Prof. (Dr.) Rajendra Kumar Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Jaypee University of Information Technology

Prof. (Dr.) Rajendra Kumar Sharma is the Vice Chancellor of the Jaypee University of Information Technology (JUIT), Himachal Pradesh, India. He is a seasoned professional with over three decades of top academic and leadership experience in the education industry. He has handled research projects from various funding agencies, a significant portion of which has been funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India.

Additionally, Dr Rajendra has guided several students in their master’s thesis and 22 students in their PhD thesis. His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed, high-impact factor, national and international journals, including the Journal of Soft Computing, Applied Soft Computing, Neural Computing and Applications, and Artificial Intelligence Review. He is also a life member of prestigious societies such as the Indian Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Punjab Science Congress Association, and Global WordNet Organization, to name a few.

Extensive Professional Experiences that Helped Shape into a Successful Leader

After completing his MSc in Applied Mathematics, MPhil in Computer Applications, and PhD in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee, Dr Rajendra joined HNB Garhwal University as a Lecturer in Computer Science. He then joined Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology (TIET), Patiala, where he learned much from his peers. He was given numerous roles and responsibilities, including Dean of Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty Affairs, and many others. In August 2021, he joined JUIT as its Vice-Chancellor.

Looking back at his career pathway, all these previous experiences not only helped Dr Rajendra to attain his current leadership position but are even now helping him to accomplish his everyday responsibilities associated with this role. He also believes that family literacy can change the lives of each family member, a fact that has turned out true for he himself. Likewise, the lessons of life that he learnt from his parents and teachers helped shape him into a successful educator and a leader. “My father used to tell me that knowledge is the only treasure that increases on sharing, and so, I have been following this policy all my life, and possibly this is one of the reasons why I became a teacher,” states Dr Rajendra.

Jaypee University of Information Technology: Grooming the Future of the World with Education

JUIT is a private university recognised by the state government of Himachal Pradesh, India. The academic activities of JUIT commenced in July 2002 and currently offer undergraduate BTech, MTech, and doctoral programs in various fields. The University has been accredited twice by NAAC in 2011 and 2017 and was ranked 138 among engineering colleges by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in 2022.

“Our vision is to become a centre of excellence in the field of IT and related emerging areas in education, training, and research comparable to the best in the world for producing professionals who shall be leaders in innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and management,” shares Dr Rajendra.

State-of-the Art Infrastructure & Facilities

The campus of JUIT is spread across 25 acres of lush green picturesque slopes of Waknaghat hills in the Solan District of Himachal Pradesh. The Wi-Fi-enabled campus encompasses an academic block with a spacious auditorium, lecture theatres, classrooms, tutorial rooms, laboratories, administrative offices, faculty offices, and a library. The second terrace of the hill has all the hostels, students’ mess, guestrooms, helipad, outdoor sports facilities, and a dispensary.

Moreover, JUIT is home to Pan-Indian students. However, most of the students are from the Northern part of the country. Here, admissions are offered based on JEE mains ranking and 10+2 merit basis. Therefore, quality students are admitted at JUIT and are provided with the most advanced facilities to attain their academic & career goals and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Fostering a Conducive Environment for Faculty & Students

As the Vice Chancellor, Dr Rajendra has always focused on developing policies and processes for JUIT’s functions. He further quotes Mahatma Gandhiji, the father of our nation, who once said, ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world’. As a firm believer of this quote, Dr Rajendra feels that if he can create a conducive environment for his faculty members and students at JUIT, half of his job will be done, leading to a myriad of successes at various levels.

Therefore, one of the major initiatives started by Dr Rajendra in this direction is forming several inter-departmental groups to encourage the culture of collaboration and innovation at JUIT. He adds, “This initiative will also enable us to give a very conducive environment for the young minds of today so that they develop into good citizens of our nation.” In addition, Dr Rajendra has majorly emphasised the signing of new National and International MoUs with reputed universities, research laboratories, and industries.

Most recently, LMS Moodle was implemented at JUIT.  This platform will help the university provide an integrated learning and evaluation environment for students and faculty. From a seasoned educator’s perspective, Dr Rajendra considers all these initiatives as key drivers in helping JUIT to improve its national and global status and a pathway to guide students towards a brighter future.

Challenges Encountered by Research-Focused Universities

According to Dr Rajendra, one of the biggest challenges Indian Universities face while promoting research inside the campus is inadequate research grants. To top it off, private Indian universities find it more challenging to acquire funding to conduct research. Similarly, qualitative and applicable research is another aspect the current academicians should focus on.

“The places conducting qualitative and applicable research are very few in our country, and so, I am trying to help my colleagues balance their professional and personal lives to improve the research culture at JUIT,” states Dr Rajendra. He further shares that intra- and inter-departmental collaborative research groups can help the University in this direction.

Significant Milestones of JUIT Faculty & Students

Recently, six of the projects submitted by JUIT faculty members have been approved by State/National agencies for funding, which is remarkable. Moreover, Dr Rajendra and the management team are now actively leading efforts towards filing the patents. Likewise, the mean salary of JUIT students through campus/off-campus selections is also steadily increasing. Hence, transforming students into the 21st-century workforce will be JUIT management’s top focus.

Must-Have Trait in Educators

Dr Rajendra feels the one trait present-day educators must possess is the passion for teaching. He explains, “It is essential for educators to be passionate about their work and genuinely care for their student’s progress and development to the level that we do for our own children.”

Working Towards Fulfilling a Vision

“My vision for JUIT is to make it a world-class institution delivering quality education to our dear students. Additionally, my vision is to prepare professional ethical engineers who can compete in any situation and get settled in their lives comfortably. They should also contribute to the progress of our society and country through their innovations and products,” reveals Dr Rajendra.

Roadmap for the Future

As a technology-oriented University, JUIT is working towards fulfilling its goal to be placed among the top 75 NIRF institutions by 2024. Furthermore, Dr Rajendra and his team will continue to focus on improving the quality of education and campus life for their students, faculty members, and staff. “We are very close to nature. Therefore, maintaining a peaceful environment is not a big deal, but we continuously try to deal with other adverse conditions,” concludes Dr Rajendra.

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