Professor Sudhir K. Sopory who took over as the 11th Vice-Chancellor of JNU on Friday mentioned about some of his priorities. Consultations with heads of high-level research institutions located on Jawaharlal Nehru University's sprawling campus here to develop academic and research synergies leading to research degrees and involvement of high-quality researchers in these institutions in teaching programmes at JNU as adjunct faculty, leveraging the potential of students to contribute to campus management and removing bureaucratic procedures within the University's administrative and governance system are amongst his some of the priorities. Prof. Sopory said he was proud to be associated once again with JNU where he served on the faculty about two decades ago. Innovations in the university system and addressing the needs of the students as well as the faculty are some areas he will now focus on. “Innovation is a must for creativity and knowledge generation. There is transmission of knowledge all the time but there has to be a better way of doing that so that students think more,” he said. “Universities should be generating knowledge all the time which should also translate into good research output. Unfortunately the research is not expanding in India, particularly basic sciences, though the government has made some attempts to promote it by setting up Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) but we need to expand it more by linking institutions with industry also,'' Prof. Sopory added. Having worked with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology for over two decades, Prof. Sopory brings with him a wealth of experience in research from the UN body where he has been exposed to several international institutions. An unassuming person, Prof. Sopory said he has several ideas which he wants to implement to make knowledge and teaching more meaningful. According to him, institutions should be knowledge parks with facilities and faculty available to others also. “JNU has many institutions on the 1,000 acres of sprawling campus but these are inaccessible to many students. The walls need to be removed so that students from both sides can have access to facilities,'' he said while explaining that he would take up the matter with the heads of institutions to make it a knowledge park. “We can develop common programmes, have common faculty and use common facilities for promotion of knowledge and research. I will talk to them to work out some model that can be replicated elsewhere also,'' he said. Admitting that India needs more centres of excellence, Prof. Sopory, nevertheless, feels that if these are to grow as viable centres then a good faculty is needed. Promising streamlining of the administration at JNU, Prof. Sopory said the administration has to be receptive to the students' needs. There should be no administrative blocks in the progress of a student, he explained while assuring that shortage of faculty and issues related to reservation would be dealt with on a priority.
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