Dr Vyas M Shingatgeri is the Dean at School of Bioscience, Apeejay Stya University - [SBS]. He has carved his way forward with proficiency in various verticals, He is an arduous personality who is passionate about teaching young minds and nurturing them to become the future leaders of the country. Read here what he has to say in his interview-
What is your philosophy of leadership? How would you describe your leadership style?
“I believe in leading by example”
It is essential to show clear direction, cultivate teachers' talent, and establish high expectations for students and teachers. I enjoy delegating tasks and taking the lead on projects, but I also like to stay involved and inspire my team by showing that I'm working hands-on to help them, too.
Empowering by getting the faculty and non-teaching staff motivated and believing in themselves. I often provide a little guidance to the team, allow them to work on their own and let them feel they need discussions and advice and should be free to walk into the office to discuss without hesitation.
In my view, communication with peers, faculty, non-teaching staff, and students is a central activity to the deanship and often provokes disagreement, if no conflict, suitable for the institution's growth and development.
How do you strategize about the plans for the administration of your institute? How do you ensure that everything runs smoothly?
“Each and every member of the institute works in unison to produce effective results”
When I joined this university as Dean, I understood the need to develop teamwork and the institution by bringing everyone together. The primary goal was to provide quality education, appropriate skill-set to the students, and create a culture wherein students can wholeheartedly discuss and identify the gaps and enjoy the learning process.
I have always believed in the open-door system and encourage everyone to walk in my cabin to discuss their issues and take my assistance wherever required. The goal is to communicate by consulting with the team to effectively bring cohesiveness and togetherness amongst all the faculty. This ensures equitable allocation of faculty responsibilities, which produces stimulating research and scholarly activities in the faculty fostering high-quality teaching in the faculty. Also, leading the recruitment of promising faculty encourages an appropriate balance among specializations within the faculty.
“It took me almost a year to update the syllabi to meet the industry's requirements, reputed national research institutes, acceptable by the globally reputed universities. Thus, by enabling the entire faculty & students' participation, we could successfully bring in the skilled-based curriculum. Further introduction of the mandatory research project, facilitated students to build in intellectual curiosity, thus enabling them to think beyond their syllabi”
Any insights into how your institute ensures that it is welcoming to students of different races or economic backgrounds?
“Our focus is to help the students understand the core essentials”
ASU has been serving the education sector for the last 50 years. The vision of our founder, Late Dr. Stya Paul, was to provide quality education to each segment of the society in a meaningful and affordable manner. In ASU, we welcome students from different parts of the country, even from overseas. We offer scholarships for deserving candidates such as Dr. Stya Paul Memorial Scholarships, Girl Child Scholarship, Mean cum Merit Scholarship, and Special scholarships for EWS. ASU also runs the Earn while Learn scholarship, where a student can work as a paid intern to support the departments in their routine academic/administrative task. The focus is to help the students understand the core essentials of the subject and teach critical thinking in students with interactive classes using the latest ICT tools. The result is an experiential and deeper learning for students of diverse backgrounds.
What are some of the biggest challenges for the education sector ASU specifically amidst the pandemic situation?
“It is essential to provide skill-based education to the students which will help them in long run”
At present, the biggest challenge is to provide holistic skill-based education to the students. Especially in the COVID situation, where regular classes cannot occur, students cannot get good hands-on experience of labs and create difficulty in placements. I am greatful to inform you that our university was ready to face the pandemic. Since inception, we have an online Learning Management System: MOODLE, and most of the functioning is online. This year's pandemic situation, from day one of lockdown, we have moved all our classes online. We took our semester exam on time in MOODLE and declared the results in time. Our Fall 2020 semester has also started on time. We are taking all the subject practicals on simulators, Bioinformatics tools, and a proper plan is in place to give them hands-on experience on actual machines when after lockdown, the institution reopens. For providing industry exposure to our students, we are regularly organizing webinars by leading industry experts on current/future technologies.
“Transparency, sincerity in approach, and developing trust are the key to maintaining a healthy environment. Open feedback and feedback in improving self rather than criticism is the courage to accept. I do allow 360 degrees assessment though it may not be a formal one but makes everyone discuss it without prejudice”
What are the key factors that keep you connected with the education sector?
“Education is the basic requirement for the sustenance and human development”
Education is fundamental to development and growth. It is the basic need for human development. Hailing from a family of teachers, it has made a profound impact on me to love education and academics. Acknowledging the challenges faced by every student in such a fierce competition, they require guidance and a path to pave their career. Therefore, if I am contributing to help those deserving to learn, I will endeavor to go out of the way and lead them and make their career and thus self-sufficient. Learning is a term that resonates with each student. It has been my constant endeavor to help students learn at their own pace with technology intervention and leverage my extensive industrial experience for students' benefit. I have arduously tried to help students understand the technological and application parts of concepts, which will help them further succeed and flourish in their lives.
Any suggestions you would like to give to the current youth and the aspiring students?
“Research, Innovation & Discovery are the keys to success”
Adaptation to the new skills is essential. If I look at a recruiter's point of view, this current situation may be looking depressing, but if we look at this correctly, this recent pandemic shifts to the entire job market. Healthcare, especially Biotechnology, is the new key market, and the individual who understands the multidisciplinary will succeed. The current pandemic situation has highlighted that it is imperative to use critical thinking and problem-solving skills in real-world settings. Fundamentally, the youth must be equipped with core academic and technical skill sets to face the ever-changing world's challenges. It is equally important to quickly embrace digital technology and use skilled communication to collaborate and work as a team to innovate and provide solutions to crucial problems.