Institutional excellence in higher education is the aggregate of the best practices followed in different areas of institutional performance. The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) is advocating the best practices benchmarking approach for quality enhancement in higher education. The best practices as benchmarks help institutions to find their anchor for self-improvement.
Over the years, M.O.P. Vaishnav has identifies and applied best practices across the institution to add commendable value to its various stakeholders.
BEST PRACTICE 1: M.O.P. CARES – EXTENSION ACTIVITIES
M.O.P. has always held dear the idea of social responsibility, as codified in its mandate to all undergraduate students to render at least 90 hours of community service. M.O.P. CARES brings under its banner, wings of all extension activities initiated by the college and executed by different student bodies.
The major objectives are:
- To sensitize students on the socio-economic structure of the society
- To arouse the spirit of common interest to participate collectively for social cause.
- To motivate students to make a difference in society.
- To create a community of selfless, caring and committed individuals.
M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women (Autonomous), in its aim to bring all the extension activities of the college under one banner, initiated M.O.P. CARES which houses the student bodies such as National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Cadet Corps (NCC) highlighting their community service activities. Other than regular prescribed activities of NSS and NCC, the college has introduced many schemes to reach out to the community it is catering to which are also categorized under M.O.P. CARES. From Chennai Floods 2015 to the pandemic, it is observed that educational institutions through their organized student bodies are able to cater to the needs of the societies during calamities. Under M.O.P. CARES, work is equally distributed to all the students and as a result the number of beneficiaries addressed is multifold.
Seeking to systematize the practice, the college has, for the last few years, chosen an annual theme for its service efforts, thus spreading the effects of the effort across a gamut of worthy causes. Once the theme or cause is identified, the various Departments engage their students in carrying out the vision of the theme in their unique way, thus giving students agency and ownership of the effort while still realizing the broader vision for the service theme chosen for the year.
The Centre for Excellence of the college, in consultation with the NSS unit of the college, oversees efforts to identify worthy causes and plan student volunteer efforts to effectively help those causes.
- Beginning in 2016 with the Penn Kalvi (Women Education) run, a mini-marathon that raised funds for the cause of the education of girl children, the Centre has, year after year, designed volunteer initiatives in which all Departments participate.
- The year 2017 was declared the ‘Year of Daan’ (Year of Donation) to enable students to experience joy of giving. Students of the various departments gave their own interpretation to the idea, coming up with initiatives such as Netra Daan, in which students pledged to donate their eyes, Vigyan Daan, in which basic computer skills were imparted to children at the learning center of Madras Dyslexia Association, and Kaushal Daan, in which livelihood skill training was given to parents of the underprivileged students of Chennai High School and M.O.P. School.
- The initiative ‘Pagir,’ meaning ‘to share,’ came in 2018, in which students sought to share their resources and good fortune with others. Many acts of kindness resulted, such as the donation of ceiling fans and grocery essentials to C.S.I. School.
- 2019-20 saw the launch of ‘Thozhil Seyyalaam Thozhi (Let’s do Business, My Friend!),’ an initiative to upskill women in suburban and rural areas to enable income generation. The various Departments extended the initiative in unique ways imparting livelihood skills to women
Evidence of Success
Apart from reaching out to general public, M.O.P. Vaishnav College has been focusing on a few select areas so that the impact of the schemes could be easily evaluated. M.O.P. Vaishnav School, Kottur School, The Assumption School, Lady Wellington School Government School and self-help groups in Thiruverkadu are the major communities that M.O.P. is catering to.
- Continuous implementation of the schemes every year stands a proof for their success.
- The enthusiastic support of the schools for the existing and new schemes
- Positive feedback from the school managements catered to.
- The livelihood earned by the beneficieries of Thozhil Seyyalam Thozhi (Let’s do Business, My Friend!) in the rural communities is a sheer example of success.
The responses from the beneficiaries and their enthusiastic participation in all the programmes initiated by the college stand a testimony to the success of the events that the college initiates.
Problems encountered and Resources required
- Creating awareness in the students about the socio-economic status of the society they are catering to.
- Encouraging them to step out from their comfort zones to reach out to the society.
- Initial hesitation to stay back beyond college hours.
- Continuous motivation is required as the students are capable of losing their confidence when things don’t go in the expected way.
- Monitoring the safety of the students when they go out into the community.
