Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan

(2019-2023)

Southwestern Centre for Research and PhD Studies (PhD Centre)

Kathmandu, Nepal

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

Southwestern Centre for Research and PhD Studies (PhD Centre) was set up in 2010 as part of the endeavours of nationally and internationally recognized scholars, researchers, intellectuals and development experts, who will constitute its faculty with a commitment to reconstruct and socially transform society in Nepal and thereby around the world through academic and development endeavours built on the long journey of rural reconstruction. Since its inception, the Centre has been actively engaged in connecting researchers globally through joint research, conferences/workshops on burning issues, training, publishing journal articles, and networking/partnering with various universities (both national and international), government agencies, and other development agencies

One of the major aims of the Centre is to fulfil the country’s need of qualified and competent PhD graduates. The Centre motivates PhD scholars from Nepal and abroad to pursue their study. As the Centre has close formal connections with Universities across the globe, it is connecting scholars to recognized/renowned universities. The Centre has created learning environment for scholars to continue their academic activities in their respective areas and has facilitated to fulfil the Universities requirements and timeline. The Centre is neither a funding nor a university branch; it rather encourages potential and registered candidates and coachesthem through suitable research and other training programmes. The Centre provides quality support to the PhD scholars through peer and mentor support. It also supports individuals to become professionals or leaders in their respective disciplines. It follows philosophy of adult learning approach. The Centre coachesits scholars on identifying topic and developing concept, synopsis, conceptual framework, and finalization of thesis. The Centre also provides support to develop article, book and thesis as per the requirements.

PhD Centre contributes to critical thinking to provide innovative solutions for various agencies actively involved in development by teaching, learning, research and interventions with emerging ideas that shape academia and policy discourse around the globe. It recognizes that while there are so many organizations involved in the development processes, there is an inadequate discussion to re-shape development discourse guided by emerging research-based findings. Hence development should be a part of ongoing discourse to address global issues when we have sprawling urbanization, alarming pollution, climate change with an adverse impact on the distribution of development dividends.

Strategic Plan

This strategic planning process was initiated on Jan. 4, 2019 in order to strengthen PhD Centre. Since this strategic plan is a living document, it will change over time. It offers a common framework and flexible guide to decision-makers across the Institution and, as such, it should foster greater coherence, coordination, and unity across the departments. For the longer term, this strategic planning process serves in order to develop itself as a vibrant Institution with a forward-looking, inspirational roadmap for the PhD Centre’s future beyond Nepal.

  1. VISION, MISSION, and GOAL

Vision:

Be the centre of reference for quality academic and applied research.

Mission

To facilitate excellent academic research, conduct innovative applied research, and as a Think-Tank, contribute towards knowledge-based policy making for development. 

Goal

To assist PhD and other doctoral scholars to carry out high quality academic research; conduct applied research on contemporary issues, provide support in policy and planning, and develop quality human resources.

  1. OBJECTIVES

The objectives focus on PhD study, research and training activities. They are as follows:

  • Facilitate to enrol, educate, and graduate the most deserving, promising scholars to pursue PhD study,
  • Conduct academic and applied research for the transformation of the communities,
  • Develop leadership capacity in research through training; and
  • Build awareness on the importance of PhD study.
  1. CORE VALUES

Core values are defined as our commitments that express “who we are as an institution” and what principles or qualities should infuse all practices and activities within the institution. The nature and implicit values of PhD Centre are supported by four fundamental pillars:

  • Commitment for promoting critical thinking, learning, and action;
  • Commitment for innovation and entrepreneurship, which implies for creative collaborations;
  • Commitment on diversity and inclusion.
  • Commitment for outreach through public engagement that emphasises proactive actions to generate positive public impact.

