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Having taken care of the almighty biometric attendance, you lounge yourself sleepily onto some seat in a remote corner of the class looking at the reason for all the mad rush. More often than not, these thoughts cross your mind: Why am I taught by these guys? Who selects them? More importantly, what parameters are taken into account to assess those who assess me over my entire stay in campus?
If you have ever faced any of these questions when you should be concentrating in class, look no further. We bring to you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of how the entire appointment process works, right from applications to the perks of being a professor in insti.
A Ph.D. with First class or equivalent (in terms of Grades etc.) as the preceding degree and a good academic record throughout.
Professor : A minimum of ten years teaching/research/professional experience of which at least 4 years should be at the level of Associate Professor in a research organization or industry as on the date of application. The candidate should also have demonstrated leadership in research in a specific area of specialization in terms of guidance of Ph.D. students, strong record of publications in reputed journals and conferences, patents and other recognized relevant professional activities.
Associate Professor: A minimum of six years teaching/research/professional experience of which 3 years should be at the level of Assistant Professor, Senior Scientific Officer or Senior Design Engineer in a research organization or industry as on the date of application. The candidate should have demonstrated adequate experience of independent research in terms of guidance of M.Tech. and Ph.D. students, publications in reputed journals and conferences, patents and other recognized relevant professional activities.
Assistant Professor: A minimum of three years teaching/research/professional experience, excluding the experience gained while pursuing Ph.D candidate should have demonstrated research capabilities in terms of publications in reputed journals and conferences.
Apart from all that may seem objectively quantifiable, the selection of a professor is a subjective issue and someone getting selected (or rejected) may or may not be predicted by scribbling ticks and crosses on a piece of paper. Moreover, it highly depends upon his/her compatibility with other department faculty as well. When a person comes here, he/she lives here for 35 years! And for that, a fair amount of commitment is required.
The process has two primary levels of contact – first, when the candidate gives a seminar and second, when he meets the individual faculty members of the respective department. This is done to ensure the applicant has a reasonable idea and understanding of the department and to get a good and clear idea about the person who is joining the department. In certain situations if due to circumstantial reasons, the applicant cannot be physically present then a skype interview is arranged and inputs about the candidate are taken from his/her peers and colleagues.
The candidate needs to present or submit three papers written by him/her in their field of interest and these need to be vetted by experts, either inside or outside the institute. Excellence in one’s academic record is one of the most important underlying feature while deciding whether or not to appoint a candidate. This is looked into thoroughly at every stage. Diverse areas of study from some of their critically acclaimed work are also looked into along with the research proposal and courses he/she can teach in the department.
For every department, there is a faculty search committee which makes a recommendation to a process committee that vets the candidate’s profile followed by vetting by the department based on the shortlist provided. Only after it gets approval from the department does it go to the main building for further scrutiny. The Head of the Department coordinates with the search committee and is kept in the loop. Thus it is not a decision of a single person to shortlist or forward candidate CVs.
Once the main building finalises the shortlist, each candidate on the list is contacted and asked for references for his/her work. The department has to assign 4 additional references/experts to the candidate who can vet their CV. Subject experts are also consulted and approximately 5 to 6 of them are on the interview committee.
Becoming a Professor at IIT Bombay has its own share of pitfalls. Long hours of seemingly never-ending work along with non-hierarchical and non-decisive committees whose decisions are supposed to be binding upon you. Seems the standard distasteful ration served at every engineering college, eh?
Now let’s delve a bit into the flip side of the coin; The Perks of being a Professor at IIT Bombay.
Research facilities and grants: The institute flexes its considerable financial muscle your way to make sure you hit the ground running when you join as an Assistant Professor. 20 Lakh as Research grants, coupled with support for your Ph.D student, when you’ve barely been on campus.
Space: As summarised quite crisply by Professor Venkataramani, HoD of MEMS department, ‘Space is premium!’ And this ‘premium’ commodity is doled out by.. well, quite a large amount to the incoming faculty members. 300 sq. ft of personal space along with a personal cabin is to be kept ready before one has even stepped foot into the campus as an assistant Professor or Professor. And this is just how Professors start out. Once they start getting money into the department, the Department accommodates them with a larger amount of space.
Telephone bill allowance: Dearness allowance, Housing allowance, Transport allowance – and to top all of it off, a Telephone Bill allowance as well. Who needs a million-dollar salary when you are up to your neck in allowances?!
Cumulative Professional Development Allowance: Professional Development is a factor of paramount importance for most new faculties, and it is here that IITB trumps most other professional colleges.
With a grant of 3 Lakh over a block of 3 years provided to faculty members for presenting their work at conferences, paying the membership fees of various organizations and buying books and any other things that complement their research – you simply aren’t kept wanting as far as your professional development is concerned. And that is probably the best thing an institution can provide you.
A plethora of leaves: Well, apparently, you are entitled to a million and one different kinds of leaves – both paid and unpaid and for reasons genuine and myriad – as soon as you join the Insti. There are leaves such as ‘Casual Leave’, and then there are other eccentric leaves such as ‘Extraordinary leave’. Whatever be the reason, the leaves at IITB have you covered. We just wish this perk was more exploited by our profs.
Even though all of this may seem too good to be true for an institute comprising 10,000 students and 600 faculty members, but the fact of matter is that roughly just one in a sixty applicants makes it through all the above mentioned screenings and clears a comprehensive selection process to become an integral part of IITB.