In this age of a fast-changing educational scenario, new universities are challenged to accommodate not only a growing campus, but also rising costs on campus which increase exponentially each year, says Dr Ashok Gupta, Vice Chancellor, IIS University, in an interview with Elets News Network (ENN) and shares much more.
Considering the existing competition and changing times, what prominent challenges a private university like yours is faced with?
IIS University constantly strategises to become more flexible to attract best students in a highly competitive market, assessing their position and mapping the segments most important to them. In short, the real challenge for the university is to continue its efforts for bridging the ever-widening gap between knowledge and skills and to work towards building a national character through purposeful education, not merely an overdose of information.
What steps your university has been following to ensure finest faculty is in place?
The university works to align recruitment with its hiring strategy and priorities. It follows a stringent recruitment procedure to ensure that the faculty members keep up the robust academics thereby ensuring the much-needed rigour in the programmes on offer. In addition, career advancement for faculty members is linked to professional competencies combined with their involvement in and contribution to the corporate life on campus.
How significant is innovation for your university? What steps have you undertaken to promote researchbased learning at the university?
Research, along with consultancy, is approached as an extremely significant input to teaching at the IIS University. Research-excellence is an important goal for us as we strive to give a conscious impetus to research-based learning. To this end, research has been built into the fabric of not only the postgraduate and research programmes but also at the undergraduate level. Both students and faculty members are encouraged to take up minor research projects seeded by the university with the view to supplementing pure academics with developing research acumen in them.
In addition to research projects sanctioned by external funding agencies like ICSSR, DST, UGC, DRDE, DBT, ICMR, ICAR, etc, the institution promotes research by sanctioning student research projects and granting research fellowships to selected candidates. The university’s research publications such as journals further promote quality action-research. The facilities and infrastructure available at the university are continuously strengthened and enriched for the promotion of research activities, year-after-year. Faculty members, recognised as Research Supervisors, guide quality research in the various disciplines of Science, Commerce, Management, Arts and Social Sciences. The university also promotes the research endeavours of its faculty members by substantiating their work through grants and subventions.
What are some of the innovations being introduced in IIS University vis-à-vis State and Central universities?
We, at the IIS University, understand that the universities that succeed in future are those that will be able to adjust as well as be creative and innovative with respect to the programmes of study on offer and the overall studentexperience. It is precisely for these reasons that we – though still a very young university – are attempting to do our utmost to advance science, invent new technologies and help drive the global economy. Some of our pedagogical innovations include a plethora of career-oriented and skilldevelopment courses, projects and seminars as a mandatory component at all levels of study, cafeteria approach for choosing Electives (choice-based credit system), the introduction of a ‘metacampus’ which is a unique web-space dissolving the time and space constraints. It enables the faculty members, students and parents to stay connected besides keeping a track of a student’s attendance, assignments, announcements, e-resources, academic progress, time table, class-updates forthcoming events, deadline for submission of examination forms, etc., among others.
The innovative approach to learning at IISU is aimed at making education relevant to reallife situations, thus acting as a catalyst for social change. This is made possible through extension activities such as field trips, community and industry visits, interaction with experts, art exhibition and shows, fests, flash mobs, etc. and forms an integral part of the curriculum which aims at providing knowledge combined with hands-on training, thus producing conscientious citizens. Mentoring support is an innovative programme wherein each student is assigned a faculty member as a mentor on campus.
Both students and faculty members are encouraged to take up minor research projects seeded by the university with the view to supplementing pure academics with developing research acumen in them.
With placement of students becoming a yardstick to evaluate a University’s status, what has been your achievement in the context?
The university boasts a full-fledged Training and Placement Cell which looks into the overall planning and execution of career guidance and placement programmes. The cell ensures that representations from various multi-national companies and UGC-recognised educational institutions visit the institution not only to apprise students of the various courses and jobs available to them but also to select and train them for the requisite job-skills. The Cell organises popular talks by experts on career prospects in different fields besides liasoning with various industrial establishments, corporate houses, etc. for organising campus interviews to select students across all disciplines.
The Training and Placement Cell also provides career counseling to students of the University. It helps them discover their potential and choose the right career path. Vocational guidance from industry experts is also organised by the Cell throughout the session. Seminars related to various career options too are organised to generate awareness and interest among students.