Back to BITS: Sabbatical Program
Sure, it’s easy to find people who might dislike their job and want to quit and take a career break. However, what if they actually like their job, but are exhausted and need to re-energize with a new view or a new role and possibly new skill-sets?
So, there comes the sabbatical which can be beneficial to both the organization and the individual. This is essential for creative and new thinking, and can help build skills, or simply dust off cobwebs and routines.
Now, with a large spread network of our very own alumni would serve the cause and help us in creating a mutually supportive alumni network. A large number of BITS Alumni have expressed the feeling that the best way to give back to their alma mater is by being able to contribute to the teaching process at BITS. If given the right opportunity, the wealth of industrial and research experience that they bring to the table would be very beneficial to the students and add tremendous value to the campus culture. The program will cultivate a long-lasting peer group of outstanding leaders who will collectively strengthen the sector through dialogue, collaboration, and mutual support.
Research and experience show that a sabbatical has the power to be a life-changing experience for the leaders themselves, as well as a transformational experience for the organizations they lead. The benefits of alumni sabbatical programs are profound and far-reaching. This is the ultimate test in succession planning for an organization. The costs for an organization to recruit, hire, and train a new person is very costly. If the organization can simply negotiate and pick up a well known professional would benefit for the creation of an informal nonprofit leadership learning circle.
With this intention, the Campus Relations Team at BITSAA would like to revive the Back to BITS – Sabbatical Program with a fresh and a very concrete structure.
The mission of the project would be conceptualize, jointly with the BITS admin, a well defined framework for getting the right alumni to fulfill any teaching gaps present at any of the BITS campuses. In the same way an HR consultant provides with the solution based on an organization’s hiring needs; this program will provide the list of the right alumni fit for any of the individual campuses teaching requirements.
The duration will be normally of one semester, extendable on mutual agreement. An assignment of shorter than semester duration is also possible on special cases.
Alumni can either volunteer or can electronically nominate the name of someone whom they believe to be a deserving candidate for an Alumni Sabbatical Program. Upon receipt of the individual’s name, BITSAA International will send the application materials. In order to be considered, the individual must then complete and submit the application.
BITSAA International’s Campus Relations team will coordinate the Application process and forward them to BITS administration, as and when they are received.
- BITS Alumnus or professionals of high standing
- Should have spent a reasonable period of time in teaching in reputed universities/ working in R&D Labs/industries. Normally over 7 years of experience will be considered as a reasonable period. Exceptions will be examined by the committee at BITS
- Presently working in a University/Industry. Retired persons will not be considered under this program
Analysis of applications takes place on several levels:
- We first look at whether the applicant meets the basic eligibility criteria
- We then look at the applicant on both a professional and personal level
- Does the applicant exhibit extraordinary leadership/research/academic experience both within and outside the four walls of his or her organization?
- We also look to the strength of the organization, how it is perceived by peers in its field and the efficacy of its achievements.
BITS will centrally coordinate this for all campuses and will finalize the names and courses and will announce the same. For each selected Alumni, a contact person will be identified in each campus to facilitate the logistics.
Following which the Campus Relations Team could be playing a role in this program:
- Certain appropriate Point of Contacts (POCs), appointed by BITS admin are kept for the ease of communication between the campuses at the Campus Relations Team
- These POCs would provide the teaching requirements of all campuses along with all the other relevant data (Course details, remuneration, experience required) all fit into a proper Job Description document to the Campus Relations team
- The Campus Relations team would market these requirements across the alumni network through appropriate channels
- A list of interested candidates would be relayed back to the POCs
- Individual campuses can then proceed with their procedures to evaluate the interested candidates and respond to them with their decision on the same
Facilities provided by BITS:
- Accommodation at campus Guest house/furnished flat
- Suitable Honorarium will be paid to cover the living and other expenses. While the actual honorarium amount will be decided on a case-by-case basis (based on qualification, experience and assignment), in the past the Institute has paid honorariums ranging between 1.00 lakh to 1.5 lakh INR per semester. Some of the alumni have donated the honorarium back to the Institute. The Institute will also consider supporting the cost of travel for attending national level conferences held within India
- The person on sabbatical will be attached to one particular campus. Inter -campus visits are possible for academic purposes and has to be planned and approved well in advance. The cost of travel and stay for such visits will be borne by BITS.
- Attachment with a course already on offer / offering a new course
- The person wishing to participate in this program has to mention the course(s) in which he/she plans to teach/participate in. BITS will make available the list of courses offered in the previous academic year. If any new course is planned to be offered, details have to be submitted to BITS at least two months before the beginning of the semester. Offering a new course will be possible provided the details such as syllabus, text book and reference books, lecture-wise schedules, evaluation schemes (i.e., details which are normally given in a handout for the course at BITS) are worked out and approved well in advance.
- The person coming on sabbatical will be allowed to take students on Thesis/projects/dissertation for carrying out research. A brief plan for the project(s) has to be prepared and mutually agreed at least two months before the beginning of the semester. The student selection will be done by BITS in consultation with the visiting alumni.
BITS faculty attachment:
- With a view to foster research in selected areas, one of the BITS faculty members will be attached with the selected Alumnus or professional. The identified faculty member will also help in working out the logistic details for the sabbatical stay. This faculty member will normally be a person working in the same teaching/research discipline.
The structure described above is open to discussion for tweaking and fine tuning certain parameters as the co-creation process moves forward.
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