Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I have been asked frequently about the introduction of the tenure system in IISc. There are no official notices in this regard and I guess it may have been discussed with the chairmen of the departments. Therefore, what I say below is based on what I know and what I have been told by others.

Currently all faculty who have joined before August 1, 2015 were given a five year contract. At the end of 4.5 years, they were asked to submit their papers in the format given in the following link. If the performance was not satisfactory, they were given a two year extension. Then they were asked to submit the performance form again and given tenure or extended for a further two years. This continued till the tenure was granted at some point. No one was asked to leave.

All faculty joining after August 1, 2015 will be given a five year contract. At the end of 4.5 years, they will be asked to submit their papers in the format given in the following link. I guess some feedback will be given to the faculty at this stage. At the end of 5 years, all the faculty will be given a terminal 3 year contract.

At the end of 5.5 years (extendable to 6.5 years ??), the faculty will be asked to submit their papers again. The faculty will suggest 8 referees (4 Indian and 4 foreign) and the department will suggest 8 referees (4 Indian and 4 foreign) and this list is sent to the divisional chairman, who will pick up 8 names from this and send your details to these referees. Once the comments are received, these will be discussed by a promotion and assessment committee. This committee consists of all six divisional chairmen, the associate director, director and 8-12 very eminent scientists from India, who do not belong to IISc. The case will be considered by this committee. Either they will be promoted to Associate professor with tenure or the contract will be allowed to expire and the faculty has to leave by the end of 8 years.

This seems to be the procedure. I have been asked frequently is what will be the criteria for tenure. I guess it will be depend on the criteria (research, teaching, consultancy/service) given in the form. Some of the new faculty who have been offered have been explicit in asking the following 

"Professors in the west have to continuously get research funds in order to just maintain a lab (sometimes even paying rent and electricity bills) and pay the students. Many are forced to work fast and publish fast....
India is faring much better in this regard...Tenure isn't a problem as the job is made permanent after a year. Student evaluations of courses do happen but they're mostly for professors to improve their teaching. They're not a criteria for promotion or salary increment..."

Thus the question boils to this "If other institutions do not insist on publishing research or teaching well and give tenure to all faculty at the end of the first year, why should IISc have a tenure system?" Basically, I do not know but I believe that the tenure will be based on minimal criteria !

Asking me on whether one should choose IISc or IITs that do not have the explicit tenure criteria will not fetch any answers. In case you are not aware, the conduct rules state "No employee shall make any statement of fact or opinion which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the Institute or which is capable of embarrassing the relations between the Institute and (... government)".


Anonymous said...

Too complicated,,just give tenure to everyone..

even in iisc, you have promoted faculty who have published 2 papers in 10 why have tenure. maybe that will be the criteria..atleast 1 paper or 1 patent or 1 project or 1 student graduated in 6 years

Anonymous said...

To run with the best, you have to put uniform rules. You cannot go to Olympics and ask for flexibility for Indian athletes.

So If IISc is looking for a place amongst the top institute around the world, they have to

1. Attract the best. Stop pushing or helping your favorite candidates.
2. Get a US-style tenure system. In the US it is around 3 yrs but give 6 in India. But do fire people.
3. Fire anyone who is not performing (impossible in India) or push tenured faculty into teaching/ admin etc. This way teaching/ admin load is reduced from excellent faculty.
4. Review should be carried by external reviewers who are at at least two arm lengths. Routinely external reviewers are collaborators or friends. In few cases they were ex-students of IISc!

Anonymous said...

to add to the comments made by Indian Scientist, as a somewhat senior faculty at IISc, I can say that pushing of admin's favorite candidates happens always. It happens to the extent that some Divisional Chairmen (DC), whose responsibility it is to collect the review letters, are rumored to trash 'unfavorable' review letters, so that the promotion of their candidates goes through smoothly. In another instance, one of the reviewer told me that the DC has called him up and told him to write a glowing reference whereas the candidate's performance is way below par.

These things happen and this how everything gets 'fixed.'

Anonymous said...

Prof. Madras:

It is not fair that you support tenure. You would not have got tenure in chemical engineering department. People like you publish a lot and spoil the culture of IISc and, especially, the department.

