A doorway to an entrepreneurial university – encouraging the Professor of Practice (PoP) in the Indian colleges and universities | 23rd June 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It discusses how the UGC's new idea of Professor of Practice (PoP) in Indian colleges and universities is creating an atmosphere of joint enterprise between academia and industry.


  • GS2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources;
  • GS4;
  • Essay;
  • Prelims


  • Along with academic knowledge, real-world practical knowledge is very important to produce an effective workforce.
  • To impart such practical knowledge among Indian college students, the UGC has come up with the idea of the Professor of Practice (PoP).

What is meant by Professor of Practice (PoP)?

  • A PoP is typically an individual with significant experience in their industry, appointed to a faculty position at a university to share his/her practical knowledge and skills with students.
  • Unlike traditional academic professors, PoPs are often hired from outside academia, and may not be required to have a PhD or other advanced research degree.
  • Based on their expertise and experience in a specific profession or industry, they are expected to bring real-world insights and perspectives to the classroom. PoPs can be found in fields that include business, engineering, law, journalism, and the arts.
  • In the field of engineering, for example, a PoP can teach courses that focus on practical, real-world applications and share their insights in applied learning.
  • They can serve as mentors for student projects; develop new courses that are more aligned to industry trends; collaborate with other faculty on research projects and point to ways of converting patents into commercial products (which they do regularly in the industry).

Objectives behind the PoP initiative:

  • The UGC has said: “The objective behind introducing [the] Professor of Practice (PoP) is to enhance the quality of higher education by bringing practitioners, policymakers, skilled professionals, etc. into [the] higher education system.”
  • This will help take real world practices and experiences into classrooms and also augment faculty resources in higher education institutions. In turn, industry and society will benefit from trained graduates who are equipped with the relevant skills.

Benefits of this PoP initiative:

  • PoPs can serve as ambassadors for their universities, building relationships with industry partners and helping to connect students with internship and job opportunities.
  • They can also participate in professional organisations and conferences to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.
  • Thus, PoPs can reshape a university’s commercial thinking and energise the actions that add vividity to a university’s culture.
  • Teaching and research were the foundational pillars of a university in the industrial era. In today’s post-knowledge societies, innovation is the third pillar in universities. This should also be a continuous activity.
  • When this innovative culture sets in strongly, every academic will be able to synthesise ideas and spin out start-up enterprises. These university-based start-ups would not only incubate ideas but also convert ideas into patents and transform patents into commercial products.

Way Forward:

  • As India is experiencing the demographic dividend phase, we need more such initiatives.

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