Fed up with handling ‘petty’ administrative work almost single-handedly for almost three months after the term of the deans of faculties came to an end, the vice-chancellor of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has made temporary appointments of co-ordinators to handle the job, using his discretionary powers.
The appointments have come at an opportune time since the process of affiliation of colleges have begun while the exam season will begin soon, which are among the main responsibilities of the deans of faculties. The official tenure of the senate, academic and management councils, board of studies came to an end on August 31 with no extension given by the state. At present, all these bodies are directly controlled by the vice-chancellor, a decision that has been criticised by academicians.
There are eight elected and three nominated deans of faculties, of which the tenure of the elected deans have come to an end. Their responsibilities include implementation of policies regarding academic development, exam-related work, maintenance of teaching and research standards, training teachers within the department, formulate policies and development programmes of the faculty, detect malpractices related to any academic programme in his faculty by a university department, inquire into malpractices reported in affiliated or conducted colleges or recognised institutions, besides attending grievances of students regarding enrolment, eligibility, migration, scholarships and so on.
Asked about the appointment of co-ordinators, vice-chancellor Wasudeo Gade said that it was creating unnecessary burden on him to look into everyday affairs of each faculty. “The VC’s job is to formulate broader policies and decision-making for the overall development of the university. Looking into everyday work like appointment of paper setters and scrutinising proposals for affiliation was becoming a burden and hence some decentralisation was needed,” he said.
The co-ordinators appointed include Dr Manohar Jadhav for faculty of arts and performing arts, Dr P V Rasal for social science, Dr N S Umrani and Dr S S Jadhav for commerce and science, Dr Y P Nerkar for engineering, Dr C D Upasni for pharmacy, Dr Durga Patel for law and Dr Bhushan Patil for education, said Dr V B Gaikwad, director of Board of College and University Development (BCUD).
Former dean of faculty of arts and performing arts Dr Ashok Chaskar said that while the new appointment was necessary since the VC alone couldn’t have handled the vast work of deans of faculties, but he isn’t sure about the statute that empowers such appointments. “We know that the VC has the power to make appointments under the Universities Act, but we are a little unsure over the terminology of co-ordinator and what it entails. Whether this person will have the rights to take academic decisions is another question,” he said.