Do not be happy with the comments from people like Indian scientist. Here are my responses to them.

"Get a US-style tenure system. In the US it is around 3 yrs but give 6 in India. But do fire people." Can you please list the universities where the tenure is 3 years?? It is normally 5 or even 6 years in the US.

"Fire anyone who is not performing (impossible in India)" What do you call performing?? Publishing 10 papers a year is performing?? Instead 1-2 papers in 5-6 years is more desirable.

"This way teaching/ admin load is reduced from excellent faculty." What a statement to make? When Nobel prize winners teach in USA, you want faculty who do research not to teach. If professors do not want to teach, they should join national labs. Teaching is an essential requirement of academic jobs.

Hey, senior faculty in IISc, you think such things do not happen in the USA?? Because US is great? The deans routinely call up people to check for review letters..Your reviewer friend does not need to listen to DC and write a glowing reference for a sub par faculty. Maybe your reviewer friend wanted to be nominated to an academy for the fellowship by the DC and thus wrote the letter. And what is below par? Because he published fewer papers than Prof. Madras??

Anonymous said...

"These things happen and this how everything gets 'fixed.'"

Even if this is fixed, IISc is the best institution in India because fixing may happen anywhere but it may be few and in between.

I am sure that Indian Scientist who complains about everything has never built an institution, forget about an institution that is ranked 99. Without firing people and creating insecurity, IISc is doing fine.

Anonymous said...

Hello Prof. Giri,

Thanks for bringing this informative blog article in your website. As a prospective faculty, I am confused by the news item you have posted. I thought already there is a tenure system existing in IISc. So the new tenure systems introduced for new faculty is a small variation of the existing tenure system. Kindly clarify.


Anonymous said...

Please read the second paragraph of the post.

Anonymous said...

It is not fair to say Prof. Giridhar would have been denied tenure. In fact, he was the first faculty to be promoted earlier than usual twice (i.e., from asst. to assoc. and assoc. to full professor).

Anonymous said...

I think one of the Anony is confusing Prof. Madras, Indian Scientist and Senior faculty of IISc. From comments it seems three people with an excellent insight to IISc are writing and people are getting mixed up.

Tenure system in the West.

UK: The United Kingdom did away with tenure in the late 1980s when then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher implored the nation’s colleges to become more productive.

USA: Typical tenure at this moment is 4 years universities and 5 in Med schools. This implies you have to put in your paper in either 4th or 5th year. Rarely faculty is allowed to extend unless there is a burning reason. Some universities even introduced two tier tenure system, department tenure and university tenure. I hope you have heard about it.

Attack on Prof. Madras by anony: I believe he has published good number of papers, obtained Bhatnagar award, obtaiend research grants, his lab alumni are getting jobs in industry and academia. On admin side, he is performing dept and institutional academic duties. He is teaching. So all these achievements support him for a tenure anywhere in the world. I cannot comment on his contribution to a particular field. That should be left to his peers. As an outsider I feel he is one amongst the most successful scientists at IISc.

Attack on senior faculty from IISc by anony. Again sir this should be an eye opener for everyone that IISc is not shielded from corruption or favoritism. Rather than criticising him/her let us see what can be done to fix it? Please encourage people from different depts. and institutes to speak up. This way DBT/DST/CSIR/UGC/DRDO bosses can realise what is going on at different levels.

Not sure why anony got so pumped with a word 'fire'. Harvard, Stanford, Cambridge, Oxford, MIT, Caltech, Yale and lots of other institutes fire. So what is wrong with suggesting firing of not-performing faculty? Is IISc, better than any of the above mentioned institutes? Non-performing is equivalent to not producing quality data. Remember numbers do not count but scholarly work does!. Non-performing is not training any PhD/Postdoc students. Non-performing not able to get a single grant from their own lab. Non-performing is not participating in academic duties. Finally non-performing is getting really poor feedback about your teaching abilities! Hope this will be clear to our annoyed anony.

