From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Professors of Practice
Mains level : Not Much
University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued new guidelines under which higher education institutes can create a new teaching position called Professor of Practice to hire experts from various sectors, in line with provisions that already exist in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Professors of Practice
- If one is a distinguished professional in any field but do not have a formal academic qualification such as a PhD, he/she can still be eligible for appointment as faculty in any college or university in India.
- To be eligible for appointment, an individual will have to be a “distinguished expert” who has made remarkable contributions in their professions.
- The post is open to the institutions themselves to decide the sector from which they want to rope in professionals.
Streams opened for this post
- A professor of practice can be anyone with a background in a diverse range of areas from technology, science, social sciences, media, literature, armed forces, law, fine arts, etc.
- However, the position is not open for those in the teaching profession — either serving or retired.
- No formal academic qualification is necessary in order to be considered for this position if a person has been an “exemplary” professional in their field of work.
- Currently, under the UGC’s minimum qualifications needs a PhD to be recruited as a professor or associate professor, and also needs to have cleared the National Eligibility Test (NET).
Will the professor of practice be a full-time position?
- It can be either a full-time or a part-time engagement for at least four years.
- Initially, the hiring will be for one year.
- Based on performance, extensions may be given.
How will these appointments be made?
- Universities and colleges will carry out appointments on a nomination basis.
- In other words, vice-chancellors or directors have been authorized to invite nominations for filling up posts, which cannot exceed 10 percent of the sanctioned faculty strength of an institute.
- After nominations are invited, those interested can send their applications with detailed biodata and a brief write-up about the ways they can potentially contribute.
- The applications will be considered by a selection committee comprising 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 call on appointment.
What about remuneration?
- The remuneration will be decided at the level of the institutes and the experts being hired.
- In some cases, universities can even approach industries for financial support.
Why such move?
- India’s higher education institutes are understaffed, with thousands of vacancies across central and state universities.
- So the UGC is hoping that recruiting industry experts and professionals will help “augment faculty resources” in universities and colleges.
- The move is aimed at addressing concerns about the quality of graduates being produced by Indian colleges and universities.
- Around the world, the idea of a professor of practice aims essentially to facilitate and promote the integration of academic scholarship with practical expertise and experience.