Ooty, a beautiful hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu that attracts thousands of tourists every year, has much more than the chocolates, tea and the botanical gardens to offer. Taking advantage of the cool climate, many premium educational institutions is located here, which provide some of the best educational facilities in India. One among them is JSS College of Pharmacy that was established in 1980 to provide job oriented professional courses in Pharmacy. The institute's outstanding infrastructure built in the serene campus with the extent of about 6.2 acres dedicated exclusively for the Pharmacy discipline makes the teaching learning process, a pleasurable experience.
"The entire campus including the residential facilities is Wi-Fi enabled with uninterrupted power and water supply. Residential facilities for about 600 students and 30 faculty and supporting staff members are provided within the campus. Facilities for sports, both indoor and outdoor events are made available in the campus along with a multipurpose auditorium to showcase the talents of the students in various cultural events," says Dr. S.P. Dhanabal, Principal, JSS College of Pharmacy, Ooty. With adequate infrastructural facilities, the institute offers D.Pharm, B.Pharm, M.Pharm(in 10 specialization), Pharm.D, Pharm.D (P.B.), PG Diploma and PhD programs. In 2014, Accreditation Council awarded the Pharm.D Program with International Certification for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), USA. The college is also the Nodal centre for 'Quality Improvement Program (QIP) in Pharmacy' recognized by AICTE through which the faculty members of various pharmacy colleges across country are being periodically trained and improve their qualification.
One of the major strengths of JSS College of Pharmacy Ooty is its faculty members, who bring an average of 15 years of teaching experience to the classrooms. The institution takes at most care in recruiting learned faculty members committed for excellence in teaching and research. The management encourages each faculty member to have their own field of interest, special feature to get unique identity among the student community. The faculty members are also supported by the college administration to get advanced knowledge/training at national / international levels and thus about more than 80 percent of the faculty members travelled abroad for attending various scientific meetings, presenting their research findings and for training.
"More than 75 percent of the faculty members are Ph.D. qualified and almost all the remaining faculty members are pursuing their Ph.D. The 'Pharmacy Education Unit,' which is a unique cell available in the college is very active in introducing novel pedagogies and makes the learning more student centric rather than teacher centric," adds Dr. Dhanabal. Many of the faculty members of JSS College of Pharmacy are serving as members in various boards of studies of various universities, and share their expertise and adopt the best practices from them. They are also the members in the academic committees / professional bodies at national level, which steers the pharmacy education and profession in the country. Such experiences help the teachers to enrich their contents and deliverables.
With more than 32 PhD holders in the campus, the institute has ensured that the faculty members and students get opportunities to conduct research activities. The institute's 24x7 functioning state-of-the-art laboratories facilitate quality research and hands on training in various pharmaceutical technologies, sciences and practice. To mention a few: the pilot plant for the manufacture and quality control of solid dosage forms enables the students to get the exposure of a small scale pharmaceutical industrial operations. In the year 2001, the college was recognized as 'Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) ' Centre of Relevance and Excellence (CORE) in Herbal Drugs by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi which helped to collaborate with the leading pharmaceutical industries in the herbal drug development. Till now, the institute has been awarded three patents, filed 16 patents, received an average of 80 peer reviewed publications in high impact factor journals and conducted more than 100 presentations in national and international conferences. Having more than 5.00 Crores of on-going project funding from various funding agencies like DST, DBT, AYUSH, DRDO, ICMR and about 15 PhD scholars with fellowship from CSIR and ICMR and four scholars with DST-Womens scientist fellowships, the institute has very strong foothold in the area research.
Laboratory for design and development of advanced drug delivery systems, laboratory for Computer Aided Drug Design (CADD) with In-silico drug design, laboratory for herbal formulation and development with HPTLC, Flash Chromatography, Pilot scale extraction and Spray drying unit, laboratory for in-vivo animal screening with I-Box animal imaging system, laboratory for plant tissue culture, laboratory for pharmaceutical characterization, analysis and bioanalytical techniques using industrial standard instruments such as LC-MS-MS, LC-MS, HPLC, FTIR, AAS, laboratory for pre-clinical studies with animal house approved by CPCSEA, clinical pharmacy department and drug and poison information centre provide the exposure to the students on par with industries and hospitals.
"The students who get training in these laboratory/hospital settings are found more suitable for placements at both pharmaceutical industries and hospitals. Moreover, the consultancy works carried out through the 'Drug Testing Laboratory' and 'Bioavailability and Bioequivalence Centre' give ample opportunities to the students to get the exposure of various industrial projects and make them ready to meet the expectations of the employers," explains Dr. Dhanabal. At JSS College of Pharmacy, more than 95 percent of the postgraduates and nearly 60 percent of the undergraduates are placed through the campus placement drives organized by the placement cell. The remaining graduates opt for higher studies and about 2-3 percent of the graduates become entrepreneurs.
"As we believe in Team Playing, our focus is on collaboration instead of competition that has resulted in National/International MoUs to foster teaching-learning, research through faculty/student exchange, consultancy, training programs and so on. We are now working towards becoming a Centre of excellence in pharmaceutical education and research. We will be world leader in the field of pharmaceutical sciences and pharmacy practice with a vision of strengthening the healthcare of the country," concludes Dr. Dhanabal.