Nobel or Laskar winners do teach but their teaching load is limited. There is no denial in that. My point was if a faculty member got NSF, Wellcome Trust, DRDO, DBT and DST grant, he/she should be allowed to spend more time in the lab than in teaching. Expecting him/her to share equal teaching load with some one who did not get a single grant in the last 10 years is just not fair. My point is give him/her an option/ opportunity. If person is still interested in equal teaching load, let them take it. Do not penalise them for teaching less! Believe me faculty at HMS have less teaching than faculty at HU.

And with all due respect, I have not built any institute/ department or division. I fall short/low at comparing my self with any faculty member (perform/ non-performing) at IISc or even new IISER in Tirupati. My abilities are different and let us say non-scientific if any.

My purpose as an Indian Scientist to criticise everything so that relevant people can understand what is going on? My intention is to be as negative as possible and look what is coming out of it. My social experiment is working. Occasionally I am surprised by support I get by emails or comments.I have criticised Prof. Madras for highlighting impact factor/ h-index. I have criticised Prof. Sriram for discussing and feeling happy about ranking of Indian institutes. So sir please feel free to criticise me as well.

Vijay said...

Indian Scientist, it is certainly not three years to tenure in the US. You might be confusing it with the mid-tenure review, which is an internal check on the progress that an assistant professor (AP) is making. IISc also has this three-year review and it is looked at by the respective DC. In the US, APs are typically asked to submit their papers towards the end of their fifth year. The review process typically takes a semester or so. During the second half of the sixth year, the AP gets to know if he/she has gotten tenure, which usually comes with promotion as well. If tenure is denied, they are asked to leave after their seventh year. The new tenure process in IISc is somewhat similar to this. Vijay (AP, IISc).

Anonymous said...

"My purpose as an Indian Scientist to criticise everything"

Great but you do so without any facts.

1. I asked you a list of USA universities where the tenure is 3 years. Now, you say it is 4 years but the list is still missing. Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Yale are the names you throw they have three years for tenure??

2. You said teaching is not necessary if you bring grants. When I pointed out even Nobel prize winners teach, you say it is limited. Many faculty in IITs and IISc have teaching load of 3 courses a year or even 1 course per semester. How can it be further reduced? Why call someone a professor even if he/she can not even teach 1 course per semester?

3. "I have criticised Prof. Madras for highlighting impact factor"
I searched his blog for his posts on impact factor"impact+factor"

Many are scholarly and remember he has a masters in library science and was heading the library in IISc. Therefore, he knows what he is writing about. Have you criticized what he has written about impact factors or that generally you are against impact factors. I guess it will be the latter as it will not be based on facts.

To the senior prof in IISc, I asked
"Your reviewer friend does not need to listen to DC and write a glowing reference for a sub par faculty. Maybe your reviewer friend wanted to be nominated to an academy for the fellowship by the DC and thus wrote the letter. And what is below par? Because he published fewer papers than Prof. Madras??"

Of course, he kept quiet.

Giri@iisc said...

"It is not fair to say Prof. Giridhar would have been denied tenure. In fact, he was the first faculty to be promoted earlier than usual twice (i.e., from asst. to assoc. and assoc. to full professor)."

Let us not discuss what is fair or not. But let us talk based on facts and not on opinions.

If you are promoted earlier than 6 years, it is called "out-of-turn" in IISc. Yes, I was promoted "out of turn" twice. But I was not the first faculty in mechanical engineering colleague was the first. I was the second person in IISc.

All this is not important but I just wanted to be sure that it is based on facts and not opinions.

Anonymous said...

"Because he published fewer papers than Prof. Madras??""

What does this mean? Every faculty in IISc has published less than him in the last 15 years. Proif. Giridhar Madras has consistently published the highest number of papers and received the highest number of citations among all faculty in IISc.

Anonymous said...

Dear Faculty (Anony).
1. I did give explanations but I believe you are looking for specific information. Boston, HMS, Princeton, Wash U since 2008 started giving 3 years tenure-track offers (many others too but I do not have confirmation in person ;). Ofcourse candidates bargain hard and most of them except one at Boston managed to get 4 or 5 years. The one who did not bargain assumed he/she will be able to get a grant and move to the next step. Infact that person did get a NIH and a NSF grant within 3 yrs (raising 60% of her salary) . Last heard Obama increased funding and it will reflect on tenure-track system too.

