With nearly 37 years of teaching and administrative experience behind her, she is a successful educational administrator, an excellent teacher , and an eminent writer. She is eminently known as a builder of academic institutions. She is none other she is Professor Surabhi Banerjee who is currently heading the newly established Central University of Odisha in Koraput. Formerly Pro-Vice chancellor of the oldest university of India -University of Calcutta she was also the Vice- Chancellor of Netaji Subhas State University (W Bengal). Prof Banerjee is one of the few Indian women academicians who have taken a string of top-level assignments in higher education.
OdishaDiary.co special correspondent Manoranjan Routray spoke to Professor Surabhi Banerjee, Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Odisha. Professor Banerjee talks about her experience of building a newly set up Central University Odisha, in the tribal dominated Koraput district.
OdishaDiary: Professor, you have worked in other University for many years and lectured in other Universities, seminars and forums. Now you are heading a Central University. What difference do you find in the matter of academics and administration between a Central University and a State University?
Prof. Banerjee: There is no essential difference between a State University and a Central University except for the funding agency and hierarchy structure. But the mandates of a Central university are very explicit. We have to nurture a pan-Indian vision and connect it effectively with a global perspective.
OdishaDiary: But is there any qualitative difference in teaching in the Central Universities as compared to State Universities?
Prof. Banerjee: There is absolutely no qualitative difference in teaching at all between Central University as compared to State universities. Quality definitely is a common concern.
OdishaDiary: In terms of challenges faced by CUOs, one of the common ones is a lack of good faculty. Do you see any solution to this?
Prof. Banerjee: This is a transient problem. This problem would be solved as the University academically thrives in as full-fledged University township with all amenities.
OdishaDiary: How do you propose to improve the quality of teaching that will benefit the students?
Prof. Banerjee: By inducting quality faculty and by creating a benchmark in teaching and learning methodology and in research as well.
OdishaDiary: What are the steps you have taken to attract the quality students to the CUO?
Prof. Banerjee: By providing excellent infrastructure physical as well as intellectual and by introducing innovative courses with immense employment potential.
OdishaDiary: What is the development regarding proposal of setting up medical college in under CUO?
Prof. Banerjee: We have submitted the proposal and the interim DPR along with the 12th Plan Development Proposal to the UGC.
OdishaDiary: Now how many schools are functioning till now under CUO and what is the total students capacity now?
Prof. Banerjee: Eight schools are functioning at the moment. We already held two Convocations. Two batches of students have already passed out. The total students’ capacity now is 500.
OdishaDiary: Any plan to open new schools or satellite campus of CUO in other area of the state?
Prof. Banerjee: Five more new schools would be functional from the forthcoming academic session including Law, Environmental Science, Education and Education Technology.
OdishaDiary: This University is in the KBK area. Do you think this is the main challenge in functioning of the University?
Prof. Banerjee: Yes there are hurdles in KBK area but as it is the evident from the progress of the university, the challenges are not insurmountable.
OdishaDiary: Do you think you are getting enough support from the state and centre for development of the University?
Prof. Banerjee: Surely, we are getting enormous support both from the State and the Central Government.
OdishaDiary: As a VC, what is your vision for CUO and what are your suggestions to improve conditions and standards of other Universities in the state?
Prof. Banerjee: The vision of CUO emanates directly from the needs of the region/the context and we have to realise that.