Ques 1. You are the Vice Chancellor of Sir Padampat Singhania University. Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. In the education institutes, you get the opportunity to work with young students throughout your entire career, which no other industry provides. Every year, a new batch of young students joins the Institute and the older batch moves out. When you always interact with young people your mind and body remain young and vibrant. I believe this provides a huge challenge and opportunity. The best feeling comes from the fact that you are a part of the process of through which young students are being converted to professionally skilled human resources to serve the country in various capacities.
Ques 2. Being the Vice Chancellor of Sir Padampat Singhania University, what is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
Ans. A leader is usually a role model and leads from the front. Therefore, one has to acquire all the qualities of a leader, if not inherited. The leadership qualities should be reflected in all his/her actions, be it behavior, performance, knowledge, problem solving, decision making, managerial skills etc.
Leaders should be a good listener, which I believe will solve half of any problem. Leaders should anticipate problems, be proactive, prompt in taking decisions, transparent in all actions, unbiased, logical in taking decisions and have the courage to enforce the rules and regulations.
As a Vice Chancellor, I usually seek an opinion from all concerned and take the final call on all important issues. This way people feel involved in decision making and develop the sense of belongingness. The sense of belongingness, in turn, motivates people to contribute to the all-round development of the University.
Ques 3. Any of the significant challenges you faced as the Vice Chancellor of Sir Padampat Singhania University?
Ans. Motivating faculty members to carry out quality research and publish their research findings in reputed Journals is a big challenge. It seems that everybody is in hurry and looking for quick results. Mushroom growth of so-called Online International Journals and the tendency to publish research findings quickly in those journals has crippled the urge to do quality research. Therefore, it has become essential for the management of all the educational institutes to strictly monitor the credentials of all publications and give credit to only those which are genuine.
The second challenge is to curb plagiarism in all form of writing. Nobody wants to exercise their brain for creative thinking and writing. There is a strong tendency for copy and paste in all form of writings including official proceedings. It is essential to make them understand the value of creative thinking and writing.
Ques 4. How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at Sir Padampat Singhania University? How do you wish to push the envelope further?
Ans. Every organization would like to recruit bright students. Therefore, for the bright students, opportunities are huge. The challenges for placement, is, therefore, for the not-so-bright students. Extra efforts have to be made for such students. Accordingly, the University with the help of the faculty members has put in place a special program for such students, which is paying dividends. We feel great pleasure when such students undergo transformation and succeed in their career path.
Ques 5. IITs form the cream layer of the educational institutes across the country. Do you agree that the other universities across the country are coming at the level of IITs or will there always remain a difference in terms of quality education?
Ans. Good faculties bring good students or vice versa. Today one of the constraints that we face in India is the dearth of good faculty. Every institute is trying to recruit from the same small pool of good faculties. Therefore, institutes shall not grow till we have a pool of large good faculty resources.
Ques 6. Your university has students coming from different backgrounds as well as different states of the country. How do you build a positive culture or climate among the students?
Ans. I am happy to say that we at this university have been able to attract students from different parts of the country, having the different socio-economic background. In the age of Internet, the barriers among them have narrowed down substantially. I could see how easy for them to relate to each other in the changing environment. Ours being a residential campus, provides the right atmosphere and opportunity for the students to know each other’s cultures and enhance their knowledge and vision.
Ques 7. How does your curriculum ensure best practices of the industry?
Ans. All the professional courses offered by the University are vetted by the relevant industry experts. The University organizes a regular interactive session with the industry experts and incorporates the outcome of such sessions in the curriculum.
Ques 8. How do you tend to establish a relationship with the students being the Vice Chancellor of the university? How do you make yourselves available to them?
Ans. The University has introduced an effective Mentorship Programme for all the students. Under this, groups of 20 students (selected randomly) are put under one Faculty Mentor. They meet the mentor regularly to resolve their personal and academic issues. If the mentor is unable to sort out the issue, the matter is forwarded to the next higher authority.
As a Vice Chancellor, I used to visit the hostels regularly to understand their problems and take steps wherever required. I also take regular classes both at the UG and PG levels, which help me to keep myself abreast with the subject and interact with the students. Further, any student can meet me in my office, whenever I am free.
Ques 9. What goals do you have in your mind for your university for the next few years?
Ans. At present, the University offers UG and PG programs only in Engineering and Management. I believe we should offer all the other programs, which are normally available in traditional Universities. Accordingly, we are taking steps to introduce academic programs on General Science, Humanities, Law, Pharmacy, Hospitality, Liberal Arts etc. in a phased manner.
Ques 10. Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. Today opportunities for employment for the students are many and diverse. Therefore, they should choose the profession/ discipline in which they feel comfortable and enjoy the process of learning. Often parents force their children to pursue a particular academic program. In such cases, they should try to convince their parents with facts. But to excel in their career path, they must be prepared to put-in the required efforts. There is no short-cut to success.