Friday, May 25, 2012

IIT-K goes to America ...

... to set up a recruitment office (or something like that).

At IIT Kanpur, ... where about 350 professors are employed, about one-third of faculty positions are vacant.

Now, officials at IIT Kanpur are planning to open an office in either Washington or New York City by the end of the year to try to recruit new faculty members from the United States. Their target: the droves of IITians and students from other top engineering schools in India who end up pursuing Ph.D.s or postdocs at American universities. “This office will help us coordinate our faculty hiring much better,” [Manindra] Agrawal [Dean of Resource Planning and Generation] said. More than half of IIT Kanpur’s faculty members already have graduate or doctoral degrees from U.S. institutions, he said. In the past, the process has worked more informally -- department heads would seek out promising postdoctoral candidates. [From Call for Indian Expats by Kaustuv Basu in Inside Higher Ed].

Though this may appear to be a major initiative, it is not:

The proposed American office will employ two or three people. “We will see how it goes -- we are going into uncharted territory here. And then maybe we will increase the size of the office,” Agrawal said.


  1. Ungrateful Alive said...

    For an IIX, setting up an office abroad with 2--3 workers is a major initiative. The tricky part will be to retain them.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Good to see some initiative being shown. But, these are all bits and pieces. Unless the entire problem set of Indian science is addressed holistically (or wholistically, if you so please), nothing much is going to come of it. If you care, see my recent blogpost "The Six Sides of the Elephant!" at

  3. Desi Babu said...

    Professor Abi:

    I don't think that U.S. Ph.D.s of Indian origin don't join IIT Kanpur, because, they have never heard of it -- and hence, the need for an overseas office. On the contrary, people have great respect for IITK abroad, and I am sure they would sign up for faculty positions, if the other conditions are right.

    Under the guidance of our economist prime minister, we all have tasted the fruits of free market economics haven't we? Perhaps it is time for Mr. Sibbal and company to listen to what people have been shouting from the rooftops about faculty candidates -- pay them well, and they will come.


  4. Ungrateful Alive said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. Ungrateful Alive said...

    @Desi --- IIX profs are certainly not badly paid. People do not want to join IIXs not because they pay below par, but because they are mismanaged or even unmanaged. Facilities and support staff are a shambles. Funds are spent in asinine pursuits of style over substance (motion detector urinals without manual override in case of power cuts), or concrete over enrichment of the mind. In a "leading" IIX it takes six months to get approval to replace a AC with molten capacitors and compressor cables. Support staff are never chastised for non-performance. Contractors, not stakeholders, rule Dean Planning. The job of Dean Faculty Affairs is to shield the Director from faculty members with genuine grievances. IIXs make every effort to hide these from the outside world but it is not easy to hide these from potential applicants.