Vice-Chancellor Prof PK Khosla spoke on a wide variety of topics including the rankings and future plans of the Shoolini University in an interview with KHYAATI SHARMA. Excerpts from the interview:
How much is Shoolini University away from achieving its target of being among the top 200 Global Universities by 2022?
The vision for Shoolini was conceived when I heard former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam saying that none of the Indian Universities is in the top 200 list of the global rankings. We have a well-thought-of plan to follow in the next three years to achieve its target. It is achievable. We will do it for sure.
What is the importance of research for the university to be in the global rankings?
Shoolini is focusing on the Times Higher Education (THE) International system of rankings in which 60 per cent marks are for research. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings are the only global performance tables that judge research-intensive universities across all their core missions: teaching, research, research influence, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.
Any university that gets at least 50 per cent marks in the field of research will get on the list of top 200 global universities. In THE ranking system, there are two units of research viz. Citation Research and general research both contribute 30 per cent each to the criteria of rankings. With a 1.89 citation index, Shoolini is already the third-best in the country. For the global ranking system, the university requires a field index of 2.2 and we are not far from that.
What do you feel are the challenges for Shoolini to operate at the global level?
I believe there are four major challenges for Shoolini in terms of global rankings. The first is reputation. Since we are still a young university, it takes time to establish the name of the institution. Secondly, the industry-academia partnership is very important and we are developing this area for the better future of the students. Also, the international students and faculty studying and working in universities matter a lot.
We already have many international students and about two dozen international teachers working on the campus but I believe, we need to focus more on international relations. We need at least 40 teachers in the next three years. Lastly, getting extramural grants for the university remains a big challenge too and it is the main focus. The university has already been granted a fund of Rs 30 crore in the last three years.
Why are other Universities not doing it?
The first reason for this, I believe, is that the University is led by persons who are determined and passionate to make it. As the VC, I spend more than half of my time thinking of making it a better place to study, grow and live! In rankings, you compete with your own self. In the Indian system of rankings, there is more focus on quantity whereas, in the international ranking system, quality is what matters the most.
Talking about the new session, are there any new courses planned for this year?
Yes, we are starting some new programmes. Besides PhD in Yoga, we are adding Master’s and doctoral programmes to the Agricultural Sciences. We recently started the Hotel Management, Yoga, English and Law and plan to start a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism.
Which courses are the most popular among new students?
Pharmacy and MBA are two very popular and sought-after courses for the students seeking admissions. Also, biotech and other research-based courses gain much attention.
What is the current scenario of the placements of 2019?
Like every year, students are placed with good companies. This year we are doing even better. Various companies are queuing up to pick up students for jobs. Even Engineering students from our University are getting good placement offers. I believe that there are five parameters that are essential for any student to get a good job i.e. physical personality (grooming), communication skills both in Hindi and English, aptitude, managerial capabilities, and expertise in the subject concerned.