WeSchool Group Director sheds light on what goes into the process of receiving autonomy and how they plan to utilize the status
Last week, Prin L.N .Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool) was granted an autonomous status by the University of Mumbai, for a term of five years – till 2020. WeSchool Group Director, Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe will now shed light on what goes into the process of receiving autonomy, how they plan to utilize the status and constraints of such a status.
Q. What was the process to receive an autonomous status?
A. A thorough audit was conducted by the State and University Grants Commission appointed committees, which looked into excellence in academic performance, capability of self governance and enhancement in quality of education. It took two years for this entire process.
Q. What do you plan to do with this status?
A. We have been granted autonomy for the two-year, full-time, Master in Management Studies and three year, part-time Masters viz MMM, MIM, MFM and MHRDM for experienced professionals. Since we have just received the status, changes will be initiated now, however, major changes will take place in the academic session 2016-17.
With this status, we plan to better structure these programmes, design course curricula as per industry requirements and plan better opportunities and longer periods of internships for students, in short, incorporate flexibility to teach contemporary curriculum, and combine it with application orientations for greater employability. We will stress more on design thinking and innovation and use case studies more generously to teach students.
We will evaluate with all our stakeholders and and add a few more new age inter-disciplinary courses such as the Integrative Manager, also relook at the current examination pattern to make it more application-driven and less theoretical. With autonomy, it will be easier to follow the continuous evaluation system to gauge student performances.
As more and more employers have begun to look for candidates with a Masters degree that is highly relevant to their respective sector, or will provide one with better skills, we will rethink on the structure of part-time Masters Programs as professionals come with a few years of work experience and deserve to start a course at a higher level.
We will invite more guest speakers to discuss topics related to governance so that our future managers think of ways to enhance it through their ideas. This status will also help us in creating opportunities for our students to mingle with international innovators, expert faculty from foreign Universities as well as corporate leaders.
We will concentrate on reverse mentoring process, wherein our faculty members will spend more time in the industry, so that they can come back with enhanced knowledge of the sectors and teach industry relevant topics.
Q. There have been cases in the past where city colleges have refused to accept an autonomous status. Are there any constraints of the status?
A. Institutions with a good track record and especially those that are granted autonomous status should be encouraged by the government because to impart high quality, world-class education, we need to invest for excellence.
Our endeavour would be to support meritorious but economically disadvantaged students with soft loans from banks and other institutions, to ensure that such students are not deprived of education due to lack of resources.
If IIMs are being given autonomy to charge fees as per their statutes, why not other autonomous institutes in the country?