Our commitments have following core values:

  • Be a collaborative and caring community, helping to build compassionate civilisation.
  • Knowledge creation should benefit the world.
  • PhD centre is accessible and affordable to all who meet high academic standards.
  • Promote inclusive approach and support to all aspects of society including marginalized community.
  • Be optimistic to the future and seek knowledge and intellectual.
  • Sustain excellence in teaching, research, and public engagement and reward and recognize merit, creativity, and innovation. Create an environment in which learning can be collaborative and fun.
  • Promote cross-cultural and cross-national understandings. Embrace difference and diversity.
  • We treat all individuals with dignity, respect, and fairness.
  1. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS

With the establishment of the Centre, many prospective scholars have found the organization as a vehicle for achieving their dream of completing PhD study. Because of its competent human resources, strong network and involvement of high profile people, both as the promoters and the scholars, the Centre got its recognition in a short span of time. Moreover, with the full-fledged infrastructure created a conducive environment for the scholars. In spite of these strengths of the organization, the Centre is not fully utilizing the expertise of its members, scholars, supervisors and its networks. The center is fully committed to harness these networks and expertise and create effective and efficient management system to meet the expectation of associated scholars and vision of the Centre. Many opportunities such as new political structures, networking with likeminded stakeholders, new education policy of the government are encouraging the efforts of the PhD Centre in strengthening PhD level study in Nepal.

  1. COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE

An impressive number of scholars, researchers, academics have expressed their commitment to be associated with PhD Centre in order to get involved in its teaching and research programmes. PhD Centre enjoys full potential with contextual scope to attracting both national and international students. It holds impressive scope and opportunities in undertaking higher academic programmes. Linked with a pioneering academic institute, namely, Southwestern group, PhD Centre projects its comparative advantages for conducting higher study programmes. Moreover, the Centre also has highly committed and academically sound group of promoters.

Government of Nepal is proposing the mandatory provision of PhD for higher level University professors. This will definitely increase the scope of PhD study in Nepal. The new education policy aims to make higher education more accessible, competitive, effective, qualitative, research-oriented and well-managed, adding that the policy will also support the effective management and application of an umbrella Act.

  1. STRATEGIES

Strategic Priorities and Approaches

The first priority proposed for the next five years is to identify windows of opportunity for resource mobilisation; secure affiliation with the Ministry and provide quality help desk services. Such a priority is timely and important because of the need to anticipate and be proactive about promotion of PhD Centre and its academic programme. Excellence in teaching is an integral component of faculty excellence, and this plan affirms PhD Centre’s commitment to have faculty who achieve excellence in both research and teaching. Research and teaching quality should be inextricably bound together at PhD Centre

PhD Centre will employ a number of policies, strategies and approaches in line with its layers of objectives mentioned above. It will undertake activities based on the appropriate mix of policies, strategies, and approaches. PhD Centre was envisioned with a commitment to fill in the gaps that exist in the contemporary development theories and practices. It intends to link teaching with research and practice thereby contributing to social transformation and development in the country and the region. Students and teachers at PhD Centre would engage themselves in unearthing the obstacles that pose challenges in transforming our rural society and the region. Those students lacking adequate financial resources from the marginalised community will be provided scholarship based on PhD Centre and government rules and regulation.

  • Academic Strategies

The programmes designed by PhD Centre cover a wide spectrum of fields of study ranging from environment management and climate change, gender and community development to food security, rural reconstruction and social mobilization, business and financial management, sustainable mountain development, natural resource management, disaster risk management, conflict and peace studies, and development economics. Students from varying backgrounds of sciences, management and humanities will be able to apply and harness their understanding on these disciplines. The programmes that PhD Centre offers are emerging as vital subjects in the field of development studies and have been drawing attention of global intellectuals and development experts for quite some time now.

7.1.1 PhD Centre policy direction

PhD Centre is basically an apolitical, non-partisan and pluralistic academic entity which promotes and sustains peaceful development, stability and sustainability through inclusive and transformative teaching and learning approaches. It serves society by public engagement policy whilst relating the position of centre of excellence. Promotion of staff and faculties by ensuring gender- friendly environment, free from discrimination based on age, race, caste, ethnicity, religion and class, remains at the core functions of PhD Centre management. The Institution progresses each step ahead based on rules and regulations complying with and adhering to laws of the land. The cross-cutting policies are reflected throughout the Plan.

