Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. Ashok is currently serving as a Professor and Dean at School of Computer Science and Information Technology in SUAS. He is educational qualifications include B.E, M.Tech. and Ph.D (Comp). He has expertise in Social Network Mining, Internet of Things, Programming Languages. He has got 21 years of amalgamated experience of industry and academia during which he has worked in different capacities like Director-Career Services, Dean-Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Director (I/c), NBA Coordinator, HOD, Training Manager and many more. He has worked with NELCO, TechMahindra and OP Jindal University.
Dr. Ashok has published various articles on social network mining, eLearning, ad-hoc networks etc. He has participated in many conferences and workshops and has chaired and delivered many keynote sessions at different conferences and workshops. He has a special interest in implementing and promoting eLearning and is an advisor to Govt of Chhattisgarh for virtual education project of MHRD, Govt of India. He has worked a lot in developing virtual labs and implementing paperless examinations. He was chairman Board of Studies of IT and Academic Council member of Chhattisgarh state technical university. Improving the quality of education by motivating, mentoring and adopting innovative frameworks is his passion.
Dr. Ashok’s experience in the education sector
Education sector is a very noble service to the society and to the nation. This is exactly the thing that makes us feel proud to work in this domain. Education, and more importantly, the quality education is a barometer of the growth and development of any nation. It’s even more important at this point in time as the country is undergoing a transformation phase. Quality higher education really could play a very crucial and pivotal role in converting the demographic dividend of the nation into the economic dividend. Opportunity to nurture, mentor and empower the youth to shape the future of the nation is the main driving force for me to be in the education domain.
Dr. Ashok’s philosophy of leadership and his leadership style
Leadership and respect, especially in education, is earned and cannot just be commanded. I believe in leadership by action and clear vision. As a leader, I like to set the goals right, mark deadlines and devise right kind of strategies; and mentor and support the team beyond expectations to accomplish the targets. I want to lead the people by example and right team spirit – Together Everyone Achieves More. I believe in transparency and empowerment of each individual to bring in a transformation in the University and Education Scenario across the country.
Significant challenges faced as the Dean of Symbiosis University of Applied Science
Challenges are everywhere and I accept them with full vigor and positivity. People management and making them perform is always difficult everywhere. Here apart from faculty and staff we need to manage, mentor and nurture the students - the future leaders of the nation. It’s challenging but at the same time a very rewarding experience. It’s a new University with skill and applied curriculum, innovative pedagogy and strong industry connect inclination. Implementing all this in intent and action, changing the mindset of the faculty and students and applying the pedagogical changes in an effective and efficient manner - everything is challenging but at the same time very satisfying to be a change agent.
Curriculum in SUAS
The curriculum of Symbiosis has been designed to bridge the gap between academic offerings and industry requirements. Special emphasis has been laid down on applied and skill development. If you look at the curriculum you can see an obvious shift from theory to skills and practical. I believe by doing this Symbiosis has already taken a very courageous and great step to bring-in the much-desired transformation in higher education in India. The curriculum at Symbiosis stresses on skill development, case studies, problem-project based learning and promotes innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.
Growth of students through placement opportunities available at Symbiosis University of Applied Science
At Symbiosis, we are preparing the students not just for placements, rather we prepare them for a lifelong career – be it placement, entrepreneurship, higher education or similar things. We instil in them the leadership, innovativeness, entrepreneurship, learnability and lot many such attributes. We ensure that every Symbiosian is a change agent and contribute to the growth of the society and nation.
Dr. Ashok’s relationship with the students
Students are our biggest stakeholders and ambassadors. I am always available to them – anytime. They can come to my cabin anytime and/or can communicate over cell, mail, Whatsapp etc. I am at Symbiosis for them and with them – always. We have a very free and open culture here at Symbiosis and availability and connecting with the students is not at all an issue.
Ideal school environment according to Dr. Ashok, and how he encourages that kind of culture
We believe in very open, transparent and student-friendly environment at Symbiosis. We are a very young University full of positive, energetic and enthusiastic faculty and students. Together we all ensure the positive vibes round the clock across the campus. We have various societies, clubs, student chapters etc. to facilitate positive engagements and all-round personality development of the students.
Top qualities according to Dr. Ashok that an aspiring PGDM/Engineering/BBA/Law/Arts student must possess
Students today are very smart and have all the qualities and attributes required for higher education. We just need to mentor them and channelize their energy and efforts in the right direction. As a university, it’s our proud responsibility to nurture them right so that everyone achieves his/her maximum limit.
Goals in mind for SUAS for the next few years
In the coming few years, we will develop the Symbiosis Indore as a model university of skills and applied technologies across India. We wish to create a unique teaching/learning system and pedagogy which is driven by innovation, enhances employability and create next-generation technology/management leaders. We aim at contributing the nation building by producing highly skilled technocrats, managers, entrepreneurs, innovators and future leaders.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
I would urge them to dream high, think big and be the author of their own destiny. Be imaginative, innovative and develop capabilities to execute and implement your dreams. Be positive, patriotic and power the nation to rule the world. Jai Hind!!!