- Dedicated staff and assistants to help implement the schemes and conduct events
- Arranging conveyance for the students whenever they have to go into the villages
- As the protocol demands the contact of local authorities is required to get permission for organizing camps
BEST PRACTICE 2: M.O.P. SANSAD – STUDENT CABINET
- To create a sense of accountability and responsibility among students
- To prepare them to take leadership roles in future
- To hone their critical thinking ability and decision-making skills.
- To instill confidence in them to speak for others
- To encourage them to practice team leadership through active group participation
A shift from student council to student cabinet was felt mandatory as the structure of the cabinet resembling the parliamentary setup would be an ideal ground for students to emerge as leaders. To familiarize students with how a parliament functions, to make them aware of their rights, duties and responsibilities and to groom them as righteous citizens, it was thought fit to model the student leadership body as a student cabinet of ministers. To instill the values of democracy, to train the student leaders in the practice of conceptualizing an activity, preparing the budget, weighing the pros and cons of its implementation as well as to instill the ability to counter questions and criticism, to create an opportunity to defend the proposal and overall to simulate a model parliamentary session, the idea of M.O.P. Sansad was conceived and deployed.
M.O.P. Sansad is headed by the student Prime Minister who is democratically elected. Nominations are called for. The eligible candidates attend an interview before the Board of Student Cabinet Advisors chaired by the Principal. In front of the student assembly the candidates running for prime ministership put forth their election manifesto, stating in clear terms, their proposals for the ensuing academic year. 48 hours after the campaign ends students get to electronically vote for their Prime Minister. The candidate with maximum number of votes is elected as Prime Minister and she is assisted by two deputy Prime Ministers. Each department nominates a minister who is assisted by a deputy minister. To complete the setup each ministry has member of parliament from I, II and III year classes, to give a chance to all students to be part of M.O.P. Sansad.
The Principal of the college acts as President and an MP is elected as Speaker of the House. Two parliamentary sessions are held every year. In the first session, Ministries present their plans of action to the House, and once debated, approval is accorded for implementation.
Each session incorporates a question hour, where student issues are discussed. In acting as liaisons between the student population and the college management, members of the Sansad are transformed into able young administrators and leaders.
Health & Hygiene
Periodical health and hygiene audit is conducted in the campus and in cafeteria.
Green audit is regularly conducted to ensure clean and green campus.
Parliamentary sessions are organised by the ministry twice every year to discuss important issues.
Regulating traffic at the entrance, checking for id cards and helmets and also ensuring that the COVID protocol is adhered to are the responsibilities of the ministry.
All sport related events that the college organizes including intra mural and inter collegiate are ably organised by the ministry.
Innovation & Design
This ministry focuses on carrying out the designing of posters, invites, banners, rulebooks, brochures and other design related works, for any forth coming event.
While promoting technology enabled communication in the campus, this ministry also ensures by conducting inter departmental competitions that information technology is an inevitable part of the learning process.
The Ministry of Entrepreneurship Development of the college functions as an E-cell that is active throughout the year, conducting various activities like lectures, workshops, seminars, E-week celebrations, and B-plan.
Evidence of Success
- In 2018, A symposium on climate change was organized which was attended by 274 participants from 14 colleges.
- Pandemic did not stop the enthusiasm of the students in conducting M.O.P. Bazaar. In November 2020 the first e-Bazaar, a three-day virtual event on Facebook was inaugurated by Professor S. Gowri, Vice Chancellor of University of Madras. 35 virtual stalls were put up, held by 57 talented entrepreneurs selling a variety of products.
- Being able to defend and criticize is the expected quality of a member of parliament. The student cabinet hosted a panel discussion on the Draft National Education Policy 2019.
- A. Pushpavalli, Prime Minister and Meenakshi Alagusundaram Deputy Prime Minister from our cabinet attended a discussion on NEP organized by D. G Vaishnav College and shared their views and opinions.
- In 2020, a book donation drive was conducted, which resulted in the cabinet launching M.O.P. Bookshelf at the annual M.O.P. Bazar where the collected books were sold and the proceedings went towards charity.
- On 18th October 2021, the cabinet organized UN Day intercollegiate fest with the objective to throw light on Sustainable development goals. Around 17 events were organized and were successfully conducted dutifully following the COVID norms.
The success of the cabinet form of student representatives is visible in the meticulous planning and organizing.
