The University Grants Commission has drafted guidelines for Professor of Practice positions in universities and colleges.
The Commission’s secretary, Rajnish Jain, has written to industry bodies, including FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM and NASSCOM regarding the rules for engagement.
He has pointed out that the “National Education Policy 2020 recommends transformative reforms in the higher education sector. The main thrust of the policy is the promotion of holistic and multidisciplinary education. Integration of academic scholarship with practical experience is an important step in the context of holistic and multidisciplinary education. Towards this, the UGC has taken a new initiative of engaging Professor of Practice in Higher Educational Institutions (HEls).”
The document states that “experts with remarkable contributions in their professions from various fields,... with proven expertise in their specific profession with at least 15 years’ experience at a senior level are eligible to be Professor of Practice.”
A formal academic qualification is not essential “if they have exemplary professional practice in lieu” and nor will they be required to have authored publications.
The number of such professors in an institution may not exceed 10% of the sanctioned posts at any point in time.
Such faculty may be involved in developing and designing courses and curriculum; deliver lectures; mentor students; improve industry-academia collaboration; conduct with regular faculty members workshops, seminars and training programmes besides research projects.
Such persons may be funded by industries or by the institution or could be an honorary position.
The Vice-Chancellor or director of the institution may invite nominations for the post. A selection committee comprising two senior professors from the institution and an eminent external member may offer its recommendations.
The statutory bodies of the institution would decide on the engagement.
Professors in practice may be appointed for a year and subsequent engagement would be based on assessment. However “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 UGC has mandated.