Bhubaneswar: From a humble beginning over 25 years ago, Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University, known more by its acronym SOA, has emerged as a shining academic edifice today which has illuminated the educational skyline of eastern India.
A socially inclusive institution of higher education focused on quality education and innovative research, SOA has been churning out professionals in varied fields ready to meet the requirements and challenges of different sectors.
Coming into existence on July 17, 2007 when the Government conferred on it the status of a Deemed to be University under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956, SOA is considered as a centre of superlative professional education today. The university is home to nearly 15,000 students including from 15 foreign countries who have chosen SOA to chart out a future for themselves. The university has a faculty-student ratio of 1:10.75 with the number of faculty with Ph.D or equivalent degrees accounting for more than 75 per cent of the teachers.
Though just over 15 years old, SOA has been continuously listed among the top 25 universities in the country by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), instituted by the Ministry of Education in 2016, for seven consecutive years. SOA has been ranked 16th in the country by NIRF in the just released rankings for 2022 making it the third best university in eastern region.
SOA’s vision is to become a leading institution of higher learning in its chosen areas to prepare future generations through quality teaching and innovative research. Its mission is to become responsible, enlightened and productive citizens.
Already a name to reckon with in the realm of higher learning, SOA reached a huge milestone recently when National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredited the university with the highest Grade A++ with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.88 out of 4.
The recent decision of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to grade SOA as Category-1 Deemed to be University has come as the newest feather in the university’s already glowing cap.
SOA was globally ranked in the 801-1000 bracket by the prestigious QS World University Ranking for 2022 after being placed in the 401-450 bracket in the QS Asia University Ranking in 2021. It was awarded Diamond University rating by QS I-GAUGE for outstanding performance in 2020. SOA was also the only institute in eastern India to get QS I-GAUGE E-LEAD (E-Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation) for conducting online teaching-learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.
SOA found place in the Times Higher Education (THE) World Ranking, being listed in the 1201 plus category in university rankings, while it got ranked in the 601-800 bracket in engineering and technology and computer science in 2021. SOA was ranked in 601 plus category in health sciences and was placed in 401 plus bracket in THE Asia University Rankings in the same year. It was ranked in the 401 plus bracket in THE Young University Ranking and listed in 501 plus category in THE Emerging Economies University rankings in 2021.
Significantly, 13 of the researchers in SOA found place in Stanford University’s prestigious world ranking of two per cent scientists which was drawn up on the basis of a subject-wise analysis in 2021.
SOA offers 24 Under Graduate and 67 Post Graduate, 15 Post Masters, Ph.D. and Post Doctoral programs in engineering and technology, management, medical sciences, dental sciences, nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology, hospital management, hospitality and tourism management, law and agricultural sciences.
The university follows a teaching-learning process grounded on outcome and project based learning which has been paying rich dividends as students have been receiving lucrative placement offers every year. About 91 per cent of SOA’s engineering students graduating in 2021 have received job offers in top notch companies staving off the huge worldwide impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Five of SOA’s engineering programs have been accredited by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) while three have been accredited by Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) of USA.
Focused on research, the university has 9324 Scopus indexed publications to its credit so far with h-Index of 85 while Web of Science publications contained 5287 papers with h-Index of 77. The university has set up 16 research centres to promote research work in 26 thrust areas.
SOA runs the Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, its faculty of medicine, with 1600 beds which has become one of the most sought after healthcare destinations in the east. The teaching hospital, with NABH and NABL accreditation, has 250 MBBS seats.
SOA was in the forefront in Odisha’s battle against Covid-19 when the first wave swept through the state in 2020 making exemplary contribution towards prevention and control of the pandemic. It set up four stand alone Covid Hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Kendrapara, Talcher and Chandpur in collaboration with the state government and ran two Covid Care Centres at Jatni and Jamujhari accounting for 2341 beds.
When the second wave struck early in 2021, SOA operated as many as five Covid Hospitals at Bhubaneswar, Chandpur, Puri, Talcher and Kendrapara (besides a Covid Care Centre at Jatni) having more than 2200 beds with around 500 doctors from Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital engaged in treating the patients assisted by nurses and paramedics who worked round-the-clock.