Thursday, January 01, 2009


Happy new year, folks! Let's start with some links:

  1. This mystery link is worth a quick visit for its cheekiness.

  2. Giridhar: Enhancing research at IISc (his post follows up on some examples used by Jayant Haritsa in his talk on the research crisis at the IITs):

    Many departments in IISc would be shocked if criteria like publications or citations are used to judge students for grades (or even faculty for promotion/awards). In fact, in many departments, both the faculty and student are more likely to be discouraged if a M.E. student publishes in Tier IA journal in the field. (S)he would be advised to work more and publish in a Tier I journal. Naturally, after the student graduates, neither the student or faculty has the time or inclination to work on it. For many departments, small is beautiful. I think these attitudes have to be revised first before any perceivable change can occur in the overall output of IISc/IIT and catapult it to be in the top 100 internationally.

  3. Zuska has a post on how to find good topics for future research, commenting on an article on this topic in the Chronicle of Higher Education (which, sadly, is behind a paywall).

  4. Pallavi Singh at Mint: Anna University outsources all its exams (or, more realistically, many exam-related functions):

    “The system provides complete technology support for online registration of candidates, examination fee management, internal mark uploading, question bank management, question paper generation and even hall ticket generation,” said controller of examinations Vinod Gopalan.

  5. T.T. Ram Mohan: IIT-M director (re)appointment set aside:

    One thing we must applaud is the insistence of the court on the post being advertised widely. There was a huge uproar in the IIM community were the director's post was advertised in 2007. They saw it as a sinister machination to bring in an "outsider" (as thought the appointment of an outsider is a crime). The uproar died down when it was pointed out that a newspaper advertisement was a technical requirement for appointments made the Appointments Committee of the cabinet.

    I am also of the view that fixed-term appointments for institutions such as the IITs and IIMs are a good thing. There is no dearth of talent, so I can't see why one person should continue for more than one term. Two, limiting the term makes for greater accountability- the incumbent knows that his decisions will be reviewed when he steps down after five years. This sort of built-in check on the office of director is required because market-based mechanisms that operate in the US are largely absent in India.

  6. Let me end with a mystery link on Obama's power to inspire.