The Year End Note
December 31, 2016
Dear Friends and Patrons,
Happy New Year and Seasons' Greetings!
On behalf of all of us at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-Pakistan, I send you our best wishes for the holidays and wish you a happy and prosperous 2017.
The year 2016 has moved real fast. This is first time in >20 years that I was unable to travel overseas. In the beginning, there were family commitments for my son getting married in February. That was followed by a hugely packed official agenda.
I organized the first series of selection board of MNSUAM and got approval of the syndicate to induct first batch of regular faculty at Multan in January. The new VC was appointed at MNSUAM and that gave me a bit of relief from not having to travel to Multan every week.
There were more than 500 foreign visitors in the year and about as many outreach engagements and service events to the government departments. More than a 100 faculty members are currently pursuing their PhD and Postdoctoral trainings overseas. The international visitors have continued to add value to our intellectual landscape. We continued to promote experiential learning opportunities for the entire campus community.
The university has sustained growth in the student body, faculty hiring and logistics. We have recruited 102 new faculty and >400 other staff during the year. We have also sustained the international faculty and student exchange programs. Our relationship with the stakeholders and farming communities has gotten stronger than ever. A Chinese funded bio-gasification plant has been commissioned. The USAID funded center for advanced studies has achieved its goals in research and training in collaboration with the University of California, Davis and the Washington State University, Pullman. Several new project agreements have been signed including the construction of a model Confucius Institute, a Chinese Research Base of Xinjiang Agricultural University and the Punjab Dengue Vector Research Laboratory. The Federal Government has approved the establishment of a Korean funded center for innovation and value addition and an irrigation research center.
The Punjab government had decided to organize an agriculture conference last March. A lot of work was put in to making the conference a success. The Chief Minister announced creation of an agriculture commission and since then no looking back. The first meeting of the commission was held in August where an agriculture policy committee was constituted and I was asked to head that committee. A draft policy document was prepared and presented to the stakeholders at various levels. More than
80 meetings and conventions were held within three months. An executive version has been submitted to the government for approval.
UAF has improved its NTU Rankings in agricultural sciences at 12th position (from 20th) in the Asia Pacific region and at 72nd position (from 85th) in the world. We remain first and the only Pakistani university in top 100 world universities in any ranking system as ranked QS 85th in agricultural sciences.
The US News Ranking has placed UAF at 94th position in the subject category. We are also ranked by the prestigious Times Ranking in 250-300 category among the BRICS group. According to the UI Green Metric World Ranking-2016, our position has improved from 34th to 9th in education category among 516 entries.
The 23rd Convocation was organized in March to award degrees to more than 5000 graduates including 151 PhDs. However, our dream of benefiting from the alumni resources is still largely unfulfilled.
UAF continue to boom, thanks to excellent teamwork and ownership on the part of entire campus community and support from the provincial and federal governments. Please visit our web site www.uaf.edu.pk
I shall be completing nearly 9 years in the office next month. The university is getting recognized as a knowledge powerhouse/think tank in agriculture and moving on to become a leadership brand in agriculture! That is not a coincidence but a product of very focused effort in research and scholarship. I call it a 3rd paradigm. The first was pulling university out of primitive and parochial mind set, the second was building its research and outreach competencies and now the 3rd that has just begun. The first volume of an innovation catalogue has been released. After changing the mindset at the campus, we do hope that there will be positive changes in the agricultural and rural landscape of the country.
I want to thank you for being a partner and support during the past 9 years. It has been a privilege knowing you and together serving for a greater cause. Hopefully, our paths will continue to cross again and again.
Iqrar A. Khan