7.1.2 Teaching and learning framework

Institutions of higher education need to prepare their students for the complex and changing demands of careers in today’s challenging global environment. Given such changes, PhD Centre has initiated an effort to define the appropriate learning goals for students. A key premise is that PhD Centre should foster a range of abilities, some of which extend beyond formal classroom work. This strategic plan emphasizes the importance of educationally rich international and public engagement experiences under the supervision of faculty.

7.1.3 Educational excellence

PhD Centre will create and sustain a culture that supports teaching excellence in all academic units. It will create institutional structures that promote pedagogical innovations by ensuring the educational impact of international opportunities and experiences for students. It will promote the health and well-being of students as a foundation for academic and life success.

7.1.4 Faculty excellence

PhD Centre will develop a roaster of quality supervisor in strategically important academic areas. Increase the diversity of faculty through competitive recruitment process and enhanced retention efforts. It will develop and implement policies to retain highly valued faculty. It will devise and implement new mechanisms or policies for rewarding outstanding faculty and for continually assessing faculty performance as scholars and teachers. PhD Centre will foster an exciting intellectual environment by providing opportunities for more dialogue and engagement. It will develop ways to enable faculty to focus their time on being highly productive in their core academic activities (research, and creativity; teaching; public engagement).

7.1.5 Excellence in research, scholarship, and innovation

PhD Centre will strengthen the research department and maintain relationship with research organisations involved in PhD Centre disciplines. It will support for and recognition of important research outputs by exploring research grants and linking them with research department. It will encourage productive, mutually beneficial collaborations between faculty and scholars.

Academic Training:

  • Developing Research Instruments & Data analysis
  • Mastering APA, APA, MLA Styles
  • Research Design and Methodology
  • Research Philosophy of Academic Research
  • Training on SPSS, ‘R’ and ‘Stata’ for Quantitative data analysis
  • Turnitin (Plagiarism Detection) Software
  • Writing Research Report and Article
  • Other various academic research related trainings

7.2 Research strategies

Apart from the academic research through PhD scholars, the Center also focuses on policy and programmatic research.

7.2.1 Policy and programmatic research

The policy and programmatic research is one of the main working strategies of the centre. The policy research evaluates existing policies based on in-depth analysis and reform to meet the current needs. The programmatic research focuses on analysis of dynamics of social change and development through the public participation and specific project and programmes. The policy and programmatic research will be carried out at local, provincial and central level on relevant issues and concern. Such research can be linked and carried out by the academic researcher in different sectors i.e., health, education, development, agriculture, environment, business etc. The Centre is keen to harness the expertise of both academic and practitioners.

7.2.2 Social development plan of the local government

The main objective of this Global Positioning System (GPS) based social development profile is to digitize the detailed socio-economic data of every single household as well as institution within local level government, so as to facilitate the local level government in decision making, planning and policy development and service delivery. Local level government intends to prepare household metric system incorporating in Local Government Information System along with the Geographical Information System. The local government intends to increase the revenue by accurately tracing the tax brackets residents and households fall under and bring all citizens under the tax system.

The tasks include conducting socio-economic census of individual households and institutions, developing and establishing household metric system for each household, preparing thematic resource maps and large scale urban base map, acquiring cadastral land parcel digital data and digitization etc. Similarly, designing and developing local government Information System, integrating Information System with GIS Data and all Maps, strengthening and institutionalizing the local government office, facilitating the local government with extensive reporting of households, institutions, landmarks and geography, preparing the information system for individual wards of the local government unit are some other tasks carried out through this process.

7.2.3 Support to facilitate the local level development

The Centre will facilitate for the holistic development of the local level by empowering local communities through developing human capacity, helping local government through formulating developmental projects, similarly promote employment, entrepreneurship and business as well as promote culture and creativity in the community. In this process, the Centre will facilitate the local government on preparing suitable strategy to work in the team, pre-programme visits, group facilitation/need assessment, preparing Strategic Plan, capacity building/training for employment, entrepreneurial development, technology transfer, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting etc.

