Minutes of Telecon Meeting of September 10, 2013

Activity Date: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
A meeting of BoD of BITSAA of NA was held by teleconference on September 10, 2013 as the Agenda distributed earlier. Three Board members Dilip Gupta, Dr Raj Dubey, and Arunima Thakur (out of the country on business travel) were absent.
This telecon was originally scheduled for August but got pushed into September for unfortunate reasons.
Arunima had sent an update about the Sept 21 Get Together in Detroit area earlier, and was represented by Divyanshu Raj. We met for about 95 minutes. 
We had the following invited alumni join us: Dr Uttara Sahaym, and Shyam Choudhary. Dr Chadda was invited but could not attend it.
The following is a brief summary, listed in the order of the Agenda:
0. Prof Dr Uttara introduced herself, Professor at WSU, mother of two, daughter of alum Prof Dr Priya Ranjan Prasad, who taught at Sindri. She is volunteering to do whatever the Association needs. A few Directors recalled her father fondly. He is enjoying his retirement in Bangalore with trips to Patna.
1. Updates: Directors' updates
a. San Jose Picnic on Sept 14, as the 3rd West Coast Get Together, is promising to be an unprecedented success as over 35 alumni and family and friends exceeding a total of 85 are expected to attend. Ramesh was aided by Shyam Choudhary, another key organizer, who provided more details with a great deal of enthusiasm. I commented that I am more excited to join this event. There will be a post picnic evening dinner for the organizers at a restaurant starting at 7pm to which others are welcome to join.
b. Detroit area dinner meeting on Sept 21:  Arunima, out of the country, had sent an update stating that 15+ alumni are family are expected to join. I am planning to attend this event as well, and I am looking forward to meeting Arunima in person.
c. Prof Dr Onkar P Sharma's visit to Sindri on Sept 22 is confirmed. He will be meeting with faculty and students, and interviewing a few final year students desirous of higher studies at his Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
d. My visit to Sindri Nov 13 -17 is confirmed. Prof Girijesh Kumar is assigned by the Director S K Singh to work out the details. I may have to make a trip to Ranchi to meet with the Chief Secretary of Science & Technology Sharma and his staff, Additional Secretary Pande, and Director Dr Arun Kumar. Prof Dr Arun Sahay from Birla Mgmt School in Delhi, Prof TP Verma, and Prof DK Singh (now at NIT, Patna) ae expected to join me. Nov 16 is being planned as a seminar day. Nov 17 is the Alumni Day.
e. Dr Chadda is planning to attend the 1963 batch Golden Jubilee in New Delhi on Nov 24, being organized by Prof Chandrika Prasad.
f. Alka reported some progress on merging major Alumni groups in LinkedIn. She will be aided by Naresh Sahu, and ex-Treasurer Sudhaker Raj. She also reported on on an excellent Lunch Meeting of Atlanta area alumni on Aug 2, arranged at a short notice. There were exciting discussions leveraging the alumni community and their contacts for the alumni in US and Canada, and to leverage the alumni bond for benefiting the Alma Mater beyond the scholarship program.
g. Update on Autonomy for BIT: Neil mentioned that he sent out a summary interim report on the subject just a while ago on Sept 10. He mentioned that low staffing level (under 50% now) against the minimum required of 55% is standing in the way of academic autonomy although a Board of Governors, headed by an ex Vice Chancellor of Vinoba Bhave University, is in place now. TEQIP Phase II funding ( from World Bank) of Rs 18 crores has been denied to Sindri. Mesra did get the funding!
h. Auburn University's 2+2 Program: Neil briefly described a program of Auburn University whereby an engineering institution in India can send a student to Auburn after completing 2 years in India, with the remaining 2 years at Auburn, earning a degree from Auburn U. Neil has requested the Director SK Singh to sign an attached sample MOU, and he thinks he has copied the BOD. He will check and send it to BOD if not sent already.
i. Updates by other Directors: Divy is exploring a Regional meeting in the east coast, and concludes that the respondents still prefer NY/NJ area. Naresh Sahu mentioned that he is unable to get volunteers to update the database, and the progress has been slow. Neil will work with him to make progress.
2. GOALS/OBJECTIVES/PLAN: Bharat had sent out an email of a major goal of increasing our member base to 1000 in 2 years in a recommended format. He asked that we adopt the format for all of our major projects. For this project the Leader is Arunima, and deputy leader is Uttara. He will help them think through the details and complete the write up.
3. ADVISORY BOARD: In absence of Dr Chadda, head of the Advisory Board,
Neil briefly described the underlying idea of planning for the future by a team of senior alumni and past officers. Out of the box thinking to carve our future is the goal. A more definable Awards and Recognition process has also been assigned to the Advisory Board. Dr Chadda and I are trying to come up with a slate and would seek BOD approval. Incidentally, the Board decided to name the head of the Advisory Board as Chair (rather than President).
4. TRAVEL AWARD: this item was deferred to the next meeting.
5. FUTURE TELECON MEETINGS: After some discussion of the alternatives the BOD decided to hold the telecons on the last TUESDAY of EVERY MONTH starting at 9:30pm ET. Accordingly, our next telecon will be on Sept 24, 2013.
6. New Business: Ramesh, in connection with Awards and Recognition, suggested that alumni so recognized should be posted on the website with their citation. Naresh caution against flowery and verbose exercise in self-aggrandisement. We concluded that professional resume' style narrative can be added by the members themselves. The Award and Recognition listing on the web will only include the citation approved by the BOD.
7. We adjourned at about 11:10 pm ET.