Problems encountered and Resources required:
- Initial hiccups in the students’ ability to ably manage classes and cabinet.
- As the parliament comprises heterogeneous students’ group, the initial hesitation among them to mingle freely was always observed.
- Over confidence and enthusiasm have to be reined for them to get actual picture of the situation
- Reaching out to other colleges and getting optimum participation for competitions, seminars and workshops
- For events were organized during pandemic, coordinating with people and overcoming technical glitches posed a great challenge.
- Proficient group of faculty members to guide the Cabinet members
- Mentors to help the students to balance academics and cabinet
- Team building and leadership workshop to be conducted periodically to direct them on the right path.
- Identify resources to fund the projects taken up by the student cabinet.
BEST PRACTICE 3: MIS (MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM)
The college has adopted the mechanism of ‘SPEED’ – SYSTEMATIC PERIODIC ELECTRONIC ENTRY OF DATA for maintaining its MIS system. The goals for the implementation of the MIS include:
- To undertake continuous information generation and to track the progress of the institution.
- To standardize the content to be uploaded across the departments of the college.
- To serve as an aid to generate and prepare periodic reports for the submission of AQAR, College Annual Report and the Annual Report to the University of Madras
- To aid the top level management in goal setting, strategic planning and evolving the institutional plans and their implementation.
- The MIS scrutinizes the operational activities of the college and provide summaries and information to decision makers and the IQAC.
- The MIS is fully utilized to efficiently track the resources and make appropriate decisions.
- A separate web portal for MIS is created in the official college Every department is given a Login ID and Password to access the portal.
- Every department of the college has a MIS coordinator who coordinates, collects and enters the data pertaining to their respective department in the Online MIS portal.
- The main fields and the sub fields in the MIS include:
- College activities
- Department activities
- Student Cabinet
- Staff achievements
- Student achievements
- Research and Consultancy
- Sports & NCC
- NSS & Extension activities
- Internship & Placement
- A separate Login is provided for the Controller of Examinations Office to record all academic and examination related
- The IQAC (Internal Quality Assurance Cell) of the college consolidates the MIS report on a monthly basis and submits it to the Principal for
- Areas of concern are taken into consideration and action is taken
Evidence of success
- The MIS serves as a one point source of all data required for reports.
- Timely Updation of data has made tracking of information easier.
- The web portal has made MIS process specific and not person specific.
Problem Encountered & Resources Required
- Technical glitches in uploading data
- Adoption of the new MIS format as per NAAC norms
BEST PRACTICE 4: PENDING REGISTER
- Timely completion of tasks and duties.
- To instil and practice time management skills
- To categorize pending work by depending upon the urgency and importance.
- The pending register gives a consolidated overview of the work completion status of the institution and individual departments.
- The Principal and the IQAC will take corrective actions based on the pending register.
- All Heads of Departments are asked to maintain a Pending Register with the following headers:
- Time line
- Work completed
- Work pending
- Action taken for pending work
- The pending register is submitted on every Friday of the week to the Principal.
- The Principal records her comments based on the status of work completed.
Evidence of success
- Overall control of tracking tasks and work done by faculty based on allocation of work.
- Delegation of Heads of Departments were able to delegate work and do a periodic follow up of it.
Problems encountered and resources required
- Unforeseen delays in execution of plans
BEST PRACTICE 5: LIFE SKILLS COURSE FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS
M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women strongly believes in imparting Skill Based Education to its students as part of the curriculum. Over the years the college has been organising ‘Life skills’ sessions for its Undergraduate students as part of the Skill Based Elective Course.
The goals of the Life Skills Course include:
- To impart a cluster of Life skills for the overall well-being of students thereby moulding them into active and productive members of their communities.
- To enable students to adapt and deal effectively with the demands and challenges of corporate life.
According to UNICEF, Life Skills are a behaviour change or behaviour development approach designed to address balance of three areas:
The world bodies such as UNICEF, UNESCO, and WHO list the ten core Life Skills which are mandatory for Educational Institutions to impart to its students:
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Coping with stress
- Coping with emotion
In order to impart Life Skills to its students, M.O.P. Vaishnav has identified a cluster of interpersonal skills which are interlinked with each other that can be offered to students.
