acmdu1881@americancollege.edu.in 0452-2530070
acmdu1881@americancollege.edu.in 0452-2530070

BEST PRACTICES

BEST PRACTICE-1Engaging Sports-Students in Quality Enhancement Process

Engaging Sports-Students in Quality Enhancement Process

Sports Scholarship: Its backdrop

The American College encourages  students’ involvement in Sports and Games.   Playfields  are  the most significant spots which teach students not only how to excel in sports but also imbibe  the ethics of sports. A Good-Samaritan  attitude to a famished sports-enthusiast during the academic year 2014 – 2015  triggered  a brainstorming session on how to  extend a helping hand  to  such deprived lot.  It is commendable  that the college admits more than forty percent  of students drawn from poorer sections of the society.   The college has been helping sports-students since its inception, though it has had  no budgetary provision as such.   The initial brainstorming led  to a series of discussion in the meetings of the  athletic committee.   The outcome was a special budgetary provision to meet the needs of Sports-students who excel in sports.  

At the behest of the Principal,   a policy note   was prepared and presented at the meeting of the atheletic committee, Finance and Property Committee, and finally at the Governing Council.   With due approval from all these administrative committees, a manual for Sports Scholarship was prepared to facilitate the process of supporting sports-students with scholarships.   

Objectives of the Practice

The objectives of the Best Practices are to:

I. Create and develop the spirit of sportsmanship among sports-students
II. Coach them with rigour to excel in sports at the national and international levels
III. Help sports-students to qualify in zonal, divisional, state, university level sports competitions
IV. Teach them the nuances of balancing academics on one hand and Sports and Games on the other
V. Train them to keep themselves physically fit along with the alacrity of mind to meet the demands of strenuous sports practice- sound mind in a sound body
VI. Learn and practice fair-play in Sports and Games
VII. Build social skills
VIII. Strengthen emotional intelligence

A pilot-study  conducted by the athletic department in 2014 – 2015  revealed that there were a lot of students, drawn from economically deprived sections of the society,  who were struggling to sustain themselves financially. 

 The purpose of extending financial support to the needy students  is:

I. To help them continue their education without any financial crunch so that they could concentrate on becoming national and international players and atheletes
II. To support students with no discrimination whatsoever without compromising on quality
III. To ward off any form of low-esteem or complex lurking on the minds of students
IV. To offer free tuition and board & loding on campus in order to facilitate their coaching

Expected outcome of this practice is to  enable students to complete their degree with good grades and also excel in sports and games by representing the college/university in interuniversity/state/national/international sports meets.  In the process, they  tend to clinch well-paid jobs as well.  The prime purpose is to inculcate on the minds of  benefiaries the habit of supporting needy students  and thus continue the noble tradition.

The Context

The American College always believes in its motto, Purifactus non Consumptus. The college has always extended support to the needy students from its bursary. This noble aim has had its challenges in meeting the needs of sports students. Earmarking funds for sports-scholarship was initially a difficult proposition. But the college derived its strength from the founding fathers of this college who were egged on by such  vibrant vision to educate and empower the under-priviledged  people of this country.  The catchment area for such  talented youth was the neighbourhood on the outskirts of  Madurai city.  The college forged  ahead,  sitting on the shoulder of  Rev. Dr Zumbro, dictated by his  advice   that the college should grow with Madurai and Madurai should grow with the college.  With such great plans, the college started offering scholarships to sports-students in terms of fee waiver and free board and lodging.  Initially, there were only few students but over the years the number of beneficiaries both men and women have   considerably increased. This shows that the practice is definitely a grand success.

 The Practice

In the  globalized scenario, the cost of education has become  dearer.  Hence, able sports-students apply for admission at the American College based on the scholarships offered to the students way back in 2015. This paved the way to admit sports-students without hassle on the part of the applicants. 