2. To restate my own sentences, I said it is good to give an extra room to people who get loads of grants. Prof. who is not productive should be given a major teaching load. It is always an honor to get a credit for attending a Nobel Laurette’s course (always oversubscribed though). Teaching and admin duties are a part of academic life which should be taken up with enthusiasm but you missed the whole point of giving little extra space to high performing horses.

3. ‘IF’, you missed the point. I pointed to the listing of IF and H index on his webpage. I against general showoff of IF , H index, and it is truly reflected in San Francisco declaration on research Assessment (DORA).

In my post I did point that I am not an expert so cannot judge his publications. However, I know that he is publishing plenty of papers. I will leave that too his peers as I am not the right person. I do admire his enthusiasm and support for prospective faculty.

4. I cannot comment in behalf of senior Prof. I like the fact that he showed atleast what is going on in few departments at IISc. I do not think we can blame him/ her for mentioning about some one from his/her dept.
Thank you for pointing out that I lack factual data in my writing. I will be more careful and forthcoming!

Anonymous said...

1. " Boston, HMS, Princeton, Wash U since 2008 started giving 3 years tenure-track offers" Please provide links for the same. I will show below that the tenure system for Princeton is 5-6 years.
"In early autumn of candidates’ fifth academic year — or their sixth if they have a child during their time at the University "

Normally an Assistant Professor shall not be appointed in that rank for more than a total of six years. If the Assistant Professor is reappointed for a second three-year term, he or she shall be notified, not later than November fifteenth of the sixth year of appointment, of the department's intention to recommend or not to recommend promotion to Associate Professor.

After two years at Princeton, all assistant professors undergo a departmental review to examine their scholarship and teaching. At this point, most are invited to stay for another two years, though some professors are asked to withdraw from the University based on the outcome of the review.

That does not mean that the tenure decision is taken at the end of three years.

2. IIT faculty teach 1 course per semester. How can it be further reduced? 1 course per semester means 9 weeks of teaching per week.

3. Oh, let us send a sms to Google to shut down the google scholar page. One should not link to Google scholar profile pages? PRof. Giri, do not mention your awards or that your students are faculty in IITs or you have brought in grants..Why? Because Indian scientist says this is self-advertising. Do not mention your qualifications either..why do you want to say you have a Ph.D.
San Francisco declaration on research Assessment (DORA) says that one should not use these parameters exclusively for research assessment. It does not say that it should not be mentioned on website. Oh, BTW, it is a personal website. Next, Indian Scientist will say that Prof. Giridhar has put a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi in his office and this has political connotations. Do NOT comment on his personal life or website on his blog.

Anonymous said...

1. Please read my posts again and check dates for your links. Anything predated like 2008 or before that had 5-6 yrs. Once economy went South, it changed to 3. Check your Chapter 4 Princeton link. I am copying the text here from your link. Please confirm it with Prof. Prentice. She edited Chapter 4.

"3. The normal initial appointment of an Assistant Professor is for a three-year term.

An Assistant Professor may be recommended for reappointment for a second three-year term. He or she shall be notified not later than December first of the third year of his or her initial appointment whether or not the department recommends reappointment for a second three-year term."

I was trying to attached a snap shot of an offer letter stating three years but these is no option to attach a photograph here. So sir my information is on the basis of offer letters issued after 2008. Offer letters sent in Nov 2015 had 4-5 years.

It is possible that you have the right information but I rest my case by providing text from your own link and 7 offer letters i have seen from the above mentioned institutes!

I stand by my argument that tenure-track system should be implemented religiously in IIXs.

2. Again you fail to get the jist out of my arguments. Reward high performing horses and give other responsibilities to slow ones. Teaching and Admin not just teaching please read again.

3. You missed my point on impact factor too. My argument is not to use impact factor or H index for official purposes. Several Indian institutes had a column for IF in a formal application. Now they are removing. In most IISER selections, some one actually sit and count IF to short list. I believe this is a wrong practice and no one should be supporting it. I have never seen a well-established senior Prof. providing this data in the West.

