“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires”
The adage is rightly appropriate for the cerebral persona of Professor Amar Nath Nayak, Head of Department, Civil Engineering. Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. An institution in himself, a man who started from the scratch and worked hard like there was no tomorrow; Professor Nayak stands as an epitome of ‘diligence’ and ‘wisdom’ as he has reinforced the lives of so many Civil Engineers over the years.
Team Vission recently caught up with a revitalizing dialogue with Prof Nayak, endowing us with his inspiring life experiences.
Team Vission: VSSUT, Burla- Dept. of Civil Engineering, ‘by chance’ or ‘by choice’?
Prof Nayak: There’s no such thing as ‘by chance’. Although, there were stereotypes, but in the end I studied what I was really interested in.
Team Vission: You have proven your brilliance both as a student and a teacher. What difference did you find in the above two roles?
Prof Nayak: I don’t feel any such difference exists. Hard work is one such element that defines my success, both as a student as well as a teacher. I strongly stand by the point that perseverance is essential in all walks of life, which I also want all my students to believe in.
Team Vission: Structural Engineering is at the tip of your tongue but the same subject, when appears in semester exam, becomes a nightmare for the students. What’s your take on this?
Prof Nayak: Structural Engineering, in my opinion, is an interesting blend of theories and principles. But it also calls for a lot of practice due to its mathematical aspect. I have personally noticed that fear creeps in where there is a lack of practice. So, my word of advice would be to practice as much as you all can. Thereafter, Structural Engineering won’t be a nightmare.
Team Vission: Tell us a bit about your tenure as the Dean of Academic Affairs. You are considered as a master with the iron ruler. Is strictness, a necessity in such a position?
Prof Nayak: Discipline- calls for certain strictness, although, I disagree with the way I am currently perceived. I genuinely appreciate the organization of yearly activities that occur in the institutes, viz. the academic calendar and I am delighted to have rendered my contribution towards it. I may not have come up with pleasant talks upfront, but I really hope for the success of my students.
Team Vission: You have remarkable qualifications, which could have led you to highly reputed places. So, may we know the reason behind you preferring this profession?
Prof Nayak: Because I’m satisfied with my profession and enjoy being home. I, as a teacher, play various roles. I’m a guide, a researcher as well as a consultant.
Team Vission: Do you ever feel that you could have achieved more being an administrator than an academician?
Prof Nayak: I’m into a number of administrative activities – Head of Dept. of Civil Engineering, Chairman, Hostel Committee, Chief Coordinator of TEQIP cell, Professor in-charge-of Construction as well as a dean. But first and foremost, I’m a teacher and I’m not willing to let go of it. This is also the reason why I’ve turned down certain administrative assignments.
Team Vission: You are known to be a religious person. Do you owe your success to god?
Prof Nayak: Definitely, I have been religious since childhood. In my opinion, work is worship. I pray God to provide me the strength to work hard.
Team Vission: You are a very down to earth person. You are still seen riding a scooter. What keeps you so grounded?
Prof Nayak: I find solace in simplicity and I prefer to keep myself unattached to materialistic pleasures. My expectations are quite simple. Luxury isn’t something I seek in my day to day life. To me, it makes no difference.
Team Vission: On a lighter note, this Banaras Paan that you always have, where has this habit been acquired from?
Prof Nayak: Well, I can’t say it’s a good habit. Actually, there’s this custom of offering Paan to guests and acquaintances in my home town, which is in Bhadrak. So, I was no stranger to it. Although I got habituated during my PhD days, when we used to work for long hours. But then, I would strongly advice against it (laughs).
Team Vission: Lastly, which is more dear to you, your Alma Matter: IGIT Sarang or your present abode: VSSUT, Burla?
Prof Nayak: I’m indebted to both the institutions- my Alma Matter, IGIT Sarang was where I laid my foundation and VSSUT, my abode. I have worked in IGIT for 17 years and I don’t think I would ever be able to repay its favor. But I also feel that working in the same place for longer durations stagnates your outlook. I always wished to gain experience from different perspectives. I have experienced what it is like to be a teacher, a researcher. I have been to nationally and internationally acclaimed institutions, have learnt many things and gained accolades for the same. Instead of limiting myself to something specific, I always wish to explore and make the best out of every opportunity that comes my way. I hope my students also abide by the same thoughts and climb ladders of success in their life.