 Selection Procedure

Students who have cleared School Final i.e.  +2 and the  undergraduate  are eligible for admission in  undergraduate and postgraduate studies respectively,  provided they satisfy  the norms set forth by the Department of Physical Education.  Players  and atheletes are expected to prove themselves in selection trials and track events.   A few students who stay in the sports hostel also apply.   Those students who are selected are eligible for fee-waiver, free board and lodging. In addition to this scholarship which they earn,  there is also  another consideration in terms of attendance and CIA. A special resolution has been passed in the Academic Council of the American College to this effect. This would facilitate sports-students to complete their degrees and qualify themselves for government jobs.  For the  parents of gifted and talented players from villages  who  seek admission in city colleges, the American College, is a haven. The college  not only  offers education to such under-priviledged people, but also jobs which empower them and their dependent families.  Therefore, it is evident that the talented rural youth would go jobless and lose their sense of vision without the financial support offered by  the college.  No doubt,  The American College is performing its God-given obligation towards  the least of the brethren.  Serving them is serving God, as the Holy Bible says. 

The century-old college, true to its legacy of pro-poor-student–attitude,  since its inception in 1881, has taken a firm resolve to extend all possible support to the deserving and needy students and help them realise their dreams of acquiring higher education and securing a job in the fast growing globalised world.

 

In this fast-developing world and with higher education becoming global, there is a growing concern about  sports and games. The American College believes  that sports and games form an integral part of whole-person education. The college is also deeply concerned about the Gen  Z  students who have almost stopped playing in the playfields,  and are glued to the mobiles. This is a genuine threat to the whole-person education.  The pandemic has  added salt to the injury. All these factors are taken into consideration,   while a considerable money is budgeted for the Sports Scholarship.

Benchmarking

The athletic committee meets twice every year and evaluates and plans for the ensuing academic year. Sports Scholarships have also   undergone regular evaluation every year.   The performance and outcomes are discussed.  The following questions have also been addressed. 

  1. Have the  players and athletes performed better than what they have performed in the previous year?
  2. Are there other colleges performing  better than our college in terms of certain  games and sports ? If so, in which game and event?
  3. Are there any measures to create an edge  in terms of  performance?

 As an outcome of the best practice cited above, here are some snippets of success stories.

The story lines go on endless.  Such stories have given much-needed morale booster to the college  to continue and sustain the best practice of offering Sports Fellowship. 

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

At the time of sowing the seeds for Sports fellowship i.e, 2015,  there were a few apprehensions on the minds of  the faculty and administrators.   Such  apprehensions are in a nut-shell are:

1.Mobilisation of funds

 Mobilisation of funds is the act of marshalling and organising  the act of  offering programmes in the college.  Besides  funding from the government, resources from self-financed programmes also help the college in running  programmes successfully.  Fortunately, in the case of instituting  sports fellowships, the Principal’s Discretionary Fund came in handy. Such a move set at ease, the predicaments of moblising funds for the best practice. 

2.Sustenance of   Best Practice

The process of  sustaining  the best practice is a continuous  challenge. The challenge was overcome with a sense of fore-thought by the Department of Physical Education.  Elicting assurance from the Governing Council of the College helped to continue the Best Practice in the following years.

3.Spotting talents

Tapping the talents was yet another task. Since most of our students come from rural background, they are  reluctant applicants. The best practice reached the unreached and  instilled hope in aspirants. Shy and reluctant players became star atheletes and sports persons later.  Applications started pouring in gradually which facilitated the department to choose the best among the talented.

4.Players’ academic problems

Players had to miss a number of classes while they went  for matches outside Madurai.  Concession in attendance  given  to players, who represent the college in sports and games at various levels,  solved the problem.   

Continuos Internal Assessment (CIA)

Coupled with attendance is assessment.  The players had to miss a number of internal assessment tests while they were at play in various places.  However, the consideration offered to players to attend a minimum of one test, quiz, assignment in each course and   doubling of marks secured in one cycle of  CIA eased considerably the tension of students. Besdies, the college decided in favour of players to  award a bonus of 10% of the maximum marks in each course in the End-of-Semester Examinations conducted in November, April and June for  players who represent the college at the University, State, National, and International level tournaments.

Special Resolutions from the meeting of the Academic Council held on Wednesday, June 08, 2016 at 10:00 am in the main Hall, The American College

 

R 27: As recommended by the Senatus, RESOLVED to accept the proposal to give attendance concession to NCC cadets/NSS volunteers/SLP students who represent the College at national level and players who represent the college in various sports and games at Zone/Inter-zone/University/District/State/National levels provided NCC, NSS, SLP officers, and Physical Education Directors undertake the responsibility to make such students attend regular classes on other days.

