This past December Dr. Ashish K. Vaidya was named SCSU’s new provost and vice president of academic affairs. Dr. Vaidya officially started his new role as of June 1, according to the office of academic affairs.
An interview with Dr. Vaidya:
Tell us about where you grew up?
“I grew up in different parts of India. That’s very important, because every place is different, and that’s nice because I got to try a lot of different things from different cultures.”
What was school like in India?
“I attended boarding school, which was known as public school in India, then went to college in Bombay (Mumbai) at St. Xavier’s college and got my degree in Economics.”
Why did you choose to study Economics?
“My interest in economics came from being around a wide variety of different socioeconomic conditions in India. I also connected with the rural people of India, and wanted to discover why so many things were different for them compared to the urban people. “
Why did you leave India?
“I new that after I got my degree, I had to go to America to further my education, because the best educational institutions exist here.”
Where did you end up going to school in the U.S.?
“I came to California 30 years ago, and from there went to UC Davis and got my masters and doctorate in Economics, and that’s where I started my academic career.”
How did you start your Academic Career at Davis?
“I started out as a teaching assistant while completing my education, which is when I realized that I really enjoyed teaching and helping people learn. I guess I officially knew I wanted to get into an academic career after teaching at Sacramento State.”
What was the next step you took in your career?
“I started as a professor of Economics at California State – Los Angeles. I really like LA, because it was dynamic and diverse and reminded me a little of home. I stayed in LA for 10 years, and it was where I was able to get a full understanding of the importance of American higher education institutions.”
What helped to your understanding of how the American university system works?
“After working in both the California State system and the UC system, I understood why the United States education system, especially the public regional institutions, are important…being more focused on undergraduate students, and allowing students access to education that otherwise would not have it.”
In terms of new directions and new leadership, what do you want to work on right away?
“I don’t know if it’s a new direction, it’s still very early in my role here. One thing is the notion of being very mindful and intentional of student success. Also, making sure our programs are competitive, and they make sense. Ultimately, our obligation is to make sure that we don’t just bring students in, but to ensure that they are retained, that they are successful and graduate in a timely matter. College is a difficult path to navigate, and now it’s time to focus on every stage of the student pathway.”