LUMS University Advisory Board Comes Together To Discuss Future Directions
The LUMS University Advisory Board plays a key role in helping to shape the overall direction of the university, and in ensuring that it remains focused on its mission and goals. Comprised of renowned academics and experts from some of the best universities of the world, the group brings a wealth of experience to the table and plays a crucial role in providing guidance and support to LUMS as it strives to achieve its mission.
The 5th University Advisory Board (UAB) meeting was held in the last week of January 2023. Members came together to reflect on the learnings from the past year, share their global experiences with the LUMS leadership and also discuss current trends and opportunities in higher education to help lay the foundation of future initiatives at the University. Joining the UAB were members of the LUMS Management Committee including Syed Babar Ali, Founding Pro Chancellor; Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Pro Chancellor; Mr. Shahid Hussain, Rector and Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, LUMS.
Syed Babar Ali extended his warm welcome to the Board and conveyed his eagerness to gain insights from their experiences. Dr. Ahmad elucidated the University's 'Learning Without Borders' approach and outlined numerous initiatives that align with its strategic goals. “We must focus on exceptional learning which is only possible if faculty and students work together and set the bar very high,” he explained.
He also spoke about how LUMS is working to improve access to higher education in Pakistan. “The University is working to emphasise and enhance equity for women; an example is the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB)’s scholarship for women, which provides a 50 per cent tuition waiver to all women who have been accepted for their graduate programmes. What is remarkable is that in two years we have seen the ratio of women in these programmes rise from nine to 36 per cent.”
Discussing the university's strategic priorities, both Ms. Leah Rosovsky, Stanford Calderwood Director, and Mr. Mohammed Ali Khan, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at LUMS, shared their perspectives. Ms. Rosovsky emphasised the importance of the Advisory Board considering the long-term impact of the university and focusing on amplifying its impact both in the region and beyond. Mr. Khan, on the other hand, stressed the need for a unified view on data when planning ahead and welcomed insights from the Advisory Board on this matter.
Dr. Naveed Arshad and Dr. Abubakr Muhammad, who lead the energy and water centres respectively, shared the progress made in their respective units, where they prioritise climate action. Dr. Arshad emphasised the significance of revitalising Pakistan's energy sector and suggested modernising the power grid, promoting renewable energy adoption, and enhancing the skills of energy sector professionals as essential measures. Both shared salient features about their work with the government and the key interventions being made in policy.
UAB members also toured the campus and heard from Ms. Nuzhat Kamran, the Director of Advancement, about the university's development, alumni relations, marketing, and communication work over the past five years. They discussed operational strategy, funding needs, and upcoming events for 2023. In the afternoon, the UAB met with the Deans of the five schools at LUMS, who updated them on their respective challenges and opportunities. The Board provided expertise and advice on curriculum, faculty development, student services, and alumni relations. They also gave valuable input on the schools' direction and goals.
The Board expressed their gratitude for the special visit by Dr. Arif Alvi, the President of Pakistan. The President was engaged in an enlightening discussion that provided him with an update on the university's current state, strategic priorities, and impactful research initiatives.
LUMS also had the privilege of hosting a delegation from Times Higher Education (THE) during their visit to Pakistan, marking it as their first university destination in the country. The delegation was headed by Mr. Phil Baty, Chief, Global Affairs at THE, and Mr. Tim Sowula, Editor, World Summit Series. Their visit included a comprehensive analysis of THE's global rankings, insights into the ranking methodologies as well as a detailed discussion with the Advisory Board on LUMS hosting the first-ever international summit, which is currently in the works.
On the final day of their week-long visit, UAB members enjoyed a thrilling excursion led by award-winning LUMS Professor, Dr. Nadhra Shahbaz Khan to Lahore's historic landmarks. They explored Sikhism through paintings at Maharaja Ranjit Singh's Samadhi, visited the Lahore Fort, and admired the Badshahi Mosque's engulfing beauty. Dr. Khan guided them on a journey of discovery, making it a memorable and exciting day.
Commenting on this year’s visit, UAB member Dr. Greg Moran said, “Any visit to LUMS excites me. Like each year, I saw a lot of enthusiasm, almost a childlike excitement among the faculty and students. This is a place where people can chase their dreams and build their futures in an environment that encourages and facilitates their efforts. This is what makes LUMS so special.”