Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Prof. Avadhesh Kumar Singh is currently the Vice Chancellor of Auro University, Surat (Gujarat). He has held several posts in the education field. He has been a professor since 1993. He was Founder Head, Department of English & Comparative Literary Studies, Saurashtra University, Rajkot (Gujarat) from 1989 to 2005. He served as VC at Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad from 2006 to 2009. He is the Founder, Convener, Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat, Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar (Gujarat). He has been Professor & Director, School of Translation Studies & Training, IGNOU, New Delhi.
He has published more than 150 papers in various national and international journals of repute. He has authored 17 books till now. Some of his books include Indian Knowledge Systems 2 Vols. (with Kapil Kapoor) (2005), Ramayana through Ages (2007), Voices of Woman: Gargi to Gangasati (2008), Interventions: Critical and Literary Discourses (2009),Samkalin Alochana Vimarsh (2016), Sanskrit Alochana ki Bhoomika (2017) and more.
Apart from being the British Council Visiting Fellow to Corpus Christi College, Oxford (UK) in 1997, he has lectured in many Universities in Europe. He has delivered more than 155 Keynote and Plenary Addresses to various national and international seminars. He was the Head of the Indian delegation to Sino-Indian Cultural Exchange Program (2015) and delivered the Key Note Speech in Bejing International Book Fair 2015 and Kieler Wohr Lecture Christian Albert University, Kiel (Germany) 2016. Since 1994, he has been the Editor ofCritical Practice, a biannual journal of literary and critical studies whose 28 volumes are out. Also, he is a General Editor of the series ‘Critical Discourses in South Asia’, Routledge, Taylor & Francis.
About his experience in the education industry till now
Frankly speaking, I chose education not as an industry but as a mission for life fulfillment which did not appear to be possible in other domains. My experience tells me that I would have been much less ignorant about life if I were not in education. However, prestige and respect associated with the institution of Guru in Indian civilization are still intact in our society despite crash commercialization. Also as a teacher, you are with the best young minds that keep you ‘young’ in your thinking and abreast with new ideas in the given domain of knowledge. Teaching is the best profession for me because it helped me being with the freshest mind.
My experience in the teaching world in different capacities has been a great learning experience. It has helped me in my evolution as a human being which perhaps would not have been possible in another profession.
About his philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
Our philosophy of leadership is integral and conscious management. It demands each of us to think of the University holistically, in which each manages him/herself consciously by performing the designated task with sincerity and integrity. It succeeds more than it fails. As a leader, it means caring for all, listening to all. But that does not mean that it is free for all. As a leader, I need to listen to all but since the University is my responsibility, I take my decision after listening to all. I strive to practice integral and conscious philosophy and am evolving with it.
Placement opportunities at Auro University
Suitable placement opportunities are needed for students’ growth. We organize placement meets regularly and groom students for the purpose. Career counselling sessions are a regular part of campus life. Keeping in mind that the most of our students wish to be entrepreneurs and have their own industries or business in future, we organize sessions with entrepreneurs and business houses. We have our Auro Innovation and Incubation Cell (AIIC) which is supported by generous inputs from business houses. We have also launched a PG Diploma in Family Managed Business.
On relationship with the students
Students, being principle stakeholders of a university, need to be in the center of the concerns of Head of the institution. We have put processes of interaction in place for meeting them periodically. Apart from this, my office randomly invites five to six students from each class for interaction with me. Also, my students write directly to me for all purposes and I respond to them myself as and when and where need be. I rely on the inputs of our Students Affairs Committee and hostel wardens. Also, I meet parents of students once in a semester.
On building a positive culture within university
We are a university of integral education that focuses on the integral well-being of all. To achieve it, we organize workshops for faculty and non-teaching on regular basis and motivational sessions. Also, various clubs run by students and faculty, help in it. We have succeeded quite a bit in it.
Top qualities that an engineering aspirant must possess
We have taken a conscious decision for not going for engineering courses for certain reasons right now. We have Schools of Business, IT, Hospitality Management, Law and Design, etc. The fundamental attributes that a student of engineering or any domain of knowledge is: insatiable curiosity, questioning without constraints without being nihilistic and integral thinking. They should be accompanied by a commitment, courtesy and humility.
About curriculum in Auro University
We take care of best practices of the industry at the level of syllabus framing, and at the level of internship and placement by incorporating inputs received from students and agencies. Our CDC also facilitates this process. In addition to all this, we have a constituted Academic Advisory Board (AAB) for each school in addition to Board of Studies. AAB has eminent people in it from industry related to the School.
Any challenge you faced as the VC of Auro University
To me, challenges are opportunities. They add excitement to quotidian dull life. The main challenge, apart from the usual ones like achieving academic excellence and qualitative research, is practicing integral education and internalize it.
A university is a site of meaningful knowledge transactions. These transactions include the acquisition of knowledge, the creation of knowledge, dissemination and application of knowledge. Auro University is a university with a difference because apart from performing its roles in the domains of knowledge transactions, it focuses on integral and transformational learning inspired by the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo’s vision of integral education.
The University believes in the development of learners’ physical, mental, vital and spiritual aspects and thereby transform them into future leaders. The challenge has been to offer integral education without making students underprovided with requirements of conventional academic programs at the UG and PG levels.
Goals in mind for Auro University
In the next three years, I wish to make the University a vibrant hub of qualitative integral educational and research transactions.
Message for students wishing to join Auro University
Welcome to the yagna of integral and transformational learning with excellence and realize the potential lying in you.Last Updated - 24 Oct 2017