The Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) played a significant role in ensuring that all the important events on the Ashoka calendar were conducted smoothly in the remote mode.
This ranged from implementing a delayed evaluation policy that allowed students to complete courses over a longer timeframe than usual, as a response to Covid-19-related exigencies, to managing a phased graduation exercise. After the sudden and untimely passing in April of Alok Baraya, then Senior Director, OAA, Manager Pritika Sharma took over the role of spearheading OAA activities under the guidance of Dean Bharat Ramaswami and Associate Dean Raja Rosenhagen, supported by Santanu Kundu, who was seconded from the Office of Examinations, Sabeela Siddiqui and Bhupesh Kumar, as well as Ridhima Jain and Pragya Acholia, both of whom moved on to other commitments later in the year. Harini Narayanan took over as Director in October. The team saw through the successful completion of the Spring and Summer semesters as well as the registration of students for the Summer and Monsoon semesters; handled ASP and MLS admissions; supported the Admissions team in ushering in new batches of students, running orientations for them, and managing the academic bridge program for students who needed English-language support. The team also worked with the GESP to run the summer semester. Much of the OAA’s energies were focussed on developing and strengthening the university’s online automation processes. Over the course of the year, the OAA assisted the Ashoka IT Department through the process of migrating from the older Learning Management System to the specially designed Ashoka Management System and setting up processes to store and retrieve comprehensive student coursework portfolios; enrollment, course registration and degree status check information; course catalogues and academic programme details with impressive ease. Several of the OAA’s student interfaces were automated. These included the provision of an FAQ link, the setting up of a portal where students could write in queries and get responses, and the creating of a system where they could book appointments to chat virtually with the OAA Team, the Dean or Associate Dean. As the year ends, the OAA team is planning the automation of the complex process of creating semester timetables.
Meanwhile, the team is also working with the Vice-Chancellor and other departments to implement fast-changing state-government protocols related to classroom capacities, as it helps the university prepare to welcome students back on campus in Spring 2022. In 2021, the OAA further helped create and develop several major university policies, including a revised Academic Integrity Violation policy. The Academic Integrity Committee was reconstituted, and for the first time, there was a representative from the OAA and from the student body alongside faculty members in the committee. These policy documents are being supplemented with workflow charts and simple videos, for ready reference. Finally, the OAA has also been working with the Ministry of Academic Affairs to address student concerns collaboratively. The Academic Society Merit Awards were instituted this year, with Women in Computer Science receiving the ‘Best Academic Society’ and ‘Most Enterprising Society’ awards, and the History Society receiving an ‘Honorary Mention