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Roadmap to India: Satwinder Bains appointed principal of UFV India

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As of September 1, Satwinder Bains, director of the South Asian studies institute (SASI), and UFV associate professor, is also the principal of UFV India. Bains will alternate between eight weeks in Chandigarh, India, and eight weeks here for two years to oversee UFV India’s academic operations.

UFV India currently has no principal. Last year, Former UFV president Skip Bassford worked as acting principal for four months, but without the position, there is a lack in academic leadership.

“He did some work to get some things established, but we realized that there’s a gap in the academic oversight although a lot of it is done from here, it’s difficult to do and UFV India is growing, so we need someone onsite to do some of that work,” said Bains.

In the first year, Bains will focus on establishing a lot of the processes and protocols of what a principalship should look like, so UFV could begin advertising for the position as soon as next year.

“The initial plan was we’d hire someone full time, but the budget didn’t allow that. So we said let’s do a half-time position, then asked who would do it for half time. Questions like these came up a year ago,” Bains said. “We thought it was good if we had someone internal who already understands it, and can go in and develop the vision that we have, so I said I would do it for a year and establish it, then see what happens after a year.”

The full-time principal position will be a five year term, and UFV looks to hire from anywhere in the world, not necessarily from within UFV.

UFV India operates within a different structure than UFV in Canada. UFV India doesn’t have a president, deans, or department heads. Instead, UFV India has a director, managers, and faculty. Being small, UFV India doesn’t need the same kind of organizational structures that are required here.

Because of the difference in structure, and the school only being 11 years old, UFV India is in need of strong leadership to develop long-term goals.

While Bains is in India, a SASI co-director position will be filled in order to help with running the institute.

“I hope within a year, and maybe within six months, we’ll have all of it mapped out and organized, then implemented,” said Bains. “I want to make sure we have strong policies that support our decision making so that we’re not making decisions on the whim and fancy of one or two people.”

To showcase the progress UFV has made in India, UFV is planning an India forum in Spring of next year.

“We want to bring India to Canada and show it off,” said Bains. “We have a very strong program in India. It’s very rare actually, very few people have such a vibrant, and well run and organized program returning profits and all that. This is a model that people can use for their own planning.”

Bains was the director of UFV India for four years, and has been the director of SASI since 2006.

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