Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prof. Suchitra Mathur chosen for Distinguished Teacher Award

From an email from Dean, Faculty Affairs:

"Prof. Suchitra Mathur of the HSS Department has been chosen for the Gopal Das Bhandari Memorial Distinguished Teacher Award-2011. This award is to honour, annually, an outstanding teacher from the perspective of the graduating under-graduate batch. Prof. Suchitra Mathur was chosen by the student community for this award."

I am not surprised. Anyone who has been taught by her would only ask, why has it taken so long. I remember that as a tutor in the course on "Communication Skills," I attended one lecture of hers, and after that, it was not possible to miss those lectures. If any faculty member or a budding academician wants to know what is high quality teaching, they only need to attend one lecture of hers. I have definitely picked up a few things from attending her lectures, which I try to follow in my own lectures.


  1. Dear Dr. Sanghi,

    Apologies for this very late comment. I understand it's been almost five months and I should have come across this earlier.

    It is indeed heartening to see Dr. Mathur receive the much deserved award. Like you, I am left wondering why it took so long. But I don't ask the question in a rhetorical sense. I am looking for some answers.

    Anyone who has attended her literature classes (Communication Skills is perhaps the worst example to quote when talking about Dr. Mathur's teaching) would agree that her teaching methodology is nothing short of revolutionary! To be ignorant of a revolution in teaching happening right under your nose, not understanding it, applauding it and emulating it across other disciplines says something of the attitude of the panel who decides upon such awards (I am assuming that there was a panel involved because if you leave such awards for only students to decide on, professors like her with very small coverage in a batch are naturally disfavored)

    This also ties in with a larger debate that I am witnessing in the academic community. The younger generation of faculty members think that it is enough to excel in research and not care about teaching. IITK for one is full of such examples and I had more than my fair share of such professors. I think this is a very dangerous attitude. Having gone beyond IITK to gain an education in other educational institutions of world repute, both me and my friends can't agree more on the bearing of the quality of teaching delivered on the quality of an institute.

    It is my personal suggestion that every new faculty member should be strongly encouraged to reach out to the likes of Dr. Mathur and understand the nuances of teaching from them. While doing so a lot of them will get the added benefit of understanding why many IITK students do not want to continue with engineering after giving four productive years of their life to engineering study. I can assure that what seems to be an ever daunting puzzle for them indeed has a very simple answer.


    Yash Mahendra
    B. Tech., IIT Kanpur
    Class of 2006

  2. Well, this particular award is decided by voting (by the graduating batch). So no faculty member is involved. We do have "Distinguished Teacher Awards" that are given on 5th September every year, where there is a committee consisting of faculty and students who look at all nominations.