Central University, Tiruvarur, poised for expansion

It will start a campus on a 31-acre site in Tiruchi soon

The Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUTN), established over a decade ago at the initiative of the then Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in his native district Tiruvarur, will soon be setting up a campus in Tiruchi.

A 31-acre site in K. Abhishekapuram zone in Tiruchi City Corporation limits has been offered by the State government to the CUTN. The move to establish an off-campus in Tiruchi, mooted by its former Vice-Chancellor Aditya Prasad Dash, will coincide with signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchi, to offer management programmes with specialisations and another with Salim Ali Institute of Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore, Vice-Chancellor M. Krishnan told The Hindu.

Prof. Krishnan said the State government was quite forthcoming in sanctioning land for the off-campus in Tiruchi, where a greater number of programmes in humanities had been proposed.

A precedent for starting an off-campus has been set by the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, a central university, which has its regional campuses at Shillong and Lucknow.

For CUTN, Tiruchi offers the advantage of its vantage location, and the presence of other institutions of national importance: National Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Information Technology, ICAR-National Research Centre for Banana, and reputed arts and science colleges.

CUTN has a plan for infusing academic vibrancy in the Tiruchi campus through joint research activities in collaboration with State varsities, Prof. Krishnan said.

Established in 2009, the sprawling 520-acre main campus of CUTN in lush green settings in Tiruvarur, houses 27 departments offering 55 programmes for 2,700 students. A little more than 850 students are admitted annually for the programmes offered through 12 schools. The Departments of Horticulture and Epidemiology are new to this type of university. A Centre for Disaster Management is also on the anvil, Prof.Krishnan said.

“Academics apart, the cultural diversity is a noteworthy factor on the campus. Students from Kashmir to Kanniyakumari live together appreciating one another’s culture and practices, through celebration of various festivals. Language barrier has not been an impediment in the way of students mingling with the local community around,” he said. He observed that the awareness about Central Universities seemed to be more among students of Kerala.

About 60% of students are female and nearly 55% are from 23 States and Union Territories. Elaborate infrastructure was created under the monitoring of the first Vice-Chancellor B.P. Sanjay. The Kendriya Vidyalaya on the campuscaters to the schooling requirements of the wards of employees of CUTN and people in the rural surroundings. There are now 158 faculty members against the sanctioned strength of 210. The vacancies will be filled over the next few months, Prof. Krishnan said. Infrastructure on the main campus is being strengthened with construction of an administrative block and hostels for men and women at a total cost of ₹93 crore. A heritage centre with a state-of-art museum detailing the history and cultural facets of Tiruvarur and surroundings has also been planned.

The CUTN has to accelerate efforts to secure better ranking from National Assessment and Accreditation Council,from B++ to A+.

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