By Esha Puri, Batch of 2013
Dr Duru Arun Kumar will take you away from mind-boggling calculations and the cold logic of science and math. Our social sciences and management professor makes us appreciate the importance of human aspects in technology. Meticulous and assiduous, she thoroughly enjoys her pursuit. Her commitment and dedication towards her work is truly awe-inspiring. Excerpts from the rendezvous-
Q. How long have you been teaching in NSIT and how has the experience been?
A. I started teaching in NSIT in 1999. I would describe my journey as a mixed bag of experiences. It has been wonderful to interact with the students and my subject has allowed me to exercise great flexibility in terms of content and methodologies. However, a little more encouragement towards the subject is required.
Q. What are your areas of responsibility?
A. Initially I was taking up Technology and Society and English. Later I also volunteered to teach report writing, business and technical communication, industrial management and personal management. I am a part of some student initiatives and societies like SPIC MACAY, Rotaract and DebSoc.
Q. Being in NSIT, majority of the students have a technical bent of mind. How do you bring them to perceive the importance of your subjects?
A. I believe that for a more holistic education, students must have a humanistic approach. Understanding the various ethical issues in sciences and the different perspectives is as important as learning the technical aspects. I include projects and assignments to give the students an outlook towards the practical problems faced. A factory visit to a Vadilal ice-cream unit made students aware about the poor hygiene level prevalent there. Visiting small-scale industries, they were appalled by the working conditions of the workers. In management courses, I accommodate case studies as a part of the course.
Q. What are your areas of interest from research point of view?
A. My main domains in research are higher education, technology and globalisation, employment issues and women empowerment.
Q. What is the procedure of taking up projects under your guidance?
A. Students usually come up with their own ideas. Nevertheless, I can suggest topical issues from editorials, etc. Students of all branches are welcome provided they find genuine interest in their topic of re-search. Some topics taken up in the past have been issues related to brain drain, foreign education bill and its impact.
Q. How many projects are currently being mentored by you?
A. There are 3 projects I am guiding presently. One is a research on ethical values of individual scientists involved in the large science projects. The others are based on women‘s employment in informal sector and technology development in IT sector.
Q. What are your suggestions for students looking forward to research in social issues or in the technical sphere?
A. Research is sincerely a very humbling experience. It is replete with learning and discovering new things all along the way. But it demands passion and commitment. Students should not weigh the projects by its quick credit value but should pursue it dedicatedly till the end.