The institute offers degree, diploma, and certificate programs in various fields. What program to offer has to be based strictly on the need of the industry - what kind of human resources industry needs in the short term, and what kind of skill up-gradation needed for people currently working in industry. The folks from industry have a say on the overall curriculum of a program, as well as the plan for an individual course. Most of the programs can be done in both full-time mode and a part-time mode, through evening/weekend instruction, to support working professionals trying to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
The institute's research programs are totally focused on problems faced by industry. They don't shy away from admitting that doing blue-sky research is not their focus, and take pride in the fact that their research helps industry in short term.
In every discussion, for every idea, there was this constant question - how is this relevant to local industry. The local chamber of industry office is on campus, which helps in constant interaction between industry and the institute. Also, the government's agency for promoting industry is also housed on campus. I have not seen such a strong bonding between the government, the academia and the industry.
The Head of the Institute is not called Vice Chancellor, but CEO. And the CEO could be either a person from academia or from industry.
To help solve small problems of their Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), they have a research fund of their own. So a company can walk into their research office, giving them a problem and if it is not a routine business problem, but really requires some research, and Wintec has academic staff in that area, then they will not even charge anything from the industry if the total cost of research is up to 5000 NZD.
It is required that the bachelor's project of all students be done while interacting with industry, and must either solve an industry problem, or develop something that industry can use immediately.
ALL Academic Staff are required to spend a minimum of one week working in industry every year. That is how they will know whether the research they are doing is relevant to industry.
All the work they do is disseminated to industry through magazines and other medium. All the conferences they organize will have industry participation.
Apparently, there are several such institutes of technology in New Zealand in different regions of the country. They are distinct from universities (though they are themselves degree granting institutions), in that universities are supposed to have a wider role - greater number of disciplines, greater focus on basic research, etc. They have grown out of polytechnics which used to prepare technicians for different industry segments, and now, instead of just imparting skills training, they do a lot more, including applied research.
My first reaction after going through the meetings of the day: I think we need to have a few such places in India as well.
There is lot more to write about Wintec, and I will do that in due course.