Prof (Dr) Asha Verma, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Dean, IILM Law School

Prof (Dr) Asha Verma is a seasoned professional with 20 years of work experience in Academic Administration, Educational Leadership, and holistic development of empowered personalities. She is the Pro Vice-Chancellor of IILM University and Dean of Law School. Her core expertise lies in human rights, environmental law, the transfer of property act, professional ethics, research methodology, the law of contract, labour laws, and constitutional law. She is also a guest speaker regularly invited to deliver insightful lecture sessions in numerous seminars, conferences etc.

But what truly makes Dr Asha a successful change-maker and a woman leader are her distinct qualities of persuasiveness, entrepreneurial skills, resilience, and innovativeness. She is a woman of substance who believes in recreating herself for a meaningful and bright tomorrow and never fails to transcend boundaries to leave a legacy behind.

Lessons that Helped Shape into a Dynamic Leader

As an army child, Dr Asha did her schooling in various parts of the country. After completing her 12th, she got accepted into Kurukshetra University and preferred staying in a girls’ hostel to ensure stability in pursuing her higher education. In fact, Dr Asha’s father wanted her to accomplish the study of Law, as opposed to her relatives, who were not in favour of the same as pursuing law was considered a wrong career choice for girls during those days. This, however, did not deter her spirits. She even got selected for MA (English), but courageous and determined that she was, her first and foremost preference remained LLB.

Talking about Dr Asha’s personality, she has always been an extrovert throughout her life, given her army background. She learned swimming, horse riding, and driving from an early age, which always kept her ahead of her generation. She also never hesitated to voice her opinions, follow her dreams, and chase her passion. The strong ethical values inculcated by her parents in her and diverse life experiences have made Dr Asha the dynamic leader she is today.

IILM Law School: Continuing the Legacy of Excellence

Established in 2019, IILM Law School is one of India’s premier law schools offering an unmatched environment of excellence, a flourishing intellectual life, and an abundance of opportunities to engage with the law. With almost 50 courses taught by renowned faculty and a thriving network of law firms and intellectual centres, IILM Law School provides rich and challenging ways to gain the skills necessary to impact the world.

Roles and Responsibilities

Dr Asha’s roles and responsibilities as a Pro Vice-Chancellor of IILM and Dean of Law School include administrative management, developing strategic initiatives for the University & Law School’s progress, and participating in long-term planning and policy decisions pertaining to the university and the all-round development of the students.

“It is my persistent endeavour to focus on curriculum development, institutional assessment and improvement, faculty development and appraisals and fostering a congenial atmosphere for academic development and skill enhancement,” shares Dr Asha. “I also plan to use my experience for the optimum development of IILM University as a world-class institute by initiating progressive curriculum development evolving excellent academic planning for the all-round development of empowered personalities.”

Guiding Principles behind a Successful Career

Since the beginning of her career, Dr Asha has been guided by two cardinal principles; firstly, not compromising her morals/ethics/professional ethics, and secondly, continuing to work hard with sincerity and dedication combating every challenge that had and continues to come her way. She bestows credit upon God’s blessings that she never faced any struggles in her personal life or professional career issues. “The simple motto of my life is to take life as it comes, and here I am, cheering to this beautiful life with a broad smile and a contended heart,” mentions Dr Asha.

Inspiring Others and Making a Positive Impact

As the Pro Vice-Chancellor of IILM and Dean of Law School, Dr Asha has always encouraged and motivated her faculty and students to accomplish their goals through persistent efforts and sincerity. Her strategies, mission, and vision for the law school have positively benefited the Institution and the benchmarks set by her favour building a positive mindset, updated knowledge, and enhanced skills.

Furthermore, as a catalyst, Dr Asha’s leadership has unleashed energy throughout the educational system eliminating roadblocks that could prevent the transformation of ideas into reality; fostering connections across the organisation; helping people connect what they’re working on, to uphold the organisation’s vision and mission and to encourage an inclusive and welcoming environment of wholeness, where people can bring their authentic selves to work in energising and sustainable ways.

Father as a Role Model

Dr Asha’s father has been her role model in life. He taught her the value of education with two basic mantras; never compromise her personal or professional ethics and always believe in hard work, as there are no shortcuts to success.

