Prof Timothy A Gonsalves completes a decade at IIT Mandi
The founding director of the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi, Prof Timothy A Gonsalves, completed his extended tenure of over 10 years on June 30, 2020. Prof Gonsalves, 66, handed over the charge to Prof Ajit K Chaturvedi, director, IIT Roorkee, as the acting director with effect from July 1, 2020.
“I am leaving IIT Mandi with strong foundations, with a very committed and capable leadership team of deans, many other faculty and staff. I am confident IIT Mandi will not only weather the Covid-19 storm, but will emerge stronger to scale ever greater heights of academic achievement,” Prof Gonsalves said.
During the leadership of Prof Gonsalves, IIT Mandi grew from student strength from 97 (in 2010) to 1,655 students today, from 20 to over 125 faculty, and 1,141 alumni. It also expanded degree programmes from the initial three BTech programmes to seven BTech and 13 Master’s and MS and PhD today. IIT Mandi offers MA (Development Studies) run by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and a BTech (Data Science & Engineering) that is a first in the IIT system.
Prof Gonsalves was instrumental in bringing in innovative approaches to improving gender ratio at IIT Mandi. In the academic year of 2019-20, the institute admitted 20.22% female students in BTech. This is the highest proportion of female students in a BTech programme in any of the 23 IITs across India.
There is a lot of Covid-19 research currently going on at IIT Mandi; today, it is involved in over 275 R&D projects worth more than Rs 120 crore. Focusing on start-ups, IIT Mandi Catalyst—the first technology business incubator in Himachal Pradesh—has helped over 75 start-ups since 2017.
The institute also runs a unique BTech curriculum, which emphasises on project-based learning. In first year, the Reverse Engineering Project imparts understanding of common scientific and engineering principles and methods to students. In second year, the Design Practicum helps students build foundation in engineering. The Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum, in third year, introduces students to knowledge of humanities. In fourth year, the Major Technical Project imparts knowledge of social sciences and management.