Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Dr. Sudeep Sharma is currently working as the Dean of School of Engineering at G.D. Goenka University. In an exclusive interview with collegedunia.com, he shares his views on the education industry in India and talks about the University.
Dr. Sudeep Sharma’s experience in the education industry
Teaching has always been a passion and never just a profession. I have been involved in teaching since my 2nd year of Bachelor’s degree as a Teaching Assistant in Canada. That’s when I realized that irrespective of one’s cognitive ability each student has the potential to do something incredible in life. A teacher can help the student to realize that potential. They not only shape the future of young students but also help them achieve dreams of many i.e. their own, their parents, and their teachers. These contributions are long-lasting and are carried forward from generation to generation. That’s what makes it one of the most satisfying and fulfilling professions in the world.
Significant challenges faced as the Dean of GD Goenka University
For the leader of any institution, challenges are always aplenty such as student issues, faculty discontent, staff changes & conflicts, curricula changes, etc. As a Dean, you have to take care of all these and make sure that the students from all the streams achieve the desired skills. The significant challenge lies here, as the leader’s horizons should be wide and one should not just be restricted to his/her own area of specialization.
However, the support system here at GD Goenka University is excellent. To realize the vision of GD Goenka School of Engineering, which is to be an internationally recognized technical institution that excels in interdisciplinary education, research and innovation, producing socially responsible self-motivated future leaders in their fields of endeavor with a broader understanding of the underlying global issues, we have a team of highly qualified faculty members with rich international exposure. Together, it has been a wonderful journey of growth and learning.
Goals in mind for GD Goenka University
We are a student-focused University and a lot of emphases is given to learning rather than teaching. The main goal is to provide education to students so that they become successful in life. Education doesn’t mean just delivering lectures, taking exams and awarding degrees. Real education goes way beyond the classrooms. We provide skills, exposure and an environment for holistic development to our students. Our goal is to keep raising the bar of providing the right education in a personalized manner where each student can perform in real life irrespective of the time taken to learn a particular skill.
With this goal in mind, I am sure that GD Goenka University is poised to be one of the most sought-after and preferred education destinations in the coming years. The foundation is strong. Now we can just see the University proliferate in all fields and create a great talent pool for companies in the future.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
It is a well-known fact that hard work, dedication, and focus have no substitutes. Having said that, one should have a vision and actions to realize the vision. Some wise man has said that ‘Vision without action is daydreaming and action without vision is a nightmare’. So if you have a dream, write it down, break it down into small parts, devise strategies to achieve those goals and get things in motion. Don’t wait, the time is limited and the clock doesn’t wait for anyone.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at GD Goenka University
Our placements have been great so far. The students have been placed in reputed companies such as IBM, HCL, Allan Llyods, Hewlett Packard, Genpact, Siemens just to name a few. This has been possible due to the hard work put in by the faculty members and staff to instill the industry-relevant skills in the students and excellent support from the Corporate Resource Centre who leave no stones unturned in providing placement platform to the students.
At GD Goenka University students start visiting industry from the very first semester, and it continues till the end. In addition, there are guest lectures, seminars, and webinars by eminent speakers from the industry. These exposures help students to understand what goes on in an actual professional setup. To enhance employability, we also conduct workshops on personality development and soft skills. We wish to further engage with industry through various platforms so that we get constant feedback on our products and further enhance the skills of future batches.
Read more about GDGU Placements
Dr. Sharma on establishing a relationship with the students
It’s very simple to establish a relationship with students – ‘listen to them, communicate your vision’. The entire team, Dean, Heads and faculty members believe in an open door policy. That is the GD Goenka culture. Any student can walk up to our cabins and share their concerns. I take pride in the fact that I am one of the most approachable persons around. With so much digital knowledge available these days, it is of utmost importance that students are connected to their teachers for proper guidance and support. We also have a mentor-mentee system where faculty members mentor a specific group of students, listen to their concerns, get their issues resolved and guide them.
Read more about GDGU Faculty
The path towards attaining the positions of the elite
I am not sure about the positions of the elite but GD Goenka School of Engineering has made its mark in the technical education sector in a very short span of time. Our events namely SPEED (Student Project Exhibition on Engineering Design) and REDSET (International Conference on Recent Developments in Science Engineering & Technology), are already well-known names in the Delhi-NCR region and get huge participation from India and abroad. International tie-ups with top Institutions like Purdue University, University of California, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, University of Arkansas, etc. provide the necessary global exposure through student/faculty exchange, summer school and internship abroad, joint research and semester/year abroad programmes.
The Faculty members and students are actively involved in research and the School has been allotted projects worth Rs. 60 lakhs by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India. The school was ranked 2nd on the list of emerging private engineering colleges in India by Times Ranking and efforts are on consistently to keep improving ourselves.
Dr. Sharma on building a positive school culture or climate
A positive culture is built by getting rid of the negativity and then maintaining the positivity. It is the leader’s job to keep faculty members positive and motivated. I know that just like showering motivation also does not last and that’s why it is recommended daily. Positivity at GD Goenka School of Engineering has become a way of thinking and this has helped us in finding out special traits in certain students who are academically average. There are students who have done great internationally acclaimed projects even though their scores are average, and then there are others who became successful entrepreneurs even before graduation.
Dr. Sharma’s take on Education being digitalized
It is good. It makes education accessible to many more people at a time and place of their choice. At the end of the day, if people are learning something and getting educated and informed in an entertaining and engaging manner on a device of their liking, there is no harm in that. However, I feel that even though accessibility is an advantage, long duration of study on digital media is not possible and sometimes it robs the children of innovative thinking. In our teaching pedagogy, we use blended learning technique where students can learn in the classroom and then feel encouraged to go beyond the scope of the syllabus by learning online at their own pace and time.
Dr. Sharma’s idea of an ideal school environment
School means a place where you learn. For me the ideal school environment is where learning doesn’t stop and where learning is not bounded by the clock or curriculum; A place where students from various fields come together and solve real-life issues. The ideal school environment is where students move from the level of ‘remembering’ to ‘making or creating’. We encourage this kind of culture by including Inter-Disciplinary Project in the curriculum which is a 3 credit course and students from various departments get together and work in a team to solve a specific problem. This takes the learning beyond the office hours and space and helps in making the students life-long learners.