Monday, 29 August 2016

In conversation with the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Brig. SK Sharma (Retd)

Brig. SK Sharma (Retd)
Pro Vice-Chancellor
The NorthCap University, 

The NorthCap University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor, Officiating Vice-Chancellor & Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Brig. SK Sharma, shares his views regarding the present and the future of the University with Ms Rekha Mathur, Sr Editor, NCU.

Sir, what are the key issues before NCU?
Quality is the single mantra to excellenceand is therefore the key issue on which The NorthCap University focuses all its endeavours. NCU strives towards having quality students with the best faculty. The key therefore is to have a quality intake of both students and faculty and nurture our students to achieve quality in all their endeavours.
Secondly, employers are the ultimate stakeholders of our services and their feedback is of utmost importance to us. Their inputs help us evaluate and gauge our course content, our strengths and weaknesses and take necessary action to empower our students for a lifetime of personal and professional fulfillment.
The key therefore is to continuously strive towards improving ourselves in every sphere and all our decisions aretherefore merit based.In pursuit of academic excellence the University upgradesits physical, academic, information infrastructure and support facilities.In short, the focal point of the mission of the University is to provide quality of learning and innovation in all our programmes, consider new areas of learning and do this with all rigour and relevance.

How do you cope with so many important positions you are holding at present?
Most of the issues one faces are the same or are correlated.Therefore in my official capacity, I have the added advantage of getting a 360º view of the interrelated issues and seeing it from different perspectives. This guides me towards a holistic approach to them.
How do you plan to encourage multidisciplinary teamwork at the University?
Some of the first steps to multidisciplinary teamwork have been initiated. As problems are multifaceted their solutions need to be holistichaving engineering, management and legal aspects to their solutions.To begin with we have proposed that some of the major projects of BTech 4th Year students shouldhave multidisciplinary teams working on them.
Similarly for multidisciplinary sponsored projects we have invited proposals from the faculties of different departments. Prof. A Sen Gupta, Mentor RDIL,iscurrently finalizingprojects involving various groups of faculties from the Departments of CSE & IT, EECE, Mechanical and APS.
Lastly,there is higher flexibility in thecourse structure in a ratio of60:40 for Core and Elective. 20% credit for Open Electives give a boost to interdisciplinary courses. A student can choose courses according to his/her interest which leads tomultipleinterdisciplinary courses insay, the four year BTech programme.
How do you propose to enhance benefits of collaboration with foreign universities?
We have collaborations for BTech student exchange programme with ITB Ireland. Many students have benefited through the scholarships offered by them. For the first time for MTech students NCU has collaborated with the University of Regina, Canada.Under this agreement MTech students fromthe Departments of ECE and CSE can study at the University of Regina in the second year, after successfully completing their first two semesters at NCU. The students get the advantage of earning a Canadian MEngg degree in the same period, i.e. a total of two years, thus reducing the expenses for a foreign degree.
NCU has collaborated withthe Michigan Technological University, USA regarding 3+1+1 programme in Computer Science. Under this agreement, undergraduate students of Computer Science at NCU can go to study at Michigan Technological University in the 4th Year, after successfully completing three years at NCU. Successful completion of this programme by NCU students will lead to a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering, conferred by NCU, and a Master’s of Science degree conferred by Michigan Technological University, if the master’s degree requirements are satisfied.

Where do you wish to see NCU after five years?
The field of higher education is dynamic, ever evolving so we have to keep reinventing ourselves to remain relevant and contemporary. We have to gauge future requirements today and be prepared to face the challenges. Some of the issues for the next five years in this regard are:

  • We have to keep introducing more inter-disciplinary courses, courses at the courses at the boundaries of intersecting disciplines.
  • Our Post Graduate courses require to be substantially restructured and improved.
  • To have an edge over others we have to impart to our students Smart Skills such as Machine Learning, Robotics, Business Analytics, Big Data Analytics, Gaming Skills, Critical Analysis skills and more.
  • We must offer more opportunities for the learning of the Liberal Arts as a separate area of study or as Minor area for other programmes.
  • We have to supplement the teaching learning process for encouraging Entrepreneurship in a big way.
  • Learning rather than teaching is the guiding principle for tomorrow in a 24x7 e-learning environment.
  • We have to offeran immersive learningenvironment that simulates realistic scenarios.
One Army work culture you would like to introduce in the civilian way of functioning?
The value system of the Army which is synonymous with sincerity, discipline, integrity, teamwork, being self-driven, ethical and formational moral values are crucial in the functioning of any organization. So are they in the field of education.
Please tell us about your hobbies.
I am fond of reading and I like to read on a multitude of subjects. On weekends I choose to play golf. I am passionate about travelling particularly exploring less frequented places, with my family. 

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