Maris Stella College – Empowering Young Women
Maris Stella College is an autonomous institution run by the religious congregation of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary. True to its vision and mission, the College offers quality education and maintains consistently high academic standards in an effort to give all students an equal opportunity for learning and development through holistic education which is strongly grounded in values. It is the special mission of the College to reach out to students from socially and economically disadvantaged sections of society, and to prepare them to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. In many ways the College provides a truly unique educational environment for the students who are currently enrolled here.
Since its inception as the first women’s college for women in this region, Maris Stella has been in the forefront in the field of higher education and has constantly endeavoured to make its programmes of study more relevant, innovative and student-centred. In this context, we can proudly say that Maris Stella is one of the few colleges offering Social Work in its B.A. Programme and Food Science and Technology as part of a B.Sc programme.
In addition to core and optional courses, all the academic programmes offered by the college include both foundation and skill-based courses. The curriculum includes internships, projects and field work, thus enhancing the competence and employability of students. The College also offers students a wide range of opportunities to encourage and foster creativity and leadership skills through various extra and co-curricular programmes, ranging from games to community service.
At the same time, the College continually strives to increase sensitivity to social and environmental issues. The social awareness and outreach programmes which are an integral part of the curriculum are oriented towards serving the community in a variety of ways by bringing education, as well as entrepreneurial skill-training to youth and women, so that they are equipped with the appropriate knowledge and skills to become self-sufficient. By integrating such experiential learning into the academic programme, students develop a sense of social justice and responsibility and are encouraged to regard service to others as a way of life.
Over the past years, the college has embarked on a series of activities such as plantation programmes, vermicomposting, rain water harvesting, garbage segregation, solar-powered lights, a reverse osmosis plant and other green practices, all of which are geared towards establishing a “green and clean” campus, which will, we hope, result in a model of sustainable development, leading to effective intervention in the area of environment protection.
As a Catholic minority institution in a multi-religious society, the College caters to the spiritual needs of all its students and is committed to encouraging an open, liberal outlook among students, and a world view that embraces diversity and difference. Catholic students are supported through courses on Christian perspectives while other students take courses on ethics and values formation.
The steady academic growth of the college since its foundation in 1962, includes the introduction of Autonomy in 2003, and of the Choice Based Credit System in 2006. Always open to innovation and positive change, which is beneficial to both students and society at large, the College has successfully navigated the first 57 years of its existence. Guided by the charisma of our patron St. Francis of Assisi and by the light of Mary, the Star of the Sea, Maris Stella College will always continue to keep in sight its vision and mission of pursuing the quest for value-based academic excellence and integrity, which, we believe, can lead to transformational change in society.
Dr. Sr. Jasintha Quadras, fmm took office as the tenth Principal of Maris Stella College on June 19, 2018, after serving as Principal of Stella Maris College, Chennai for ten years. She holds an M.Phil Degree and a Doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Madras. Her area of specialisation is Graph Theory and her research was titled ‘Embeddings and Interconnection Networks’. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Applications from Stella Maris College and an MS Degree in Computer Science from Marquette University, USA. She joined the faculty of the Department of Mathematics in 1996, and held the additional post of Director, Department of Computer Science from 1996 to 2000. During this time, she conceptualized and set up one of the earliest state-of-the-art computer labs in the college and helped design the syllabus for the newly introduced BCA degree programme in 1998. She has presented research papers at numerous seminars, and participated in workshops, conferences and training programmes in a wide range of areas including leadership training, capacity building, networking and quality sustenance in educational institutions.
Dr. Quadras holds several expert and advisory positions in various academic bodies in the country. She has been the Member-Coordinator of several NAAC Peer Teams which have assessed and accredited several colleges across the country. She has also been a Member of the UGC Expert Committees to evaluate the UGC XI Plan requirements to consider proposals for grant of financial assistance to colleges, for minor research projects, and evaluating proposals for autonomous status of higher education institutions. She was on the Board of Research Studies of the University of Madras, a member of the University Senate, Academic Council and of Governing Bodies of several institutions of higher education. She was a member of the Internal Autonomy Review Committee of St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, in Oct. 2018.
Dr. Quadras was the only Indian academician and administrator of a college to be selected for a three-tier leadership programme titled “Leading Catholic Universities in the 21st Century” organised by the International Federation of Catholic Universities (IFCU), France, during the period 2012-2013. In 2015 she was elected Vice President (Asia) of IFCU at the 25th IFCU General Assembly held in Melbourne, Australia. She attended the meetings of IFCU in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil in March, 2017, in Rome in Nov.2017, in Manila, Philippines in March, 2018 and at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland in July 2018. At the Rome meeting, she was a panelist in the International Congress of ‘Refugees and Migrants in a Globalized World: Responsibility and Responses of Universities’. She was elected Vice-President of All India Association for Christian Higher Education (AIACHE) in Jan. 2018.
Dr. Quadras also participated in the Fulbright-Nehru International Education Administrators Seminar (FNIEAS) in the U.S. from October 20 to November 3, 2018 organized by US India Education Foundation to meet with key university administrators and officials and learn about various facets of US Higher Education. She was part of a 14-member team from India.
She has received several awards for her services in the field of education. To name a few: The “Best Principal Award”-“Sigaram Thotta Penmani” and was the recipient of an award jointly given by Deakin University and Education Matters for her “on-going commitment and dedicated service to education.” In 2016 she was conferred the status of “Honorary Citizen of the Great State of Nebraska,” USA, by the Nebraska Secretary of State in the course of an exchange programme-“South Asian Women in College and University Administration” -at the University of Nebraska, Omaha organized by US India Education Foundation.
Dr. Sr. Jasintha Quadras is also an active researcher. She was the Principal Investigator for a UGC Major Research Project, the first of its kind in Stella Maris College. She has been awarded financial assistance of Rs.6,60,000 for another research project by the Science & Engineering Research Board of the Department of Science and Technology, (DST), Govt. of India. She has published a book titled, Embeddings and Interconnection Networks, and more than 30 research articles in peer reviewed international journals. She has guided both M.Phil. and Ph.D. scholars and convened international conferences, seminars and workshops.