In an exclusive interview conducted by Saurabh Sinha, Editor of IndianBureaucracy.com, Dr. Ashok Kumar Mittal, the Chancellor of Lovely Professional University (LPU), offers profound insights into his leadership and the educational landscape. This engaging conversation serves as a platform for exploring Dr. Mittal’s perspectives on various aspects, ranging from his vision for education to the pivotal role he plays in steering the trajectory of LPU. Through Sinha’s discerning questions, the interview unfolds the layers of Dr. Mittal’s experiences, shedding light on his significant contributions and the broader implications of his initiatives. This interview provides readers with a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the Chancellor, offering a glimpse into the person driving the strategic direction of one of India’s leading educational institutions.
Editor : What motivated you to establish this education institute?
Dr Mittal : Our family’s journey has been a story of big changes and growth. It all started with a small sweet shop and grew into a huge educational place for 35,000 students. It all began back in 1961 when my father, Sh.Baldev Raj Mittal, established ‘Lovely Sweets’ in Jalandhar Cantonment.
This idea of starting a shop grew bigger, and I, the youngest among my siblings and a law graduate, went on to create Lovely Autos using the success of Lovely Sweets. Later, in 2001, I felt grateful for what society gave us, so I began the Lovely Institute of Management. This initiative was driven by our family’s core principle of giving back to society what it graciously provided us. It marks a significant chapter in our commitment to reciprocate the support and opportunities bestowed upon us.
Editor : What definitive role do you wish to play in the field of higher education?
Dr Mittal : In my role in higher education, I’m committed to offering great education to students worldwide. As the Chancellor of Lovely Professional University, I aimed to create a place that offers exceptional learning chances. We focus on more than just good grades; our campus is safe, modern, and welcoming. What makes us unique is not just our academic success but also our advanced facilities. We provide to our students top-notch labs in partnership with Google, LINUX, and Python, offering hands-on learning and the latest tech.
My goal in higher education is to lead institutions toward inclusive and innovative education that meets students’ changing needs worldwide. Not only this I wanted India to stand in the field of education on the podium of no.1 and make the ideology making India “Vishv Guru” dream come true.
Editor : What are your long term objectives for the institution?
Dr Mittal : Our overarching objective resonates deeply with contributing to India’s self-reliance in the education domain. We are steadfast in our commitment to provide unparalleled education, striving to elevate the standard of education in India to international prominence. Specifically within LPU, our goal is to transform it into the quintessential Global Indian University, fostering a reputation that positions India as the world’s academic leader—a vision encapsulated in the term ‘Vishv Guru’ for our nation.
Our long-term vision encompasses sculpting LPU into a center of academic excellence on a global scale. We aim not just to produce graduates but to nurture innovative thinkers, leaders, and change-makers who can contribute meaningfully to the world while shaping India’s status as a global educational powerhouse.
Editor : In what ways does LPU distinguish itself from other institutions with regard to Academic Programs, Student Support and the overall education experience?
Dr Mittal : Established in 2005 under the Lovely Professional University Act, we began full operations in 2006 in Phagwara, Punjab. Our ties with bodies like UGC, NCTE, PCI, BCI, and others have led to significant growth. We’ve earned accolades like Highest NAAC grade A++ with 3.68 score on 4-point scale received by LPU, Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2023 and Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024, National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2023,
At LPU, we focus on more than just teaching – we prioritize essential skills needed to make a difference in society. Our courses match industry needs, moving away from old methods, ensuring graduates are ready for the job market.
We value entrepreneurship and innovation. Our Innovation and Start-up Policy 2022 guides students and faculty, creating an environment that supports new ideas and successful careers through our insightfully designed Career Pathways program where we make them ready for Corporate jobs, Government jobs, Higher Studies, Research, Entrepreneurship and Study Abroad. Our numerous achievements across fields show our commitment to top-notch academics and diverse activities, providing an education beyond the ordinary. We aim to equip young minds with modern skills in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship, making LPU a hub for impactful education.
Editor : In your capacity as a public representative and an educationalist, what initiatives do you undertake to contribute to society, and how do you extend support for education in economically disadvantaged segments of the community?
Dr Mittal : As a public representative and educator, my focus is on advancing society, especially by supporting education for those facing economic struggles.
I emphasize research and innovation in higher education. At LPU, we’ve been granted 58 Indian patents and 27 international patents in calendar year 2023 and Research papers (Scopus) 14362 along with Citations (Scopes) 120725 and H-Index 115 till 4th Jan’2024, aiming to create partnerships between academia and industry that benefit society.
