UGC sets up expert panel to protect SC, ST students from discrimination
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New Delhi: Universities and higher education institutions will now be able to hire distinguished experts as faculty members under the Professors of Practice (PoP) in Universities and Colleges category for which formal academic qualification and publication requirements will not be mandatory.

According to new guidelines notified by the University Grants CommissionUGC (UGC) on Friday, 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 under the category.

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.

PoP is a common practice across the world. PoPs, who are primarily non-tenured faculty members, are in vogue in many universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University, Stanford University, SOAS University of London, Cornell University, University of Helsinki to name a few.

In India too, PoPs are appointed at Indian Institutes of Technology in Delhi, Madras and Guwahati.

According to the guidelines, the number of PoPs in a higher education institute (HEI), at any point in time, should not exceed 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts and be engaged in three categories funded by Industries, funded by HEIs from their own resources, and on honorary basis.

The maximum duration of service at a given institution should not exceed three years, extendable by one year in exceptional cases, the guidelines said.

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, read the guidelines.

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