28 nov 2011
IITs lure alumni with job security, research funds
IIT-Delhi is enticing its illustrious alumni teaching at institutions abroad for faculty positions.
New Delhi: Currently, 300 out of the total sanctioned strength of 750 faculty positions are lying vacant at IIT-Delhi. Faced with the challenge of filling up these posts with quality candidates, the institute is reaching out to its alumni settled abroad in the hope that the decline in research funding and job insecurity there will inspire the former students to join IIT-Delhi as faculty.
Within two months of assuming charge as the institute’s director, Professor Raghunath Shevgaonkar has already met alumni members currently teaching at some of the top universities in the US such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Carnegie Melon University.
“These days it’s quite tough to get research funding in the US. It’s also tough to get a tenure job at a university. In contrast, top institutes like the IITs have been receiving a lot of research grant and are keen to hire good faculty,” Shevgaonkar, who met about eight alumni members (identified by different departments) in New York and Washington DC last month, said.
Over the past five years, IIT-Delhi has witnessed a three-fold jump in research grants from Rs.40 crore in 2006 to over Rs.120 crore in 2010-11.
“What I am trying to do is give a better picture of the opportunities available in India and at our institution, especially. We’re hopeful that some of them will be keen to join us as faculty,” Shevgaonkar added.
As a further incentive to move back to India, IIT Delhi is also offering to employ the spouses of such candidates if they have the required qualifications.
“We are open to contacting our alumni in Europe as well,” Shevgaonkar said.
One of the main reasons behind the shortage of teachers at the institute is the addition of 54 per cent OBC seats over the past three years. While the number of students has increased rapidly, the institute has not been able to find teachers at the same rate to maintain the recommended student- to- teacher ratio of 10: 1.
Union minister Jairam Ramesh had recently questioned the quality of teachers at the 15 premier engineering institutes. Infosys chairman Narayan Murthy, too, had expressed his doubts over the quality of students at the IITs.