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Vikash Sharma

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently released draft guidelines for engaging professor of practice in universities and colleges. This is said to be in accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which recommends hiring of experts from various fields, local artists, craftsperson, industry experts as guest faculty in higher educational institutes.

As per the UGC draft guidelines, the professor of practice will be crucial in developing courses, curriculum to meet the needs and challenges faced by the industry and society. The Higher Educational Institutions will work with industry experts for taking up joint research projects and consultancy services.

Professor of practice can be engaged from various fields- engineering, science, technology, entrepreneurship, commerce, social sciences, media, literature, fine arts, civil services, armed forces, legal profession and public administration into the academic institutions.

Eligibility:

An expert from specific profession/ role with at least 15 years of service/experience, at a senior level, is eligible for Professor of Practice. A formal academic qualification will not be considered essential for this position, if they have exemplary professional practice in lieu.

Highlights: The experts who will be roped in as professor of pratice will be exempted from the requirement of publications, other existing eligibility criteria as stipulated for the recruitment of faculty members at the professor level. However, the number of Professors of Practice in a Higher Educational Institutions, at any point in time, should not exceed 10% of the sanctioned posts.

General conditions for engagement: It is to be kept in mind that the engagement of Professor of Practice will be for a fixed term and it will be exclusive of the sanctioned posts of a university/college. The draft guidelines state that it will not affect the number of sanctioned posts and the recruitment of regular faculty members.

Professor of Practice can be engaged in one of the following categories:

1. Professor of Practice funded by Industries: For engaging industry experts and professionals under this category, HEIs may collaborate with the industries to support the Professor of Practice positions.

2. Professor of Practice funded by HEIs from their own resources: HEIs may assess the required gap areas in different fields and engage experts working in leadership positions in various fields.

The remuneration for the Professor of Practice will be made by HEIs from their own resources. Remuneration: Part-time/Full-time engagement: Consolidated amount, mutually agreed between the institution and expert.

3. Professor of Practice on Honorary basis: Experts fulfilling the eligibility criteria may share their expertise with students and come forward to teach on honorary basis. The HEIs may decide on the amount of honorarium to be paid to the Professor of Practice in this category from their own resources.

Tenure

The engagement will be initially for up to one year. At the end of the initial engagement or subsequent extension, the HEI are required to make an assessment and take the decision about extension. As per the UGC draft guidelines, the HEI need to develop own assessment procedure for extension which will be categorically based on the contribution and requirement of the experts engaged as Professors of Practice.

The maximum duration of service of Professor of Practice at a given institution should not exceed three years and can extendable by one year in exceptional cases. The total service should not exceed four years under any circumstances

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