Remaining always relevant in Academia - A talk by Prof. Ramadhar Singh

24 Jan 2013

Measures of Effectiveness

  • Academic careers are long, upto 70 years in India

Tasks that academics are called upon to do

  • Teaching
    • Core courses
    • Electives
  • Research
    • Advancing the field (Basic Research)
    • Solving other problems (Consulting)
  • Service
    • Administrative
    • Professional bodies
    • Government


  • Core courses
    • Participant ratings
    • Upgradation of course outline
    • Cooperation with other academics on creating a compelling experience for students
  • Electives
    • Number of participants
    • Participant ratings
    • New elective courses developed and taught
  • Development of Teaching materials
    • Educational Material
    • Textbooks (how much used, how many editions)


  • Advancing the Field
    • Grants
    • Conferences
    • Students supervised
    • Publications
    • Chapters in editied volumes
    • Citations
    • Invited colloquia
    • Keynote addressed
    • Awards and Fellowships
  • Solving other problems
    • Demand for consultation and fees
    • Rating by clients
    • Acceptance of recommendations
    • Eventual solution proposed and implemented


  • Administrative
    • People hired
    • Programs initiated
    • Reputation of Institute built
  • Professional bodies and government
    • Memberships
    • Revisions of grant proposals
    • Committee memberships
    • Editing journals
    • Reviewing journals and books

More thoughts


  • Its about transforming lives
  • Treat students individually
  • Imparting education not only enlightens the receiver but also broadens the giver
  • Reasoning -> Imagining -> Caring : Rabindranath Tagore
  • Figure out potential of the learner
  • Be a live long learner
  • No failures, only lessons : Cherie Carton-Scott, 1998
  • Things can be achieved with effort
  • The only mistake in our life is a lesson not learnt


  • Make the best use of graduate school
  • Research has two objectives:
    1. Get a degree and a good job
    2. Begin enjoyment of making a contribution to knowledge
  • Continue to collaborate with supervisors and peers
  • Persistence is a must
  • Always ask why multiple times
  • Life is unkind and unfair, get over it
  • If manuscript rejected, take criticism and suggestions, resend, repeat till published
    • Could be reviewer’s mindset
    • Have faith in your finding
    • Important to enjoy what you do, not everything you do would be acceptable, get your work recorded whereever it succeeds
  • Research is always painful
    • Enjoy inflicting pain on yourself :-)
  • Idea -> Devise method to test -> obtain resources -> gather data -> publish


  • Take service as a challenge
  • By no means any less important
  • Get involved in professional bodies TODAY
  • Contibue to engage yourself in self-renewal activities
  • Opportunities for roles in Nation building
  • Be constructively critical as possible for ideas, methods proposed, implications, new literature, line of thought e.t.c.
  • Has the author considered alternative interpretations of the results and ruled them out accordingly?
  • Regarding dissertation
    • Judge brevity and clarity of writing
    • Be constructively critical
    • Magnitude of novel contribution might not be earth shaking
    • First draft is a draft, sleep over it and relook at it.
  • Your students can be your teachers
  • You do not have to be better than all people around you and in all respects


  • Gladly move from institution to institution
  • New challenges, new tasks
  • Take sabbatical and renew
  • Revise your vita every 6 months and look at it. Are you happy with how it is developing? and the direction it s taking?
  • Update information on your webpage regularly. Accurate information is useful to peers and agencies searching for experts
  • Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.