For a move towards greater participative management and better governance, we have introduced four Vice Principals for the first time in the history of St. Xavier’s College. It may be noted that of the four Vice-Principals, two are Non-Jesuits. We have a governing council, consisting of Jesuit Fathers, which is the policy making body of St. Xavier’s. In addition to the Governing Council, it is the Academic Council, consisting of 19 Heads of Departments (HoDs), which runs St. Xavier’s College. Obviously, the success of this institution rests on this Academic Council. Moreover, a number of our staff members are vested with powers and responsibility, and they head important committees such as Disciplinary Committee, Library Committee, Purchase Committee, Internal Quality Assessment Cell, Women’s Cell, Campus Ministry, College website management, etc.
We also have a Student Council for Quality (SCQ). It comprises of students of each department from each year, selected on merit, with the Principal as its President. The SCQ has 6 committees which follow up on various aspects of the functioning of the College. The Heads of these committees, together with the SCQ coordinator, interact with the administration of the College to focus more clearly on the students.
In addition to the regular Bachelor degree courses in Arts and Science and Masters in Chemistry and English, St. Xavier’s College runs UGC recognized Career Oriented Programmes (COPs) in fifteen different subjects. We also run two vocational courses in Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology. These courses have helped a number of regular students to pursue additional certificate courses to enhance their knowledge on the subject of their choice. Since COPs were made compulsory for all the students of St. Xavier’s during their first year in college, in the past, it led to two important negative impacts:
(a) It worked as a deterrent to enter into St. Xavier’s College for many students, as it imposes additional financial burden on them.
(b) A number of students enroll themselves into one of these 15 COPs, without any personal interest, thus weakening the motivation of those who are genuinely interested in pursuing an additional certificate course in a specific subject.
All the same, an objective evaluation of these courses reveals that a sizeable number of students have, indeed, benefited from these courses. Hence, unlike in the past, these certificate courses in COPs are made optional from this year, to provide an opportunity for students who really want to take up an additional certificate course along with their regular curriculum.
As presented in the College Prospectus, the Personal Growth Oriented Programme (PGOP) consists of a variety of activities: group discussions, role-plays, poster-making, multi-media shows; which focus on interesting topics that create awareness of, and respect for human values and enrich their personality. After a feed-back sample survey from students on whether to continue the (PGOP), it has emerged that (a) 95 per cent of the students want this programme to be continued, and (b) they have invariably appreciated the way PGOP is organized and conducted. Hence, after a lengthy discussion on this subject in the management and Academic Council meetings, we have decided to continue this programme.
Our rallying cry at this point in time is: “To learn and re-learn, to search and research, to reach and reach-out.” I welcome your suggestions to take this institution forward.