Harini Ravi: Leading The Charge Towards Educational Excellence At SRMIST

Harini has spearheaded numerous transformative initiatives over the past two years. Introducing a Learning Management System (LMS) stands out as a pivotal advancement.

Harini Ravi, Director – Institutional Development, SRMIST

In a radiant Saturday afternoon in April, amidst the bustling streets of Chennai, Harini Ravi, the 26-year-old Director – Institutional Development of SRMIST, gracefully strides into the corporate office on the bustling Guindy road. Clad in a light beige blazer, Harini exudes an aura of serenity. As we settle down for an interview, her soft-spoken demeanour belies the dynamism of a young entrepreneur deeply committed to her work. Straight out of her monthly meeting with a team of brilliant academicians on enhancing the quality of research publications for faculty members across their institutions, Harini is already implementing a plan for the academic year.

“Every insight matters,” Harini emphasizes, reflecting on her day-to-day interactions with faculty, students, staff, and administrators. “I thrive on continuous learning, drawing inspiration not only from them but also from my parents, Dr. Ravi Pachamuthu and Padma Priya Ravi, who tirelessly strive to provide top-notch education.”

In her capacity as a Director – Institutional Development, Harini shoulders the responsibilities across SRM Valliammai Engineering College, SRMIST Vadapalani Campus in Chennai, SRM University in Sonepat, Haryana, SRM Arts and Science College, and SRM Madurai College for Engineering and Technology. “Each institution represents a commitment to excellence and innovation in education, and it’s all about teamwork,” insists Harini, armed with an M.Sc. in International Business from the prestigious University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

While acknowledging the privilege of stepping into the family business right after college, the young entrepreneur is quick to highlight the challenges inherent in carrying forward such a legacy. “My grandfather, Dr. T. R. Paarivendhar, built the SRM Group with impeccable tenacity, and my parents are adding incredible value to it through their sheer hard work and perseverance. The prospect of carrying this baton forward doesn’t daunt me; rather, it reminds me to accept it humbly, express gratitude, and give back to society through excellent education.”

Harini, who was in the UK during the peak pandemic, reflects on the lessons learned during the COVID era. “It served as a stark reminder of how swiftly and drastically life can change. It was a wake-up call for those overseeing premier educational institutions. Overnight, physical classrooms vanished, and online classes became the norm. It was a reality we had to embrace. At that juncture, our priorities were clear: to ensure the completion of the yearly curriculum across all disciplines and to replicate the classroom experience as closely as possible,” she reminisces.

During her postgraduate studies at the University of Leeds, Harini was exposed to advanced pedagogical methods that could enhance students’ learning outcomes and career prospects at SRM institutions. “One fine day, while I was sharing my ideas and changes that can be brought in for the students and faculty, my father pointed out that I should join the system to get a hands-on experience and to incorporate the same. Until then, I wanted to work with other companies for job experience, but my dad was correct. I thought it was selfish of me to suggest ideas as an outsider rather than getting involved with the process. Of course, my internship experience at NASSCOM came in handy, and she reminisced about the confidence to join the group and give my best.

Harini has spearheaded numerous transformative initiatives over the past two years. Introducing a Learning Management System (LMS) stands out as a pivotal advancement. This system allows students to access a comprehensive array of resources, including course materials, faculty interactions, and career guidance, all within a digital environment. To facilitate this, Harini and her team partnered with Quiklrn, a cutting-edge learning technology that guides students through a structured sequence of content tailored to their chosen courses. Through Quiklrn, students benefit from seamless access to PDFs, videos, web links, solutions, personalized recommendations, and timely notifications, resulting in a more enriching learning experience.

In addition to fostering a deep understanding of academic subjects, Harini places equal emphasis on nurturing the holistic development of students within their institutions. “Let’s be realistic. The world is fiercely competitive, and students need to be equipped to tackle real-life challenges confidently,” she asserts. “While academic prowess is crucial, it’s not enough. Employers today seek a comprehensive skill set – from solid academic knowledge to effective communication, self-assurance, decision-making prowess, and crisis management abilities.”

Harini implemented regular training sessions focused on developing soft skills across all disciplines to address this need. She emphasizes that educational institutions are responsible for keeping pace with rapidly evolving trends and demands in the job market. “Failure to do so denies young people a wealth of opportunities,” she warns. “Regularly updating our training programs, instilling self-confidence through empathetic training, and crucially, refraining from judgment based on background or ability, are essential to prepare students for success.”

Harini’s vision also extends to a comprehensive set of commitments to the faculty members. Recognizing their pivotal role as the sturdy backbone of their institutions, she emphasizes the need to provide them with dedicated attention and support for their professional growth. Central to this is acknowledging the imperative for quality, research-oriented publications to remain relevant in the ever-evolving realms of science and technology, arts and management research.

“We gauge the progress of our faculty through many metrics,” Harini explains. “Our Faculty Performance Indicator is designed to foster continuous upskilling, achieved through interactions with distinguished academicians nationally and internationally, participation in Industry Immersion Programs, and conferences where students and faculty play pivotal roles.” She highlights the recent success of the International Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), graced by Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Ada Yonath at SRM University, Sonepat, which garnered overwhelming acclaim, serving as a reminder of the need for sustained excellence in their endeavours.

Young and focused, Harini Ravi maintains an extensive to-do list, including:

  • Facilitating easy digital access to all subjects while preserving traditional classroom interactions between students and faculty.

  • Ensuring the Career Development Cell and Placement Team consistently strives to establish robust industry collaborations, internships, and placement training for every student.

  • Enhancing language and communication skills, domain expertise, and providing value-added education along with scholarships for promising students.

  • Supporting students’ entrepreneurial aspirations by offering guidance, understanding legal intricacies, and creating opportunities for their ventures.

  • Empowering faculty members to prioritize research, publish high-quality papers in peer-reviewed journals, earn significant citations, and providing guidance from senior academicians along with recognition through awards.