We’re committed to national skill development. By aligning our programs with industry needs, we prepare students for jobs, contributing to the country’s skill development and resonating with the nation’s skill development agenda. Our efforts also reach economically disadvantaged communities. Through scholarships, mentorships, and outreach programs, we aim to provide quality education and opportunities for those facing financial challenges.
Editor : Is it possible for a student who excels academically but faces financial constraints to seek assistance from your institution?
Dr Mittal : Here at our institution, we believe everyone deserves a chance at great education, no matter their finances. Students excelling in studies but facing money problems can get help from us.
We’re committed to fairness and offering equal opportunities. We have many ways to support students facing money challenges. Scholarships are a big part of our help. They’re made to assist excellent students, no matter their money situation. With programs like LPU Nest scholarships, we aim to ease financial stress so talented students can pursue their studies wholeheartedly. Our goal is to make sure financial issues don’t stop anyone from getting a top education. Through these programs, we’re working to give all deserving students access to quality education and the support they need to succeed, no matter their financial situation.
Editor : To what extent does the campus community at LPU embody inclusivity?
Dr Mittal : We work hard to create an inclusive campus where everyone feels safe and respected. Our priority is ensuring a community where harassment of any kind is not tolerated. We take strong action against harassment. Our strict policies, like the Anti-Ragging, Student Grievance, and Anti-Sexual Harassment Policies, clearly outline what behavior is unacceptable and the consequences for it.
We’ve set up easy and private ways to report harassment incidents. We want everyone to feel safe reporting without fear. We keep reports confidential and support those who speak up, making sure actions are taken quickly.
Editor : What role does technology and digital tools play in shaping your teaching philosophy?
Dr Mittal : At our university, technology plays a huge role in how we teach and provide quality education that matches global standards.
We don’t just use technology a little – it’s a big part of how we teach. Using new tech has completely changed how we educate. We know that in today’s fast-changing world, using tech in teaching is vital to prepare students for a digital future. Our way of teaching focuses on making learning fun and including everyone. Technology helps a lot here. We use digital tools like videos, online platforms, and virtual labs to create different ways of learning. These tools make learning personal, suiting each student’s style and goals.
Tech isn’t just for classrooms. It helps us connect our students with people and ideas worldwide. Our digital platforms let students, teachers, and experts from anywhere talk and work together. Through online talks, teamwork, and access to many online resources, we encourage sharing ideas, different cultures, and learning from many subjects.
Editor : What are the primary three challenges you anticipate in the era of AI, and what strategies do you intend to employ to surmount them?
Dr Mittal : In the landscape of AI, we foresee three primary challenges:
Ethical Considerations: As AI continues to evolve, ethical dilemmas concerning data privacy, bias, and decision-making accountability become increasingly significant.
Workforce Transition: The integration of AI may disrupt traditional employment paradigms, leading to concerns about workforce transition and the need for upskilling and reskilling initiatives.
Security and Privacy Concerns: With the expansion of AI systems, there’s a parallel rise in cybersecurity threats, posing risks to sensitive data and privacy.
To address these challenges, our institution is dedicated to implementing the following strategies:
Ethical Framework and Oversight: We will establish a robust ethical framework and governance structure to ensure that AI applications align with ethical guidelines. This framework will emphasize transparency, fairness, and accountability in AI-related decisions.
Education and Skill Development: To navigate the changing job landscape, we will focus on educational programs that equip our students and workforce with the necessary skills in AI-related fields.
Cybersecurity Measures: Rigorous cybersecurity protocols and measures will be implemented to safeguard data integrity and privacy. Our institution will invest in cutting-edge security technologies and train our personnel.
At LPU, we are committed to staying at the forefront of these challenges by fostering an environment of continuous learning, innovation, and ethical AI deployment. These strategies align with our institution’s vision to prepare our community for the evolving technological landscape responsibly.
Editor : In the current era of standardized education systems, how do you foster the development of creativity and talent within your educational framework?
Dr Mittal : In the contemporary landscape of standardized education systems, Fostering creativity and talent within our educational framework amidst standardized systems is achieved through a multi-faceted approach. We prioritize interdisciplinary learning, experiential education, innovation hubs, personalized mentorship, and vibrant extracurricular activities to nurture students’ creativity and talents.
Editor :. What are the key global challenges confronting India’s education system?
Dr Mittal : India’s education system faces some big challenges, and at LPU, we’re aware of these issues and working to tackle them.
Firstly, making sure everyone, no matter their background, gets good education is a big task. We also want to link what students learn in school with what companies need in their employees. Next, getting everyone comfortable with technology is vital. Students and teachers need to know how to use new tech for learning. This helps them prepare for jobs in the future.
