Why I couldn’t become a Vice Chancellor today
Only recently, I had shared two blog posts, one of them partially written by me, which may have been apparently perceived against acquiring a PhD degree. The most recent post was yesterday. Since then, I have been responding to people’s comments.
This morning, I received a call that my name has been proposed for the position of Vice Chancellor of a university in Karachi. A reputable name, it has a B-school, a law school and an IT school.
They asked me if depending on me being in town, an informal conversation could be arranged today. It won’t be a formal interview, I was told.
As much as it was unexpected and a potentially rewarding opportunity, I didn’t have a desire to leave my retirement peace and go back to the politicking of a workplace. All workplaces are politicking, aren’t they?
The other reason for reluctance was that my ideas in education are so radical that I could be a walking risk for anyone who even thinks of employing me.
On insistence, I agreed and reached the place.
The group owner and a trusted ex-VC (a respectable name) wanted to know my specific ideas of a possible university turnaround.
One after the other I explained what are some of the things that needed to be done: in teaching, research, leadership, HEC and global ranking, student placement, industry linkage, partnerships, reputation over a period, etc
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I also criticised the HEC role in placing a wrong emphasis on the PhD degree, when what our country really needed was good teaching faculty, and not researchers.
And how this misplaced emphasis at a time when the utility of PhD degree itself is eroding has deprived our educational institutions from the bright faculty and leadership.
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This is where they asked me what subject was my PhD in and from where?
Shocked, I said: No, I don’t have a PhD. I am a dropout.
They glanced at each other.
I could sense they wanted to locate and shoot the person who had referred me, knowing that HEC would want the VC to be a PhD degree-holder.
(Might be that somebody became impressed with my ideas about future.)
The industrialist stood up and said: Thank you. We’ll be in touch.
I knew we won’t be. This was end of our conversation.
Moral: Don’t write a post against PhD. It might come back to haunt you. That very week. 😛
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Wali Zahid is a futurist, disruptor, blogger, social media strategist, reformer, LinkedIn writer and author of iBook, Great Training in 10 Steps.
He runs a #Pakistan2050 hashtag on Twitter and appears on national TV on issues of significance to Pakistan. His claim to fame is this recent piece: Wali on The Pakistan 2050 Opportunity
On walizahid.com, he’s writing a series called How We Messed Up Pakistan.
As CEO of SkillCity, he coaches several Fortune-500 CEOs on leadership.
He’s founder of a global movement for humanizing medical education and practice.
He can be reached on Twitter @walizahid