Jain University is an intellectual destination that draws students from more than 25 countries to Bengaluru. The University promotes sports, encourages creative talent, emphasises on education for nation-building, innovates entrepreneurship, and facilitates employment generation. “Ensuring quality higher education is one of the most important things we can do for future generations (Ron Lewis),” quotes Col (Hon) Dr N Sundararajan, Vice Chancellor, Jain University, while sharing the University’s best practices, in an exclusive interview with T. Radhakrishna and Sudheer Goutham of Elets News Network
Can you explain your vision for research at the University?
The University chose a vision to `Foster Human Development through Excellence in Quality Education, Research and Entrepreneurial Development`. The Mission Statement of the University states that it shall strive:
- To provide quality education, creating human assets and intellectual capital
- To enhance research and development in different disciplines
- To develop a new generation of entrepreneurs who will be instrumental in fueling economic growth
- To create able leaders, managers and technocrats
Research and Development is an important and an integral component of the mission of Jain University. It has a research policy, which is a vital document for realising the mission of the university. The following are a few salient features of the Research policy
- Provide optimum facilities to researchers v Purchase equipment, upgrade labs and subscribe to e-journals
- Create national facilities like coating lab for fire testing facility with support from Underwriters Laboratory
- Initiate the establishment of instrumentation center
- Implement UGC regulation 2010 for M.Phil/ Ph.D
- Collaborate with research institutions of repute
- Create the position of a Dean for Research to coordinate research activities.
What according to you are the main challenges facing your University?
Jain University was declared as a Deemed University in December 2008. The University commenced its programs from 2009-10 academic year. Over the last six years, the University has made conscious and concerted efforts to build on its strengths and consolidate on its achievements.
Jain University is a self–financing University, facing multiple challenges. The real challenge is to ensure academic excellence and to get the best students. We need to build a very good infrastructure and tackle the financial problems. Along with this, retention of good faculty is also a challenge. Being a private unaided University, the faculty and administration have faced serious roadblocks in securing support and funding from Government research funding agencies and getting consultancy projects.
What opportunities are there for your University to operate on the global stage?
The academic and other activities of the University is framed keeping in mind the core values of national development, fostering global competencies and inculcating a sound value system coupled with the promotion of use of technology. Devising to operate on the global stage has been a passion in the university. On one hand, it strengthens the investigation level, enabling to network with best people and developing strong network with reputed institutes of research excellence. On the other hand, these collaborations open multiple opportunities to work on a large scale. Currently, Jain University has 76 major collaborations with various funding agencies and institutes of excellence all over the world. They include University of California, Berkeley; Forum of Federations, Canada; International Association of Centres for Federal studies; Forum of Federation, Sudan; and Konard Adenauer Foundation; Wipro Technologies; Government of Karnataka; ICSSR, Government of India; CNN-IBN and World Value Surveys.
What are the main strengths of the collegiate system? Colleges are vital and integral part of the University system. The main strength is how the University and the colleges coordinate to work together. They are inseparable and they need to work in unison. It is through the good work of the colleges that the reputation of university enhances.
What all do you remember about your University when you were a student?
I am an alumnus of National College, Trichy, University of Madras. During my Master’s programme, I had been influenced by the knowledge, intelligence, sincerity and dedication of my teachers. It was during this time that my interest to become an educationist who could bring about a transformation became stronger and stronger. Driven by the opportunities given to me today, I have been able to implement some of the thoughts into action.
How would you like to build on the success of your University’s legacy?
Jain University has confidently positioned itself as a ‘Space for Learning’ with a stamp of quality, innovation and creativity. The University has set for itself the goal of achieving excellence in its teaching / learning, research initiatives and entrepreneurial ventures. I believe that quality and innovations are always ‘work in progress’. Every day, there is a need for creation of new milestones and raising the bar. I insist every stakeholder of the University to internalize the University’s vision and strive for excellence in every step, in every action, in every programme and in every new initiative. The focus on `quality education for all` inspires everyone in the University to be proactive, forward looking and fully energized to play their role in fulfilling the vision the University has set for itself.
How would you like your Vice- Chancellorship to be viewed in future?
Jain University has consciously ushered in innovative academic programmes and has a special focus on interdisciplinary / multidisciplinary research. I look forward to undertake even more focused cutting-edge research in emerging areas of pure and applied Sciences, Engineering & Technology, Humanities and Social Sciences, which are relevant for National development.
We desire to create chairs in different disciplines in the next couple of years and enhance University-Industry interface. To move ahead in the race, we need to be leaders of globally reputed groups. However, challenging it is, we have to gain international recognition, which would of course be our long term plans. Nothing succeeds like success and for me success means result orientation, quantification of quality work, conversion of dreams into reality and thoughts into action.
How would you continue to recruit and retain the very best staff?
The University believes in recruiting and retaining highly qualified and committed faculty. They are given facilities to conduct research and publish papers. They are also encouraged to go as resource persons to other institutions and the financial implications there on are taken care off by the University. Eminent faculty are associated with the University
For Professional development of the staff following measures are provided:
- Periodic Faculty Development programmes
- Motivation for upgradation of qualification
- Financial support and leave for participation in National/ International conferences
- Encouragement to take up minor and major research projects
- Recognition and incentives for publications in indexed journals
Jain University is self–financing. It is, facing multiple challenges. The real challenge is to ensure academic excellence and to get good students. We need to build a very good infrastructure and tackle the financial problems. Along with this, retention of good faculty is also a challenge for us
What are your plans for Alumni relations?
Our Alumni have been our true ambassadors of quality, excellence and professionalism. They play a very important role in building a relationship with various stakeholders and the University.
Many of our Alumni are in important mid-career positions in their chosen domain of expertise. Some of our current students and alumni who have excelled in the field of Arts, Music and Cinema include Ambi Subramaniam (Classical Violinist); Tanvi Singla (Miss Asia Pacific World 2011); and many others.
Some of our alumni have made a mark in the the sports arena. To name a few: Pankaj Advani (World Billiards & Snooker Champion); Robin Uthappa (Indian Cricketer); Shikha Tandon; and Rehan Pooncha (International Swimmers). The university has a healthy practice to have regular Alumni meetings. The wonderful support and the motivation will help us develop optimum networking with all the concerned stakeholders.
The university has a healthy practice to have regular Alumni meetings. The wonderful support and the motivation will help us develop optimum networking with all the concerned stakeholders.
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