Mumbai university vice-chancellor’s journey started from Ruia college
He received his BSc (Chemistry) and MSc (Organic Chemistry) from Ramnarain Ruia College in Matunga in 1978 and 1981, respectively.mumbai Updated: Apr 28, 2018 00:07 IST
Suhas Pednekar, 60, the new vice-chancellor (V-C) of the University of Mumbai (MU), has been a Ruiaite all along his adult life.
He received his BSc (Chemistry) and MSc (Organic Chemistry) from Ramnarain Ruia College in Matunga in 1978 and 1981, respectively. He even pursued his doctorate at the institute. In 1984, a year after being awarded his PhD, he joined the college as a lecturer and became a professor in 2005. He was elevated as the vice-principal in 2001 and has been serving as the principal of the college since 2006.
Pednekar has been credited with elevating the stature of Ramnarain Ruia College in Matunga, where he served as the principal for more than 12 years. During his tenure, the college was selected as the Best College in MU, designated as a College with Potential for Excellence by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and was selected under Star College Scheme by the Centre’s department of biotechnology (DBT).
Last year, in July, Ruia College became the ninth institute to be granted autonomous status by MU. It also went through the fourth cycle of National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) this year. At a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.72 (A+), the college is one of the highest performing institutes across the country.
“Ruia College is likely a mini-university. It’s a research-oriented college,” said GD Yadav, V-C, Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, where Pednekar served as a visiting faculty for 12 years.
Pednekar’s expertise lies in the filed on green (eco-sustainable) chemistry. He has guided 23 students for their PhD and MSc and published 33 research papers in national and international Journals of repute. He has contributed in introducing ‘Microscale’ techniques in chemistry laboratories to reduce the pollution as well as the cost of experiments.
While he has served on various panels of various educational institutes and regulating bodies such as NAAC and UGC, he has never been part of MU’s top statutory bodies, namely senate, academic council and management council. Nevertheless, Pednekar is confident of his experience. “I have had much exposure,” he said.
The new V-C’s current and former colleagues and other members of the academic fraternity are full of praise for him. “He always pushed us to aim high, and as a result was able to acquire autonomy and star college status for the institute. He identifies right people and accordingly assigns work to them. He gives everyone a chance,” said Anushree Lokur, a teacher at Ruia College. “He is a very amicable person and has tried to solve teachers’ problems,” said Tapati Mukhopadhyay of Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Unions (MFUCTU).
Yadav is hopeful that the new V-C will take on the challenges head-on. “He understands the working of MU. I think he knows what is wrong with the university’s examination system and will set it right. He has my best wishes,” he said.