‘Not a big, fat university’: Shoolini University VC on the private institution

‘Not a big, fat university’: Shoolini University VC on the private institution.

‘Not a big, fat university’: Shoolini University VC on the private institution Atul Khosla, Vice Chancellor, Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh
Pritha Roy Choudhury | Jul 27, 2022 - 5:39 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Shoolini University, a research-focused multidisciplinary private university founded in 2009, has quickly found itself a spot among the top 1,000 institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2023. In a conversation with Careers360, Atul Khosla, vice-chancellor, spoke about how the university remained research-focused and is ready to handhold every deserving student.

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Q. Every programme Shoolini offers is a science – management science, legal science, pharmaceutical science, yogic science. Help us understand this framing of the courses.

A. Let me go back a little to explain. The genesis of Shoolini was threefold. First, we believe that any university in the world has to bring true research and innovation. A university without deep research and innovation is not a university. The second belief is that you have to work with those less privileged and make sure that quality education reaches the masses; and the third is that we are in the profession of integrity and as a result, we have to make sure that everything we do is truly not for profit and we are true to our mission. These are the three beliefs around which we built Shoolini and because we are very research-centric, we believe that everything in the world is ‘science’.

Science is just a word. Everything around us and what we do in the world is a form of science. We are multidisciplinary because we have yogic sciences, hospitality, we have got law and technology, of course, computer science, AI, biology, natural science, journalism, management science – all of that. The NEP talks about multidisciplinary education. We started doing that right at the time of inception. Our research and innovation platform is
very unique.

In the QS rankings for example, we are India’s third best private university. We rank in the 800 to 1,000 [bracket] globally. That’s a big achievement. This is because of our undiluted focus on research and innovation. Our students have filed more than 1,000 patents so far. Many of them are now in the process of commercialisation and many of the patents have
been granted.

Also we believe that we are brutally efficient as a university in terms of how we deliver our curriculum, how we deliver the infrastructure and the use of a heavy dose of technology. So in a nutshell, we believe we are a university which is disruptive and very different from other big fat universities.

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Q. How do you select students for admission?

A. We are marks-agnostic. We don’t believe that marks truly reflect a student’s ability. So, we have a combination of our entrance examination or we use some global benchmarks like the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and every student is also interviewed. It is a combination of the basic aptitude exam and an ability to learn and innovate, which we look for. In some programmes, we have an admission-to-application ratio of more than 1:50, like our summit research programme which is India’s first undergraduate programme with research. We started it five years ago and for every seat, we have more than 50 applications. Today we have students from 26 different states and nine countries.

Q. What does the school of advanced chemical science focus on?

A. Chemistry and chemical science are at the heart of every science. So we have a separate advanced school of science that is looking into issues around purifying water, medicine, a confluence of biology and chemistry, confluence of chemistry and physics to solve the tough problems like water, energy
and power.

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Q. How many of your students are on scholarships?

A. Twenty percent of our students study on some scholarship or the other. Many of them are on freeships. A very sizable part of our cost goes into funding students. We raise endowments and we raise scholarships through friends and family. Here, scholarships are more based on need and we don’t give ones that are more like marketing tricks.

Two things I will emphasise about Shoolini are research and focus on students from underprivileged backgrounds. Our rankings demonstrate that what we do is right and I will be happy to share our learning with other universities if they want to follow our path and learn from our work.

Twenty percent of our students study on some scholarship or the other. Many of them are on freeships. A very sizable part of our cost goes into funding students. We raise endowments and we raise scholarships through friends and family

The NEP talks about multidisciplinary education. We started doing that right at the time of inception. Our research and innovation platform is very unique. In the QS rankings for example, we are India’s third best private university. We rank in the 800 to 1,000 [bracket] globally.


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