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JNU faculty members putting out feelers to other institutions

JNU Teachers' Association protesting near the Ministry of Human Resource Development demanding the release of a Committee report on JNU in New Delhi last month.

JNU Teachers' Association protesting near the Ministry of Human Resource Development demanding the release of a Committee report on JNU in New Delhi last month.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

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Dr. Rao encouraged them to facilitate such lateral hires in the case of senior JNU faculty members with distinguished records.

JNU’s loss may become IIT’s gain. Senior faculty members at Jawaharlal Nehru University, faced with a “deteriorating situation”, have expressed interest in moving across the road to the Indian Institute of Technology, according to an email sent by IIT-Delhi Director V. Ramgopal Rao.

In the December 19 email to his department heads, Dr. Rao encouraged them to facilitate such lateral hires in the case of senior JNU faculty members with distinguished records.

“I am receiving many feelers from senior JNU faculty [members] showing a willingness to move to IIT Delhi, considering the deteriorating situation in JNU,” said the email. “I am told that some of them are also applying to other institutions given the impression that IIT Delhi doesn’t encourage lateral movement into higher positions. It will be a pity if we lose out on such good people because of any of these reasons/perception.”

In his email, Dr. Rao added that he would leave it to the judgement of the department heads how they wished to deal with the situation, emphasising that the “Institute will be very open to recruitment of senior faculty [members] who have a distinguished track record.”

The Hindu has confirmed the authenticity of the email.

Ramakrishna Ramaswamy made the move across the road in the last year, taking the post of a visiting professor at IIT-Delhi after retiring from a 32-year stint at JNU. Dr. Ramaswamy, who had been on the short-list for JNU Vice-Chancellor in 2016, says the current crisis has affected students and teachers and hampered research activities.

“For good research, you need a stable environment. With the kind of upheavals going on now, research in the life sciences would be severely affected,” he said. The shutting down of buildings would especially harm experiments using live tissue, he said. While the JNU is known for its humanities and social science research, it owes much of its high ranking to excellence in the sciences.

Dr. Ramaswamy added that he still supervised Ph.D students at the JNU, who come from poor socio-economic backgrounds, meaning they have been hit hard by the hostel fee increase that caused the current crisis.

A senior professor at IIT-Delhi says that when senior academics wish to change jobs, they do not apply for positions. Instead, they put out feelers. Although IIT-Delhi, like many other institutions, often focusses on young people for new appointments, the experience and expertise of senior JNU faculty members in the sciences will make them valuable hires, he says.

Ironically enough, JNU Vice-Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar, accused of precipitating the crisis, made the move in the opposite direction. He was an electrical engineering professor at IIT-Delhi before being appointed to the top job at JNU, and still continues to teach there.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 12:41:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jnu-faculty-members-putting-out-feelers-to-other-institutions/article30562381.ece

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