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Mediocre academics in 'unusually long' short-listed candidates for Pune varsity VC post

By Rosamma Thomas* 

The nodal officer in charge of the search and selection committee for the choice of vice chancellor of the Savitribai Phule Pune University has released a list of 27 candidates who have made it to the unusually long short-list. A perusal of the short-list though, leaves one wondering what criteria the search committee looked for in the appointment of vice chancellor. Mediocre academics, it appears, is what marks out candidates selected.
Prof Ashok Mahadu Mahajan features on the list and heads the department of electronics at Kavayitri Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon. On his CV from February 2023, he lists a large number of foreign tours. Also listed are achievements titled “social responsibility”: it lists the adoption of five villages, but does not state what was done as part of the adoption process. He organized a summit to “build inclusive social capital among students”. He participated in tree plantation drives. He has about 58 publications in research journals, and has been cited about 500 times.
Anjali Dinkar Kurane, who serves as head of the Anthropology department at Pune University, is also among the shortlisted – she has served at Pune University since 1991. “Social change is a process in which significant alteration occur in the structure and function of the particular social system,” begins her article ‘Socio-cultural changes among the Mahadeo-Kolis in Maharashtra’, published in 2002 while she was a lecturer. She has books on tribal education in India and changes in the lifestyle of urban Iranian women.
Sanjeev Sonawane of the Education department of Pune University has also made it to the list – his research interests are mostly focused on attitudes, and one of his research papers titled “Traditional Yoga for Value Education”.
Candidates have been short-listed on the basis of an application, and it is noteworthy that a former vice chancellor of Mumbai University too is among the applicants – Sanjay V Deshmukh.
Prof PA Mahanwar, director of the Institute of Open and Distance Learning of Mumbai University too has made it to the shortlist, even though he has been in the news recently for an academic calendar at his institute that appears completely out-of-whack.
Technical glitches have marred smooth conduct of examinations. And results have been delayed. There have been other problems caused to students on account of poor administration – with time table for examinations mentioning one subject, while the exam hall had another listed!
There is a long list of 27 candidates. All candidates, the nodal officer mentions, have been informed about the process of selection.
*Freelance journalist 



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