UGC clears professor of practice post for ‘experts’, PhD not must

PROFESSOR OF Practice, a faculty position which can be filled by industry and professional experts even without formal academic qualifications, will now be allowed in higher education institutions, according to guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Friday.

Up to 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts in a higher education institution can be Professors of Practice, who will have a maximum tenure of four years, state the rules.

The eligible candidates must be “distinguished experts who have made remarkable contributions in their professions” in areas ranging from science and technology and social sciences to media and armed forces among others, with at least 15 years of service or experience.

Currently, a PhD is required for recruitment as a regular professor or associate professor.

The guidelines state that for the newly created post, “a formal academic qualification is not considered essential… 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 specified in the following section.”

The move will help “augment faculty resources” in universities and colleges, while also introducing real world practices and experiences into classrooms which are producing graduates “who fall short of the required skills”, the UGC said.

“Many industries now hire graduates and provide adequate training before employing them. Involving experts from industry in teaching will benefit both the industry and the higher educational institutions,” said the guidelines.

Three new categories have been created: Professor of Practice funded by industries, Professor of Practice funded by higher education institutions from their own resources, and Professor of Practice on honorary basis.

In the first category, institutes can collaborate with industries that can prove financial support for creating and managing the positions. Under the second category, the institutes will have to arrange salaries at a “mutually agreed” rate.

According to the guidelines, the Professors of Practice will be involved in developing and designing courses and curriculum, and also deliver lectures “as per institutional policies”. They will also be expected to focus on enhanced industry-academia collaborations.

According to data shared by the government in Lok Sabha in July, the central universities have as many as 6,549 vacant faculty positions.

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