It was difficult to strike an appointment with Prof. Sudhanshu Sekhar Das; because of his ever busy schedule. He was always flooded with work; probably showed his dedication towards his work. Finally it was good luck for us as he stroke out a small window of time for an interaction session with him. These are some of the following excerpts from the calm, astute, authoritative yet gentle figure of Prof. S.S.Das:
Team VISSION : How and why did you chose Civil Engineering as your career?
At that time there was a lot of scope for Civil Engineers to work in Odisha. I am basically a homesick person. So it was a great opportunity for me to explore this challenging field while staying at home. It was also my parents’ interest to work in this field.
Team VISSION : You’re now a top faculty at VSSUT. What strategies did you adopt to be successful?
Simply hard work. No shortcut.
Team VISSION : How is the education system in which you studied in and the education system of today different?
I feel that at that time better student-teacher interaction was there, which the basis of any successful educational system is. But today, it is a sorry state of affair that this is diminishing. Teachers used to act as mentors and students used to respond well. Today, it is missing in present context. Neither teachers bother nor students care.
Team VISSION : What is the best thing about a civil engineer?
As the name suggests we work for the society. Civil engineering is application-oriented. We always work for the upliftment of the society. Civil engineers improve the lives of others in his periphery. We enjoy a high sense of responsibility once a task’s been assigned to us. A civil engineer is exposed to a variety of interesting projects, ensuring a constant learning curve.
Team VISSION : Describe your teaching style?
I always prefer interaction rather than dictating. I’ve never believed in dictating notes; rather discussing about field experience would result in better understanding of the students in relation to whatever material is already present in their text-books. Usually first I describe what I taught in the last class for about 3-4 minutes & in the subsequent minute I describe what I am going to say. And in the last 5 minutes I give the gist. In the middle I interact. Whenever there is a lacking of understanding I sort it out on a personal level. But unfortunately students are not bothering for any fruitful interaction. So eventually we try to complete the course.
Team VISSION : How do you adjust your teaching style to the less-motivated students?
Of course in our limited capacity, we interact, motivate to shy & passive students. We always want to involve those students in discussion. But still I feel more effort is needed from ours’ side.
Team VISSION : Sir, describe your early life.
Well, I was not a back bencher. I always made into the top 10 of the class. I’d never thought of becoming an engineer. Still I sat for the entrance exam and nailed it. After my parents gave me the consent, I went for it. It was memorable. I was even the General Secretary of the students union at that time. I possess good leadership qualities and was an active leader in my youth in different events. However, I also had a bad mouth; I never agitated to speak the truth against anyone no matter whoever he may be.
Team VISSION : What do you like the most about being a professor?
It makes you feel young, because you’re always involved with them. Shaping a student’s future gives you an immense sense of satisfaction.
Team VISSION : Anything you don’t like being a professor?
Nothing. I’m ever satisfied. Even if salary’s less compared to industry workers; there’s nothing like the job satisfaction that I get.
Team VISSION : Your views about the present work environment?
I think it needs to be improved a lot.
Team VISSION : Tell us about your vision of civil engineering: where do you think civil engineering is headed in the next five years?
In a system priming is required. Infrastructure is the process which involves priming so as a civil engineer is an integral part of infrastructure development; with a lot of construction projects in the reckoning. Civil engineers are going to play a huge role in taking India to a new height. Literally speaking, civil engineering has a bright future for the next decade.
Team VISSION : Sir how do you spend your leisure time? What are your hobbies?
Basically music fills up my free time. At other times I watch news channel; debates. I ‘m also an avid follower of the stock market.
Team VISSION : If not civil engineering, which other career would you have chosen?
I’d have loved to be a Physics teacher; or somewhere as a Researcher or Scientist.