“The new-age industry seeks talent that could be “plug-in-play” for their organizations. But I realized that ‘what institutions are creating’ and ‘what industry is demanding’ beholds a huge gap. We first need to bridge that gap,” says S Satnam Singh Sandhu, eminent edupreneur and Chancellor of Chandigarh University, in an interview with Khushbu Agrahari for The Education Post Online. Here are the excerpts
Tell us something about yourself and what inspired you to be an academician?
I come from a humble background of land tillers from a small village of Rasulpur in Punjab. When I was young, I had limited access to quality education. I was required to cover a great distance to reach school and later had to migrate to the city to get a quality higher education. Those formative years and the struggle that came with it turned it into my mission to build an institution providing quality education so that no other youngster misses out on it.
We believe in making our students industry-ready as soon as they step out of the university
As we know Chandigarh University is one of Asia’s fastest growing institutes, that too in a short span of time. What’s the Story behind your success?
My success comes from my team, who has worked tirelessly towards making us reach where we are today, and our simple mantra – never say no to learning and adopting new things. And above all, it’s our talented students & faculty who have brought many national & international laurels in the field of academics, research, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.
What’s the vision or the objective of the University, and how do you, as a founder chancellor of the institution, contributing towards it?
Our vision is to be a globally recognized center of excellence for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. It’s something that can only be achieved through the continuous efforts of everyone involved. I give my strategic inputs from time to time and rest is taken forward by the various core committees of the University.
Chandigarh Group of colleges today has become a milestone for new age education and new generation students, be it in terms of imparting quality education or Market trends. Kindly throws some light on it.
The new-age industry seeks talent that could be “plug-in-play” for their organizations. But I realized that ‘what institutions are creating’ and ‘what industry is demanding’ beholds a huge gap. And for better job prospects of our students, we first need to bridge that gap and hence we started collaborating with the leading corporates. We introduced industry-aligned curricula and industry sponsored Centers of Excellence in the campus to keep up with the dynamic corporate needs. Our exceptional placements are a testimony to our strong industry patronage.
We are the only university to file the highest number of patents in 2018-19
Chandigarh University is India’s first of its kind institution to set up a corporate statutory body with some top multiple nationals board of members for student welfare. Tell us about it.
We believe in making our students industry-ready as soon as they step out of the university. To achieve that, we have set up a unique Corporate Advisory Board, which has around 300 dignitaries such as VPs, MDs, and Directors from leading MNCs including Google, IBM, Microsoft among others. The board meets regularly with our management and faculty members for strategic planning, quality assurance, and to make sure that our programs and teaching pedagogies are industry-relevant. This has really given our students a huge edge over others.
Your university and its students have always hogged the limelight for good initiatives worldwide. What are the other achievements you would like to share with us?
We are the only university to file the highest number of patents in 2018-19. In just a span of 8 years, we have filed over 800 patents and over 100 start-ups are running successfully. We are the Youngest University to become National champions beating many established names in the education sector. Our students have been making us proud at national and international competitions in curricular and sports. The list is endless and is growing each year.
We not only believe in providing jobs but also creating jobs by encouraging entrepreneurship among our students
What are the future goals of Chandigarh University?
We have already become the youngest NAAC A+ accredited university in India and now we are aiming to feature in World QS Rankings to meet our long-term goal of achieving global excellence. And I’m sure we are on the right track.
We heard CU is the first University to be granted with technology business incubator from Government of India? CU has its own entrepreneurial cells to support Startup India initiatives. Tell us more on that note.
We not only believe in providing jobs but also creating jobs by encouraging entrepreneurship among our students. We have Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Cell (IEDC) and Technology Business Incubator (TBI) to help students to turn their innovative ideas into enterprises. CU-TBI provides financial assistance, mentorship and other facilitates to budding entrepreneurs. An annual budget of Rs 2 crores has been earmarked for this cause. I am glad that our students have been making the most of it with their amazing ventures.
You are a lighthouse forever in Punjab state with your university. What are your plans for expansion of courses and centres outside the state?
We strive at making our curricula in sync with the evolving industry standards, that’s why every year our academic board discusses new courses in the emerging fields. There are many new courses lined up for the upcoming session as well in the field of new technologies & Liberal Arts and we will notify the public on this very soon.