Best Practices

 

Fergusson College (Autonomous) Pune

 

Best Practices

 

Best Practice I: Title of the Practice: Mapping Campus Biodiversity.

 

Goal:

                                   ·          Create awareness about importance of campus biodiversity.

                                   ·          Equip students to use various research techniques in biodiversity studies.

 

The Context: India is a signatory to the International Biodiversity Convention and is bound to document and preserve biological diversity of the country. The Fergusson College campus is rich in biodiversity with a variety of habitats.

 

The Practice: As an attempt in this direction, some students under the Rangers’ Eco club have been monitoring the biodiversity on the Fergusson college campus and the hill since 2008. The college has a large campus with a rich floral diversity. The major habitats on the campus include hill top, hill slope, plantations, gardens, open spaces and buildings.  Many teachers and students from Zoology, Botany, Geology, Environmental Science and Geography departments have been working on various biodiversity related topics based on the campus, as a part of the UGC- CPE activity. Many teachers and students have been studying, watching and photographing the biodiversity on the campus and the hill on a regular basis as a hobby. Botany and Zoology students are regularly taken to the college hill as a part of the curricula (study visit) for floral and faunal surveys.

 

Evidence of Success: Some of results of such studies are as follows:

  • Floral diversity

The campus is quite green with a diversity of trees. About 200 plant species have been enumerated on the campus by earlier teachers and students. Mr.Ashish Nerlekar, a past student has been monitoring the campus flora since 2014. 

 

  • Faunal diversity

(a)   Invertebrate diversity

The spider survey was conducted by Mr. Ashwin Varudkar, a 2014 BSc. (Zoology) batch student. He collected information on more than 60 species of spiders from the campus. He also developed a photography album on the butterflies on the campus.

 

(b)   Vertebrate diversity

Every year students of the Rangers’ club, conduct a ‘bird transect’ (belt) across the campus during the winter months and document campus diversity. A group of students participated in the “Back-yard bird count” in February 2015 and reported 60 species from the campus. The data have been uploaded on the “www.e-bird.org”, a website maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, USA. Many students have been working on different aspects of the campus biodiversity as a part of the CPE-UG projects. Students have also been monitoring butterflies and spiders of the campus. They have added other faunal groups like mammals, bats and reptiles. The outcome of the survey may be summarized as follows:

 

Type of life group

Number

of species

Students and Teachers who collected the information

Spiders

60

Warudkar (2013)

Butterflies

90

Warudkar & Patankar (2013)

Reptiles

19

Warudkar & Nalavade (2014)

Amphibians

05

Warudkar(2014)

Birds

105

Raut et al (2012)

Mammals

11

Warudkar and  Salve (2014)

The survey findings and estimates of campus biodiversity have also been published in conference proceedings and in reputed national journals.

 

Projects on Biodiversity under UGC- CPE Scheme

 

Sr. No.

Title of the Project

Names of Students

  1. 1. 

Study of Diversity and Urbanization of Spiders of Fergusson College Campus.

Ashwin Warudkar

  1. 2. 

Study of Birds and bird habitats of the Fergusson College campus.

Samrat Salve and Ashish Raut

  1. 3. 

Study of Diversity of Wild Mammals of Fergusson College Campus.

Samrat Salve and

Ashwin Warudkar

  1. 4. 

Algal Diversity of Fergusson College, Pune

Ms. Vividha Raunekar, Ms.Shubhangi Raskar,

Rushab Rathod and

Digvijay Patil

  1. 5. 

Mapping of Rare Species on Vetal Hill

Akshay Onkar

  1. 6.

Documentation of the Butterfly Species found in Fergusson College

Ms. Anushka Rege

  1. 7.

Angiosperm Diversity of Different Habitats in Pabe Ghat near Sinhagad, Maharashtra

Ms. Rutuja Barate

  1. 8. 

Herpertofaunal Mortality Due to Vehicular Movement in Tamhini Ghat, Northern Western Ghats, maharshtra

Anish Pardeshi

  1. 9. 

Diversity and Distribution of Aquatic Insects in Pashan Lake of Pune, Maharashtra

Ms. Ramya Roopa

  1. 10. 