7.2.4 Journal publications

To facilitate learning and research activities, the Centre has developed a number of reading materials targeting for the scholars and researchers required at different levels during their study. Several readers are published on Research Philosophy, Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research, Mixed Methods Design, Data Analysis and Interpretation, Writing a Research Report, Guidelines for Supervision, Computer Application for Research and SPSS and MAXQQDA for research.

The Centre publishes biannually the ‘Journal of Advanced Academic Research’ both in print and electronic form. The peer reviewed journal registered through International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) system is distributed in Nepal and abroad. It is also incorporated in NepJol system. We are also planning to index our journal in near future.

7.3 Training strategies

The Centre provides academic, research and development oriented training. The Centre customizes different trainings based on the need of the scholars and development partners. The Centre also organizes training inviting renowned national and international resource person. Since its inception, it has been organizing several trainings jointly with many global renowned universities and research centres.

The Centre provides training on innovative and cross cutting recent approaches and methodologies related to research and development to the scholars as well as to the supervisors associated with different academic and development institutions. Some of the major trainings of Centre are as below:

7.3.1 Short courses

PhD Centre has already organised series of training courses and will continue these courses to offer on demand basis.

Development Training:

  • Communication skill and Leadership Development
  • Leadership and Management
  • Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Training
  • Policy and Strategy Development
  • Project Proposal Writing
  • Result Based Management
  • Social Entrepreneurship Development
  • Other various development related trainings

7.3.2 Consulting strategies

PhD Centre will utilise its networks of promoters, supervisors, scholars in exploring opportunities and responding to solicited calls for submission of proposal with letter of intent or expression of interests mobilising roaster and available promoters. PhD Centre requests inputs from its promoters and supervisors as a first step tapping in-house expertise.

7.3.3 Think Tank

Both of PhD Centre’s full-time as well visiting faculty will be from pool of very competent academicians, researchers and development experts. They would offer their expertise and professional services, as per the requirement of their customers through a separate entity within PhD Centre. As a think tank, PhD Centre’s primary interests lie in programme oriented towards knowledge building, strengthening capacity, promoting entrepreneurship and achieving sustainable development. PhD Centre provides a range of services on project development, need assessment, project evaluation, advisory services, impact assessment, training etc. to its clients from diverse backgrounds.

  • Advocacy (marketing) strategies

7.4.1 Conference/Workshop/Meetings

In order to promote PhD study in Nepal, the Centre organises conference and seminars in different parts of Nepal.  The seminar focuses on Contemporary issues of Research and Development. We also emphasize on the need of higher level academic research, establishing Research Wings in the educational institutions and Publications of Research Based Journals.

7.4.2 Conference, Workshop and Seminars

The Centre organizes national and international seminars on different research issues with the aim of providing learning opportunity to researchers and scholars. We are promoting research based programme by organizing such seminars at district and regional level with the involvement of academic and research institutions, university teachers’ associations and government and non-governmental organizations. The aim of such seminars is to create a culture of research based education at local level encouraging academicians to pursue research studies, establish research unit at the specific colleges and adopt research based teachings.

7.4.3 National and international exposure visit

The Centre has developed working relation with a number of academic institutes globally with aim of sharing knowledge, skills and experiences among Nepalese and global researchers and academician. The Centre organizes exposure trips to researchers and academician to various countries providing opportunities to build confidence, global research and academic practices and innovation. It helps the participation to reflect their own initiatives and running their own academic institutes or conducting advanced level research activities effectively. This year Centre took 9 students to CUCMS Malaysia for research work shop and 1 student visited to IUKL for advance training on research methodology.

7.4.4 Publicity of the PhD Program and SWSC

The Centre organises visits to publicise the activities of the PhD Centre and SWSC overall in different districts of Nepal. The Centre team joins the SWSC group in publicising the institute. This year we are planning to reach to 60 districts. In each district we will organise Research Seminar for school principals, teachers, researchers etc.

