Professor Imran Rahman is the Vice Chancellor of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). The Chancellor of the University and the Hon’ble President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has appointed Professor Imran Rahman as Vice Chancellor of ULAB, effective from May 22, 2012.
Prior to his appointment as Vice Chancellor, Professor Rahman was the Pro Vice Chancellor of ULAB from Fall 2008 and Acting Vice Chancellor from July 2011. Professor Rahman is also the Director of the ULAB School of Business, a position which he has held since Fall 2006.
Professor Rahman completed his B.Sc. in Economics from London School of Economics and MBA from IBA, Dhaka University. He was a doctoral researcher and Commonwealth Scholarat Manchester Business School. He has over twenty years teaching experience, including at IBA, and over thirty years of corporate experience. He currently serves as an independent director at Sonali Investments Limited and National Housing Finance and Investment Ltd.
Vice-Chancellor, what do you consider to be the main challenges facing ULAB?
Now the world is a global village. Our goal is to provide world class facilities to the students, staff and faculty and ensure global competitive environment, which are big challenges. We are also working to build our world-class sustainable, "green" permanent campus. This is a major challenge as it requires the input of many different stakeholders from theuniversity trustees and student needs, to the government regulatory bodies and the needs of the local community.
What is your experience with the teachers and students here?
We want ULAB to be a center of excellence for teachers and students. We recruit and train the best faculty members, and encourage ongoing learning and research. We have an Office of Faculty Research that distributes generous grants to qualified research proposals. Also, our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) trains our faculty members in international-standard teaching practices.
Wherever I go, I am told by employers that ULAB students are the most thoughtful, best behaved, and most prepared of their young recruits. I am extremely proud of our students and the values that they embrace here at the university and after graduation.
It is the era of globalization, ULAB planning any collaboration with the foreign universities?
Yes, we have many foreign partners, and are affiliated Assumption University in Thailand, the Duke of Edinburgh Foundation, AIDA, Aid, Exchange, and Development, The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Curtin University of Technology in Australia, Edith Cowan University in Australia, and the University of Gloucestershire in the UK.
Most recently we have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chiang Mai University (CMU) in Thailand. This academic collaborative agreement aims to promote collaboration in language studies, faculty development and student exchange.
What initiatives ULAB has taken to ensure the employment of its graduates?
The end goal of an education should not be to merely get a job, but to create a life. But often, financial concerns mean young students must find a position as quickly as possible. As we know, classroom lectures are not everything, and students need a lot of support in what are called "soft skills": communication, teamwork, leadership, public speaking, etc. Many students do not realize that one of the best ways for them to learn these skills is through co-curricular activities over the four years.
Moreover, each department has internship requirements, which are usually very intensive and often lead directly to a job offer if the student does well.
Finally, ULAB has a dedicated Career Services Office, which provides students soft skills training needed for the job market. The office offers specialized courses on career planning, leadership, motivation, etc. They also offer training and resources for students to develop appropriate skills and strategies that lead to successful careers, and the means for employers to access qualified, well-prepared candidates to meet their specific skill sets requirements.
The interest of the students towards the traditional subjects is lacking, especially courses like History, Sociology, etc... Your views?
We are the only private university in Bangladesh which has a Center for Bangla Studies. Every undergrad studenthere must take Bangla Studies and Bangla Language as compulsory courses;and may be required to take courses like History of Bangla Literature, Cultural Heritage of Bangladesh, Introduction to Bangla Language and Literature, Bangla for Print Media, Bangla for Electronic Media, Literature of Bangladesh, as optionals. Moreover, at ULAB we provide the opportunity for students to take courses in World Civilization, Sustainable Development, Maths for Life, Basic Science (proposed), etc. We believe that by providing a broad foundation across disciplines, our students will develop analytical abilities and flexibility of mind.
Please explain the vision of ULAB and future plans of the university.
ULAB's vision is to be the best university in Bangladesh and to be a leader in South Asia. We will do this by continuing our mission and abiding by our values and also by following the Strategic Plan we established in 2014. The largest change facing us in the next few years will be the construction of and shifting to our green permanent campus.
How ULAB plans to contribute to the society and nation in future?
Our strategic goal statement says: "ULAB will instill students with a high capacity for analytical thought, lucid expression and a lifelong love of learning. It will collaborate across disciplines and institutions to be a center of knowledge creation. It will focus on sustainable development to create a better world.
"ULAB Graduates will think critically and communicate effectively. They will be technologically sophisticated and globally aware. They will be set free to explore, to create, to challenge. Imbued deeply with the principles of freedom, creativity, and service, they will become thoughtful, productive members of society, and capable of meeting challenges of the new century."