FACULITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
FDPs as they call it has been on the professional education firmament for quite some time. I as a speaker have been gaining immensely from preparation for such sessions from time to time, on topics which are the current flavour and understanding them would add immense value to the faculty. It is presumed that if knowledge development happens, it would be passed on to the students who are in dire need of it. The age of automation which is already afoot, has increased the gap between the students moving out of our engineering colleges and what the industry requires. The most fascinating part of this exercise, which has been faithfully happening at the behest of the government, has the underlying feeling that the faculty needs to be on the learning mode, at as long as they are teaching the students.
The mandated requirement of doctoral research has certainly ended in guides becoming more valuable at least from the researcher point of view and a couple of universities specializing in doctoral courses. The paper publishing industry has also taken giant strides given the huge requirement from the academic fraternity. What value has been added in the faculty member pertaining to the topic of doctoral research, what has he added to the body of knowledge in that area and finally and most important has he developed a research orientation? The will to research in a non-formal manner, incessantly, is at the core of an academic ecosystem. Only then the urge can be passed on to the students.
Only white paper on research will be able to tell the efficacy of the exercise mentioned above. On the face of it does not seem to make any visible change. The colleges remain to maintain the same quality, at differential levels of the academic quality ladder. The FDPs also seem to have safely retrofitted itself to the ecosystem of the day. Do we evaluate the faculty members over every few years of the development made in their chosen areas of study? Is there any consistency in the nature of programs attended? Does it also get connected to other activities in their area of interest? Or the faculty member is just in a habit of attending FDPs at will, having no direct or indirect impact in the direction of his academic progression?
Are the suggested training programs indicated based on the track record of the concerned faculty member? Has any of the faculty developed a new area of interest because of any FDP and then specialized in that topic? Presumably, the academic networks created during the FDPs would be of help in the course of the regular academic work. The conduct of such FDPs needs to be evaluated from the point of quality, elevating it with every subsequent one. If the same people or the same quality of resources keep appearing over and over again, it is like the same wine in a new bottle. The pedagogy of FDPs needs to change and an intense third party evaluation mechanism needs to be evolved. The technical professional education has no other choice but to change for the better and the faculty are mandated to deliver.
IN THE DIGITAL IMMERSION AGE, THE SAME IMMERSION SHOULD ENGULF OUR CAMPUSES.