Interview by Arjun Verma
Dr. Anoop Kumar Gupta is currently positioned as the Director at GLA University, Mathura. He has previously worked as: Teaching Associate in the Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences, G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology from Nov 1993 to Sep 1997; Lecturer at BSA College of Engg. & Tech., Mathura during July 1997 to Oct 1998; Lecturer at GLA Institute of Tech. & Mgmt., Mathura during Nov 1998 to June 2000; Director at Rajiv Academy for Tech. & Mgmt., Mathura during July 2000 to Jan 2003; Dean-Admin & Reader at GLA Institute of Tech. & Mgmt., Mathura during May 2003 to June 2006; Director at GLA Institute of Professional Studies, Mathura during June 2006 to June 2010 and Director at GLA University, Mathura from July 2010 till date.
Dr. Gupta has implemented the e-Governance project at GLA University as well as overseen the website and brochure of the University. The goal of his life is to spread the reach of education to all the sections of the society by the virtue of being an able administrator, affable teacher and above all, a noble human being. He is quite passionate about teaching and delivering time-bound results especially in the field of administration.
Dr. Anoop Kumar Gupta on his experience in the education indsutry
Education can be considered an industry as it employs a large number of people who are engaged in teaching, managing, moderating, revising, and controlling other aspects similarly related to a business. The governments of almost all countries spend billions of dollars to educate its citizen because they fill millions of jobs to run a country efficiently. These individuals innovate the new technologies and help the society as a whole for a better and more productive approach to living.
I have been in the business of education for over 20 years. For me, education is less of an industry but more a service. Over the years I have seen and realized that an investment in education pays the highest interest. Education is a means of understanding oneself and others. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. It has global applications with far-reaching effects on humanity. For me, an educational institution is the best place to work for because when we teach children how to fish, we are in fact feeding them for a lifetime. When we open a school door, we, in fact, close a prison.
My job as an educator is to teach not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.
All this is extremely satisfying to me.
A transformational leadership
Leadership is an art of getting someone else to do something which you want to get done. To take risks, ask big questions and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not reaching far enough.
I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. Squeeze too hard and you kill it, not hard enough and it flies away
For me, honest disagreement is a good sign of progress. It’s easier to run for office than to run the office.
I believe in transformational leadership. For me, leadership is not about titles, seniority, status, and management. Leadership is about power and the ability to know when and how to use it to influence the people around me to elevate them to put them to the path of greatness. I like to lead my people by walking behind them. For me, good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
Improving educational delivery system to establish a world-class education at GLA University
It is easier to claim that we intend to establish a world-class education. In reality, it is much more difficult. There is a need to change the mindset of educational stakeholders about what world-class education is all about, and also the answer to the question where will the money come from?
As none of the Indian universities finds a place in the top 200 universities in the world, the Association of Indian Universities has repeatedly acknowledged that the quality of education in our universities is an area of great concern. Taking cognizance of this matter, the regulatory bodies like AIU, UGC, NAAC, NIRF etc. have woken up and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, has decided to set up Innovation Universities aiming at world-class standards to enable the knowledge talent around the world to cluster in the universities proposed to be developed as Global Centers of Innovation. Thus, higher education now occupies a central position in the country's strategy for global competitiveness and inclusive growth. This gives us the necessary courage and strength to take several steps towards improving our educational delivery system to align it with the world-class level.
Reasons why GLA University is an apt choice for students
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it”.
These words of Sir Michelangelo are much inspiring to us at GLA. We must not get satisfied with having set-up a working university, but must see it as a first step in the journey of a thousand miles to make it a great university. The vision of the university claims it to be the Pace-setting University of Academic Excellence focused on Education and R&D in established and emerging professions. The policies of the University are student-centric. New courses are being offered, CBCS has been implemented, students are encouraged to get international exposure through our MoUs, faculty exchange is being implemented at international level and our teachers are teaching computer science in the US. All this is making GLA a vibrant university. It is empowering our students. These are just a few of the reasons why GLA is an apt choice for students.
