Interview By Shabbir Sarwar & Ali Arshad
Photography – By Abdullah Qureshi
Newly appointed Vice Chancellor says there is no politics in LCWU
Lahore College for Women University’s newly appointed regular vice chancellor Dr. Uzma Qureshi has decided to focus on infrastructure and facutly development, shifting to solar energy, establishing a world class globally linked central library with bringing in openness to the university environment by inviting student feedback. her exclusive talk with The educationist team during a recent interview follows as:
The Educationist: Please tell us about your early life and education?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: I have spent my early life in Sargodha and my Schooling is from Convent School then I joined Kinnaird College. I did one of my degree from NCa in arts then worked as a freelancer artist. My PhD is in education management and planning from Birmingham University, UK. I did my post-doctorate from Cambridge University on the topic of higher education and Gender equity as focus of my research. I am serving in LCWU since December 2010 and in March 2015 was become a dean of education faculty.
The Educationist: earlier you served as an acting VC of LCWU and now you have been appointed as a regular vice chancellor for a four years’ term. how do you feel?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: I feel great sense of responsibility. I have understood this university more in depth in last five months (when out of VC office). My priority would be academics and academics, whatever goes around that. First of all we should be honest in our work and there is no shortcut. Those who adopt shortcuts they don’t get a long lasting success.
The Educationist: What practical steps should be taken on character building of our students?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: I feel personally the first practical step is to demonstrate good values. I plan to have quality circles around the students. I want to see my students to feel comfortable to feel empowered and when they speak truth they don’t feel negative consequence. University is open to criticism, it will invite students’ feedback. Secondly, curriculum is not just a textbook and classroom. It is all about around the university (we will also focus on informal means of education out of the interest of students). In this year we would shift to solar energy. I am negotiating with different companies. Initial investment is 1.5 million to go solar. We are also collaborating with some Chinese universities as a part of CPEC.
The Educationist: What would you say about previous acting vice chancellor’s decisions. Would you upheld or stop, especially decentralization of the examination system in the college?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: Decentralization of examination system was just an idea. In case of decentralization of examination, it would be difficult to maintain quality. I was also wounding about this idea. It was just talked about.
The Educationist: What are your top three priorities for LCWU as a vice chancellor?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: I will improve classrooms and infrastructure. We don’t have central library, we will
establish a world class central library with global connections and worldwide research data excess. We will focus on faculty development, we are going to conduct selection boards very soon. We will prefer PhD teachers’ appointment as per the heC criteria.
The Educationist: How we can produce quality research in our universities?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: We can get quality research and we have to do away with our focus on numbers merely. I will encourage our faculty members to go for the research which is relevant, connected with society and productive also. It should not sit on the shelves, while it should be applied and useful research. Good environment is most important for research. We need to bring equity and equality in our culture. That will determine the quality of research also. We are going to start the old-New academics Group. Senior faculty members who are retired they will come back for sharing their experiences with students and faculty.
The Educationist: Many public sector vice chancellors face teacher unions’ pressures, what about LCWU?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: We are very blessed with good peoples. It all depend on institutional head, how much he/she is like. Lahore College for Women University don’t have any teachers’ politics.
The Educationist: What message would you like to deliver to LCWU teachers and students?
Dr. Uzma Qureshi: My message is work with integrity and do hard work. If you want to become successful in your life, integrity and hard work would take you far ahead in life, as nothing else.