Borrowed from SAMPADA old editions – for the 10th Anniversary Special Issue – Interviews section. This one is of Dr ChannaReddy, ex Faculty, First Placement Officer.
Team Sampada had a wonderful opportunity to interact with the First Ever Placement Officer of UVCE, Dr. Channa Reddy Sir (1989-2001). He was key in transforming the Placement Process for Students of namma UVCE. Namma team learnt a lot from the experiences shared by Channa Reddy Sir and here are some excerpts from the interview:
Team Sampada: How did your journey with UVCE start? How was UVCE in those days?
Channa Reddy Sir: I completed BE from B.D.T, Davanagere in 67 and MTech from PSG, Coimbatore in 69. I wanted to teach and I knew UVCE was the best institution to work at so I approached the authorities but later, then Principal, Parameswarappa asked me on temporary position.
In 73, I saw an advertisement in Newspaper about vacancies in Electrical Department at UVCE and I applied for the same and got appointed. It was a great experience to be in the company of the most elite and bright people. The students were also very focused and studious. They were mostly from middle class or lower-middle class and this was the reason they were very humble and polite. The teaching faculty and lab staff were very well-versed with the technical aspects making UVCE a benchmark for standard education that many colleges looked up to. There was a very high level of integrity among the faculty and as well as students that made UVCE the first choice of any bright student in the state. Sir MV’s name had an additional impact for students to join UVCE.
Team Sampada: How did students get jobs in those days?
Channa Reddy Sir: The major recruitment happened at Government Offices/ Departments and as college faculty. There was lot of requirement for man power with technical knowledge. Every now and then, there would be advertisements in the Newspapers about the positions at various capacities in Government Departments. They would apply and since they were from UVCE, many of them got the jobs because of their merit.
1980s was troublesome. Getting jobs was not that easy. Competition increased since many other colleges came up. Apart from academics, other skill sets such as communication and other aspects also got the importance. As a result the rural students in our college needed additional assistance with it.
Team Sampada: How did the whole idea of “Placement Office” come up? How were the initial days of PO which was just being setup?
Channa Reddy Sir: I went to IIT Bombay to pursue my PhD Research work in 1984 and came back in 1988. During this time, my guide, Dr Banerjee from EEE Department asked me to be part of Selection committee. (An internal member of IIT would be a member of the committee along with the company officials to assess the students). It was a great learning experience for me. I felt that our students back at UVCE were no inferior to these students but lack the platform. With my 10 years of experience, I could see that even the IIT students struggled with tough technical questions. I made a quick comparison with our students and felt, if they were provided an opportunity, even they can compete with these students in this platform.
Once I got back in April 1988, I immediately spoke to then Principal MKLN Shastry and gave a proposal to the idea of setting up a Placement Office and he readily agreed. It initially started in a very small way in my own room (No. 207). The only phone available was in Co-Operative Society. Since, I was also the Director at Society, I got permission to use it. Principal used to reimburse the expenses spent on Company officials visiting the campus. I guess TCS was the first company to visit our campus and recruit 12 people in June 1988.
At the end of 1988, Dr N R Shetty, who was Vice-Chancellor at Bangalore University (and also Placement Officer at KREC earlier) visited the campus and appointed me officially as Placement Officer. He also permitted to collect nominal amount as fee from student beneficiaries who got jobs.
Team Sampada: Sir, please tell us how the current placement office was established at its current location.
Channa Reddy Sir: That’s very adventurous story. The current location of Placement Office behind Society looks very great. But in those days, it was under the Co-Operative Society and the place was basically a dump-yard. There were ant hills and waste dumped and no one used to enter those rooms. I wanted to clean it and utilize the space. Many people cautioned me and advised me against it. But I was adamant and went ahead got it cleaned by mid 1990, as far as I recall.
A student (whose name I can’t recall) had a relative working in Siemens. He took me and couple of his batch mates to their office and we requested them to help us. They agreed to our request and gave Rs.15,000/- to use it to develop Placement Office. It was huge amount in those days. Even now you can see the “Courtesy: Siemens Company” in Placement Office. We are indebted to the generosity shown by them. We opened a Bank Account and installed 2 phones and a Fax machine. We also purchased a computer couple of years later to keep us updated.
Meanwhile, the VC also gave the permission to use the space (which is now the Board Room) but I had to face lot of hurdles to get it. If I recall it right, a student by name Nagaraj from EEE of 1993-94 batch convinced his father (who had a Granite Factory at Attibele) and donated the entire granite for flooring of the space. I think he had just graduated and it was his way of “Giving Back” to UVCE.
Team Sampada: This story is so inspirational and motivational to all of us… Tell us how did take it forward? Especially the furnishings in Placement Office and Board Room “U-Shaped” Table is something we always wonder about.
Channa Reddy Sir: Glad that you like it. We wanted a place for group discussion or meeting point when company officials come down. We wanted to have a Round table, but the carpenter suggested to have U-Shaped Table which could accommodate more people in the available space. You might have seen a TV stand there in the Board Room. It was thrown away along with the junk items. I brought it back and cleaned it up to use it.
As we lacked funds for all our initiatives (there was little support from University). In 1998, Dr S Ramegowda (Chairman, AICTE) sent a proposal to modernize Placement Office and sanctioned 5 Lakh from MHRD which we used as seed money. We got the Seminar Hall renovated. Few students from 94, 95, 96 batches – Mukesh, Ganapathi, Gayathri also joined hands in this work. But we still struggled to manage the expenses. So, I came up with a simple solution. I was the Examination Co-Ordinator for around 4 years (96-99). There was lot of issues with Marks Cards – Name, Marks, and Student Details etc. I promised to get them rectified and in turn they had to pay a nominal fee to Placement Office. With the help of student volunteers, I cleared around 10,000 issues pertaining to marks cards and substantial amount was accumulated.
In parallel, I also approached many alumni, who were in good positions to help with the funds. Few of the names that I can recall are Chitra, Mohan, Vidya, Anitha from various batches and many others too. I thank them for all their support. We purchased Fridges, few cabinets, chairs, sofa etc to make Placement Office more professional. I was able to hand over a strong financial platform to Prof Makam when he took over as the Placement Officer.
– Dr Channa Reddy, Sampada-99