7.4.5 Resource mobilization

The generation of resource is the first and foremost action for PhD Centre to retain core staff and sustain ongoing activities. Therefore, it will launch both academic and non-academic activities such as tapping short-term consulting services and running short-courses on the contemporary development themes. PhD Centre promoters have expressed commitment to link the Secretariat with potential funding sources.

PhD Centre shareholders are mostly development change-makers and academicians; the Centre aims to enlarge the size of fund through support fees from the scholars. The capital base will be increased by organizing and conducting various non-academic short courses ranging from a period of one to three months for interested candidates, and from the overhead cost of research projects conducted by PhD Centre.

7.4.6 Promotion of PhD Centre

PhD Centre will create a platform for regular discussion on rural reconstruction and establish itself as an Institution at the regional level. It will publish online and print journal and Newsletter soliciting articles on rural reconstruction from around the world. Occasionally, it will host national and international events on rural reconstruction. A strong research team comprising editors will be formulated and enhance quality of publication at par with international publications.

Outreach mission is crucial to make potential candidates aware of PhD Centre‘s unique programmes. PhD Centre will organise information seminars across Nepal and will expand programmes through application of ICTs.

7.4.7. CSR policy

PhD Centre will strengthen corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy and connect outreach and public engagement with PhD Centre’s areas of strength in research, scholarship, and education. It will define the outreach mission as public engagement and impact, extend it across Centre, and develop approaches appropriate to different academic disciplines or fields; strengthen opportunities for scholars to “engage the region and beyond” as part of their academic work. The Centre will provide scholarship to deserving candidates as a part of its CSR. It also supports academic institutes to establish its own research unit.

  • Partnership strategy

PhD Centre will establish relationship at both individual and Institutional levels with like- minded persons and organisations and develop an effective partnership modality for leveraging comparative advantages and gearing towards a leadership role in ensuring academic excellence in the next phase. It will forge partnership with both national and international academic and research institutes involved in research and development.

7.5.1 Collaborative research

PhD Centre will forge partnership with other entities within the Southwestern family and will work as an umbrella Institution developing a research consortium to demonstrate strong research capacity and launch joint research projects. It will design research framework which will help PhD Centre focus its research inputs.

  • Financial strategy

The core resources for financing the PhD Centre are revenues generated through PhD programme, training and research activities. The ratio of these sources will be 70% from PhD programme, 10% from research and 10% from training. Rest 10% will be borne through other activities such as seminars, visits, advertisement etc.

  • Management strategy

The Centre is managed by a core team who work full time and focus on operating day to day activities as well as promotion of the PhD Centre.

7.7.1 Develop cost effective infrastructures

PhD Centre will manage land for its own office infrastructure within the end of this plan. Having an overarching aspiration to become a model Institution for PhD study in Nepal, PhD Centre will have its own premise at centrally located area during the period of next strategic plan. The space will have all the facilities required for the conducive learning and teaching environment.

7.7.2 Quality management system

The Centre is applying quality management system through ISO 9001. It will run all its activities as per the standard set through ISO.

7.7.3 Affiliation and equivalency

Apart from fulfilling the legal requirments, the Centre also emphasises on getting affiliation from the Ministry of Education. It also encourages all the PhD graduates to get equivalency certificate from the Tribhuvan University.

  1. Risk Management

PhD Centre has foreseen a number of risks factors that are developed as a part of its operation. The inconsistencies in legal and institutional procedures and framework between the Ministry of Education and the university stand as barrier for Institutional development and innovation. The good governance, compliances with the Government rules and academic excellence are three top measures that can sustain shareholders’ interests and accrue benefits to investors and avoid any political and bureaucratic interference.

 

RISKS STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME
Weak process (facilitating)

 

 

Coordination, communication

 

 

Governance

 

 

 

Lack of financial transparency

 

 

Limited profile for research funding

 

Grievances of scholars

 

 

Relationship with academic institutions

 

 

Lack of own building

 

 

Unfair competition with other help desk

 

 

Quality promotion

 

 

 

Efficiency of the core team

Scholars are asked to attend Friday and Sunday classes, ask appointment for individual coaching.