We do not need to shut down google scholar. Infact it is treated as redundant by NIH. If you check the new format of NIH Biosketch, they specifically ask you to provide a URL of NCBI and NOT google scholar or your own website. I would love to put photo of Mohandas Gandhi or J L Nehru in my biosketch if it can get me few grants (;0). NIH strong believe that google scholar data is not good for judging once accomplishments. This you can check with a respective SRO.

I admire your dedication and factual data. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Indian Scientist,

I commend your drive to help Indian Science improve by pointing out limitations of the system. However, do keep in mind that you should always present a balanced view, when you are talking about either the Indian system of the US system for example.
Only harping on the negatives is a sure way to demoralize people and put them on the defensive.

Anonymous said...

First of all my detailed response was deleted after 24 hrs!.

To be brief.

Thank you for pointing out that I should be little more positive. I agree I am extremely negative and loads of Indian scientists in India are defensive, however plenty of well-settled Indian scientists outside India and those who were forced to return to the West are extremely supportive.

To Anony,
1. Princeton review Chapter 4 link precisely states Asst Prof is for 3 years. Also verified with the faculty affair dean.

2. I never said faculty should not teach. My point fast horses should be supported by reducing load not by expecting to be equal sharing in load.

3. DORA and other forums exclusively state that IF and other criteria should be used for self advt, recruitment or analysis. NIH new biosketch format ask you to provide a NCBI link for your publication profile not google scholar. The only reason google scholar and other such websites are not allowed is display of different metrics which are not a true indication of performance. Either accept that NIH is wise or by supporting display of these numbers you can say you are wiser than NIH committee who came up with this decision.

Giri@iisc said...

"First of all my detailed response was deleted after 24 hrs!."

Huh? Can you tell me when you posted your detailed response and who has deleted them? I am the only blog owner and it is unfair you accuse me of this without any basis whatsoever.

Your comments of
December 22, 2015 at 9:24 PM
December 24, 2015 at 8:48 PM

are both there..did you post anything on December 23 ? If not, please apologize on this forum for unfairly accusing me of doing something that I did not do. If you did post anything on December 23, it should appear here and I did not delete it.

Thank you


Anonymous said...

Prof. Giri,

My post at December 22, 2015 at 9:24 PM was not visible (atleast in this country ;)) for almost 24 hrs. Either there was a bug in the blog site or it was pending approval. Since pending approval is not activated on this thread, this could have been a small glitch. This was the reason I have to post again on 24th with similar replies.

If you believe you have been accused for a glitch in blog site, and my apology will solve the matter. I most Profoundly, aggressively, whole heartily, sincerely and genuinely offer my apologies. I should also know it better that technical glitches can delay/ make posts disappear!

Just got a surprise from IAS Current science. I am sure more than 5 IISc faculty are reading my posts and blogs.

My blog posted on 12th Dec
Are Indian Scientists Doing Relevant Science or Just Doing 'Hot' Science.

and today I saw
Current Science Issue 25th Dec. A Good presentation by Prof. Mukunda
Great science and technology in India – at IISc and other educational
institutes? Further analysis and possible solution

A para from CS "Padmanaban who spent his lifetime of
active work at IISc and as a director for
four years has made two critical points.
He states ‘…Are we doing cutting-edge
research? Not really. It is very good research,
but not the breakthrough kind.
Even senior scientists do not want to
leave the comfort zone to risk an untrodden
path. It’s still “publish or perish”
that decides the future of scientists’ and
‘…The problem with the IISc is its laidback

Anonymous said...

Prof. Giri:

Both the author or the blog owner can delete a comment. Please take a screenshot of the screen as it is displayed now. Otherwise, Indian Scientist may delete the comment of December 22, 2015 at 9:24 PM and claim you deleted the comment !

Among IIX faculty, You are the only blog owner who allows anonymous comments and allow even direct attacks on your science and personality. Yet, you have not deleted a single comment.

Instead of checking twice with different browsers or with cache cleared, it is simply wrong to accuse you of deleting a comment. Saying a comment has not appeared is different from claiming that it was deleted (by you !).

Please do not worry about these unfair accusations.

Vijay said...

