around Rs.4250).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Engaged Employee in Educational Institutions

Engaged Employees in Institutes of Higher Education

Employee Engagement (EE) a hot topic in the recent years. It is widely used and explored in the corporate world while in the educational sector, it has rarely been studied. It is broadly defined as  the distinct and unique construct that consists of cognitive, emotional, and behavioural components that are associated with individual’s role performance.

Three psychological factors ‘meaningfulness, safety and availability’ found to be significantly related to engagement. Maslach et al (2001) understand job engagement as the positive antithesis of burnout. Since the defining concept and parameters used to explain employee engagement solely originate from the industrial sector, this research focuses on defining engaged employee in education institution.

The study defines Engaged Employee  as one who is highly resourceful, driven by a pious and holy objective of helping and assisting students in terms of imparting knowledge, development of skills, providing values and thus committed to their overall welfare’.

The concept engaged employee is significantly different from corporate sector. Commitment to the job and students takes precedence over commitment to organisation. 28 per cent of the surveyed teachers are engaged employees. Nearly 78 per cent expressed job engagement as the basic trait of an engaged employee.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hungry Ghost MD and the perils of employees

Hungry Ghost MD and the perils of employees

MD - Top manager

Recently my friend asked for an appointment for some problems related to his wife and her work-life balance. I happily provided an appointment and she narrated in detail her perils in a god-forsaken textile industry.
I was able to understand easily that she must be having a very high score in her employee engagement scale. She puts her heart and soul in the job she was doing. Fully involved, highly motivated and wholeheartedly dedicated; however the level of job satisfaction is ZERO. Commitment, dedication and fidelity to the job never promise job satisfaction.
The reason is very simple: she is laboring in a swashbuckler organization and there are two Hungry Ghosts – one the MD and the other the Top Manager.
The MD is a Hungry Ghost which is Greedy who wants everything under the sun – He likes to have every possible business in his campus without much planning and every now and then changes his business plan and even god does not know what he wants to do under the sun. If someone says that business can fetch money he will be fall flat on that… after licking the dust he will go for another…. In the process, around 150 employees suffocate, run for a breathing space and suffer just to count the penny he throws at them as salary. It is not the frustration of not being able to get what he wants, rather clinging anything that will give him a business opportunity which he mistakenly thinks will bring satisfaction. The money he has spend on bribes to various government and non-government corrupt officials  to cover up the fraudulent activities could be paid to his own employees and done the things legally.
His modus operandi: work hours are 900am to 530pm. However he will declare that there will be a meeting at 530pm. All slaves will be assembled in the hall for the Hungry Ghost’s arrival. The wandering greedy ghost arrives around 615 if you are lucky, if not  645 pm or latter and the meeting goes on and on and on … sometimes narrating how he has earned  XXXcrore rupees in a short period (never mention how he cheated the government and what are the laws broken by him on the process), his so called happy family life, how as a good father he has accumulated wealth for his sons and daughters, blah… blah… BLAH……
How the poor souls think about work-life balance…. God in heaven knows.
Coming back to the second Hungry Ghost, the Manager– he is a thief who is robbing the swashbuckler organization and the Hungry Greedy Ghost MD secretly. In order to cover up his robbery he pretends making everything in order by torturing the employees. If you can stand on his side and assist in his robbery, you have a good name in the golden books of this Hungry Ghost.
The ultimate irony is the MD Ghost believes only the Manager Ghost and they have mutual understanding in everything. The Manager slaves the MD in every possible way and the reaction… physical, verbal, emotional and psychological torture every employee.
Can we think of work-life balance in this torturous hell. No.. it is impossible. The friend and his wife went happily after a session, fully convinced that they have to look for another job as quickly as possible.
N.B: Can we do something to arrest these kinds of Hungry Ghosts and Swashbucklers creeping into the society in the pretext of entrepreneurs???  Yes and No.
No, because ordinary citizen cannot withstand the money power these hungry ghosts have and also, the fraudulent means to escape and evade laws are beyond imagination in the Indian scenario.

Yes... because messiahs, Buddha’s emerge very now and then in the society as Bhagavad Gita says…

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Swashbuckler’s organization & Corporate Gene-therapy

Recently one of my friends narrated his story working in a godforsaken organization. I feel pity for my friend. It was easy for me to identify that he is working in a typical Swashbuckler Organization.

Who is Swashbuckler?
Swashbuckler originally means a flamboyant swordsman, however in the organizational context he is the top brass known for his ruff and bullying behaviour. His flamboyantly reckless and boastful behaviour always directed towards his subordinates. One cannot predict the behaviour of a Swashbuckler. He raises his voice and lacks human relation skills. Although adventurous and innovative, most often fails in execution due to his uncouth behaviour and poor human relations. 

How safe are you working in an organization run by a Swashbuckler
Chances are high - you are stressed, depressed and mentally disturbed, if you work in a organization run by a Swashbuckler.
I remember a quote from facebook: In early days, a person who renounces all his comforts, likes, family etc.. etc are called monks (sanyasi); today they are called corporate employee.
If you are working in a Swashbuckler’s organization you will be forced to renounce the world and already attained sanyasi state (monk-hood). If you are forced to work there due to the demands of your life-situation, I am damn sure you will attain nirvana soon or you already attained one.

