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IIMA's Faculty Development Programme: The Early Years
"This effort has an unbroken history, beginning with the first University Teachers Programme held in 1965, and extending up to the latest offering which is due to begin on April 11, 2023."
University Teachers Programmes
Management education, as a discipline, was young in the early 1960s. Some universities (for instance, Andhra, Madras and Bombay) had just introduced management education programmes. However, management teachers were drawn from disciplines like commerce and economics, and so did not possess a 'management' orientation. The first IIMA programme aimed at such teachers, on Managerial Economics, was conducted from March 21 to April 16, 1965, at the West End Hotel, Bangalore (see photos of the programme brochure and the programme participants). By the beginning of 1978, 13 programmes, each lasting about one month, had been conducted. These programmes were called the 'University Teachers' Programmes'. The 13 programmes attracted 346 participants from 84 different bodies, most of which were university departments. Five of the programmes were on teaching Managerial Economics and three were on Operations Research. Two were 'General Management' programmes, and there was one programme each on financial management, behavioural sciences and personnel management. These programmes were discipline-focused and did not take an integrated view of 'management', though they tried to bring in a managerial orientation to the subjects taught in the universities.
In 1978, a task force (Professors S. C. Kuchhal, G. R. Kulkarni and T. K. Moulik) recommended the establishment of a Faculty Development Centre, which would have a 'Programme for Management Faculty' as its core activity. This programme expected the participants to "work at the Institute with the objective of self-development" (p.6). The Ministry of Education was reluctant to fund any programme of less than one year duration, and so a one-year format was adopted. The participants were allowed to specialize in two functional areas and attend three compulsory courses: research methods, the case method of learning, and academic administration. The first programme began in June 1979.
If there is one theme that characterizes the early years of the FDP, it is its survival in spite of frequent expressions of doubt about its utility and even recommendations for its suspension. The first two years of the FDP saw support for sponsoring institutes from the UGC through its Teacher Fellowship Programme. However, this scheme was wound up. By early 1983 doubts had arisen about the success achieved by the FDP. A November 1983 internal review carried out by the FDC Committee under the leadership of Professor A. H. Kalro, found that the "Faculty Development Programme has not been very successful" and recommended its closure. The Faculty Council, however, ruled that the programme should continue. A committee, headed by Professor K.R.S. Murthy, set up in December 1984, examined how the programme should be improved and suggested that 'open enrolment' be tried--five non-sponsored candidates would be admitted, and they would then be encouraged to become entry-level faculty in management institutes. The committee also made the FDP coterminous with the three-term structure of the second year of the PGP (early July to end February) and recommended some changes to the course work requirements and a flexible modular approach.
The eighth programme (1986-87) was in two parts--a compulsory part of five months, and an optional three-month package coinciding with the third term of PGP II. The compulsory part was a general management package, and the optional module was a set of two PGP second-year electives and a project. This pattern was repeated in the ninth FDP. In September 1986, the UGC recognized the FDP under its Faculty Improvement Programme and the number of nominations went up; 16 candidates were admitted to the ninth FDP. But the flexibility experiment had to be given up after the tenth FDP, primarily because the participants found it difficult to return for the optional package after a break. The programme went back to the 10-month (informally called 'one year') format, and a comprehensive course structure was introduced for the eleventh FDP (1989-90). There were five courses specially designed for the FDP: Business Policy, a new course called Communication for Management Teachers (which has proved to be one of the most popular courses over the years), Mathematics for Management, Computers for Management and Research Methods. In addition, each participant had to take six to nine electives, spread over the three terms.
The FDP once again came up for review in 1991-92. A faculty committee proposed a new "Associate Fellow of the IIMA" title (equivalent to an MPhil) and a diploma programme, the Management Teachers Programme, as a replacement for the FDP. The Faculty Council rejected these recommendations but suggested a reworking of the programme. Thus the 15th FDP (1993-94) saw the introduction of a new course, Foundations of Management, making the curriculum a package of seven FDP courses and some doctoral and PGP courses. But the 15th and 16th FDPs attracted only 10 and eight participants. On average the period from the 15th to the 22nd programmes (1993-94 to 2000-01) saw an annual intake of 13. Overall, between 1979 and 2000, 269 faculty members had undergone the FDP (248 from India and 21 from neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bangladesh). The programme had always been a small programme, but by late 2000 it had become apparent that the one-year format was no longer attractive. A committee headed by Professor Venkata Rao recommended a four-month programme for the twenty-third offering onwards (from 2001-02) and a condensed curriculum. The proposals were accepted by the Faculty Council on January 4, 2001, and the shortened version of the programme was offered from November 1, 2001 to February 28, 2002. The Faculty Council mandated an intake of 30 (determined by the number of rooms available) and this programme attracted 63 applications. Thirty were admitted, and ever since, the number of seats allotted to the FDP have been filled up.
This article, by Vijaya Sherry Chand, draws on 'IIMA and its Faculty Development Mission', in Nurturing Institutional Excellence: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, edited by Vijaya Sherry Chand and T. V. Rao, Macmillan India Ltd., 2011.
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