Dr. Manjula Jain

Redefining Academic Excellence

Dr. Manjula Jain

Dean Academics,

Teerthanker Mahaveer University

Navigating the challenging terrain from a humble start as a lecturer to reaching the zenith of academic leadership requires more than mere ambition—it demands unwavering dedication, relentless perseverance, and an unyielding commitment to excellence. As an accomplished academic leader with 24 years of dedicated experience in the field, Dr. Manjula Jain’s professional journey in the education space epitomises this ascent up the stairs of academic progression, where each step signifies not just a milestone but a testament to her tireless dedication and unwavering pursuit of educational excellence.
Dr. Manjula’s ascent from lecturer to academic dean is a saga marked by transformative experiences. Her journey commenced with a master’s degree in 1999 and a doctorate in management, securing a gold medal with top honours in MBA and UGC-NET qualifications. Building upon this foundation of research and discovery, she earned her stripes at the esteemed Indian Institute of Management, Shillong in Advance General Management in 2023, which laid the groundwork for a career marked by continuous learning and intellectual exploration. Transitioning from lecturer to dean and director, Dr. Manjula’s dedication to fostering enriched learning environments and innovative teaching methodologies became evident. These foundational years shaped her insights into academic administration, setting the stage for her influential roles.
Her career trajectory reached new heights as the University Associate Dean (Academics) at Teerthanker Mahaveer University (TMU). However, her pinnacle moment arrived in 2022 with her appointment as University Dean of Academics at TMU. Here, she implemented groundbreaking policies, fostering a culture of research and innovation through curriculum redesign, technology integration, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
TradeFlock interviewed Dr. Manjula to understand her journey in the field of education and how she is transforming the ecosystem at TMU. 

What are your primary responsibilities and challenges as Dean of Academics?

My primary role revolves around ensuring academic excellence at the university. This encompasses overseeing curriculum development, faculty advancement, student success initiatives, accreditation maintenance, admissions enhancement, strategic planning, budget management, and fostering communication among various stakeholders. Challenges include managing resources effectively, integrating evolving technology, promoting diversity and inclusion, adapting to global educational shifts, complying with changing regulations, maintaining academic rigour, and crisis management during unforeseen events like the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating these responsibilities necessitates proactive measures, staying informed, fostering collaboration, and embracing adaptability to drive success in my role.

What innovative teaching methods or programmes have you introduced to improve students' learning experiences?

I’ve introduced a range of innovative teaching methods and programmes to elevate the learning experiences of students at our institution. The emphasis on Project-Based Learning with emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives has been pivotal, fostering critical thinking and collaborative skills by immersing students in real-world projects. Integrating service-learning components into courses has enabled students to apply academic knowledge to address community needs, promoting both civic engagement and practical skill application. Implementing a flipped classroom model optimises class time, encouraging interactive discussions, brainstorming and collaborative activities after students review lecture materials independently. Enhancing our online learning platforms as well as collaboration with the leading MOOC providers has equipped the students with flexible resources, including video lectures and interactive simulations, ensuring accessibility and adaptability. Programmes promoting peer teaching and mentoring have fostered a collaborative learning environment, encouraging knowledge exchange among students. Activities relating to the student clubs and societies have been assigned credits in the curriculum to promote holistic development at all levels including cognitive, affective and psychomotor skills domains. Additionally, creating cross-disciplinary courses has allowed students from diverse backgrounds to tackle complex issues, fostering a comprehensive understanding of various disciplines. Introducing valueadded courses beyond the curriculum in the related domain in the blended mode across all the programmes has been extremely fruitful in improving the employability skills of the students. Lastly, organising field visits, seminars, and guest lectures by industry experts has offered students valuable real-world insights, connecting them with the latest industry trends and practices. These initiatives collectively aim to enhance engagement, practical application of knowledge, and holistic skill development, enriching the overall learning journey for our students.

How do you boost the university's national and global rankings and reputation?

To bolster the university’s rankings and global standing, I implement a comprehensive strategy focused on academic evolution, research prominence, and global engagement. This approach includes continuous review and enhancement of academic programmes to meet industry standards and the incorporation of innovative courses and interdisciplinary programmes in line with NEP-2020. Establishing partnerships with foreign universities of repute for student exchanges and joint research endeavours boosts global collaborations, while the integration of advanced technology and the establishment of Centres of Excellence underscore the commitment to technological advancement. Engaging with the local community through outreach programmes showcases social responsibility. Establishing specialised centres of learning including the Centre for Indian Knowledge System, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Development , Quality Circles across the constituent colleges and many other such initiatives reflects our commitment towards upholding accreditation standards and a strategic planning approach that adapts to changing trends and ensures sustained growth. Collaborations with esteemed organisations elevate visibility and foster research and innovation. Initiatives like establishing Institutions Innovation Council, Centres of Excellence, business incubation centres, introducing mentorship, career counselling and skill development programmes, drive student success and entrepreneurial endeavours. These collective efforts aim not only to elevate rankings but also to position the university as a hub of academic brilliance, research innovation, and global influence.

How do you facilitate mentorship programmes within TMU?

I spearhead mentorship programmes that strategically cultivate students’ academic and personal growth. This involves collaborating with academic departments to tailor programmes and establishing clear goals and expectations for mentors and mentees. I meticulously select experienced faculty as mentors and provide comprehensive training to foster strong mentor-mentee relationships. Programme orientations and regular workshops promote community engagement and skill enhancement. Furthermore, we facilitate networking events and leverage specialised centres of excellence within the university, such as the CoE at Civil Engineering sponsored by Ultra Tech Ltd. , CoE by NVIDIA, CoE for Cybersecurity and Blockchain technology and the Industry-Academia Collaboration Centre of BOSCH India Foundation, and many more to amplify capacity building and industry connections for students’ holistic development. These efforts are strategically structured to create an enriching mentorship environment aimed at nurturing students’ academic pursuits and personal advancement within our university. advancement within our university.