UGC asks varsities to change their statutes and ordinances to make way for PoP scheme

The PoP scheme is a common practice across the world. PoPs are primarily non-tenured faculty members

In order to enable the engagement of Professor of Practice (PoP) across Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs), the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed the varsities to make necessary changes in their statutes and ordinances. As per the UGC, the engagement of the PoP will be for a fixed term.

"To enable Higher Educational Institutions to hire professional experts, the UGC has created a new position called Professor of Practice (PoP) and already published guidelines for engaging them. The vice-chancellors of universities and the college principals are requested to initiate steps to necessary changes in their statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations to enable the engagement of PoP in their institutions," UGC secretary PK Thakur said in a letter to varsities, as per a PTI report.

The UGC has sought an action taken report in this regard. Last month, the Commission had notified that universities and HEIs would be able to hire distinguished experts as faculty members under the PoP category for which formal academic qualifications and publication requirements will not be mandatory. According to the guidelines issued, the number of PoPs in an HEI should not exceed 10 per cent of the sanctioned posts at any point in time. The faculty would be engaged in three categories which are PoP funded by industries, PoP funded by HEIs from their own resources, and PoP on an honorary basis. Also, the maximum duration of service at a given institution would not exceed three years, extendable by one year in exceptional cases, as per PTI.

"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 positions, either serving or retired," the guidelines read further.

It may be noted that the PoP scheme 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 and the University of Helsinki to name a few. In India, PoPs are appointed at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Delhi, Madras and Guwahati, as per PTI.

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