Indian Scientist, please do not confuse an initial three-year contract with time-to-tenure. They are two completely different things. In the US, most (if not all) APs are given three year contracts initially and, subsequent to an internal review, they are given a second three-year contract. Tenure/Promotion happens at the beginning of the seventh year (please refer to my earlier comment on Dec-19). Once again, duration of the initial contract is NOT the same as time taken to get tenured/promoted. Vijay (AP, IISc).

Anonymous said...

Anony at 919 pm. Many thanks for your complements.

Dr. VS, Thank you for clarification. Perhaps few faculty members and friends working at different ranks in the US universities gave me a wrong information on 3 year old rule introduced after economic meltdown. Seventh year tenure was a golden era for everyone not any longer but let us stop this argument, may be you know better than those faculties.

Anonymous said...

Even if you grant tenure and promotion after six years, what prevents faculty to stop working/publishing/teaching? after one gets the tenure. Are there mechanisms in place to prevent this given that there is no incentive in pay for being promoted from Assistant Professor to HAG Professor. Can you compare the US and Indian systems in this aspect?

Vijay said...

Dear Anonymous@ 8:31 AM Dec. 28th 2015

I can comment from my perspective as a tenured engineering faculty member in the USA.

You are correct in that there is no mechanism to prevent faculty from doing research and publishing (after one gets tenure in the US). In other words, if a faculty member gets tenure, and decides from the next day that they will not do any more research and never publish again, then the institution cannot terminate their tenure for this reason.

However, such a faculty member will never get promoted to full Professor. Moreover, salaries in the US are tied to research productivity among other things. Even within a given department, there may be a 2-3 fold difference in base salaries (9-month academic salaries) between a highly research-active professor and a tenured associate professor/professor who does no research. It is very much possible to give 0% increment year after year to a professor who is not deemed to be doing/attempting their fair share of research after being hired and given tenure based on the understanding that they will remain research active. Their salary will remain stagnant or nearly stagnant in real terms and they will get a declining salary once COL/inflation is taken into account (to my knowledge there is no DA in the US!).
Note also that in the US, most faculty members are paid only for 9 months (our base salary contract is only for 9 months of salary in a year). If we are to make up the additional 3 months of salary, we need to secure external research funding and pay ourselves from our grants. A research inactive faculty member in most instances will not have an opportunity to do this and hence will be significantly financially disadvantaged.

The other mechanism used to balance the load is that research-inactive faculty are often required to teach more courses (sometimes double or more of the load of a highly research active faculty member). Many departments/schools have a clear teaching load policy that determines the teaching load based on research activity metrics (funding, publications, students being mentored etc.). Usually there is a base teaching load (say 2 or 3 courses per year) to be taught by a research-active faculty member. Research inactive faculty members will teach 4-5 courses / year, while highly research active faculty may teach only 2 (or sometimes only one) course per year. Note that this course load reduction (from 3 to 2 or 1) is not given free of cost to research active faculty. The active faculty member in most cases will need to pay the university (i.e. themselves) a month or two of their academic-year 9-month salary (from their research funds - called an academic year salary charge) to be eligible for this lower teaching load.

Likewise, more onerous service requirements are also placed on research-inactive members; they are asked to serve in more committees etc. No faculty member can stop teaching or refuse to do service. If they do this, then their tenure can, in principle, be revoked, though it is a very tedious process that requires much documentation and a lengthy due process. Unfortunately, however, a research inactive faculty member can still choose to do the bare minimum in terms of teaching / service efforts and still get by (most faculty do take pride in their work and do not adopt this approach).

To summarize: If a faculty member gets tenure and decides that their current 9-month academic year salary is sufficient for them for the rest of their life, that they do not want any salary increment, and that they do not care about their responsibilities/take pride in their work and teaching, then they can get by with about 20 hours of work per week, at most, and get summers off entirely. There are faculty members who take this approach. However, (fortunately!) their numbers are very small; they are not particularly respected by peers and are usually quite isolated. But they are significantly dis-incentivized!


Vijay said...

