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Faculty crème de la crème for Nalanda

Nalanda, July 30: Nalanda University has completed the faculty recruitment process for its first academic programme from September.

Most of the faculty members appointed in the two schools — school of ecology and environment studies and school of historical studies — are highly qualified with many associated with top foreign universities.

The school of ecology and environment studies will be headed by three faculty members while school of historical studies will have six teachers.

Aditya Malik, fellow at Max-Weber-Centre for Advanced Social Science Research (Erfurt/Germany) at present and also the associate director of New Zealand India Research Institute (NZIRI), will head the school of historical studies.

Malik has been trained in philosophy, archaeology, history, social anthropology and religious studies at St Stephen’s College (New Delhi), Deccan College (Pune) and South Asia Institute of the University of Heidelberg (Germany) from where he received his PhD. In the school of historical studies, Malik will be assisted by Samuel Wright, Yin Ker, Murari Kumar Jha, Kashshaf Ghani.

Samuel Wright, assistant professor, historical studies, has been trained at University of Chicago and his research interests include intellectual history, political culture in early modern India as well as Sanskrit and Bengali palaeography and epigraphy. Similarly, Yin Ker, assistant professor, historical studies, has been trained in art history at University of Paris Sorbonne and tutor for Asian art history at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) at present.

Murari Kumar Jha, another assistant professor, has been trained at institute for history, Leiden University (The Netherlands), and he has written his MPhil and PhD thesis utilising primarily the Dutch East India Company records. The fifth teacher in historical studies will be Kashshaf Ghani, a PhD from University of Calcutta. Ghani’s fields on interest include Sufism, Islam in South Asia, Muslim societies with focus on pre-modern India.

Gopa Sabharwal, vice-chancellor, Nalanda University, said: “While selecting the faculty members for two schools, the academic excellence and experience of candidates were given wide consideration by the university administration.”

Echoing the views of Sabharwal, Nalanda University dean (academics) Anjana Sharma said: “Academic records, experience, paper publications in international journals and after going through the research proposal of candidates they were called for interview.”

Similarly, the school of ecology and environment studies will have three teachers who have conducted research in the specific fields.

Arne Harms, set to obtain degree from Freie Universitat, Berlin, has conducted extensive fieldwork in urban south India, in rural Guyana and the most recently in the coastal eastern India. At Nalanda, Arne will be delivering and designing foundation courses, core courses and electives spanning social sciences, urban studies and disasters.

In the same school, Harms will be assisted by two Indian teachers but studied at foreign universities — Prabhakar Sharma and Somnath Bandyopadhyay. All three will be working in the rank of assistant professors.

Sharma has earned master’s in water resources engineering and management from Stuttgart, Germany, and PhD in biological systems engineering from Washington State University, Pullman USA. Another teacher Somnath Bandyopadhyay, who has PhD in environmental sciences from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and trained professionally on environmental economics and policy analysis at Harvard, US.

The teaching staff of Nalanda University, an international institute whose chancellor is Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, will draw an annual salary of $20,000-40,000 (around Rs 12 lakh to Rs 24 lakh per annum). “The package of faculty members is expected to be $15,000-40,000 (equivalent to Rs 12 lakh to Rs 24lakh),” Anjana said.

Anjana also said the university had tried its best to attract best faculty member.


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