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US faculty for Shillong IIM

New Delhi, July 2: The new Indian Institute of Management in Shillong could become the first among the premier B-schools to hire foreign faculty to boost its brand value as it debuts this year.

The HRD ministry has allowed the Shillong IIM to hire foreign experts who will teach “specific subjects” included in the institute’s curriculum, government officials said.

Similar proposals from the existing six IIMs are also being studied by the ministry.

Fears of a shortage in quality Indian faculty led to the IIM’s decision to look for teachers outside the country, institute sources said.

Foreign faculty have taught at the IIMs in the past, but only as guest lecturers or under exchange programmes. Classes at the institute, officially called the Rajiv Gandhi IIM, begin on Friday.

“We have contacted several prominent management faculty members from US universities to teach specific aspects of our curriculum. Many of those we have contacted have expressed interest,” said Ashok Dutta, appointed the first director of the Shillong institute. Dutta was earlier director of the Calcutta-based Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management.

“The foreign professors we have contacted include non-resident Indians and American nationals,” Dutta said over phone from Calcutta. He did not disclose the names of any of the faculty contacted by the institute.

Other sources in the institute’s board of governors said the IIM was contemplating whether to hire the foreign teachers as full-time employees or experts who will come over to teach a specific subject.

“Either way, we are breaking new ground. As a latecomer on the IIM scene, we need to build a brand quickly; not easy when you are competing with six institutes that are already well established. The foreign faculty should help,” a board member said.

The official also confided that the board was concerned about the shortage of quality professionals working on sustainable development management models in India.

Though the institute is admitting only 60 students this year, it is expected to expand to at least double this capacity over the next three years.

“We are hiring Indian faculty already. But will there be enough of such quality faculty once we expand? These are concerns, and a part of the reason why we are looking to hire foreign faculty members,” the board member said.

A senior official in the technical education wing of the ministry said the Shillong IIM had approached the ministry with its plans to hire foreign faculty earlier this year. “The IIM has been informed that it can hire foreign faculty. We have no issues.”

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