HYDERABAD: Stressing the importance of balancing research work and teaching at a university, Pramod K Nayar, director of the English department at the University of Hyderabad, says that several universities in India are often divided between these two roles. Speaking with Express, he said Indian universities clearly need a provost or dean of research and should be given a free hand to ensure quality. Here are excerpts from the interview:
What are the criteria to be on this list?
It is a survey conducted by a publisher, Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, annually, across disciplines and organised by region, country and discipline. It looks at citations per faculty, employer reputation, academic reputation and student-faculty ratio. Research impact, calculated through citation per faculty, is a key mode of determining the ranking.
How prestigious is it to be on the list?
There are several reasons why this becomes significant and prestigious. First, being ranked number 1 on such lists means that it contributes to the public perception of our department. Second, it enables us to attract better faculty and students. Third, it is a ratification and validation by our academic peers. Fourth, it acknowledges that we contribute in very important ways to the professional field (English Literary Studies).
How come no other Indian university has ever made to the list?
To qualify in all the indicators in a ranking process is not easy. Indian universities are often divided in their view of their role as primarily research institutions or as teaching institutions. Our department has done a good job of balancing the two in spite of difficulties.
What changes should be made by other universities to improve their standards?
I do not wish to comment on how other departments and universities function or what they lack, but from what we have observed there has to be greater quality control on research output. Quality control also implies zero-tolerance for plagiarism and a greater investment in intellectual property.