“Whatever I have achieved today is because of his guidance and my persistent and sincere efforts,” shares Dr Asha. “My determination defines me, and my desire to be a face in the crowd compels me to strive for excellence and to be better each day.”

Women Still a Minority in Leadership Positions

According to Dr Asha, women in leadership roles are still a minority in India, resulting in inequality in management roles. However, despite women making steady progress in various domains, it has been observed that the number of women representing Indian Institutions and Universities as Vice Chancellor, Dean, Director etc., is significantly low. So, women still have a long way to go in accomplishing leadership positions. Societal, organisational, and individual factors have accounted for women remaining a minority in leadership positions in the country.

Therefore, to break these barriers, policy-makers, administrators, and leaders must take steps to increase the number of Indian women in leadership roles by creating avenues for recruiting women employees in managerial positions, providing adequate training to women to enhance their skills for leadership positions, to encourage women-friendly culture and flexible working schedules, providing equal opportunity to rule out gender disparity and policy changes to promote exclusive women leadership.

Keeping Up with the Latest Trends in Education

Since childhood, Dr Asha’s father inculcated the habit of reading the newspaper daily in her. This habit has continued to date and helps her to stay updated with the current trends. She has numerous online subscriptions to legal information portals to keep her apprised of legal issues. She also attends conferences/seminars/webinars/symposiums etc., based on ongoing problems and trends. Moreover, her habit of reading textbooks, fiction, autobiographies, etc., magnifies her understanding.

A Day in the Life of an Educational Leader

Dr Asha’s day at work begins with brief meetings with her Law Team and University staff, followed by many academics, co-curricular activities, etc., that keep her busy throughout the day. As a Dean, she also patiently addresses any concerns/grievances of the students, staff, and faculties each day.

There are times when Dr Asha faces challenges but always tries to keep herself calm and focused amidst them. If she experiences surmounting pressure during stressful challenges, one significant thought she keeps in mind is to foster and maintain mutual respect and understanding within her team and team members. This allows her to transform her emotions into becoming more complacent and understanding. “I am an ardent follower of Osho, so meditation is a part of my life and the solution to sort out stress and anxiety and keep myself grounded and composed,” reveals Dr Asha. Likewise, spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, and travelling helps her to unwind from work.

Reforms Needed in the Education System

As an experienced leader, Dr Asha would like to explore new dimensions of legal education and research and enhance the current education system’s scope by using modern teaching pedagogy and improvising the curriculum to match the updated trends. She would also like to change the current education system by focusing extensively on better standards, more accountability, the autonomous structure of the institution, parent involvement, periodic assessments, better incentives for faculty, and education partnership.

Work in Progress

Currently, Dr Asha is working on expanding the horizon of IILM Gurugram. She also intends to focus on extensive research projects, developing the curriculum, and inviting an eminent range of experts for sessions on emerging areas of law, such as legislators, policymakers, judges, international agencies, CEOs, social activists, legal scholars, industry, and policy specialists, etc. for workshops, symposia, and seminars to enrich the intellectual life of the IILM community and to inculcate ethical, cultural, and legal values for holistic development.

Leading Efforts Towards Higher Goals

One of Dr Asha’s biggest aspirations is to make IILM Law School one of the most sought-after legal institutions in India in terms of quality education, research-based education, and disciplined and skilled students with clear & focused vision. “I am confident that the product of this prestigious Institution is bound to make a mark in life as a responsible citizen of the country and a great human being,” asserts Dr Asha.

Furthermore, Dr Asha endeavours to make IILM University a centre of quality education guided by upcoming trends. One of the initiatives she aims to take in this direction is to structure the university’s educational program and policies to achieve core competencies in various disciplines and build a highly skilled human resource for the country. Dr Asha also plans to ensure that her goals are specific, achievable, measurable and time-limited. Likewise, she aims to set up new paradigms shifting the focus to research-based education and transforming the university into a centre of knowledge, a facilitator of innovative and creative instincts, a promoter of entrepreneurial talent, and a knowledge pioneer promoting intellectual leadership.

Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Female Leaders

Dr Asha advises aspiring women leaders to keep articulating their vision, believe in their potential, learn to say ‘No’ where required, set goals, and make sure they want to go that extra mile to become successful leaders. She concludes, “It takes hard work, time, tenacity, networking alliance building, optimism, humility, ambition and daring to achieve your goals.’’

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