How the Professor of Practice can be of use in our colleges and universities

The introduction of the Professor of Practice in our higher education institutions will help make the courses more interesting and relevant

October 29, 2022 11:31 pm | Updated 11:31 pm IST

This proposal for Professor of Practice has come at a time when emphasis is being laid on the need for students to undergo internships and get adequate exposure on the practical side of the syllabus. 

This proposal for Professor of Practice has come at a time when emphasis is being laid on the need for students to undergo internships and get adequate exposure on the practical side of the syllabus.  | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The UGC’s recent draft guidelines to engage Professors of Practice in universities and colleges, aims to bring in expertise from industry and other fields such as art, crafts and other professional areas into higher education institutes (HEIs). According to the UGC, a Professor of Practice does not need to have a formal academic qualification, if they possess an exemplary professional practice. This will enable HEIs to create curricula and syllabi that not only meet the needs of industry and society, but also facilitate research projects, experiential learning, skill development and entrepreneurship.

This is a vital move as the expertise and practical approach brought by such professors will make the subject more interesting and relevant. It will also help students select appropriate career paths and boost employment opportunities.

What it means

According to the guidelines, a Professor of Practice can be appointed in addition to the sanctioned strength of faculty in a department/institution. He/she will have a fixed term of one year that can be extended to three years, depending on his/her contribution and performance.

The Professor of Practice will be involved in designing and developing the course to make it innovative. This also involves creating entrepreneurship projects and providing mentorship. Apart from facilitating industry-academia collaborations, these professors can also organise workshops, training programmes and seminars along with the other faculty. The post can be funded either by the industry and supported by the institution or be an honorary position.

Benefits

This proposal for Professor of Practice has come at a time when much emphasis is being laid on the need for students to undergo internships and get adequate exposure on the practical side of the syllabus. A Professor of Practice should be able to facilitate and further this development and render guidance to the students in getting the full benefit of the internship.

HEIs are now expected to establish incubation centres, fab labs, innovation and research centres to convert the ideas of students and faculty into worthwhile and tangible outcomes. The Professor of Practice will be able to ensure a free flow of knowledge and help with the conceptualisation of the research problem and a successful execution. Such interactions are vital to take the collaborations to an advanced stage.

The other aspect where this post will be useful is in honing skill sets. Today, students require practical exposure not just for STEM subjects but also for those from Humanities stream such as English, Psychology, Philosophy, History, and so on. Language labs will help popularise languages other than English. Each Humanities subject has its own set of practical content that will make it absorbing and exciting for students. Professionals from the respective fields will also be able to make these engaging and riveting and kindle the student’s interest in the subjects.

Thus, the proposal to have a Professor of Practice would be both relevant and helpful, as they can play a key role in bringing in up-to-date content in the concerned areas.

The writer is the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science (Deemed to be University), Chennai

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