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Mentors look for VC selector

The Presidency mentor group has started the process of selecting the university’s nominee to the search committee that will shortlist candidates for the post of the institute’s first full-term vice-chancellor.

The government has recently announced that Presidency would get its first full-term (four years) VC after the tenure of interim VC Malabika Sarkar ends on February 15.

Mentor group chairman Sugata Bose said the university nominee would probably be a member of the governing board, which is yet to be set up.

The board will start functioning once the university’s statutes are drawn up. “The statutes are likely to be ready by January,” said a source.

Bose said the mentors would seek a clarification from the government on whether the university’s nominee would have to be a member of the governing board. “Once the clarification comes, we will finalise the name.”

The Presidency University (Amendment) Act 2013 says the search committee will comprise a nominee each of the governing board, governor and the government.

“It’s good that the search committee has been constituted for the appointment of vice-chancellor. We will soon finalise the name of the university’s nominee,” said Harvard professor Bose.

The government started the process of appointing the first full-term VC of Presidency after education minister Bratya Basu announced on December 5 that a search panel would soon be formed to draw up a shortlist for the post.

The mentor group had in its fifth report submitted in June recommended that interim VC Sarkar’s tenure be extended till June 2015.

“The mentor group will have a say in the formation of the governing board, which in turn is likely to select one of its members as its nominee to the search committee. So the mentors will play a key role in the selection of the VC,” said an education department official.

“The government has been keen on involving the mentors in the exercise since a move to remove Sarkar a week before Presidency’s first convocation in July failed. A search panel led by former higher education council chairman Sugata Marjit was formed to select Sarkar’s successor, keeping the mentors in the dark. The government later disbanded the panel and Sarkar got an extension till February 15.”

Officials in the education department said Bose could be the government’s nominee to the search committee. “If that happens, the mentors will effectively have two representatives in the search panel. It will ensure that the new VC would be a candidate of the mentors’ choice,” said an official. A source said even the chancellor’s nominee could be from among the mentors.