Prof. Appa Rao Podile, who has been appointed as the new vice-chancellor of University of Hyderabad (UoH), says he has a clear vision of enhancing the university’s academic standards. In an interaction with Express, Rao shares his views on recent controversies at universities and his plans to tackle administrative issues. Excerpts:
There was tight competition for the post. Did you expect your name in the final list?
I was not sure about my selection when I saw nearly 200 senior faculty members competing for the post. But I grew confident when I was chosen from among the final three candidates. My presentation on my plans to develop the university in the next five years before the selection committee gave me more confidence. But it was a tight competition indeed.
Your long stint at UoH must make you aware of the challenges you are going to face as VC. What is your agenda to tackle the administrative issues that arise often?
After spending a long time at this university, I am well aware of the challenges of VC. I am also aware of the administrative issues on the campus. I believe that these issues can be solved with right communication with the parties concerned. More focus should be given to academics.
Unlike the previous two VCs, you have five years of time to focus on pending issues. Can we expect any progress on academic issues such as the controversy over school of Earth Sciences and AICTE recognition for M.Tech courses?
I have plans to to resolve all these issues. But at this moment I may not explain how I am going to resolve each individual issue. I have a long-term plan to enhance the academic standards and improve the university’s ranking in the global chart. A VC alone can not take decisions on such matters. Our academic council will find the right solutions to academic problems. We all have to work together.
But the university has recently been in news for controversies like police presence on the campus and security raid on the house of a faculty member. These issues attracted more attention than the academic achievements. How are you going to handle controversies that have become a frequent occurrence in the past one year?
As I said such issues will not have to make news. Some people may have their own interest to sensationalise even small problems. These issues could have been avoided with right approach and proper communication. Instead of finding ways to handle controversies, we should rather not let them arise in the first place. I will try my best to keep the university free of such controversies so that we can focus more on academics. My biggest challenge is to make everyone work towards achieving the academic targets. The focus will be on introducing new courses, developing research facilities and improving the infrastructure. These factors will help us maintain our image as the best central university in the country.
As VC you will have more responsibilities. Will you continue to teach?
I will continue teaching. Despite my busy schedule I hope to continue to guide research scholars as well. So far I have guided 17 scholars who have finished their Ph.D. Currently, nine of them are working under my guidance.