Dr. Arvinder Singh Chawla is the Vice-Chancellor of RIMT University. In his career experience spanning over 40 years, he has worked as a Dean, Professor, and an Advisor in India and overseas. He has done extensive research work and has written over 10 books. Alongside, he has completed numerous R&D projects. His experience in supervising research at doctorate level has helped over two dozen candidates complete the doctoral research under his supervision. He has participated in numerous conferences and seminars and holds membership of numerous university bodies.
India has seen a drastic change in the education sector over the last two decades
The educational scenario, in India, has significantly changed during the last two decades. Till late 90’s, India followed a very restrictive policy particularly in the area of professional higher education. The explosion during the last two decades has opened vast opportunities for those looking for a career in the education sector.
Exponential career growth and massive opportunities for institutional mobility for pursuing personal goals kept me connected to the education sector. My long tenure in the African region, adjunct assignments in USA and South Pacific region, attending courses at Harvard Business School, participation in the workshops in national and international institutions would not have been possible if I would not have been connected with the university system. The university system provided me tremendous opportunities and time to pursue my agenda. I have been able to pursue whatever I had planned in life. Being in the university system, I had the liberty and opportunity to work on new ideas, opportunities for extensive travel in India and abroad, opportunities for career growth and networking. My active participation and involvement in the above all, enhanced my academic and administrative capabilities.
I believe in creating an environment in which conventional wisdom is challenged, especially the one in which errors can be embraced
Former President of South Africa, honourable Nelson Mandela, had once stated “A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind”.
I strongly believe in this description of leadership and I have practiced it for almost two decades that I have spent in leadership roles in different universities in India and abroad.
I made every effort to locate and use other innovators in the organization and created a climate in which conventional wisdom could be challenged and one in which errors were embraced instead of shunning it down in favor of safe and low-risk goals. I believed in setting the targets for the people whom I lead and evaluated them on the basis of the results while giving them the liberty to use their own legitimate processes. So far, my approach has given me desired results.
The Strategic Management Group involves deliberations relating to the latest development in the education sector
I have constituted a Strategic Management Group(SMG) consisting of senior Professors and Deans. The group, regularly meet and involves in deliberations relating to the latest developments in the educational sector. The SMG suggests the programs that shall be started to meet the contemporary needs of society.
Once the decision is taken and passed through different bodies, the admission director is informed to draw the plan to move forward. It is the responsibility of the admission cell to make it known to the potential takers of the program. I focus on the Academic and administrative role in the university. The strategizing admissions are entirely a different portfolio that works under the director of admissions under the overall supervision of our Pro-Chancellor.
My experience of working in different countries made me understand the expectations of the students
I had a close association with the universities in the US, Canada, and Scotland for running collaborative short term and full-time degree programs at the Master's level during the period 2007-2017. I also worked , almost for five years, in the African Region. My movement in USA, East Asian and South Pacific countries, as an adjunct professor, also provided me with an Opportunity to understand the structures and students in the different parts of the world. The association with these foreign universities helped in mapping the courses and develop mutually acceptable programs having an inbuilt credit transfer facility. Similarly, my long experience of working in the African region helped me understand the level of expectations of African students in terms of curricula, pedagogy, and evaluation. With a thorough understanding of the needs in these regions, we at RIMT University are able design/customize the programs according to the needs of the foreign students.
The changes and the development of the curriculum goes hand in hand
I firmly believe that the changes and development of the curriculum should be regular and frequent process. More so in the fast-changing business environment of the country. We have associated ourselves with our stakeholders from the industry and services sector to get the ideas on short term and long term requirements. The academic delivery is crafted based on these requirements.
Many a times, institutions and universities are constrained by the monitoring agencies to follow a set pattern of the curriculum. We have ensured that our students must learn what our stakeholders require while also adhering to the requirements of monitoring agencies. The mix of best practices of the industry and the requirement of monitoring agencies so far is working well.
The university does not uphold or support any religion, cast or creed and unwaveringly believes in togetherness
The University does not distinguish people on the basis of cast, creed or religion. We have students from all over India and abroad with different faiths. They have complete freedom to follow their faith. There is complete harmony amongst all groups and people from all regions. The university supports economically weak students through scholarship schemes on merit cum means basis.
Carrying everyone along is the only and proven formula for creating a healthy environment
Carrying everyone along is the only and proven formula for creating a healthy environment in the University. I believe in collective wisdom, allow my followers to challenge my wisdom, give ownership and due credit for the performance, be with them as a partner (both staff and students), also making everyone know at the same time that I continue to hold the stick in my hand.
My vision is to make RIMT a place that breeds innovation and creativity simultaneously
I envision to make RIMT University a place that breeds innovation and creativity. A place that respects excellence and quality, not only in teaching but in research too. To make a university a place that respects diversity and inclusiveness and treats others with dignity.
It is possible through adopting systems and approaches that allow independent thinking to the students that dispense an environment to embrace innovative ideas. A place where wisdom can be challenged for new and higher goals rather than safe and defensive approaches to managing.
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The long term goal is to work constructively on improving the quality supported by a sound revenue model
Last few years have witnessed massive growth in the number of Private Universities in India. Majority of these universities are struggling to work on the appropriate revenue model that has constrained these universities to compromise with the quality of education. These trends disturb me. As such, in RIMT University, I am ensuring to achieve a proper balance between the two. The goal for the long term would be to work continuously on improving the quality supported by a sound revenue model. In the process of achieving this, presence both at national and international will be ensured. This is the only way for us to be counted amongst the renowned institutions in the country.
The students in India lack independent thinking while making their carer decision
In India, the majority students lack decision making while choosing the career that they want to pursue. Right from the school days, they are not prepared/encouraged to take a decision and decide. Most of the time they are pushed to pursue the parental agenda. I, as a parent, too had the similar approach. But I realized, I was wrong. As such, I don't lose any opportunity to awaken the students and make them realize their real interest. My suggestion to the current and aspiring students is to focus on their real potential. That is the only way to help them achieve their personal goals and contribute positively to the society.