Peter Tase: What is the level of collaboration between Chitkara University and other Universities in the United States and the Western Hemisphere?
Rajnish Sharma: We have quite good relations with many Professors from many universities like Purdue University, Northern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin – Miwlaukee, Michigan State University, a few universities in Canada, France and many others. Relationships with some of the universities are quite matured as our students as well faculty members regularly visit these institutes. We are open to even more collaborations in future as well.
PT: What are some of the initiatives that Chitkara University has undertaken in collaboration with the Government of India?
RS: Chitkara University is essentially a Private State University, where Government of India is not bound to provide any kind of funding. But, owing to persistent efforts by some of the senior faculty members and a thoughtful leadership at the top, we have been consistently getting funds from Government of India to implement their various projects. Projects sanctioned by Government have been in the domain of studies on women empowerment, Thin films deposition and characterization, Simulation and implementation of low cost energy resources etc. That way, Government has been quite supportive and appreciative of our efforts.
PT: How has the graduation rate of engineering students been in the last five years at Chitkara University?
RS: Graduation rate has been improving only over the years. With a rigorous admission process in place, quality of students admitted in Engineering programs of the university is really very good. Hence, graduation rate is also quite high.
PT: In September 2013 you embarked in a three US Universities’ tour, what are some of the best practices that you have experienced in this tour and what are your plans to implement some of them at your University?
RS: I have been in touch with Professors from many of those universities. We do have a very unique concept of organizing a Global Engineering week (GEW) for our second year Engineering students. As a part of this program, we are going to host Professors from two of these universities such as Purdue University and UW-Milwaukee. Besides this, our Office of International Affairs is in regular contact with them and we really don’t want to leave any stone unturned to have a very healthy and mutual beneficial collaboration with all these universities.
PT: How would you describe the current bilateral relations between United States and India?
RS: It is more of a political question. But, on academic front, I feel USA has always been a most favored destination of Indian students for pursuing their MS / MBA degree programs. Number of students going to the United States for their higher education has been increasing year after year, which is quite a good sign. I might have written Recommendation letters for at least 15 of my students in the last semester.
I really look forward to a time, when we also start hosting American students for their degree programs. We really look forward to any such collaboration. Relationships between India and US have been kind of sweet and sour at times. But, over the years, it has only been healthy and stronger. I trust that, with internet removing the barriers of physical borders, countries have got no options rather than promote each other’s growth and academic partnerships. USA and India are also no different. This is absolutely a great time to live and be a witness of these changes.
PT: Where do you see Chitkara University College of Engineering in the next twenty years?
RS: In response to this question I remember a quote from a former professor of mine –
“An educational institute has to be one which remains the first choice for
· potential new admission students
· potential faculty members willing to come on board to serve the university
· potential employers for students, who come on campus to offer jobs to students.”
With the kind of high quality leadership in our University, we hope to realize this very soon. But, we would like to strengthen it and maintain it over years. Then, as I said earlier as well, we should start hosting American students as well for their higher education.
Dr. Rajnish Sharma is Dean (Academics) at School of Engineering and Technology in one of the most Academics and Student’s centered universities in Northern India, Chitkara University. He has been in this position since last five years. Prior to joining Chitkara University, he possesses a rich experience of being associated with country’s best research and teaching institutes like National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi and Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Rajasthan, India.
While holding the position of Dean (Academics) at Chitkara University, a hardworker and extremely enthusiastic Rajnish is living his childhood dream of being a Teacher first and then being in a position, where he could make a difference in improving the education standards in the country.
At his such a young age, he has been able to make a niche for himself in the academic circles. A Ph.D. in Electronic Sciences, he has around 18 research papers in International journal and conferences of repute. He has got published one book titled “Solid State Electronic Devices” from Oxford University Press to his credit. Besides this, he has successfully completed a government of India sponsored project on deposition and characterization of Diamond Like Carbon Films for futuristic applications related o microelectronic devices. He has been the reviewer’s panel list for many journals of international repute like Applied Physical Letters, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, Carbon and Current Applied Physics. His organization, Chitkara University has been a nodal center for conduct of regional activities for Indo US Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) and Rajnish has played a key role in not only smooth organization of these activities but also flourishing these activities further. A regular member of GEDC, he has represented his university at various National and International platforms like MRS symposium in USA in 2005, ASEE symposium in Hungary in 2009 and WEEF conference in Argentina in 2012.
He has been instrumental in establishing links of his university with core industries like nVidia Technologies, nXP Semiconductors, Texas Instruments, ARM Technologies, Cadence Technologies and National Instruments. As a part of these industry tieups, he has successfully motivated and guided students to takeup projects directly coming from these industries and provide solutions which are not only low cost but also more user friendly and time efficient.
Rajnish works with the philosophy that “It is not important only to be successful, but what is more important is whether you are finally satisfied with what you have been able to do for human kind”.
Chitkara University has bilateral agreements for faculty and student academic exchange with a number of prestigious universities in the world: Central Michigan University; University of Florida; Purdue University; San Diego State University; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Missouri University of Science and Technology; Kyungpook National University; Chosun University; Sangmyung University; Jungwon University.