“Everyone has the ability to rise high. They should believe in themselves and work hard to find their place in the sun” Brig. SK Sharma
Brig. SK Sharma (Retd.) is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the North Cap University and member of the faculty at the university’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. He is armed with over 40 years of experience of having professionally served in the areas of architecture, urban planning, engineering in the Indian army, Defense Research and Development Organization, among other areas including teaching, real estate, project management, and teaching. Brigadier Sharma today is helming NCU with the objective of leading the institution to yet higher benchmarks of success.
Notably, as the Project Coordinator, he has been instrumental in the design and architecture of the current Defense Research and Development Organization building in Lutyens Delhi. The seasoned architect is also a member of several esteemed organizations of the country, namely the Indian Institute of Architects, Institution of Engineers (India), and Indian Institute of Town Planners.
His contributions to the nation include serving as Brigadier in the 1971 Indo- Pak war which led to the creation of Bangladesh. Here is the transcript of an interview with the man of many talents.
Ques 1. Kindly tell us about your experience in the education industry and what makes it the best industry to work in?
Ans. I joined the education sector after having served in the Indian Army, Corps of Engineers, Defense Research &, and the Real Estate sector. Having wide professional experience, I grew to develop a better understanding of the needs of the real world for educating students. Being youth-centered and intellectually-oriented, the education industry is hence the best industry to work in.
Ques 2. What are the significant challenges you faced in North Cap University?
Ans. I joined the North Cap University when it was growing from an institute to becoming a university. The early challenges included getting reliable systems and processes operational, finalizing the First Ordinances &, the First Statutes, etc. Additionally, we faced hindrances while getting a host of statutory approvals from the State, UGC, and accreditation bodies in India and abroad. With these challenges completed, the next challenge was to ensure quality in all walks of the students’ university life.
Ques 3. What goals do you have in mind for NCU?
Ans. The North Cap University, Gurugram strives to accomplish goals, such as focusing on the quality of learning and innovation. Also, we aim to develop competent professionals who are innovative, analytical, independent, and committed to excelling in all their endeavors.
Moreover, we intend to develop global linkages with government, industry, academia, and alumni for knowledge generation, dissemination, and application. It is one of our core objectives to encourage multi-disciplinarity in programs and projects to let students explore new frontiers of knowledge.
Ques 4. Any suggestions that you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
Ans. As a word of advice, the current youth and aspiring students must endeavor to achieve holistic development, based on rock solid values, which can be the only foundation for a bright future. Spirit of innovation, innate curiosity, and a spirit of endeavor ought to be the hallmark of any aspiring young mind today.
Ques 5. How do you look at the growth of students through placement opportunities available at NCU? How do you wish to push the envelope further in this regard?
Ans. NCU has a very proactive placement process in practice, which is activated from the second year of the student’s engineering course, and through which we create internship opportunities for them that can result in good placements. In order to pursue this goal to the hilt, we invite a number of industry captains, at the curriculum formation/ review stage, and regularly update our content.
Secondly, up to 20% of the lectures arranged for students are by industry personnel, which are not randomly arranged, but strategically placed within the sequence of teaching. Thirdly, all lectures are closely followed by practical lab sessions, to practice the concepts learnt in the class room. Lastly, our Placement Cell is upfront in identifying new up-and-coming companies in new sectors, including start-ups, to continuously broaden avenues for employment of students.
Ques 6. How do you tend to establish a wholesome, interactive relationship with the students?
Ans. This is done at the personal level in multiple ways, i.e. by assigning one faculty mentor for about 30 students, and by holding regular free-and-frank Students Class Committee meetings. Secondly, the VC also has in place a Student Think Tank comprising bright students with a CGPA of 9.5 and above, and who make it to the coveted Dean’s List. They provide valuable advice for improvement of all aspects of the university. In addition, statutory bodies like the Academic Committee and IQAC have students’ representatives serving in them on rotation-basis. Lastly, we keep an open house, where students are allowed to interact with anyone at any level.
Ques 7. Tell us about your plans towards attaining an elite position among Indian schools?
Ans. After multiple debates and brainstorming, NCU has taken the corporate path of creating a strategic four-year plan towards this objective. We constantly execute this at the operational level with clear-cut goals and set time lines. The entire purpose of the exercise is to achieve all-round quality enhancement in education. We have also incorporated the advice of IQAC as valuable inputs. Overall, we aim through such practices, for long-term achievement of a position of eminence amongst HEIs.
Ques 8. How do you build a positive school culture or climate?
Ans. A positive school culture is built by a motivated faculty who also has a reasonably free hand to achieve individual goals. One of our initiatives, i.e. faculty-mentoring through a unique Mentor-Mentee scheme gives a clear direction to the faculty of research in teaching. We also actively endorse a fair and even-handed approach towards students, where positive though divergent views are encouraged to create an overall balance.
Ques 9. What is your take on education being digitalized?
Ans. Digitalization of Education is the way forward towards creating greater access of quality education at the lowest possible cost, and must be encouraged whole heartedly. The recent MHRD and UGC initiatives in this regard are indeed very timely. However, their schemes need to reach every last college and institute to bear real fruit. Secondly, the universities themselves must take innovative initiatives in this regard. NCU for example, has a functional ERP, has gone in for digitization of lectures for use in LMS. For example, our bio metric attendance system saves time and creates a fool proof record of attendance. Besides, we use MOOCs extensively to enhance quality course offerings, to imbibe a culture of online self-study and testing. These initiatives are actively paying dividends to us.
Ques 10. What would be your ideal school environment, and how would you encourage that kind of culture?
Ans. School education’s role in a child development is enormous. It lays the foundation for lifelong learning in them, develops a quest for knowledge, innovation, creativity, and learning by providing important ingredients in an ideal academic environment. Less stress on memory and more on conceptual understanding and application would not only make learning fun, but would also be the recipe for encouraging a constructive culture.Last Updated - 10 Jul 2017