The following signs can tell whether your organization is run by a Swashbuckler:
  • ·         No gratitude for any hard work done
  • ·         Defined work time does not exist
  • ·         Torture and work overloads
  • ·         Inflicting pain on employees is a hobby
  • ·         Clear policies and defined roles are not given to employees
  • ·         Even top-level managers are seldom consulted in decision makings
  • ·         No organizational chart to define Org. structure
  • ·         Vision and goals of the organization change as per the whims and fancies
  • ·         I pay you, you work for me, do what I say - are routine rhetoric
  • ·         Employee well-being is never considered - I have invested attitude
  • ·         Shouting at the employees in public even for small mistakes
  •           He is a self-proclaimed GENIUS 
  • ·         Any time any employee could be fired and no job security guaranteed
  • ·         Only one goal in mind... money ... power ... money and money and power
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Do employees survive in this kind of Swashbuckler’s organizations? If someone can survive 3 or more years, either s/he is a moron or one who secretly swindles Swashbuckler’s money in various fraudulent ways without the knowledge of Swashbuckler.
  2. Any medicine for Swashbucklers and their organization? The OrgDNA need to be fine-tuned with corporate gene-therapy. 
  3. Can we force the Swashbuckler to go for corporate gene-therapy? We need some Buddha to enlighten him and to force him to attain Nirvana.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Study on Educational Loan and Rural Graduates


Bad Loans and Wilful Defaulters: Need for Change in Financial Management? - A Study on Educational Loan and Rural Graduates


Dr Janetius. S.T., Shilpa. S. & Eswaran. S.
June 22, 2013

The mushrooming colleges all over India both in metropolitan cities as well as semi-rural towns have changed the outlook of young people and their vocational preference significantly. Unlike a few decades ago when only economically well-off adolescents generally opt for higher education in the metros and institutes of reputation, today’s youth venture in to higher education irrespective of their economic background. Thanks to the government policy that started in the last decade for easy accessibility of educational loans, students started to seek funding for their higher education from external sources, like government and private sector banks.

The increased number of students in search of degrees paves way for the rapidly escalating number of educational institutions with poor infrastructures, undeserving and unqualified candidates as faculty members and inflated tuition fees. These in turn contribute to the bigger number of unskilled graduates ultimately ending as loan defaulters. Since loans up to Rs4 lakh do not require collateral pledge, defaulters have been on the rise and it is hard for the Banks to recover educational loans amounting to higher bad loans or non-performing assets (NPA).

The study identifies three categories of wilful defaulters each with specific reasons for their non-payment of loans.
i) Defaulters with genuine cause
ii) Genuine wilful defaulters
iii) Defaulters with unconventional reasons

The third category - defaulters of unconventional reasoning get their thought pattern and attitudes from their parents who are mainly farmers. Majority of the subjects are coming from rural agricultural families and they are familiar with the loan-waiver schemes political parties announce in their election manifesto or during budget presentations. In the recent times, P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister of India, announced a relief package for farmers in 2008 called the Agricultural Debt Waiver and Debt Relief Scheme beneficial for nearly 30.7 million small and marginal farmers (The Hindu, 2008). Similar schemes have been announced by state governments too. Therefore the mind-set of the rural younger generation is filled with expectations of freebees, loan-waivers and relief packages to pay-off the loan. The loan-waiver schemes have created a poor financial management schema among the educated rural younger generation that needs a change.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Psychology Renewal program for Revenue Employees



Sree Saraswathi Thygaraja College, Pollachi organized a one day refresher programme on Psychology entitled “Knowing Me & Knowing Others” for Pollachi revenue division staff on May 11, 2013. 






The participants were given intense training in the areas of human personality, emotional maturity, life goal setting, effective team building, human relationships, communication skills and stress management etc ... with a view to helping them to understand themselves as well as others in their personal life as well as professional endeavours. Today similar soft-skill trainings are gaining momentum in the corporate world. Government employees are not privileged enough to have such exposures. Hence the Sub-collector of Pollachi Ms. Rashmi Siddarth Zagade IAS sought the assistance of Centre for Counselling and Guidance to offer one day refresher program for the revenue employees.
 56 participants from Pollachi Revenue Division participated in the program. Dr.V.Venkateswaran, Principal welcomed the gathering and Mr.Vijayamoghan, Chairman of the college in his presidential address congratulated the initiatives taken by the sub-collector and stressed the need for such program for the government employees. In her inaugural address Ms. Rashmi Siddharth Zagade, I.A.S., Sub Collector, Pollachi assured that the program will pave way for a long term change in the outlook of the revenue employees to know themselves fully and equally others to maintain good understanding and relationship with others and to involve and dedicate themselves in tuning out their duties. She also promised to organise such refresher program to encourage and empower the revenue employees in the coming months. Dr. Janetius, Director, Centre for Counseling and Guidance conducted the programme. 

 
Prof. Ramachandran from MBA department of Sree Saraswathi Thyagaraja College and M.Balakrishnan, PA to Sub Collector, Pollachi coordinated the programme activities. The participants were issued certificates in the valedictory session of the program by the Sub-Collector of Pollachi. The revenue officials welcomed the initiatives taken by the sub-collector and expressed their desire to partake in such programs in future.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Way to Valparai - Some Endangered Animals on the Road

 

I had a chance to go to Valparai last week. We were able to see few Lion-Tailed Macaque (Macaca Silenus) and a family of Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus Hylocrius) on the road. Both are unique to Western Ghats. One courageous Macaque climbed over the hood of the car, probably looking for food. Feeding wild animals are prohibited and we closed the windows to be safe.

Lion-Tailed Macaque is one of India’s endangered mascot species. It has a wonderful mane of hair around its face that makes it look like a lion and also its tail, which has a tuft of fur at the end, which looks like a lion's tail. This species is endemic to the Western Ghats hill ranges in south-western India.

Nilgiri Tahr is endemic to Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.