A University that Acts as an Agent of Change: The Inspirational Success Story of Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan
About the University: On 17th July 2007, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) (now the Ministry of Education) conferred Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan (SOA) the status of a “Deemed to be University” under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. Today, it has emerged as a centre of superlative professional education. The University is home to more than 12,000 students, including those from 18 other countries, who have chosen SOA for charting out a future for themselves. Today, it is one of the largest multiversity in the private “Deemed to be University” category. It went on to achieve “Graded Autonomy” status, granted by the University Grants Commission (UGC), in 2018. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) has termed SOA as socially inclusive and re-accredited it with the highest grade in recognition of its quality academic activities.
SOA, acknowledged today as a revered seat of learning in India started its endeavour in 1996. The core belief at SOA has been that a centre of higher learning must ignite the desire in the student to go through the process of learning; not to get a job but illuminate the society with his or her learning. In SOA’s view, the society’s need today is of more people having empathy and a humanitarian attitude who can think of others by pushing aside their individual ambitions.
Outcome and Project-Based Learning Approach
SOA currently offers a rich portfolio of about 120 academic programmes in disciplines that range from Technology to Medicine, Nursing, Dental, Law and Agriculture. SOA follows a teaching-learning process grounded on the outcome and project-based learning which has been paying rich dividends as students have been receiving lucrative placement offers every year. About 85 per cent of SOA’s engineering students graduating in 2021 have received job offers in top-notch companies.
The Hub of Research Activities
SOA is home to highly focused research activities with about 1005 research scholars working across 14 research & development (R&D) centres and 42 best-in-class research labs in 22 research thrust areas aligned with national and international priorities such as Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Biomaterials and Tissue Regeneration, Renewable Energy, etc. The R&D centres include the Centre of Excellence in Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences, the Centre for Bio-Mechanical Sciences, etc.
It has more than 8000 research publications in high-quality peer-reviewed journals (including 7360 SCOPUS indexed research publications) to its credit with an h-index of 66. SOA has substantial research scholars who are pursuing their doctoral and post-doctoral degrees. The University also provides scholarships and fellowships to full-time research scholars and meritorious students. The teaching-learning process is enriched under the supervision of the advisory board comprising experts from different areas and institutes/organisations of repute.
Significantly, 11 of the researchers in SOA found a place in Stanford University’s prestigious world rankings of two per cent scientists which were drawn up a few months ago based on a subject-wise analysis. The analysis was conducted by involving one lakh top scientists of the world based on standardised citation indicators such as information on citations, h-index, and co-authorship.
Emphasis on Internationalisation
Quality faculty and students are at the core of the University’s growth. SOA puts considerable emphasis on Internationalisation and has distinguished international faculty on advisory capacity from reputed universities such a The University of California, Davis (UC Davis), University of Oklahoma, Penn State University, Arizona State University etc.
SOA also has international collaborations with leading universities globally such as UC Davis; Florida International University; University of Texas and New Jersey Institute of Technology from the USA; Aarhus University, Denmark; Dongseo University, Korea; Ho-Chi-Minh City University of Transport, Vietnam; Rajamangala University of Technology, Thailand; Tribhuvan University, Nepal etc.
Awards, Recognitions, and Rankings
- SOA has been continuously listed among the top 25 universities in the country by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), Ministry of Education, for five consecutive years now and was ranked 20th in the country in 2020.
- For its excellence, SOA has been awarded the “Overall Diamond Badge” by QS I-GAUGE in 2020.
- It has been ranked 351- 400 in QS Asia University Rankings - 2021.
- 1001+ in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2021.
- The Faculty of Dental Sciences has been recognised as the prestigious Cochrane Affiliate Centre in 2020 and it happens to be the only Institute in eastern India to achieve this unique recognition.
SOA’s Contribution to the Development of the Region
SOA’s faculty of medical sciences runs the 1600-bed SUM Hospital which has become one of the most sought-after healthcare centres in the state. Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) & SUM hospital of SOA is aimed at helping people below the poverty line with no bed charges, nominal operation theatre (OT) and diagnostic costs. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of the teaching hospital, which deploys excellent modern and advanced diagnostic, surgical and life-saving equipment is that “it extends quality medical facilities for patients at affordable cost.” When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, SOA remained at the forefront of the grim battle against the disease by running four stand-alone government-sponsored Covid Hospitals and two Covid care centres in Odisha having more than 2200 beds along with ICUs to save scores of lives.
SOA’s contribution to the development of the region and the country is tremendous and unparalleled. Social outreach programmes through the adoption of villages, organising Institutional Social Responsibility (ISR) activities like free medical and dental camps, development of smart village clusters under lab-to-land technology transfer, neighbourhood development programmes are some of the important community development activities undertaken by the University. It has set up a Community Radio Service to serve the socio-economic, cultural, educational and health problems of the people in the neighbourhood. Rural health centres have also been created at the adopted Gram Panchayats.
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