 

R 28: As recommended by the Senatus, RESOLVED to accept that NCC cadets/NSS volunteers/SLP students and players representing the college teams shall attend a minimum of one test, one quiz, and one assignment in each course and that the marks secured thereof shall be proportionately doubled for the consolidation of Continuous Internal Assessment.

 

R 29: As recommended by the Senatus, RESOLVED to accept the proposal to award a bonus of 10% of the maximum marks in each course in the End-of-Semester Examinations conducted in November, April, and June to NCC cadets, NSS volunteers, SLP students, and Players who represent the College at the University, State, National, and International level tournaments.

5.Boosting-up performance

i.Nutritious food

The college monitors  the process of providing the best food, as suggested by the dietians to the sports students.

Players are comfortably lodged  so that they might participate in sports and games with renewed strength.  

ii.Wise counselling

Faculty of the Department of Physical Education always cater to the needs of students and provide proper guidance and counselling

iii.Coaching and mentoring

Coaches always train players to compete and strengthen themselves to become emotionally and physiologically strong. The alumni of the college volunteer themselves to mentor the players and athletes. Their focus  will be entirely  on  performance. 

iv.Kit

The college provides uniform, appropriate foot wear, and other useful kits enabling the players and atheletes to enhance their metrics of performance.   

BEST PRACTICE-2Green Campus/ Inculcating Environmental Responsibility

Green Campus/ Inculcating Environmental Responsibility

1.Objectives of the Practice

i. To have nature integrated life style
ii. To reduce harmful energy
iii. To tap natural resources
iv. To maximise biodiversity
v. To minimize pollution through waste and recycle system
vi. To promote sustainable eco-friendly practices
vii. To conserve natural resources like water, biodiversity, optimise energy efficiency,manage waste and educate about climate change and sustainability

    The concept is to bring students back to nature from their android lifestyle. It is equally necessary to tap the easily available natural energy and hence reduce the carbon emission arising from using harmful energy. Biodiversity is for a well developed eco system. Conservation facilitates waste management.

2.The Context

Unfortunately in the present scenario, heat and dust in Madurai have caused air and water pollution. Youngsters have become addicted to android driven social media. Their environmental accountability is at stake. Lack of concern over massive reduction in the flora and fauna due to the tech driven obsession has necessitated an increase in the biodiversity on campus. Pollution control mechanisms have initiated proper management of waste and recycle systems. The habit of plastic use has reached such a shocking level that the college thought of banning use of plastic on campus. As the present day students are less aware of eco system, eco-friendly practices are encouraged to make them more responsible. Water scarcity in Madurai during summer has made the college to have Rain water harvesting pits, ponds and well in order to conserve water and increase water tables. Busy traffic and pollution caused have paved the way for improving the oxygen level by planting more tree saplings. Excessive heat in Madurai has made the American College to have more number of trees. Soil erosion and circulation of dust are checked by lawns at various places.

3.The Practice

The American College is a green campus providing green canopy to the vehicles in the parking lot. The fountain with granite engraving of 1881 on it – the year of inception- is flanked by a vertical garden. The pavement with paver blocks bordered with hedges is aesthetically appealing.

A botanical garden is maintained between the chapel and the parking lot. The pathway having bamboo trees on the western side of the Main hall resembles a boulevard. Trees older than 60 years highlight the eco heritage. Landscaping with lawns and vegetation is a feast to the eyes.

The two green-houses behind Dr Paul Linden Love Hall have about thirty medicinal plants. Medical Botany (BOT 3239) has been designed to make the students aware of the benefits of such herbs. There are 1567 trees on campus to make it cool and healthier. With the green campus attitude, the  college continues to plant trees on campus and distributes tree saplings to students and the public throughout the year especially on Environment Day, Ozone Day, Earth Day and Water Day. 

Due to the Mobile tower radiation, sparrows are drastically affected. In order to promote their growth the college has distributed sparrow nest boxes on World Sparrow Day. The college houses a butterfly garden with help of grant from the UGC. The biodiversity has been upgraded by the Zoology department. Herbs,   shrubs, flowering plants and trees attract butterflies to our campus. More than 500 dark blue tiger, 200  double- banded crow butterflies have taken residence  here. The other fauna consists of white mongoose, grey mongoose, rat snake, wolf snake, checkered keel back snake, garden lizard, garden skunk, frog, spider, grasshopper, ants, honey bee and wasps.

