Interview by Bhawna Rawat
Prof. Shailendra N. Kulkarni is currently working as the Vice Chancellor of Northern Hills University, Himachal Pradesh. He has many firsts to his name in the field of academics. His Bachelors & Masters has specializations in Electronics. He has completed his Ph.D. coursework from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi in Energy Studies. He is the Youngest Vice-Chancellor of a University in India. He also happens to be the Youngest Director of a Technical/Engineering Institute approved by the Government of India. He has varied experience in research & academia for over a decade and a half. He has set examples in teaching as well as research practices in India & abroad. He has been instrumental in conceptualizing, initializing & establishing several academic institutes. He has been the Director of many institutions imparting formal training in Engineering, Energy, Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Mass Communication, Biotechnology & Management faculties.
Prof. Kulkarni was awarded Commemorative Medal of Honor, Hallmark 2000 by the American Biographical Institute, Inc. USA in 1999 for Exceptional Humanitarian & Professional Accomplishments. He has also been appointed to the Research Board of Advisors of this prestigious organization since 2000. He has been the President of Energy Forum at Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. He has worked as an Invigilator & Examiner for the Cambridge International College, UK. An active member of the IEEE inc. USA & the IET UK, he has been championing the cause of Technology & education for more than a decade. His specialities include Education Management Administration, Consultancy Establishment, Task execution, Visualize and Implement Liason.
Experience in the Education Sector
The Education sector is probably the only sector other than Health, that gives one the power to create. One gets to create, shape and develop the future. Along with the pleasure, pride and sense of achievement, it of course, brings in a lot of responsibility too. Whether a scientist is created or a terrorist is formed, it entirely depends on our teacher’s community. I have experienced the pleasure of transformation of a few notorious students into champions of the corporate world. This transformation is nothing short of sheer magic, achievable only through perseverance and belief.
The challenges faced and the methods used to overcome them
The basic challenge has always been the age. We as individuals are reluctant to accept change and innovation, especially the ones that originate from a younger individual. Tact, humility and assertiveness based on knowledge were the tools that I employed to overcome these challenges.
Style of leadership adopted to lead the University
I have always believed in an Inclusive leadership. I work on the concept of organised democracy. Let the suggestions be collective, and the discussions as but decisions should be decisively Top-driven.
The curriculum ensuring to remain updated by including the best practices of the industry
The students need to be plug and play compliant when they move out of the University in the career world. . The aspiring job seekers have to imbibe into themselves the real world scenario. The curriculum has to be up to the mark to inculcate the required employability quotient in the students. Our curriculum aims to achieve these very objectives.
Establishing a relationship with the students being the Vice-Chancellor
I have always been able to establish a positive relationship with the students. From the days of my first tenure as the Vice Chancellor of Mangalayatan University, I have always remembered the challenges that I faced as a student in a University and tried to think while putting myself often in the Student’s shoes. I have always listened patiently, guided earnestly and decided decisively. I have always kept a twelve hour a day open door policy for all the students. This has paid rich dividends to me.
The top qualities that an aspiring Manager must possess
I would always rate decisiveness, integrity and honesty as the top three qualities that an aspiring manager should possess. A manager has to be a role model for his or her team. He has to prove to lead.
Goals for the institution for the next five years
I plan to create a proactive and forward thinking University in the next five years. Working closely from the Institutional Mission Statement, I would specify eight long-term goals in an attempt to achieve the University’s mission. The eight goals are as follows:To enrol, retain, and graduate a diverse student body composed of individuals who have a high potential for academic success.
- To provide baccalaureate, master and Doctorate degree programs that prepare students for productive careers and provide them with the intellectual, cultural, and ethical foundations necessary to contribute to a changing global community.
- To attract and retain a diverse and highly qualified faculty and staff.
- To develop and to enhance in the institution a tradition of excellence in teaching and concern for students.
- To provide a supportive, safe, and secure academic environment that stimulates a sense of community.
- To provide responsive, effective, and efficient services needed to support exemplary academic and public service programs.
- To forge alliances with the universities of international repute that would enable the delivery of that university’s academic degree programs in Asian and African countries.
- To develop, provide leadership for, and participate in, initiatives of the global higher Education Community that are consistent with the role and purpose of the institution.
Suggestions for the current youth and the aspiring students
Believe in your own capabilities and abilities. It is not the time that shall define your destiny. The destiny of yours shall be defined by your timing. So get up and get set to work and achieve.