B. Venkatesh Kumar, Ph.D. is a former Professor and Chairperson at the Center for Governance and Public Policy at TISS, and a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania. Venkatesh served as the Director of the National Corporate Social Responsibility Hub established by the Government of India’s Department of Public Enterprises at TISS. Dr. Kumar was a pioneer in the formulation of the first-ever guidelines for Public Sector Enterprises on CSR and developed the revised guidelines, which have been implemented since April 2013. Dr. Kumar and the team he supervised at TISS worked with over 100 state-owned and private enterprises in the development of CSR strategy with a focus on inclusive, sustainable development and growth for under-served districts for close to a decade.
Dr. Kumar was the Course Director of the One-Week In-service Training for senior and midcareer policy leaders and civil servants and has trained over 450 senior to mid-level officers on “Social Policy and Governance” since 2011. This initiative is supported by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India.
Dr. Kumar most significant contribution in policy design, formulation and implementation (2012-19) has been in advising and providing support to the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s major policy initiative higher education policy, Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) – a countrywide reform initiative aimed to revive and resurrect the state higher education systems especially the public universities and their affiliated college structures. Dr. Kumar is a member of the Project Approval Board of the National Mission on Higher Education, appointed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.
Kumar has also been a member of advisory groups for higher education constituted by various state governments, erstwhile Planning Commission and a Consultant to the World Bank. Kumar has been the former Chair of the Higher Education Leadership Academy and the Center for Academic Leadership and Education Management, both federally funded initiatives to strengthen research, policy advocacy, and professional development for Higher Education and School Education in India.
Kumar works in multiple capacities to guide reforms in the field of higher education policy in India. Kumar was invited as a sector expert to interact with the Group of Secretaries (GoS) on Education and Social Sector set by the Prime Minister of India in December, 2016.
Kumar was invited in March 2017 as a special invitee to the Committee constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under the Chairmanship of Vice-Chairperson NITI Aayog on Short, Medium- and Long-Term Reforms in Higher Education Reforms. These includes undertaking curriculum reforms in select state universities, setting up a national center for leadership development for academic administrators, accreditation reforms, improving quality through increasing the number of autonomous colleges, Graded autonomy for Universities and Colleges and reforms in regulatory bodies, reforms in online and open and distance learning programs.
During the same period Kumar was requested to provide expert advice to the Ministry of Human Resource Development in implementing key decisions taken by the Prime Minister’s Office on Higher Education Reforms.
In February, 2019 Kumar, was appointed as an Academic Coordinator to review and help put together policy interventions proposed under a potentially new initiative called the Education Quality Improved Program (EQUIP) – Central Government’s endeavor towards ushering transformations in India’s higher education system by implementing strategic interventions in the sector over a period of five years (2019-2024). Further at the request of the ministry, Kumar was involved in the conceptualization and drafting of the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) Bill which seeks to reform India’s higher education regulatory framework. Kumar has also been involved during (2018-19) in several consultations and providing inputs, drawing on his past body of scholarly and practice-oriented policy work in informing the recommendations of the NEP, 2020.
Kumar was a Visiting Professor at Penn State University (2011-2012), a member of the India Advisory Group of the International Institute of Education (2012-2013). Kumar was a Visiting Professor at the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University (2012- 2013), and a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Kumar was also a Visiting Scholar at the School of Social Welfare Policy, University of California, Berkeley for academic year 2016-2017 and Visiting Scholar, Graduate School of Education, UPenn (2018-2020).
Kumar earned a master’s and doctoral degree in Political Science from the University of Mumbai. Kumar is a recipient of a number of awards including: The Performance-based Award at the University of Mumbai in 2007, a Hubert Humphrey Fellowship of the U.S.– India Education Foundation for Higher Education Administrators (2010-2011), and the co-recipient of the 1st Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative Grant on Higher Education for the project: Capitalizing Demographic Dividend: Talent Development in India and U.S. Kumar has authored books, a number of papers in journals of national and international repute and articles in national newspapers. Kumar taught Political Science at the University of Mumbai from 1997-2009 and as a full professor at TISS for over 10 years. His research interests include political process and institutions in India, party and party systems in India, governance and public policy making specifically related to higher education reform in India.
Dr. Kumar is currently working on his forthcoming book “Higher Education: Policy, Politics and Practice and Dr. Kumar is also serving in prominent advisory positions to a few international institutions in social and development sector.