We also aim to make sure all students, including those with disabilities, get the education they need. Lastly, we’re adapting to new tech changes fast and finding new ways to teach that match how students learn. Tackling these challenges needs everyone’s efforts – policymakers, schools, businesses, and the community. At LPU, we’re doing our part by trying new teaching methods, connecting with companies, promoting inclusive education, and focusing on tech skills to help students do well in a global job market.
Editor : How does the college, serving as an extension of your beliefs and vision, facilitate students’ career development and ensure their preparedness for the workforce upon graduation?
Dr Mittal : At LPU, we’re all about getting students ready for the job world when they finish studying. We do this by making sure what we teach matches what companies need from their employees.
Our courses are made with help from industry experts, so students learn things that are useful in real jobs. We also focus on giving students hands-on experience through internships, visits to companies, and practical projects. This helps students use what they learn in real-life situations. We also offer extra training programs that cover skills needed in jobs today, like communication skills and technical knowledge. These extra skills help our students stand out when they’re looking for a job.
Lastly, we have a team that helps students find job opportunities. They organize events where students can meet employers and give advice on careers. Our goal is to make sure students are ready and confident to start their careers after they graduate.
Editor : Could you provide insights into the placement facilities at LPU?
Dr Mittal : Our aim is to help students get great jobs once they finish studying. We have a team dedicated to this called the Division of Career Services. They connect our students with companies looking to hire new employees.
We arrange events such as job fairs and sessions like the Placement Enhancement Program Classes (PEP), wherein prominent companies visit our campus to engage with our students. These events offer students an opportunity to showcase their skills and secure employment across various fields.
Additionally, we assist students in enhancing their abilities via specialized training initiatives. These programs concentrate on areas such as refining interview communication, augmenting technical expertise, and preparing for job interviews through Competitive Exams & Higher Studies under the dedicated Centre for Professional Enhancement(CPE). Our objective is to ensure students feel self-assured and well-prepared for their job applications.
Editor : Based on your life’s experiences, what are the primary 2-3 principles or beliefs that you consider crucial for achieving success in life?
Dr Mittal : In life, I believe in a few important ideas that help achieve success.
Thinking Big: Having big dreams and goals is crucial. It inspires innovation, determination, and perseverance.
Focus and Determination: Staying focused on goals, even when faced with challenges, helps achieve success.
Being Competitive and Adaptable: Competition drives improvement, and being adaptable helps in changing situations.
Role of gamification in achieving success is significant and multifaceted. By integrating game-like elements such as challenges, rewards, and interactive experiences into various processes, gamification enhances engagement, motivation, and learning outcomes. Its ability to make tasks enjoyable and immersive promotes better retention of information and boosts productivity. Ultimately, gamification serves as a powerful tool in cultivating engagement, improving performance, and attaining success across diverse domains.
These beliefs come from my experiences. At LPU, we try to teach these values to students, encouraging them to think big, stay focused, be competitive, and adapt to different situations.
Editor : Is there a specialized department focused on public policy within your institution?
Dr Mittal : At LPU, we highly esteem the impact of public policy on shaping societies. While maintaining a dedicated department focusing solely on Public Administration and Political Sciences, we also integrate aspects of public policy into diverse subjects and courses spanning our disciplines.
Our educational philosophy emphasizes a holistic approach, incorporating subjects pertaining to public policy, governance, and social sciences within our academic programs. These topics empower students to comprehend the processes involved in policy formulation, analysis, and implementation, thereby refining their critical thinking and analytical proficiencies. Moreover, at LPU, we actively promote research endeavors concerning policy-related issues. This initiative provides both students and faculty with opportunities to explore contemporary challenges and propose viable solutions. Additionally, we host events such as seminars and workshops, facilitating discussions among experts on public policy matters, imparting valuable real-world insights to students.
Our steadfast dedication revolves around instilling a deep understanding of these principles in our students. Our goal is for them to acknowledge their social responsibilities, actively participate in societal affairs, and grasp the complex realm of policy-making that goes beyond singular academic fields. This commitment is evident through diverse programs such as NARI, Samarpan, SAATHI, Gyandeep, etc. Here, our students engage in activities like distributing sanitary pads in rural areas, raising awareness about this initiative, organizing plantation drives, and conducting blood donation camps to support nearby or adopted villages.
The Editor extends appreciation to Chancellor Dr. Ashok Kumar Mittal for graciously sparing time from his busy schedule, balancing commitments in the educational realm and his role as a Member of Parliament, as many will find inspiration in his visionary outlook.
IndianBureaucracy.com wishes Shri Mittal and LPU the very best.