To follow up on my prior comment, I have also followed the discussion on the tenure system (3 years vs. 7 years). To the best of my knowledge after more than a decade as a faculty member, there is not a single department I know of (in the US) across multiple disciplines that awards tenure after 3 years to a new faculty member recruited to the rank of assistant professor (I agree with my namesake Vijay, AP IISc, on this topic!). The norm is 6-7 years, though the first contract is usually for 3-4 years, followed by a second 4/3 year contract if the (usually rigorous) mid-term evaluation is satisfactory. I have known of cases where the faculty member is not given a contract extension after the mid-term review.

The faculty member renewed after the mid-term review usually applies for tenure for the first time in the 5th year, with tenure awarded by the end of year 5 or during year 6. If the first attempt is unsuccessful, the faculty member can usually apply again sometime in the 6th year. A second denial would mean that they need to leave; many universities add a terminal year to the contract to allow the denied faculty member a chance to find a different position. Some universities only award tenure after 10 years (promotion to Associate without tenure is awarded after 6 years provided progress is satisfactory).

In very rare instances, an especially productive faculty member is encouraged to go early for tenure (say during the 4th year). This is very rare and would amount to less than 1% of faculty members in an institution. But this decision is made well after the hiring process based on exceptional performance.

In some instances, a recruited faculty member already has significant research experience in industry or in a national laboratory (as scientist, not postdoc), or in another university, and is recruited directly at the associate professor level (or at the senior assistant professor level). In such cases, the candidate may be able to negotiate a shorter tenure clock of 3-4 years. This is also not very common.

In closing, my very sincere thanks to Professor Giridhar Madras for hosting this very informative blog and for allowing such discussions, and to Professor Sriram from IIT-M for his valuable inputs to this blog.



Giri@iisc said...

t is correct that in IIX, there is no essential difference in getting promoted from assistant professor to professor. Therefore, one can retire as an assistant professor and get nearly the same salary as a full professor (or HAG professor). My earlier table (now deleted) showed this.

In the University of California system, it is not considered acceptable to be a terminal associate professor. Essentially, tenure occurs after five to six years and then the candidate is promoted to associate professor. Then they have a system of post-tenure review. In this scheme, associate professors are reviewed every two years, and full professors are reviewed every three years, and considered for increase in rank or step. If one gets a "no change" evaluation for two consecutive evaluation cycles, then it is possible for a department to require that the faculty member in question develop a plan to jumpstart their research program or risk an increase in their teaching load, or even termination. Only at Full Professor, Step V, is one allowed to rest, and a no change evaluation is acceptable.

However, more importantly, without getting promoted to full professor, one would not have access to the full professor part of the salary scale, which currently tops out at $156 K, as opposed to associate professors that top out at $92 K. These are the scale salaries. In addition, there are market-driven off-scale components such as distinguished professorships and chair positions.

In India, according to a vice-chancellor, "The thing is that you have a job in the university, you have a job for life, you can decide to sleep, still you will get the salary. "

Anonymous said...

Following on Prof. Vijay's detailed comments, it is useful to mention that tenure in India would translate to a very different scenario. In USA, stagnant salary of non-performing faculties and huge loss of respect acts as a deterrent to become under performing. Infact salary of assistant professor can be way more than non-performing associate professor. I have seen this personally while at USA. The salary differentials can be substantial with performance. In the same dept. you can have Profs making 400 K to Profs making 90-100 K. So performance is given proper credit in terms of money.
In India the situation is very very different. Here an Assoc. Professor or Full Professor will make more money than an Asst. Professor immaterial of the performance. Salary is not linked to performance. While one can get awards like SSB or SJ or JC Bose to boost the pay but these awards are very competitive. In general there is no carrot for performance. So here ideally after tenure, one can go to sleep without much financial loss.

Giri@iisc said...

"In India the situation is very very different. Here an Assoc. Professor or Full Professor will make more money than an Asst. Professor immaterial of the performance."

This is incorrect. In India, as I pointed out earlier, it just depends on number of years of experience (service). For example, you can be 15 years as Assistant professor and another person who joined with you could be a full professor. Both of you will earn nearly same salary (except for a difference of 5000 due to grade pay and DA).

"Salary is not linked to performance."

