‘Professors of Practice’ | Varsities to hire experts as 10% faculty; degree, publications not mandatory

Published - August 22, 2022 03:11 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of University Grants Commission in New Delhi. File

A view of University Grants Commission in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Universities and higher education institutions will soon be able to hire distinguished experts as faculty members under a new category for which formal academic qualification and publication requirements will not be mandatory.

The decision was taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in its 560th meeting last week and the scheme — “Professors of Practice” — is likely to be notified next month.

Also read: Will replacing PhD professors with practitioners work?

According to the approved draft guidelines of Professors of Practice accessed by PTI, experts from fields such as engineering, science, media, literature, entrepreneurship, social sciences, fine arts, civil services, and armed forces among others will be eligible to be hired.

“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,” read the guidelines, which are likely to come into effect from the upcoming academic session.

“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,” according to the guidelines.

The Commission has decided that the number of Professors of Practice in a higher education institution (HEI), at any point in time, should not exceed 10% of the sanctioned posts.

The faculty members under the scheme will be engaged in three categories — Professors of Practice funded by industries, Professors of Practice engaged by HEIs from their own resources and Professors of Practice on honorary basis.

“The engagement of Professors of Practice will be for a fixed term. Their hiring will be exclusive of the sanctioned posts of a university or college. It will not affect the number of sanctioned posts and the recruitment of regular faculty members. The scheme will not be open for those in teaching position — either serving or retired,” it said.

Also read: PhD requirement for assistant professors postponed till 2023: UGC

A consolidated amount, mutually agreed between the institution and expert will be paid as remuneration for those hired in the category.

“The engagement may be initially for up to one year. At the end of initial engagement or subsequent extension, the HEI will make an assessment and take the decision about extension. The HEI will devise its own assessment procedure for extension based on the contribution and requirement of the experts engaged as Professors of Practice.

“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 circumstances,” the document read.

Involvement in the development and designing of courses and curriculum, introducing new courses and delivering lectures according to institutional policies, encouraging students in innovation and entrepreneurship projects and providing necessary mentorship for these activities are among the duties and responsibilities defined for Professors of Practice.

They will also focus on enhanced industry-academia collaborations, conduct workshops and seminars jointly in collaboration with regular faculty, deliver special lectures and training programmes and carry out joint research project or consultancy services in collaboration with the regular faculty members of the concerned HEI.

“The Vice-Chancellors and Directors may invite nominations from eminent experts for Professor of Practice positions. The experts willing to serve may also be nominated or they can send their nomination to the Vice-Chancellors with a detailed biodata and a brief about their potential contribution to the HEI.

“Such nominations will be considered by a selection committee consisting of two senior Professors from the HEI and one eminent external member. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the Academic Council and the Executive Council or statutory bodies of the HEI will decide on the engagement,” it said.

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