Saturday, October 16, 2010

IIMs mull outsourcing for hirings

The expansion of the IIM network has added to faculty shortages facing these institutes. A committee comprising IIM directors and chairmen has suggested innovative measures that includes hiring practising managers and outstanding research scholars and use of faculty resources from IIM system and universities to meet the shortage.

The faculty crunch is more in practice-oriented study areas such as finance, organisation behaviour, rather than in disciplines like economics, statistics and sociology. Earlier this year, there were as many as 90 vacancies in the seven older IIMs. A committee headed by IIM Calcutta Chairman Ajit Balakrishnan has made a set of suggestions to meet the gap. The committee has suggested that IIMs hire 'practice-oriented' faculty. This would mean that IIMs will not insist on Ph.D.s for their faculty.

Practising managers could be taken on as visiting faculty. At the same time, it has been suggested that they be encouraged to take advanced courses in research methodology, which should be followed by publishing papers in peer reviewed journals. After a "reasonable" success in publishing papers, they can be confirmed as full time faculty members.

Another way to bridge the faculty gap that has been suggested is to invite outstanding research scholars from foreign universities on a three-year contractual assignment. This, the committee, hopes will help not just add to faculty strength but also raise the level of research at the institutes.

Citing the example of the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, which was a research backwater till Einstein took up residence, the committee said that not only is the stature of the institute raised but the inclusion of outstanding scholars will help shape an insightful research agenda for IIMs.

The Balakrishnan Committee has suggested the idea of incentivising the cross-IIM use of faculty resources and from across the university system. In the way of incentives, teaching assignments in other institutes should be treated at par with consulting assignments. This would help particularly newly-established IIMs, where faculty shortage is acute. Older IIMs have not been keen to loan their faculty to the newly-established institutes such as IIMs at Tiruchirapalli, Ranchi, Raipur and Rohtak.

Source: The Economic Times, October 16, 2010
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