Location: Kalavakkam (near Chennai)
President: Kala Vijayakumar
Programmes: BE,ME MBA, MCA
Approval: AICTE approved, affiliated to Anna University
Accreditation: National Board of Accreditation
Top recruiters: Intel, Infosys, HCL, Wipro, Yahoo, Zenta, Reliance Communications, TCS, LIC, Microsoft, CISCO, Oracle, IBM;
Student activities: INSTINCTS; SSN Trophy;
From 98 students and eight faculty members in 1996, the SSN Institutions have a collective strength of over 3,200 students and 219 faculty members, today. “We emphasise a lot on research and will soon have a policy of recruiting only PhDs,” says Dr. S Salivahanan, Principal. He elucidates further, “The management has invested Rs. 5 crore in ensuring that all faculty members have a PhD.”
The focus on being known as a research-based institution is quite visible on the campus. At present, all regular programmes at SSN College of Engineering (SSNCoE) and SSN School of Management & Computer Applications (SoMCA) are affiliated to Anna University, and are approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). But as they approach their 15th year, a committed effort is being made to get ‘deemed university’ status. According to the Dean (Academics), Dr. Kasturi, “This would give more autonomy and flexibility, particularly in introducing and amending course curricula”.
Interaction with the students, however, reflected the fact that the ‘deemed university’ status may mean a higher fee structure, which at present is charged as per the regulations of the Anna University. SSN institutions offer scholarships in six categories. Though four of them are the common ones based on merit, merit-cum-means, alumni and achievement in sports, the scholarships for poor meritorious students from rural government schools and first ten rank holders in any State/ other Boards through Walk-in-Walk-out category, needs special mention. Both these categories every year collectively fund 75 students for the entire programme including tuition and other fees, lodging, board and out-of-pocket expenses.
There are seven undergraduate programmes and five postgraduate programmes in Engineering. Sixty-five percent of admissions are made on merit in the qualifying examination under the single window counselling by Anna University while the remaining seats are filled under the management quota.
According to Dr. MG Bhaskar, Director Marketing, SSNCoE seats get filled up prior to any other engineering college in the counselling process. The application to admission ratio is 30:1. The SoMCA offers MCA, MBA and GET.SET.GO, which is primarily for BPO sector aspirants. MBA students are admitted either through CAT, XAT, MAT or the test conducted by Anna University (TANCET).
Here the application to admission ratio is 15:1. MCA admissions are also based on merit and their TANCET score card. All PG programmes are residential. The SSN School of Advanced Software Engineering (SASE) offers a Master of Science in Information Technology in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
The soft spoken Director of SASE, Dr. Shashikant Albal elaborates, “Students start the programme in a known environment and also get an opportunity to complete six months of the 18-month programme at Carnegie Mellon, which focuses on practicum project facilitating the students to apply acquired skills to solve real-world problems.” This programme last year fetched an average salary of $95,000. The fee for the entire programme is around $50,000. Overall, students are excited about the academic rigour entwined with discipline. This is where perhaps it was felt, after interaction with students, that SSN institutions need another edifice in Humanities and Social Science. Such a school might help in producing slightly more well rounded professionals
Apart from the SSN Research centre, which is a multi-disciplinary institute carrying out research on subjects that have a bearing on future applications of science & technology, there are select areas of research recognised by Anna University for PhD candidates to pursue their higher studies. Research efforts of individuals in the SSN community are recognised (there’s an annual research day) and monetary incentives are given to researchers who publish in international and national journals.
For instance Prof. P Ramasamy, the Dean (Research) who is an authority on crystal growth, has grown the largest crystal in the world indigenously with his team, which still in the augmentation phase is over 120 cm long.
While the research centre has bagged 24 sponsored research projects worth Rs 8 crores recently and has 26 continuing projects worth Rs. 3 crore, what’s lacking is the quantum and value of industrial consultancy assignments,. Efforts are also on to promote research by borrowing the expertise of industry-experienced people, so as to produce solutions that industry sorely requires from academia.
Campus life and beyond
There is a special thrust on sports facilities wherein students are greatly encouraged and due weightage is given at the time of admission. And the 14 sportspersons, including national level players in cricket and athletes, on the institution’s roll is a testimony to this initiative. There are clubs for literature, music, dance, photography, quizzing and hobby workshops. The inter-collegiate cultural festival ‘INSTINCTS’ attracted over 20,000 students from 300 different colleges this year.
The campus has 24-hour access to the Internet in the hostel and classrooms. and common messing facilities. And since 40% reside on campus, the remaining youth brigade is transported in a fleet of yellow buses, which seem to slice through the otherwise serene, green campus – a sight to behold!
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