Exceptional leadership at the helm of higher educational institutions plays a pivotal role in creating an atmosphere characterized by academic distinction, ingenuity, and all-encompassing advancement. This form of leadership not only molds the institution’s overarching trajectory but also exerts a profound impact on its ethos, the rapport between educators and learners, the pursuit of research, and its standing within the academic community. Particularly in the current era, the demand for proficient leadership is even more pronounced, as it is these leaders who can adeptly steer their respective establishments through intricate challenges and the uncharted territories of contemporary education. Their prowess lies in their ability to forge a common path toward progress and accomplishment.
Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas, as the Director of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Pune Lavasa Campus, epitomizes the essence of exceptional leadership in the realm of higher education. With a profound commitment to nurturing a dynamic and inclusive learning ecosystem, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas has emerged as a driving force behind the campus’s distinctive identity. His leadership philosophy centers on a harmonious blend of academic rigor, ethical values, and innovative pedagogies, fostering an environment where students not only gain knowledge but also cultivate critical thinking, empathy, and a sense of social responsibility.
Since 2005, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas has embarked on a diverse and enriching professional journey, spanning various roles and locations. His journey commenced as an Associate Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Changanacherry, Kerala, India, where he dedicated his service from 2005 to 2006. Subsequently, he assumed the roles of a Teacher and School Counselor at Kristu Jyoti Higher Secondary School in Changanacherry, Kerala, India, from 2005 to 2009. Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas’s foray into Professional Development Training for Schools and Colleges in Kerala, India began in 2006, providing invaluable insights and guidance until 2010.
In 2009, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas transitioned to the position of Teacher and Administrator at Jawahar Public Senior Secondary School in Varkala, Kerala, India, where his dedication was evident until 2022. This experience motivated him to explore higher education and research, leading him to work as a Researcher at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, LA, USA, from 2014 to 2017. During the same period, he also contributed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Louisiana, Monroe.
In 2017, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas joined Christ University in Bangalore, India, assuming the role of an Associate Professor in the School of Social Sciences, a position he continues to hold. Additionally, he took on several leadership roles within the university, including Director of the Office of International Affairs, Student Welfare Office, and the Center for Academic and Professional Support, all from 2017 onwards. Furthermore, he assumed the mantle of Director of the Department of Performing Arts, Music, and Theater at Christ University in the same year.
Beyond academia, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas embarked on philanthropic endeavors, founding Let Us Dream, Inc., a public charity organization registered in LA, USA, in 2012. In this organization, he serves as the Founder President and Chairman of the Board. He also contributed as a member of the Board of Trustees for Our House Inc. in Monroe, LA, USA, since 2012.
Throughout his professional journey, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas remained steadfast in his spiritual vocation, serving as an Associate Pastor at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Monroe, LA, USA, from 2010 to 2013. He later assumed the role of a Pastor at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bastrop, LA, USA, from 2013 to 2017. Additionally, he held administrative positions within various religious institutions, including Administrator at Our Lady of Fatima Church and School, Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Louisiana, Monroe, and St. Lawrence Catholic Mission Church, all from 2016 to 2017.
As the Director
In his capacity as the Director of CHRIST University, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas underscores an overarching vision for the institution, one that revolves around crafting an educational environment with transformative potential. This environment is meticulously designed to nurture comprehensive growth, catalyze innovation, and equip students to excel within an intricate and interconnected global landscape.
Foremost, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas envisions CHRIST University as a realm of empowerment, where students are empowered to unearth their innate capabilities. The focus extends beyond mere academic distinction to encompass the holistic blossoming of every individual. The aspiration revolves around establishing an all-embracing and inclusive atmosphere that reveres diversity, champions ethical principles, and cultivates personal maturation. Driven by the creation of a profound sense of belonging and a comprehensive support network, the aim is to shape students into well-rounded individuals driven by purpose and an insatiable zeal for perpetual learning.
Moreover, the perspective adopted by Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas casts CHRIST University as an establishment deeply entrenched in the ideals of societal responsibility and active community involvement. The aim is to instill in students a profound sense of empathy, compassion, and a resolute dedication to orchestrating positive societal change. By encouraging community outreach initiatives, advocating sustainable practices, and interweaving social responsibility into the academic fabric, the goal is to cultivate conscientious leaders who are resolute in addressing pressing global concerns and dedicated to the holistic enhancement of society.
Ultimately, Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas champions the potency of collaboration and partnerships. His vision for CHRIST University paints it as a nucleus of interdisciplinary alliances, forging connections with industry, governmental bodies, and academic institutions on local, national, and global scales. These collaborative synergies are poised to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, immersive learning experiences, and the formulation of innovative solutions tailored to the intricacies of real-world challenges.
Knowing Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas
In an exclusive discussion with Fr. Thomas regarding the intricate equilibrium between his personal and professional realms, he conveyed, “Efficaciously harmonizing my personal life alongside the obligations of my role as Director is of paramount importance to me. Residing within a residential campus and being a priest have synergistically fused my personal inclinations with the vision I uphold professionally.” Further elaborating, he expressed, “As a priest, my existence revolves around the tenet of service. This very dedication to service seamlessly aligns with the duties associated with my role as the Director, as both spheres necessitate an unwavering commitment to advancing the university community.”
Amidst the conversation, he expounded on his profound fulfillment in catering to the needs of students, faculty, and staff. This engagement, he emphasized, engenders a profound sense of gratification, nurturing an innate joy that emanates from contributing to their advancement and overall well-being.
Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas, in addition to his role as the Director, embraces a diverse array of personal passions and hobbies that harmoniously complement and enrich his professional undertakings. These pursuits extend his perspectives and infuse his work at the university with valuable insights.
A profound fondness for music is a defining facet of Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas’s persona. Having embarked on his journey with the guitar from an early age, he continues to devote time to honing his skills and exploring various musical genres. Music serves as a conduit for his creative expression, furnishing both relaxation and a wellspring of inspiration. It instills in him qualities of discipline, patience, and a profound admiration for the arts — attributes that distinctly shape his leadership approach and inform his decision-making process in his capacity as the Director.
Equally compelling is Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas’s passion for community outreach. He ardently believes in active engagement with the local community, nurturing meaningful connections that extend beyond the confines of the university. Dr. Fr. Lijo Thomas immerses himself in volunteer endeavors, forges collaborative bonds with community-based organizations, and lends support to initiatives aimed at addressing pertinent social issues. Through this heartfelt engagement, he acquires a deep-seated comprehension of the community’s aspirations and challenges, thereby enriching his role as the Director with a holistic perspective.