Dr. Amitava ‘Babi’ Mitra joins VIT University, Jaipur as its first President and Vice-Chancellor
Dr. Amitava ‘Babi’ Mitra joined recently as the President and Vice Chancellor of the newly created VIT University, Jaipur. A proven international leader in delivering technology-enabled educational solutions in demanding environments in the US and India, Dr. Mitra has successfully led 40-600 people entrepreneurial ventures at MIT, USA, BITS, Pilani, and at NIIT Inc. He has over twenty-five years’ experience in higher education, corporate e-learning, and distance education.
Prior to joining VIT University, Dr. Mitra was the Learning Technologies Consultant, Consulting Services for Education, Inc. and the Director, Academic Computing and Technology Services at Babson College. He was Executive Director, Academic Media Production Services and Associate Director, Office of Educational Innovation & Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge,
Dr. Mitra has been engaged with leading educational technology organizations in USA such as NERCOMP and EDUCAUSE; he served on the NERCOMP Board during 2008-10. He was the SIG Master for the 2004 NERCOMP Workshop on Sakai, served on the NERCOMP Program Committee during 2006-10, and was past chair of the ‘Leadership, Planning and Organizational Development’ track. He has presented extensively in national and international conferences, including those at NERCOMP and EDUCAUSE and at the Seminars on Academic Computing.
Before joining MIT in 2002, Dr. Mitra was at NIIT, Ltd., and NIIT Inc., where he rose from Product Manager to Senior Vice-President; he was instrumental in transforming a small instructional design project team into the profitable $24 million revenue Knowledge Solutions Business unit, which he also headed. With over 600 professional staff, clients in the US, Europe, Asia and Australia, and a strong process- oriented development approach (among the first in the world to receive ISO 9001 certification in 1993 for instructional development), this business formed a strategic component of NIIT’s vision.
Dr. Mitra participated in the formulation of the Government of India’s National Policy on Education (1986), and is a co-author of the book, "Challenge & Response: Towards a New Educational Policy". He was the first head of the Distance Learning Programs Unit at the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, India. He was a Visiting Engineer at the Chemical Engineering Department at MIT where he spent five years as a researcher in the area of energy and combustion technology while simultaneously working towards earning his PhD from BITS, Pilani.
His strategic leadership experience includes: NERCOMP Board; founder-member, Sakai Project Board; founder-member, Council of Governors, Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, Kumaon, India; and, co-chairperson, Advisory Board, Royal Roads University, Victoria, Canada. He was a National Science Talent Scholar in India, and was a member of the MIT-India Council. Dr. Mitra was co-founder and co-chair of the South Asian Parents Alliance at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Cambridge, MA, USA and a member of the MIT K-12 forum.
Dr. Mitra’s wife Srirupa is an English teacher by profession and is currently on the MIT Women’s League Board. Their older son, Abhi Ranjan is a sophomore at MIT majoring in Economics and Neurosciences, and their younger son, Gautam is in the seventh grade at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Cambridge, MA, USA. Babi’s interests include the intersects across people and technology, growing up with his children, and playing squash.
What attracted you to VIT University, Jaipur?
When I visited here, I was impressed by the commitment and energy I saw and felt, and that was across the students, staff, faculty and management. The Vivekananda Institute of Technology and the Vivekananda Institute of Technology-East are only
four years old and not yet on the national map, but not only did that not seem to upset anyone, they seemed to feel that if they focus and get the right leadership, the sky was the limit. I told them that I first wanted to see the place, meet with,It was a really energizing experience.
What is your vision for VIT University, Jaipur?
Our goal is for VIT University, Jaipur to be an institution of choice for young women and men who are aspiring for productive careers. We want VIT-U to be among a prospective student’s shortlisted choices.
What are the immediate goals for VIT University, Jaipur?
We are offering BTech programs from the 2012-13 academic year, in Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Communication Engineering, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. We are offering MTech programs geared towards working professionals in Computer Science and Engineering, Mobile Computing, Digital Communication and Power Systems. Our immediate
goal is to attract and admit quality students in each program. VIT and VIT-East are graduating the first batch of students; securing good employment for them will reflect favorably on VIT University.
What are your long term goals for the university?
It’s a bit early to talk about long term given where we are. I can share with you that we are in the process of starting to develop a Forward Plan with inputs from management, faculty, students and outside experts. We are developing an institution of excellence
that is grounded in industry internships, market - driven programs, and research and consultancy. Transparency and participation is essential to how we function; we are writing academic regulations that will help us create a system that can consistently deliver a certain level of quality education.
How difficult was the transition from Boston, USA to Jaipur?
When I got to Jaipur, it felt like I was coming back home. My father was the Director, BITS, Pilani for twenty years 1969 - 1989 and I first came to Rajasthan as a child. Moreover, I studied and worked at BITS, Pilani, so in some sense it was like coming back to my roots. I have lived, studied and worked in the US as well as here and am equally comfortable in both cultures. I’m a foodie, and it was great to have chaat and dahi bara at LMB!
How is your family finding it?
My family is in the US and will join me later this year. My wife Srirupa is an English teacher by profession and has commitments associated with her membership on the MIT Women’s League Board. Our younger son, Gautam is in the seventh grade at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, Cambridge, MA; his school year ends in June and we thought it didn’t make sense to yank him out with three months left. Our older son, Abhi Ranjan is in his second year at MIT and is majoring in Economics
and Neurosciences, and will of course continue there; usually the kids go away to college, in this case it's just the reverse!
Amitava Babi Mitra is indeed a Leader who knows his way, goes his way and will show the way to take VIT University Jaipur as one among the top ranking in India tomorrow.
For more details about VIT University Jaipur see http://www.vitjaipur.ac.in/
"Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man" . These are the words of the great philosopher and educator Swami Vivekananda. VIT University has been formed keeping in mind his teaching and mentoring ideals. The overall development of the techno-managers with a seeking spirit towards education is VIT's vision for its students. The University is run by one of the reputed group of visionaries in the field of education. The VIT University catering to the modern needs of education combined with the traditional Indian values is a private university under the state government act. The University has started Institutes for providing best in class education in the disciplines of engineering. For more details see http://www.vitjaipur.ac.in/
VIT University, Jaipur
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