 

Social networking should be used for prompt communication.

 

Developed strong board and management team. Good liaison with the government/Education Ministry, TU etc. will be continued.

 

Monthly reporting of financial transactions will be shared with the board members.

 

Working with similar organisations as JV.

 

Regular coordination and coaching, problem solving of individual scholars.

 

MoU will be carried out with 10 different academic institutions.

 

Planned after 5 years. Land will be bought by the end of this plan period.

 

Friendly environment will be created, advocacy for PhD at higher level institutes.

 

Applies ISO for Quality Management System, one full time Professor focuses for the coordination with the scholars for quality enhancement.

 

Core team members will focus on their specific task. ED coordinates and focuses on research work and University in India and Malaysia. Academic advisor focuses for individual scholars, Research director divides his time for research and in-house academic and office coordinator coordinates the overall work.

 

Monitoring and Evaluation

A quarterly monitoring report will be prepared against the progress based on the operational plan which follows this strategic document. Likewise, annual report will be produced summarising the progress made over the year and presented to the Annual General Meeting.

 

  1. Annex Log-frame (Jan 2019 – Dec 2023)

 

Set of Objectives Objectively Verifiable Indicators Means of Verification Key Assumptions
Goal:

 

To assist PhD and other doctoral scholars to carry out high quality academic research; conduct applied research on contemporary issues, provide support in policy and planning, and develop quality human resources.

By the end of project:

Objectives

1.  Enrol, educate, and graduate the most deserving, promising scholars to pursue PhD study.

 

 

 

2.  Conduct academic and applied research for the transformation of the communities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Develop leadership capacity in research through training

 

4.  Build awareness on the importance of PhD study.

 

 

By the end of 2023:

–    Enrolled 550 PhD scholars, among them 200 in IUKL, 100 CUCMS, 150 in Mewar, 50 in KN and 50 in Other

–    180 scholars awarded of PhD

 

–    40 research proposals submitted

–    10 social development profile and Master Plan carried out

–    9 issues of research journal published

–    5 research carried out on PhD related issues

–    20 research talks carried out

–    30 training programmes conducted

 

–    5 issue based book published

–    5 annual publication released

 

–    National conference organised 5 times

–    International conference organised 2 times

–    Pradesh conference organised 10 times

–    Research interactions with 50 academics organised

–    International exposure trips organised 4 times

–    30 advocacy for policy dialogue

–    Institutional strategic plan formed

–    ISO of the organisation completed

–    Building of PhD Centre constructed

–    List of PhD graduates

–    Registration at the Centre and the University

 

 

–    Signed contracts

–    Reports

–    Training reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–    Books and reports

 

 

–    Conference and seminars proceedings

–    ISO report and follow up reports

–    Building

 

 

Output 1

Enrolled PhD scholars

 

 

 

Output 2

Conducted applied and academic research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Output 3

Organised training

 

 

 

Output 4

Built awareness about PhD study

 

 

–    550 PhD scholars enrolled through the Centre

–    180 scholars completed their study

 

 

–    Completed 40 research proposals, 10 social development profile and Master Plan, 9 issues of research journal, 5 research on PhD related issues, 20 research talks and 30 training programmes

 

–    Completed 5 issue based book and 5 annual publication

 

–    Completed 5 National conference organised, 2 International conference, 10 Pradesh conference, 50 Research interactions, 4 International exposure trips, 30 advocacies for policy dialogue

–    Formed Institutional strategic plan and completed ISO of the organisation and Building of PhD Centre

–    List of PhD graduates

–    Registration at the Centre and the University

 

–    Signed contracts

–    Reports

–    Training reports

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

–    Books and reports

 

 

 

–    Conference and seminars proceedings

–    ISO report and follow up reports

–    Building

 Download Strategic Plan 2019-2023