Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
At a young age of 23 years, Mr. Pankaj Agarwal laid the foundation of Shri Ramswaroop Memorial Group of Professional College, with just 22 students and a couple of faculty members, his gaze on the stars and feet firmly affixed in reality. Since then he has been moving from strength to strength. Dynamism, innovation, perseverance, courage, discipline and empathy illustrate a few dimensions of the multi-faceted personality of Mr. Pankaj Agarwal, Chancellor of Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University.
Born and brought up in Lucknow, his quest for perfection led him to pursue B.Tech (Civil Engineering) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. Skillful application of concepts won him the coveted Gold Medal for the best project in his stream. After a short stint of work experience at EIL, Mr. Pankaj Agarwal made his foray in the domain of Education.
With a vision of bringing world class education to the youth of Uttar Pradesh he laid the foundation of Shri Ramswaroop Memorial Group of Professional Colleges (SRMGPC) in Lucknow. His eye for precision won the group many awards and soon SRMGPC became the hallmark for quality. Envisioning the need of children for quality education, Mr. Agarwal set up a premier day-boarding school under the banner of Shri Ramswaroop Memorial Public School in 2005. Determination to attain world class educational standards led Mr. Pankaj Agarwal to establish Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University in 2012.
He is the recipient of ‘Eduprenuers Award-2013’, by “Engineering Watch” magazine for his contribution to engineering education in India, upon recommendation of Dr. R.K. Khandal, Vice-Chancellor, Gautam Buddha Technical University
Mr.Pankaj Agarwal was felicitated by the Hon'ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Ram Naik for his exemplary gesture of being a regular blood donor at 'Raktdan ko Samman Samaroh' a glittering ceremony, organized by the Department of Transfusion Medicine-King George's Medical University.
Induction of new students in SRMU
In order to ensure that we induct the best students the admission process is stringent. Across all institutes, undergraduate and postgraduate, students are inducted in accordance with pre-decided merit criterion. In addition to their marks, students have to present themselves for personal interaction with their respective faculty. This helps to determine personality fit and ensures that we accept well-developed students who are highly motivated. Good students are also provided performance driven scholarships and fee concessions to encourage them to continue to focus on their academic development and sustained efforts toward excellence.
Non-academic support services at SRMU
At Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ and we ensure its implementation throughout-sourced services which are strictly monitored. We have numerous campus eateries which provide the students and staff a bevy of cuisines. A variety of sports such as tennis, football, and basketball are promoted by providing exclusive time and dedicated coaches. Students are also supported and encouraged to participate in debates and inter-collegiate competitions. A number of student-led clubs provide an opportunity for comprehensive development to explore and develop leadership and cultural dimensions of the personality.
Placement drive, international projects, and seminars at SRMU
One of the prime objectives of graduate and post-graduate education is to make the students ready for the job market. At Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University we have a specialized Training Cell, which works consistently to inculcate ‘employability skills’ in our students from the date they join us. It provides them exposure to soft skills and other focused certifications. This provides an extra edge and helps students to outshine their peers in the competitive job market. A dedicated Placement Cell works around the clock to arrange student interaction with a broad spectrum of corporates and enhance their chances of gaining a job. An active alumni association helps to forge strong bonds with the industry too.
At SRMU, students are also exposed to entrepreneurial certification and encouraged to initiate new ventures. An active entrepreneurial cell is the epicenter of innovation on campus. International cooperation and collaboration is an integral part of our vision and we are actively working towards it by nourishing our relationship with reputed educational institutions across the world. Faculty and student exchange programs are organized periodically. In the recent past, we have also organized several joint conferences, seminars and credit exchange programs with reputed universities in Europe, South-east Asia etc.
Faculties and teacher training at SRMU
We recruit faculty from the best institutions. Faculty with teaching experience is given preference. In the induction process, each faculty has to present a mock class before a specialized committee. This helps to ascertain the diction, expression, confidence and communication skills. Post induction too the staff is encouraged to participate in Faculty development programs and refresh their skills continuously. Our faculty takes pride in involving themselves with continuous research, writing and presenting papers at prestigious forums. Most of them publish in leading journals and are also part of editorial boards at the national and international level.
Efforts to stay in touch with the international alumni as well as home students
Each student who passes through the portals of the university becomes a part of our extended family. All efforts are made to remain connected with them. Social media is very helpful to keep these bonds activated. SRMU is an emerging institution with 5 years of history, which is a relatively short time to have widespread international alumni. However, we have many students from Nepal and adjoining nations, and we make it a point to continue our relationship with them.
Steps taken to maintain a positive environment in SRMU
Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University is a confluence of academic and cultural resources and provides the perfect ambiance for the pursuit of academic excellence. Its sprawling lush grounds, majestic towers, and cobbled pathways provide an idyllic backdrop for the functioning of multidisciplinary institutes. Students from varied faiths, cultures, economic and social backgrounds study and participate in academic and co-curricular activities without a thought to their backgrounds. The campus is witness to a harmonious blending with a single-minded commitment to excellence. All undergraduate students adhere to the same dress-code which helps to create a common bond and is also a great equalizer.
Measures taken by SRMU to ensure the process of internships
At Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University ‘industry interaction’ and development of industry-integrated courses is of utmost importance. Immense emphasis is laid on summer and winter internships. Industry captains are invited to campus regularly to interact with the students and industry visits form an integral part of the curriculum. Senior industry executives are also solicited to advise us on the syllabus in order to keep it updated and relevant to changing times and needs of the industry. These measures ensure that we develop students who are ready to perform from day one of employment.
Names and experiences of geniuses of SRMU
For us, at Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University each student is a genius and we are committed to helping each student reach the acme of their potential. We indeed feel very proud when our students get recognized and appreciated at national and international forums, in the domain of sports, co-curricular and academics alike.
On heading such a responsible designation of a Chancellor at SRMU
Heading a university is indeed a task of great responsibility. Technology and teamwork are the two of the most important enablers utilized to help meet KRAs. Cutting edge technology in the form of Oracle Peoplesoft is being used to augment efficiency and effectiveness and for monitoring conduct of classroom activities, evaluation, finance and human resource. This provides me single point information regarding all activities big and small, including student and teacher performance metrics. Division of work amongst heads of institutes and special task and standing committees also helps to keep the campus humming with activity and committed to excellence.