Significant challenges faced by Dr. Anoop kumar Gupta as the Director of GLA University
I believe learning is a continuing and lifelong process. Not everyone does and many do not want to come out from their comfort zone. As a director of GLA, the process of its organizational development it has been comforting to realize that conflicts and clashes of interest are everywhere and are inevitable, but can be addressed by using knowledge of behavioral sciences, tools and tactics available as part of adaptive leadership.
Everyone has a particular capacity for tolerating conflict. Some people are comfortable working through conflict, while most avoid it. Resurfacing the relevant conflicts is essential when an organization is falling short of its aspirations. Orchestrating conflict is essential and is a discipline. No wonder that when I earlier raised difficult issues it stirred people out of their comfort zone and raised a lot of heat.
Now I know for a leader it is like watching the temperature gauge of a running car.
The goal should be to keep the temperature within what we call the productive zone of disequilibrium, enough heat generated to gain attention, engagement, and forward motion, but not hurt the organization. It has well prepared me to think critically and comprehensively. So, as such, I didn’t have any setbacks or major hurdles but I have enjoyed managing people because “theories do not solve problems in the world, people do.”
Dr. Anoop Kumar Gupta on time management
Everybody gets only 24 hours per day, and as a responsible person, I have to get things done. No excuses. The challenge is in choosing between important but less urgent, and urgent but less important things. Sometimes this means choosing between doing tasks myself and delegating other tasks. I like to set my goals, and accordingly prepare a daily to-do-list.
Multitasking is an outdated practice and I avoid it. While working on important matters, I make sure that I am not interrupted. Oftentimes I am prepared to say “no” to tasks that do not fall in my domain. With such time management, I am able to complete almost 80 % of my to-do list. Then I have next day available to me.
Establishing a healthy relationship with students
For me establishing excellent rapport with my students is a top priority. As educators, we are duty bound to assist and solve their problems. We are in business because of students. I have allotted one hour every day when any student can come and meet me without an appointment.
Qualities that helped to create a brand name for GLA University
Improving the quality of education and brand name is a continuing process. GLA has entered into several MoUs with American universities. Under faculty exchange program our professors are teaching computer science for a semester at Jacksonville State University, USA. Having received IACBE’s candidacy status to GLA’s all management programs, we are working to get this international accreditation.
In 2017 the university was awarded “A” grade by NAAC. This year that is in 2018 we have started Institute of Legal Studies with 5 year BA LLB and BCom LLB courses with due approval of Bar Council of India. GLA University has been chosen for setting up of a NewGen IEDC (innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre) by the EDII (Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India) under the aegis of the NSTEDB (National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board), Department of Science & Technology of Government of India. The University is given INR 27.5 million for the entrepreneurs of the University for the Start-ups.
The University runs the “Campus Connect Program” by Infosys, houses the “Centre of Excellence” by IBM, the “Rockwell’s Automation Lab”, Microsoft’s Edu-vantage program, Wipro run “Centre of Embedded Systems” and India’s first “Mission 10X Technology Learning Centre”
The university has received many awards from various organizations and agencies like ASSOCHAM, Career 360 CERG, Dialogue India, News 24, Zee News, and leading newspapers like Dainik Jagran, and Times of India for its quality education.
Goals and Vision for GLA University
GLA University is keen to have all its programs accredited by national agencies like NBA and international agencies like ABET. To provide even more international exposure to our students through further studies, research, internship, and training. GLA is entering into several more MoUs with reputed universities of the world.
We are creating a conducive atmosphere so that students from nearby countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka etc can study at GLA. We are strengthening our Office of Intellectual Property Rights so that GLA can file more patents.
Suggestions to current youth and aspiring students
I strongly believe that
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men”
Young people are flooded with information, loaded with modern gadgets, distracted by commercials, over-stressed by competition, and are confused not knowing what to do to succeed. My suggestions for the current youth and aspiring students are to get Organized, Don't multitask, Divide your work, Have good Sleep, Set your work schedule, Take notes in class, Study - don’t cram, Make your study space comfortable, Find a study group, and Ask questions.