Dr. Renuka Mohanraj Feeling at Home on Master’s of Software Development Faculty
“I would tell students that MIU is a very happy place to live and study, and this program prepares them to get good jobs and create a better life.” ~ Dr. Renuka
By Christine Albers
Dr. Renuka Mohanraj emigrated from Southern India to join Maharishi International University (MIU) faculty in 2014. In March 2021 she won an industry award for research on wireless security and was honored as a Fellow of the Computer Science Research Council (FCSRC) for her important research on wireless sensor networks (WSN) data security. Let’s meet this brilliant and accomplished professor, who we are so fortunate to have on faculty for the Master’s of Software Development program (MSD), and the MS in Computer Science (ComPro). Learn why her students sing her praises with comments like this:
“Data structure was a crucial course and you made it enjoyable and easy. I love the way you teach and how organized and efficient you are. I appreciate the extra effort you put in to make sure all of us understand the concepts very well. You are the best professor I have had in this program. Best wishes and thank you and I deeply appreciate your hard work.”
CA: Congratulations on your award, Dr. Renuka. Can you tell us about your background?
Dr. Renuka: I have my Ph.D. in Computer Science and a Master’s in Computer Applications. I had 19 years of academic experience and worked for 12 years in other universities prior to joining the MIU faculty.
CA: What inspired you to join MIU?
Dr. Renuka: In 2014, my husband was working in Tanzania and I had just completed my Ph.D. in India. We were looking for a place where our whole family could be together so he searched on Google for a university where we could work and live. When we found MIU we were attracted by the concept of Consciousness-based education. We liked the idea that the development of consciousness through meditation was a big part of the university. We thought that because everyone, the students, staff, and faculty all practice the TM technique, it would be a calm, quiet, and safe place for us to live as a family.
CA: What was it like for you, coming from India to a small-town environment in Iowa?
Dr. Renuka: For me, it wasn’t a complete cultural shift because the university follows Maharishi’s tradition. After meeting my colleagues and students, it felt like my home town very quickly, because many people are meditating and on a spiritual path in addition to a career path.
CA: What do you like best about living in the MIU community?
Dr. Renuka: In this community, everyone is respectful and loving, and helpful to each other. That is what’s so great about living here. I remember arriving on campus as newcomers and everyone smiled at us and welcomed us. It made us feel safe to stay here because the people are so wonderful.
CA: Are you feeling any benefits from your TM practice?
Dr. Renuka: It’s so wonderful. I have seen myself grow in self-confidence, clarity of mind, calmness, and much more energy.
CA: Do you think the MSD students are different from students you taught at previous universities?
Dr. Renuka: The MSD students are different from other students because they want to learn as much as they can from the faculty. They have keen observation, and focus, and the determination to gain this knowledge. The MSD course is challenging and requires hard work, but TM gives them greater mental clarity and the energy to accomplish more. MIU is unique because the faculty has to keep up with the demand of the students to learn. This is very stimulating and enjoyable as a teacher.
CA: What do you think of the Block system?
Dr. Renuka: The Block system is effective for helping students learn and retain knowledge because it’s much easier to go deeply into each subject when they take one course at a time. Students have class in the morning and a practicum in the afternoon. During the practicum, they apply what they learned in the morning session so they get a complete understanding. The practicum provides an opportunity to solve the type of problems they would encounter in the workplace, which prepares them for their future careers in software development.
CA: I understand that computer science has been mostly male-dominated in the past. Do you think that women faculty and students are outnumbered by men at MIU?
Dr. Renuka: When I came to MIU in 2014 I was the only woman in the Computer Science Department. MIU recruited me because they wanted more women to join the faculty. Now it is getting better. Many more female students enrolled in the MSD program in August, and there are more women in the department.
CA: Why do you feel it is important for the students to learn TM?
Dr. Renuka: TM helps students have a balanced personality and reduces stress and anxiety. Because they have inner calm, they are more stable and better able to focus on their classes and learn the technologies. Because TM develops the students from the inside, it helps them be good citizens and creates better quality human beings.
CA: What would you like to say to students who are interested in joining the MSD program?
Dr. Renuka: I would tell students that it’s a very happy place to live and study, and this program prepares them to get good jobs and create a better life. With their TM practice, they can easily face the challenges of the current market in the IT industry. The technologies may change, but with a clear mind and rested physiology, they can learn new technologies and be successful in the workplace.