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Presi faculty dons new look

The new-look English and history departments of Presidency University won’t have anyone from the erstwhile Presidency College faculty.

Three members of the English faculty and two from the history department had applied for assistant professorship in the new set-up but none made the cut in interviews conducted by an independent panel, sources said.

The college had six teachers in the English department — five associate professors and one assistant professor.

Two of the associate professors had applied for both professorship and assistant professorship at Presidency University. The third, a younger teacher, had only applied for assistant professorship.

The selection of assistant professors ended last week. The panel picked five teachers — Anupama Mohan from the University of Nevada; Suddhaseel Sen from the Braun Music Center at Stanford University; Souvik Mukherjee from Shiv Nadar University in Greater Noida; Kalyan Kumar Das, whose background isn’t mentioned in the list released by Presidency on Friday; and Mahitosh Mandal, a guest lecturer at Ramakrishna Mission Residential College.

The lone professor at Presidency University’s new English department, Shanta Dutta, is coming from Jadavpur University.

A panel handpicked by the mentor group, chaired by Harvard historian Sugata Bose, and representatives of the university conducted the interviews.

The Presidency mentor group comprises two eminent teachers of English: Jadavpur University Professor Emeritus Sukanta Chaudhuri and Swapan Chakravorty, who is now the director-general of the National Library and secretary and curator of the Victoria Memorial Hall.

“The panel had primarily judged the candidates on their teaching skills, research background and academic record,” a university official said.

He underplayed the weightage given to the current faculty’s performance.

The official said the failure of five members of the history and English faculty to get assistant professorship did not reflect the quality of teaching at Presidency prior to its transition to a university.

“Of the 11 aspirants from the erstwhile college in physics, six have made the cut. Two out of three have been selected for the statistics department,” the official added.

Presidency College had 134 teachers, 81 of whom applied for posts in the university. So far, 28 have faced interviews and 15 of them have made the cut. Seven out of nine candidates for the posts of professors have been selected, but only eight out of 19 have cleared the interviews for assistant professorship.

The current faculty would continue to take classes until the new teachers join.

“That could take a few months because many of those selected will have to shift base,” vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar said.

Admission quota

Presidency has decided to implement the formula fixed by the higher education department for admission to postgraduate classes.

“Up to 60 per cent of the seats will be reserved for our graduates,” registrar Prabir Dasgupta said.

The university will set a cut-off for qualification.