Yes. and may be it is best to keep it that away unless you are sure that the persons evaluating your performance will be objective.

"While one can get awards like SSB or SJ or JC Bose to boost the pay but these awards are very competitive."

There are some constraints. SJ and JC Bose can not be obtained together. In all cases, all the above awards are restricted to 20 people per year across all branches of science and engineering. Thus, they are very competitive.

"In general there is no carrot for performance. So here ideally after tenure, one can go to sleep without much financial loss."

Why after tenure? There is no tenure in most of the you can go to sleep as soon as you get the job in the university.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line after all this discussion is

It is near impossible to introduce tenure system in India.

Hope the current system will sustain the best of Indian science. We can keep adding to our achievements here

Anonymous said...

Tenure system is required in India but before introducing it some ground realities need to be addressed. We also need to have negotiable salary like USA and performance based hikes. As an e.g. the faculty at the point of joining should be given (promptly) of a large sum of startup, functional lab, 3-4 PhD students of choice, proper housing, minimum administrative and teaching load. In addition purchase bottlenecks and other administrative red tapism can be eliminated so that the new guy can setup his/her lab quickly and become productive. Proper orientation and regular mentoring can be provided. Yearly evaluations with 360 degree feedback by standing committees can be done to advise the new faculties along with any course correction. Extramural research should be encouraged. Generous funding needs to be provided for conference travel. Also taking into account the indian perspective where most of the equipments are imported (and hence time consuming), tenure clock can be 7 years instead of six as in USA. But even beyond all these faculty salary should be largely flexible. One has to pay for quality people. Nobody works for peanuts. Tenured faculties should also be evaluated yearly with freezing of salary as explained in earlier posts. Large salary differential and wage freeze will make people perform and come out of their slumber (with few exceptions). Non-performing faculties needs to be handed lots of admin. duties and courses. even if those faculties are senior, their opinion need not be seriously counted towards any major decision like new hires, large proposals.

iitmsriram said...

There appears to be a bug in here. @IndianScientist has mentioned about a blog post going invisible; I saw the Dec 22 post by @IndianScientist one time and when I came back to the blog, it was no longer there (similar experience appears to have prompted the "my post has been deleted"). I posted a response yesterday and saw it on the blog, but I can't see it now.

Giri@iisc said...

I am surprised that you posted a response yesterday, saw it on the blog and then it disappeared. Can you send me a screenshot? We can send it to Google and ask what has happened.

Sometimes, long comments and comments that contain profanity are flagged as spam. I mark it as "Not spam" and it appears on the blog.

Please note that I do not delete any comments even those comments that personally attack me.

Anonymous said...

I think it occurs only on this thread. Even posts of other people keep disappearing and appearing. Hard to predict which will post will disappear and reappear for a screen shot attempt.

Anyhow Happy New Year to everyone

Giri@iisc said...

You can take screenshots of the comment page every day or at specified intervals and show which comments have disappeared.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

By the way, IIIT Delhi follows tenure system for its faculty.

Anonymous said...

Tenure at IISC is pretty much a joke. The bar is set so low that it is hard not to cross it. Regular promotion also is nothing more than a cakewalk. Requirements for that is also very low. However out of turn promotion at iisc is difficult. All hell breaks loose once you attempt for that.

iitmsriram said...

IITs are also talking tenure now. The IIT Council had approved it stating that BoG's may work out specifics. I believe IIT directors are planning to discuss it this weekend.

Anonymous said...

"Tenure at IISC is pretty much a joke. The bar is set so low that it is hard not to cross it. "

Bar is so low? It is 3 papers in 6 is not low. It should be like iit bombay where people have been promoted to associate professor with zero papers in five years. The same professor has been now been promoted to full professor.

Anonymous said...

IIT Bombay! Sigh! Synonymous with absymal standards of promotion.. No wonder they use the word "promotion" and not "tenure", as the process in IITB is an insult to the latter. Promotion is better because you can achieve via cronysim..btw, the standard has improved a little.. Now people with one paper can go wagging their tails for promotion and salary increase.. that too not necessarily from their group, but something like a kth author among n authors where 1<k<<n...

It is simply a shame..

basky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.