The Accomplished Academic Administrator
By Juliana Sridhar


Dr. Fatima Vasanth, an experienced and accomplished academic administrator has many firsts to her credit. She was born in Vellore but brought up in Chennai. She schooled at Fatima Matriculation School in Kodambakkam.  She began her college education in Stella Maris College where she studied B.A. English Literature and went on to do M.A. in Social Work. Her thirst for knowledge made her join the Madras School of Social Work where she completed her M Phil and PhD.

She began her teaching career at the Bishop Heber College in Trichy and was the first woman to be appointed as a professor in this college. In 1984, she moved to her alma mater, Madras School of Social Work and joined as Assistant Professor. In 2005, she rose to the post of Principal and Secretary of the college. After serving the college for exactly three decades, she retired in 2014.

Dr Fatima then joined the Patrician College of Arts and Science in Adyar as Principal  in 2014 for a couple of years. In 2016, she was appointed as Deputy Principal of Loyola College in Nungambakkam and broke through the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to be appointed to a top management position in this college. She used her rich expertise as an administrator till 2019 and returned back to Patrician College of Arts and Science as an Academic Director of the college and holds the post till date.

Blessed with excellent organizational skills, she was associated with a variety of tasks like Academic Administration, Resource Planning, Recruitment, Research Training and Development all through her career which spans more than four decades.

She held the prestigious post of Syndicate Member in 3 Universities-Madras University, Pondicherry University and Mother Theresa University at Kodaikanal.

She was a member of several Government statutory committees both at the Central and State level and was engaged in special academic assignments as visiting faculty to the US, the UK, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kathmandu from 2010 to 2014.

Her passion for research led her to be involved in a number of research projects for leading corporate and government organizations. She was a guide for research students and is very proud of the fact that 32 students completed their PhD under her guidance.

Dr. Fatima has several publications to her credit and is the recipient of many prestigious awards. The two awards she cherishes the most are ‘’The Best Educationist Award’’ that she received in 2011 from the Government of Tamil Nadu and the ‘’Life Time Achiever Award’’ from the Indian Society of Professional Social Work and Pondicherry University in 2018.

After a hard day at work, Dr. Fatima unwinds by listening to music. She prefers light music, western music and catholic hymns. She enjoys listening to songs by Illayaraja, Cliff Richard, Jim Reeves and the Beatles.

 She is also a great fan of cricket and loves watching cricket matches on TV even if it extends to late nights. Her favourite cricketer is MS Dhoni due to his excellent leadership qualities, his poise and calm demeanour.

She catches up with the daily happenings in the world by reading the Times of India newspaper. Though she is not a movie person, she doesn’t mind watching a good family oriented movie.

Being musically inclined, she learned to play the piano and was interested in singing as well. She fondly remembers that she was part of the choir in Stella Maris College during her student days.

Reading is another hobby of hers and she usually gets to read books based on Psychology, Personality development etc. She has penned a number of articles and was the editor of journals in the Madras School of Social Work where she used to write on educational issues.

She opines that even though students of the current generation are smart, they have no proper guidance and are utterly confused. There is also disparity between different bodies – autonomous and non autonomous bodies. These are issues which need to be reformed.

Anne Sullivan, instructor and lifelong companion of Helen Keller also thought on similar lines. This is her quote- “Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction.’’

Juliana Sridhar is a lawyer and columnist



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