PROFESSORS OF PRACTICE
3rd October, 2022 Polity and Governance
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- According to the recently released guidelines of the University Grants Commission (UGC); Academic qualification such as a PhD is not necessary to be appointed as faculty in any college or university in India.
- Under the Guidelines, higher education institutes may create a new teaching position called Professor of Practice to hire experts from diverse sectors, similar provisions already exist in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
- To be qualified for appointment, an individual must be a “distinguished expert”, and has at least 15 years of service or experience.
- Institutions are free to decide the sector from which they want to hire professionals.
- A professor of practice can be hired from a diverse range of areas; technology, science, social sciences, media, literature, armed forces, law, fine arts, etc.
- The position is not open for those individuals who are in the teaching profession — either serving or retired.
- No formal academic qualification is necessary if a person has been an “exemplary” professional in their field of work.
- Presently, under the UGC’s minimum qualification an individual needs to be a PhD holder in order to be recruited as a professor or associate professor, and also need to have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET).
Professor of Practice
- Under the proposed system, Universities and colleges will carry out appointments on a nomination basis.
- The vice-chancellors or directors could invite nominations for filling up posts, which cannot be more than 10% of the approved faculty strength of an institute.
- The applications will be evaluated by a selection committee including two senior professors from the respective institute, and one “eminent external member”.
- Based on the recommendations of the committee, the academic council and the executive council of the institutes will take the final decision on the appointment.
- Professor of practice can be either full-time or part-time with a minimum of 4 years of engagement. In the starting, the hiring will be done for one year, which may be extended based on the performance.
- The maximum duration of service in an institution should not be more than 3 years, which might be extended by 1 year in exceptional cases; therefore the total service should not be more than 4 years in any cases.
- The remuneration will be decided by the institutes and the experts being hired.
- They will be involved in the development and design of courses and curricula and will deliver lectures as well.
- They can also carry out joint research projects or consultancy services in collaboration with regular faculty members.
Significance of the initiative
- This will provide much-needed “faculty resources” in universities and colleges, as India’s higher education institutes are understaffed, with thousands of vacancies across central and state universities.
- It will improve the quality of graduates produced by Indian colleges and universities.
- It will introduce real-world practices and experiences into classrooms.