Chandigarh, March 29
There is a need to adapt to changes in order to compete with private universities, said new Vice-Chancellor Professor (Dr) Renu Cheema Vig as she stressed the need for providing a better academic environment to students.
Sharing her vision, Prof Vig said: “Being one of the oldest universities in India, PU has rich legacy. However, things have changed in the past few decades. We must adapt to the changing times and offer innovative and relevant programmes to continue being successful and be able to compete with private universities and attract meritorious students from India and abroad.”
“Earlier, mandate of higher educational institutions was to create knowledge besides teaching and learning processes. Today, universities are expected to contribute towards technology development by engaging in research and promoting innovation. There is a need to break down silos between disciplines and encourage more cross-disciplinary collaborations,” she said.
Stressing the need to develop models and improve university-alumni relationship, Prof Vig said: “We must involve industry and alumni in mentoring students to enable them to develop working models, prototypes and finally products that can be commercialised. Courses on entrepreneurship must be offered to students of all disciplines. Keeping in mind future requirements of industry, students need to be skilled in technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, drones, virtual reality and others. Design and innovation culture must be promoted across disciplines on the campus and affiliate colleges. We need to engage alumni in such a way that clusters are formed to strengthen infrastructure, introduce innovative courses and ensure handholding or mentoring of students,” she added.
Although the university was getting a grant for salary budget head from the government, resources were needed to strengthen infrastructure. “Support is needed by engaging foreign faculty to provide international exposure to students. Alumni will have to be motivated to work on a model of collective philanthropy and contribute towards the growth of the university. Stronger partnerships with industry can facilitate generation of additional funding and resources," she said.
Prof Vig underscored the need for exploring international collaborations for twinning degree programme so that students had the flexibility of earing some credits in foreign universities.
“Students can do internships or undertake research partially in a high-ranking university abroad having MoUs with PU. Research projects can also be undertaken jointly with teams of students and faculty from both universities. This will ensure research projects meet international standards. Community service activities have to be strengthened by involving students of all disciplines.”
She further stressed the need for recruiting quality faculty, preferably internationally educated, from within India or abroad with diverse backgrounds and expertise to further enhance the academic programme and research initiatives. “The future of university is likely to be shaped by ongoing technological and societal changes, as well as by the evolving needs of students and the job market,” added Prof Vig.
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