University Grants Commission (UGC) approves the idea of appointing industry experts as faculty members under the new category of ‘Professors of practice’, with a minimum of at least proven 15 years of experience in its area of expertise. The decision was taken in the 560th meeting of UGC, organized last week. The notification for the announcement is likely to come up the next month.
In addition to the sanctioned posts of regular faculty, the drafted guidelines were approved by the higher education regulator, confirmed the officials on Monday. Experts from demanding fields like engineering, media, literature, science, entrepreneurship, fine arts, civil studies, social sciences, and armed forces will be the main domains for recruitment. The hiring will not be for a fixed term of more than four years, with total strength not exceeding 10% of the sanctioned faculty posts at any given time, said the University Grants Commission. “The maximum duration of service of Professor of Practice at a given institution should not exceed three years and is extendable by one year in exceptional cases and the total service should not exceed four years under any circumstance,” read the UGC guidelines. The opportunity will not be given to those already in the teaching profession.
According to the guidelines which will be notified in the upcoming academic session, “Those who have proven expertise in their specific profession or role with at least 15 years of service or experience, preferably at a senior level, will be eligible for Professors of Practice. A formal academic qualification is not considered essential for this position if they have exemplary professional practice in lieu.” “These experts will also be exempted from the requirement of publications and other eligibility criteria stipulated for the recruitment of faculty members at the Professor level. However, they should possess the skills to carry out the duties and responsibilities.” A consolidated amount, mutually agreed between the institution and expert will be paid as remuneration for those hired in the category.
The provision is a part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, focusing on skill-based education to meet the needs of industry and economy, said UGC chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar. He added, “It will enable higher education institutions to formally associate with persons of eminence and encourage them to participate in experiential learning, research, training, skilling, entrepreneurship and extension and to play a mentoring role.”
There will be three categories under which the scheme of Professors of Practice will be conducted- funded by industries, funded by higher education institutions, or honorary. The first category will allow the institutions to collaborate with the industry experts to enhance their positions. There will be no additional resources and the higher education institutions will be required to fund from their own sources for the second category. The Third category states the amount of honorarium can be decided by the institutions considering their own sources.
“The Vice Chancellors and Directors may invite nominations from eminent experts for Profession of Practice positions. The experts willing to serve may also be nominated or they can end their nomination to the Vice Chancellors with detailed biodata and a brief about their potential contribution to the HEI,” read the guidelines. A selection committee comprising two senior professors and one external member will lead the committee. Based on their recommendations and choices, the concerned statutory bodies of the institutions will make their call.