      Solar energy is used considerably on campus to generate power. This is a new step to make use of the natural resources. Bio gas plant supplies cooking gas for hostel. Power efficient equipment is installed to have a judicious level of consumption. 34 rain water harvesting units with a depth of six feet increase the water table. The college has a natural pond and an artificial pond to maximise  wet land which supports increase of ground water level. There are many green initiatives taken in order to realise the green campus state.

       Automobiles are restricted at the entry point to avoid crowding of vehicles on campus. Security personnel would allow only the authorised vehicles to enter. Hostel inmates are allowed to use only bicycles on campus for their easy and fast mobility. A battery powered campus shuttle is used for physically challenged, aged persons and visitors. On Ozone day, all the members of the American College family are expected to come to college only by cycles or on foot. The pedestrian friendly pathways offer a kind of nature’s walk to students. Paperless form of communication from the principal like circulars is in practice to save trees.

    Ban on use of plastic enables a pollution free environment. During association and club activities of various departments, one cannot see any flex- poster for advertisement and publicity. Leaf and palm plates are used during such occasions. Green audit, energy audit and environmental audit help in reducing pollution. .

4.Evidence of Success

The waste management collects the withered leaves and is used for vermicompost effective for healthy and organic lush growth of vegetation.The waste is minimised as far as possible.  The red bin collects non-biodegradable waste and the green bin collects biodegradable waste. This minimises the time and labour in string out the waste and dealing with it appropriately thereafter.

 Affordable and clean energy is provided on campus. The units consumed in the   premises are drastically reduced with the installation of solar panels.  As a result, 35,000 kilo watts of carbon emission is avoided This does not cause any environmental hazards. Minimal movement of vehicles within the campus and use of Electric campus shuttle reduce the pollution.

        Water management system with 2 ponds, one well and 34 rainwater harvesting units have increased the water table. The ground water level is quite impressive. The depth of bore wells outside the American College ranges upto 1200 feet. Inside the campus the depth ranges from 280 to 400 feet.

           Conservation and nature endangered species like Guaiacum Officinale- rough bark lignum vitae, guaiacwood is preserved on campus. 500 dark blue tiger, 200  double-banded crow butterflies are protected in the butterfly garden. About 1000 sparrow nest boxes have been distributed to students and the community    to protect sparrows.               

            Due to the green campus with 1567 trees, the temperature within campus is usually 2 degree Celsius less than what is recorded outside the campus. The college provides a natural cool atmosphere for students to learn. Every year three new species of trees are planted here to step up the variety. The college has distributed morethan thousand tree saplings and plants. This distribution activity has made the students and the community to be responsible for climate action.  Paperless communication from the principal and secretary and other offices in the form of e-notices and e-circulars has reduced drastically the use of paper. During the pandemic, quizzes are conducted through Google forms in the google classroom to minimise the use of paper.       

5.Problems Encountered and Resources Required

                Unfortunately Madurai has a long dry period during the year. During such difficult times, it is a great challenge to maintain the campus green. Withered tamarind leaves cause acidity of the land. Some other trees to counter the effect are planted to recondition the soil for future communication. Sustaining green environment like watering, cleaning the place requires human labour. There is a shortage of manpower to carry out all the duties. Bio gas plant releases a foul smell and one has to put up with it. Madurai has less rainfall every year. As the vehicular movement is high near the college, it faces the danger high pollution.

                    Adequate equipment resource like drip irrigation can be made accessible. For the current free projects undertaken by the college can be carried out better if some more funds are granted. We can definitely reduce the consumption of electricity supplied by TNEB if we are able to install some more solar panels. The college is contemplating heritage buildings to function as vehicles for green campus from the inception of the college. Buildings such as the Main Hall, James Hall and Daniel Poor Memorial Library have very good aeration, ventilation and sunlight and they can be renovated to make it function greener than the past. A green museum can be constructed to bring awareness to students and the community in Madurai about the environment and biodiversity. If some of the projects of the college can be adopted by Government and Non-government agencies, there will be easy flow of funds and facilities.