Mapping the roosting colonies of Flying fox bat around Pune

Ashwin Warudkar and

Gaurav Kalyani

 

Best Practice-II

  1. Title of the Practice: Fostering Social Responsibility

 
2. Goal

 

  • To instill a sense of social responsibility in students.
  • To engage the students in meaningful service that meets community needs.
  • To equip the students with skills, attitude and knowledge to work with the disadvantaged sections of society.

 
3. The Context: The purpose of education is not just preparing the students for a livelihood but also to make them good citizens and above all good human beings. Values of caring and sharing with the less privileged are one of the important elements of such education. It is our collective responsibility to empower the underprivileged to become self reliant so that they can live with respect and dignity. It is our duty to uphold the human rights of all disadvantaged sections of society. Our college encourages a lifelong ethic of community service.


4.Practices

 

  • The college has a Social Outreach & Enabling Centre which gives an opportunity to the students to work with various civil society organizations. Around 300 students work with children from the underprivileged communities, on women’s issues, de-addiction and counseling, children with disabilities, environmental issues and human rights issues. Broadly the work includes conducting surveys, organizing awareness campaigns, counseling, assisting teachers in day to day activities & during school annual days and other functions, conducting art and craft workshops, organizing clothes, toys and book collection drive and administrative work.

 

  • We work with 15 civil society organizations  namely KKPKP (Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat) – a waste collectors’ organization, Ankur Vidyamandir – an inclusive school, Doorstep School – a school for the underprivileged children, Aalochana – a women’s documentation centre, Vanchit Vikas –an organization working with urban poor, hawkers, sex workers and their children, Prism Foundation – an educational organization working with children with special needs Santulan – a drug de addiction centre, Mook Badhir Shikshan Kendra – a school for deaf and mute children, Department of Social Initiatives- Forbes Marshall, Hutatma Rajguru School – a neighbourhood school for the underprivileged children, Tathapi – a women’s organization working on the issues of women and health, Sant Ramdas School – a Pune Municipal  primary school, Deep Griha Society – an urban community centre, Aakansha Foundation and Green Campus Initiatives. Saathi is another initiative to integrate students with blindness into the college main stream. This is achieved through several activities like peer mentoring, self improvement workshops and participation in regular college activities and annual celebration of Louis Braille Day.

 

  • International Students’ Facilitation Centre: Fergusson College has always been one of the most popular destinations for international students in Pune.  Presently, there are 269 students from 36 countries in the college. The International Students’ Facilitation Centre addresses the needs of international students and helps them adapt to the college milieu. 

 

The activities of the Centre include Orientation programme, tour of Pune city to places of cultural and historical interest, film screenings, student presentations on their respective countries, interaction with past international students of the college, communications skills’ workshop. The highlight of the centre is the annual cultural programme, Panorama. It has been one of the major attractions amongst the cultural festivals in the college during the last 8 years. What makes this programme distinctive is that the flags of all the countries form the backdrop on the stage and the programme ends with the singing of the national anthems of all the participating nations.

 
Evidence of Success: The press has given coverage to the work done by the social outreach and enabling centre. Also several NGOs approach us for volunteers. The students have benefited a great deal. It has given them confidence in working with the community. It has been a process of self discovery for many.

 

The International Students Facilitation Centre has helped in bridging the gap between the international students and the teachers / administration and in building camaraderie amongst the students.

 

  

Best Practice III

 1.      Title of the Practice: Commitment towards Social Responsibility

 

 2.   Goal

a) To sensitize the students to various dimensions of Social issues and gender discrimination

b)  To engage the students in activities that would empower them to work towards betterment of the society and instil the sense of social responsibility.

 

 3.   The Context: There is an alarming rise in violence against women. No society can claim itself to be developed if half its populace is deprived of a dignified existence. As citizens of India it is our primary duty to uphold the values of equality, liberty, justice and fraternity enshrined in our Constitution. At the same time, all government agensies are fostering on instilling sense of social responsibility in students as college extension activity or even as a part of their curriculum.

