1. Be Grounded. Don’t become a stiff-necked VC, carrying the baggage of your earlier laurels and boasting about past achievements. Be grounded. Instruct your PA that you are accessible. Remove barriers. Let students, faculty and staff meet you to discuss an issue that merits your attention and intervention, unless of-course, you are engaged in a formal meeting. Yes, never allow, any agitated groups storming into your office. Only meet their appointed Reps. Your ability as leader would lie in giving a patient hearing, followed by a quick decision-making to resolve the issue. When confronted with a serious disciplinary issue, always follow a laid down channel of redressal.
2. Don’t get tied down to the Chair. Feel the pulse of the Campus life. Chalk out your own personal weekly program (in addition to appointed meetings) to periodically, take a round to the labs where scholars and students are doing Research and working on projects; visit Students’ Cafeteria and have a word with them; once a while, sit in a class to experience the quality of teaching; a visit to hobby club, hostel, cheering up a sport/competition in action, mentoring a research project of your expert area, sitting in FDP to learn emerging trends, and more. It is your Karambhoomi, an area of your influence. Keep pivoting and influencing with your physical presence and intellectual persona, inspiring and adding value, wherever. See a role model in humble but task-master personalities such as former President Abdul Kalam and be physically present where the action is. But be with a purpose and invest some time, wherever you go. Be not just a wanderer or with a mindset only to needle the balloons.
3. Be a Thought Leader and Karam-yogi. Make sure your presence in various meetings is thought-provoking and productive. It is not enough to give big ideas, but ensure that the Deans and HODs put their shoulders to the wheel and pull it. Lay down razor-sharp priorities and set hard monthly targets and trackers to closely monitor the top priority matters. Let not an idea remain a sermon; the loop of an intended action must eventually close, and its impact, analysed.
4. Be in congruence with the Founders and GB’s vision to lead the university. Be upfront to articulate what is good for the institute. Be aware of your functions laid down in the Statutes, and do full justice to your job. Uphold honesty and integrity to the institute following ethics and values. It is a litmus test of your wisdom in how you work with the Founders. They have a major stake in the growth of their institutes.
5. Enhance your National and International Outreach. Keep engaged in writing research publications, books and be a part of National bodies as think-tank, a keynote speaker in conferences, and a part of the National task force in steering education linked initiatives etc. Be known to the world for your outreach, and leverage media, including social media.
6. Be a powerful Communicator. Your faculty and staff would be nervous if you are unable to express effectively with eloquence and clarity. Leaders at all levels need this inescapable skill-the flair and style of public speaking.
7. Be apt to render support. Remain rooted in the public service, and help students from the poor strata of the society !!
8. Leave an everlasting mark-a VC who not just took the university to the next higher level but also set Gold Standards in building a culture of ‘quality’ and pursued a philosophy of ‘Students First’ to give students everything they needed to make their career.
-Prof J R Sharma