Professors of Practice
Hiring Industry Professionals as Professors of Practice
Origin and Intent
Leading Institutes across the world have started to hire distinguished Industry Professionals/Experts as Professor of Practice to incorporate the best set of Industry practices within an academic framework. The main objective is to enrich and align its students to face and resolve the real-world problems.
BITS Pilani has a long tradition of having its academic curriculum linked to Industry through WILP and Practice School. It has also introduced Institute-sponsored Industry Immersion Scheme to encourage faculty members work on various cutting edge industry-related problems. Faculty members of BITS Pilani are connected to the outside world through consultancy and entrepreneurship.
As an Institution of Eminence, BITS Pilani recognizes the importance of the wealth of experience available in the corporate sector. The synergy of thoughts and ideas of Academic Institutes with Industry help amalgamate academic scholarship with practical experience. It is time that as an Institution we tap and leverage the available professional experience to reap the maximum benefit. However, one would note that the resumes of experienced industry professionals do not necessarily meet the traditional criteria for awarding a faculty position in a leading teaching-cum-research Institute like BITS Pilani. To this end, we have created a cadre as Professor of Practice (PoP).
Goals and Expectations
The Professors of Practice are expected to play key pedagogical and leadership roles in the development of BITS Pilani’s advanced research and study programs across the Institute which includes developing facilities and labs, courses and programs, engaging with students and faculty, incubate applied research engagement leading to credible publications and patents by reaching out to industries. Candidates will also contribute to activities and design projects, facilitate novel pedagogical practices by promoting active learning, creativity, and innovations, and teach graduate and undergraduate courses at BITS Pilani.
These individuals would ideally provide students with a deeper understanding of the practical applications in a particular field of study and serve as liaison between the industry, the government and the institute in identifying teaching and research opportunities that support public interest and societal needs. They will also facilitate an environment for students and faculty colleagues alike to nurture entrepreneurship and start-ups.
The Professor of Practice is normally expected to
- Play an important role in bridging the academic research activities in BITS, and applied research in industry.
- Engage in industry academia collaborations.
- Co-guide/guide PhD students
- Work on arranging PhD fellowships funded in part or entirely by industry.
- Contribute in activities of designing industry specific projects, facilitating novel pedagogical practices followed in Industry by promoting active learning, creativity, and innovations.
- Design and teach niche electives at the intersection of cutting-edge technology and foundational academic pedagogy.
- Apply for industry sponsored research projects as a Co-PI jointly with a regular faculty member (who can be the PI of the project) of BITS Pilani.
- Include hands-on component in teaching industry-oriented courses
- Guide Master’s students in their research
- Define research problems for PhD students that are of particular relevance and interest to Industry
- Encourage and promote innovation and entrepreneurship among students and faculty colleagues and provide necessary mentorship for their activities
Appointment and mode of Engagement
The Professor of Practice is a non-tenured appointment. The offer will be initially for a period of three years, which is extendable based on performance and contribution. However, an industry professional may apply for short-term (1 to 2 years) PoP with BITS Pilani against an appropriate leave his/her regular position in the industry. Normally 10% of the total faculty strength may be inducted as PoP. The Professor of Practice with a PhD, may be absorbed as a Full-time Professor if he/she has demonstrated evidence of scholarly research both at the level of academic rigor and industrial applicability (including but not limited to high impact publications, patents and product incubation) and pedagogical experience (teaching courses both at academia and industry labs, mentorship of significance). However, for offering of full-time tenured professorship, the incumbent must come through our laid-down process of faculty selection for regular tenured position while the criteria for selection may be different depending on the Institute’s need in a particular area of expertise.
Professionals such as CEO, CTO, vice president, Principal Scientists, Senior Research Scientists with at least a Master’s degree in engineering, science, humanities, or a related field can be considered for the position of Professor of Practice. A PhD is desirable but not mandatory. However, the lack of a PhD must be offset by the demonstrated domain knowledge obtained from deep experience in the field. Individuals with an appropriate Bachelor degree but having exceptional footprints in the area of entrepreneurship and start-ups may also be considered as PoP.
The compensation of a Professor of Practice will depend on the nature of the appointment and the expertise he / she brings in and the market trend for such expertise but normally be at par with a Professor Scale for any full-time appointment.
The non-tenure appointment of a PoP will be done through the Campus Level Review committee, based on recommendations of relevant departments and centres, as followed for any non-tenure appointments.
Status of PoP applications:
We have completed the review of applications received up to July 25, 2023. The Office of Faculty Affairs will intimate (no later than Sep 02, 2023) the ones for whom we will take things forward. Any further queries may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications received after July 25, 2023 will be taken up for review by the end of Oct 2023.