CHENNAI: Filling a space that was remaining vacant for 15-long-months, P Duraisamy, the academician chosen as the new vice chancellor of Madras University, will have his hands full in the new role.
Presently a member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) pay review committee for college and university teachers and UGC Regulations review committee, Duraisamy, an alumni of the prestigious varsity and former head of Econometrics Department. he has been appointed as vice chancellor for a term of three years.
After completing his PhD from the university, Duraisamy obtained another doctorate in economic science from the University of Paris. He was Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan National Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and was affiliated to the Madras Institute of Development Studies. His collaborative research with the World Bank provided key inputs for major programme initiatives like District Primary Education Programme.
During his academic career spanning 28 years, Duraisamy has been a visiting professor of the University of Paris and a visiting fellow of Yale University. He has also been the director (planning and development); campus director; dean (academic); registrar in-charge; and chairperson of the School of Economics. Duraisamy has also received several honours and awards including a prize from a Nobel Laureate for his PhD thesis work.
A retired professor who has worked with him in the past said on condition of anonymity that Duraisamy was the most qualified and best suited among the three nominees. However, he added, the academician would have many challenges to face including setting right the finances of the university, the long-pending convocation, and addressing the pension woes of faculty members among others.
There are several other issues including appointments to key posts. “All the important posts are held by acting officials. There has not been a permanent librarian for a long time though three vice chancellors have come and gone,” said another professor.