ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Preliminary Snapshot

Faculty Diversity at the Indian Institutes of Management

A look at the social composition of faculty members at the Indian Institutes of Management reveals that the faculty body at these institutions is drawn from a very narrow spectrum of Indian society. The recently proposed legislation that will convert IIMs into full-fledged universities offers a canvas for public deliberation on the question of social diversity at these institutions of higher learning.

On 24 January 2017, the union cabinet cleared the way for the introduction of the Indian Institutes of Management Bill in Parliament (Press Information Bureau 2017). An earlier version of this draft legislation that was first mooted in 2015 had run into controversy over potential breach of institutional autonomy. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) argued that the 2015 draft amounted to regulatory overreach that could stifle the academic environment at the IIMs.1 In the ensuing public debate, a central predicament for contemporary universities (especially public institutions)—ensuring social diversity—has received scant attention even as the larger public discourse in the past year has focused on making our universities more diverse, accessible, and inclusive. In this brief snapshot, we present data detailing the lack of social diversity in faculty composition at the IIMs. Institutional autonomy is necessarily tied to social accountability, and we argue here that the neglect of social diversity at IIMs severely undermines their social legitimacy as public institutions. In this brief commentary, we do not offer specific prescriptions, or even strategies for amelioration. A deliberation on specific interventions is perhaps futile and certainly premature in the absence of a clear normative commitment to faculty diversity at the IIMs. We defend faculty diversity as an important constituent of the IIMs’ academic mission as well as their larger social compact.

The data on faculty composition that we present here is collated from responses obtained under the Right to Information Act 2005 (RTI). At the time we filed our RTI requests, 13 IIMs were fully functional with an autonomous and permanent faculty body (June 2016). The data that we obtained using RTI requests from both the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India and individual IIMs is presented in Table 1. We have data for 233 faculty members across six IIMs. The four leading IIMs in the country, established before 1985, in their respective RTI responses, noted that they do not maintain data on the social groups that their faculty members belong to. The two newer IIMs (Shillong and Tiruchirappalli) did not respond to our RTI applications. IIM-Udaipur skirted our request for data, but confirmed that they do not have an affirmative action policy for faculty recruitment. While we have actual data for only six out of the 13 IIMs, anecdotal evidence, including informal consultations with colleagues at the remaining seven institutions, suggests that the diversity deficit at those institutions is at least as acute.

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Updated On : 7th Apr, 2017

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