 

 4.   The Practice: Fergusson College is committed to the cause of social responsibility and works in close association with local community through its Social Outreach and Enabling Center (SOEC) which was established in the year 2010.  Student’s conduct an orientation programme at the beginning of semester to register volunteers to work with NGOs. Following this, there is also presentation by each invited  NGO. Once the registrations are finalized, the volunteers are given Diaries to keep a record of their activities in association with NGOs. These diaries are evaluated by  a student coordinator and then by a teacher who also coordinated SOEC activities. Based on this evaluation, student’s are awarded extra credits for their work.   

 

Academic Oriented Programmes

 

 

  • Student Research Projects: 8 short term student research projects on gender issues have been undertaken so far in collaboration with some of the pioneering women’s groups in Pune like Aalochana, Tathapi and SWaCH. The research projects are: capacity building for women in Water Users’ associations in collaboration with SOPPECOM (Society for promoting participative ecosystem management), rural deserted women in Bahe in collaboration with SOPPECOM, mapping child care in the area of Kalakhadak slum, PCMC in collaboration with TATHAPI; resource base on ‘gender’; ‘The working of CASH (Committee against sexual harassment) in Pune colleges; “Waste, waste-pickers and their lives”; case studies of waste collectors; survey on sexual harassment and portrayal of masculinity in Bollywood cinema.

 

  • Workshops/Seminars/Guest Lectures: These have gone a long way in creating awareness about gender issues. Several workshops, seminars and lectures have been organized on issues of gender violence, legal literacy, engendering governance, sexual harassment, masculinities, queer politics and women and developmental issues. 

 

Awareness Oriented Programmes

 

Street Plays and Poster Exhibitions: We have 150 posters and 5 street plays that have been performed on several occasions. Street plays like Ansuni Awaaz on issue of sex selective abortions, Chedkhani Band on sexual harassment, Nirbhaya on violence against women, Azadi on breaking free from the shackles of patriarchy, Bas Ab Aur Nahin on dimensions of gender discrimination and way towards equality were very well received.

 

Forum for Gender Equality: This is an active students’ forum and its activities include weekly discussions, film screenings, awareness campaigns, conducting surveys, poster exhibitions and street plays to spread the message of gender equality. This year it conducted a survey on sexual harassment and a campaign on menstrual hygiene.

 

Independence Day (August 16, 2012): Theme “Women Hold Half the Sky”. A poster exhibition was held depicting different forms of discrimination against women, gender stereotypes and dimensions of violence against women. Film screening of “Bol” on domestic violence, street play – ansuni awaaz on the issue of female foeticide was performed.

 

International Fortnight (Nov.25 to Dec.10) to Stop Violence against Women is observed as the International Fortnight to Stop Violence against women. Activities are organized in collaboration with different women’s groups.

 

Participation in “One Billion Rising” (February 14, 2013): This was a global event organized to protest against the growing violence against women. In Pune the theme was ‘saat nantar ghara baher’- making public spaces safer for women. Our students participated in this. 

 

World Human Rights Day – Women’s Human Rights (December 10, 2011): The Sociology Club celebrated this day by having a quiz on women’s human rights, poster exhibition, group discussion on ‘right to the city’.

 

 

Action Oriented Programmes

  1.      Women’s Safety Audit of College Campus: (December 2012) This was undertaken to make the campus safer for women as a part of Jagar Janeevancha Campaign.

  2.      Campaigns: Campaigns like men against gender violence and combating sex selective abortion were organized. Activities included essay writing, poetry, collages and poster making, group discussions and awareness rallies.

  3.      Guest lecture on  “Period of Sharing”

Date: January 24th 2019

“Period of Sharing” was a lecture on sustainable solutions for menstruation organized by SOEC and open for all. It was conducted by Dr. Saachi Shanbaug and Nehali Jain of the Muse Club Organization. The lecture lasted for 2 hours and received a great response from the audience. Chiefly, the myths surrounding menstruation, the health issues related to it and how the entire process can be made more environment-friendly was discussed. The lecture was more of an interactive session, conducted expertly by the speakers with visual aids and PowerPoint tools. The students in the audience were a mix of boys and girls, B.A. and B.Sc. and FYs, SYs and TYs and truly enjoyed the session ending it with their own concerns and doubts regarding the topic.