The college has developed a Module for Life Skills, that is offered to all the II year Undergraduate Students of the college in the IV semester. The Life Skills module includes:
- Career Skills
- Resume Writing
- Group Discussion
- Team Skills
- Interview Skills
The skills which the college offers under the Life Skills Module has made students feel more confident, motivated, and develop a positive attitude towards life, thus, making more mature and adult like decision and taking responsibilities for their actions
Evidence of success
- In the short term (after 3-6 months of implementation), the effectiveness of the life skills programme was measured in terms of the specific learning objectives of the life skills lessons, and factors such as changes in self-esteem, perceptions of self- efficacy, and behavioural intentions were evident in the students.
- The life skills sessions have produced the following effects:
- Increased pro – social behaviour and decreased negative behaviour
- Increased the ability to plan ahead and choose effective solutions to problems
- Improved self-image, self-awareness, social and emotional adjustment
- Improved classroom behaviour
- Gains in self-control and handling of interpersonal problems
- Coping with anxiety
Problem Encountered & Resources Required
- Only in the longer term (after at least a year) is it feasible to evaluate the impact of the life skills
- Meeting the special needs of students in unstable and crisis
- Identifying the right skill trainers and corporate agencies to partner with the institution to handle the skill
BEST PRACTICE 6: THOZHIL SEYALAM THOZHI
As part of its outreach and extension activities, M.O.P. Vaishnav College for Women had declared the year 2019-20 as the year for the Village Adoption project ‘THOZHIL SEIYALLAM THOZHI’ – an initiative aimed to impart entrepreneurship skills to rural women.
The goals of this initiative include,
- To reach out to rural women in Tamil Nadu and make them self – reliant
- To inspire, ignite, educate and enable rural women to utilise multiple opportunities that entrepreneurship provides
- To propagate and impart life skills to women and children as proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
- To inculcate values to students through service oriented and nation building activities and enable them to become socially responsible citizens.
The ‘Thozil Seiyallam Thozhi’ initiative was inaugurated on 13th July 2019 at S.K.D.J. Higher Secondary School, Thiruverkadu. Under this banner 15 villages were identified in the state of Tamil Nadu and various livelihood skills were imparted and awareness campaigns were conducted for women and Government school students.
The livelihood skills offered under the banner of ‘Thozil Seiyallam Thozhi’ include:
- Agarbathi making
- Pot & Diya painting
- Quilling & Tassel Jewelry making
- Candle making
- Glass painting
- Greeting card & Envelope making
- Jute bag making
- Jewellery making
- Blouse designing
- Aari work, Embroidery, Patch work & Block Printing
- Crafts & Stationary making
- Book binding
- Key chains
- Hair Style & makeup
- Chaat, sandwich & Beverage making
- Mehendi designing
- Organic soap making
- Drawing, sketching & painting
- Chalk carving
- Making eco – friendly sanitary napkins
The Life Skills proposed by WHO include:
- Self – Awareness
- Coping with stress and emotions
- Effective communication skills
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem solving
- Critical thinking
- Decision – Making
- Creative thinking
Awareness campaigns organised to propagate the Life Skills include:
- Swachh Bharat – Clean India campaign
- Waste segregation
- Women health and hygiene
- Self defense
- Clean habits
- Good touch & Bad Touch
- Cyber threats
- Do’s & Don’ts of Mobile phone usage
- Career counselling
- Yoga demonstration
- Working with MS Office tools
- Public speaking
- Body language & Communication
- Safe use of Social Media
- Emotional Wellness
Evidence of success
- After the Villages were adopted and skills were imparted, the students and faculty of the college visited the villages after a period of 3 months to check on the progress of the entrepreneurial venture of the women.
- At M.O.P Bazaar – The Annual Entrepreneurship Extravaganza of the college, a stall was set up by one of beneficiaries of the THOZHIL SEIYALLAM THOZHI’ The diary beneficiary from Thiruverkadu village sold tea and snacks (for which she received entrepreneurial training from the college) and made a turnover of Rs. 4,000.
- Akriti – The student run mock company of the college had contributed 3% of the proceeds it earned at M.O.P Bazaar towards the Thozhil Seiyalam Thozhi initiative
Problems encountered and resources required
- Seeking permission from the village authorities and establishing rapport with the rural women
- Travel, infrastructure and physical space posed a challenge at few villages.
- Locating potential partners for networking and collaborating to facilitate development activities in the village (NSS groups, Youth Clubs/associations, NGOs etc)