Kampala — Asked about Dr. Krishna N. Sharma's character, Joseph Opio, started at the ceiling in search of the appropriate words before responding.
Eventually his preference of the ideal vice-chancellor (VC) was not very different from others sourced on social media. He counted on his fingers the qualities a top scholar comprising being: a good researcher and have leadership qualities and management experience.
In addition to these was having a good humility about the things he does not know being is a plus.
"And have the ability to consult where possible; it makes academics and professional staff feels involved, which cements their commitment to the organization. Vice-chancellors also need to be strong because they have to be prepared to not be liked by everyone all the time," confided Opio.
"Dr. Krishna youthful, brainy, serious, married and is gunning for results already. He has revolutionized the image of a Vice Chancellor from bushy bearded old people to a clean shaven one who is on Social Media discussing serious academic content."
What is the story of your life?
My details are Dr. Krishna N. Sharma 32, the youngest vice chancellor of Victoria University. I was born in Mohammadabad in Gohana, in India. I write and read a lot. I was the head of department at Jeevan Jyoti Institute of Medical Sciences in Allahabad, India. I am a physiotherapist and a researcher.
Is this your first time in Africa?
Africa is not new to me. I was once the dean of studies at the St Louis University in Cameroon. Besides being an educator, I have authored more than 110 books. And I am booked for the next three years. I cannot be commissioned by another publisher. Twelve of my books were rated bestsellers in the US, India and Germany.
What is your work history?
Besides serving as the editor-in-chief of The Scientific Research Journal of India, I am also founder the general secretary of the Online Physio Community, India and editor of the annual magazine Medic-O-Zone, among others responsibilities.
Out of Victoria University who is Dr. Sharma?
I am married to Dr. Ankita Kashyap with whom we have a daughter - Arisha. We are a closely-knit family and keep in touch with the extended family of grandfathers and mothers. It is fine with me to greet an elder by touching the feet as tradition has it. And I love scrambling an egg and brewing coffee or tea. I have no problem doing some of the household chores. My hobbies are reading, writing and making new friends. I have no room for substandard stuff. I always go for the very best. I love adventure, travelling and meeting different people.
Where do you see Victoria University under your stewardship?
I want it to be the best of the best in this part of the world. Like Harvard or Oxford - I dream of Victoria University to be a place of excellence. Students and the staff like the urban setting and yet it is quiet. The staff here is multi-national and multi-racial. We have them coming from different continents. The library is stocked with books to capacity both digitally and with the old style of books. We are connected to the world's best universities and discuss matters that matter to the world.
What makes Victoria University an institution of first choice?
Relevance. We are not producing graduates like sausages out of a machine. Each comes out with their character, peculiarity, abilities and not to hunt for jobs but create them. There is too much potential that remains untapped in Africa. For example I can write a book when comfortably seated here in Kampala and my publisher is in UK, USA or the EU. Technology has transformed the way things are done today. The products are there they just need honing. We have public debates where students meet potential employers, their role models and politicians.
By time one graduates we want them to have authored a recommendable book. And this will not be kept on the shelves to gather dust but applied in the community. We offer courses that are relevant to the job mart and resources like oil being discovered in the Greatlakes region.