  4.      In Doorstep, the volunteers are expected to go to the Community Learning Centers (CLCs) and teach the underprivileged children. The volunteers started working in Doorstep by October end.They were expected to complete minimum 14 hours of work.

5.     Greensteps is a campus initiative with a view to having a more eco-friendly attitude on or off campus and creating awareness about our environment. In the academic year 2018-’19, Greensteps expanded its work by collaborating with the Poornam Ecovision Foundation , which is based out of Pune and works in the same field. A total of 31 volunteers put in their efforts to make this year a success for Greeensteps. This year Greensteps conducted a paper bag making activity and an activity by the name of Box your Books. In collaboration with Poornam, a sanitation survey was also conducted. Volunteers learned how a survey is conducted and fulfilled the task with great enthusiasm.  Greensteps also conducted an eco audit in the month of December during the fests in college.

 
6.      The student volunteers working with Prism had an enriching experience and were thankful for this opportunity. They had worked through the festive period helping them do different extra circular activities than just studying. They were excited to work with them and understand the conditions under which they live. They experienced the best time when they had their festive preparation activities. They also reported that they were able to understand them with their respective external tough conditions and had a joyous time with the kids.They started to understand and it also helped them to increase their knowledge of such mental conditions.What they liked the most of this happiest period was their increased wisdom of the correct ways of helping such children and the ways to teach them, to handle them and to live with them without causing them trouble. According to them first they felt a little uncomfortable and helpless as they had no idea as to how to be with the special kids but as time went they were able to catch up.

 

 7.     Evidence of Success: It is very heartening to note the gradual change of attitude amongst students after the exposure to various programmes. 

 

  8.   Problems Encountered and Resources Required

      Misogyny is so deep rooted in our society that changing patriarchal mindset is a humongous task. Also issues related to women, sexuality and family evoke a strong emotive response and rational thinking often flounders.

 

 

 

Best Practice IV

 1.      Title of the Practice: Nurturing the Spirit of Scientific Inquiry through Project based Learning.

 

Mini projects for undergraduate and postgraduate departments has been one of quality sustenance effort since 2008 and has been continued through various funding agencies like UGC and DBT.

 

2.   Goal

a) To train undergraduate and post graduate students in basic research and make them understand research methodology.

b)  To engage the students in activities that would empower them to do research and innovate.

 

3.   The Context

      Research and project based learning has become one of the key aspects in higher education. The College has been involved in variety of research projects in faculty of Arts as well as Science. With the new Choice Based Credit System under Autonomy, it has given an open platform for student’s and teacher’s to come together and undertake mini projects of short duration and expose students to basic research techniques.

 

4.   The Practice:

      It has been a practice of more than  ten years that interested undergraduate postgraduate students undertake projects with at least one teacher as their Mentor. Usually the Call for projects is rolled out at the beginning of each semester and interested students fill up a form wherein in basic details of the projects, material/ chemicals/ lab ware etc., are needed, estimated cost and more important outcome of the project are asked and then screened by the College Research Committee.

 

5.   Evidence of Success: Student’s as well as Teacher’s have been participating enthusiastically and the College gets an overwhelming response as far as participation is concerned. Student’s work proactively after regular time table hours. They are trained to certain extent to learn techniques, handle instruments in the laboratory, write a research paper and also present the paper in National/ International Conferences. It is very heartening to note the gradual change of attitude amongst students after the exposure to such kind of research activity. At the end of the project they are expected to submit project report and for this they are also awarded with extra credits. Student’s have also developed small working scientific models especially in faculty of science. The student’s from faculty of Arts have taken research based on Social Surveys, writing reports of these surveys, helping/ working with NGOs and generating reports for them has also been evident. This has strengthened are ties with NGOs.

 

6.   Problems Encountered and Resources Required

      There have been issues related to available time with students as the college concurrent evaluation system. This is then taken care by the teacher who spares more time for research even after working hours or even on holidays.