DAYS after being appointed as the new vice chancellor of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), noted academic Shakil A. Romshoo says he’s focusing to promote some cutting-edge research—Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Disruptive Technologies—which none of the 11 universities of Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh is currently covering.
“My predecessor has done a fantastic job,” Dr. Romshoo, an award-winning Earth Sciences expert from Jammu and Kashmir, said.
“My efforts will be to utilise the existing infrastructure to promote academics and research in the varsity.”
The fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian Society of Remote Sensing and Indian Society of Geomatics, Prof. Romshoo previously served as Dean Research at University of Kashmir.
Lately, after assuming the charge of vice chancellor of IUST, Prof. Romshoo stressed on converting the challenges into opportunities “so that the IUST can achieve new heights in academics and research besides addressing the societal issues in the present scenario”.
He detailed his varsity vision in an interview with Kashmir Observer.
From a noted scientist to an administrator, how do you see the new campus role?
During my academic career as a scientist, I have had a significant administrative experience.
Since I’ve headed two departments for over 11 years, my academics and research experience will be helpful in running the university affairs.
How differently will you be handling the campus affairs?
See, my main focus will be to promote academics and research in IUST.
During its 15-years of founding history, my predecessors have set a high benchmark in terms of academics and infrastructure.
My efforts will be to utilise this infrastructure to promote academics and research.
Also, as a scientist, I’ll be promoting some cutting-edge research—Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Disruptive Technologies—in the field of science and technology.
But how do you see this assertion where some people tend to say that subject experts can’t be campus experts?
I think the vice chancellor that comes from academics has a long administrative experience. Even some experiments done in the national universities tell us that the campus can be best run by academics.
As a former Dean of Research at KU, I was myself operating 250 projects with an annual financial outlay of about Rs. 50 crores.
To begin with, what specific areas you will be working on as a vice chancellor?
My first few months will be focused on developing the master plan to help us implement the campus vision. Strategy document of that plan will be modular, will comprise of how to promote the plan, the teaching, how to make the university governance efficient, majorly how to promote the outreach of this university among the masses.
In all our universities, we lack outreach. And that’s why, in these years, we haven’t been able to take IUST to the level of KU.
But now, the four aspects—outreach, academics, research and admin—will be the part of the master-plan.
Also, there’re certain areas that haven’t been dealt with by the rest of the universities in JK, Ladakh and even at the national level. One area is innovation and incubation startups.
There’re young and bright minds in Kashmir and there’s a need to provide an enabling environment so that their innovativeness and capabilities could be translated into some innovations in the university.
At international levels, there’re certain themes like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and disruptive technologies which have not been covered in any university in Kashmir. It will also be my focus.
How will you solve the student-related problems?
It’s important to provide students with a very good environment. The university should also help in placements. And it can be only done by providing students the skills that will help them to get a better place.
But then, Student Exchange Programs have been a long pending demand.
Well, it’s important to send the students to other universities where they can enhance their skills. And that’s why, the first thing soon after the appointment was to frame a committee to implement the National Education Policy-2020. The policy focuses on student exchange programs.
Lastly, as compared to other campuses, how do you rate IUST?
This is a very interesting question. I must tell you my predecessor has done a fantastic job. The education and infrastructure in the campus is excellent, but there’s still a scope of improvement.
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