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Fengqiao Yan (Peking University, China) Italy: Turin March 27,2009

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1 Fengqiao Yan (Peking University, China) Italy: Turin March 27,2009
China’s Academic Profession in the Context of Social Transition: Institutional Perspective Fengqiao Yan (Peking University, China) Italy: Turin March 27,2009

2 Outline Introduction Legal Nature, Administrative System and Academic Profession Evolution of Personnel System and Academic Profession Evolution of Organizational Existence and Academic Profession Conclusion

3 Introduction Sociology of profession: relations between profession and political-economic background. Studies of academic profession: under-emphasize how academic profession is involved with external society ( Rhoades, 2007).

4 Open and ever-changing environment: reform and opening up policy since 1978 in China.
Institutional change: transition from a planned economic system to a market economic system.

5 (1) Achievement in economy
GDP: RMB364.5 billion (1978) , RMB24 trillion (2007) at an average annual growth rate of around 10%. Economic share: 1.8% (1978) , 6% (2007) . World-wide Position: tenth (1978) , fourth (2007).

6 (2) Achievement in higher education
HE reform: simplifying governmental organs, decentralizing power and allowing universities more autonomy. Access: 4%(1980), 15.3% (2002), 23%(2007). Student size: 23 million (China), 70 million (World). Proportion of enrollment: 33% (Altbach, 2007).

7 (3)Institutional perspective
How institutional environment influence organizational structure and the organization’s members (Meyer etl. 2007). In educational studies, institutional theory emphasizes on the deep structure of schools, as well as the connection between school and the social system (Crowson, Boyd, and Mawhinney, 1996). Few studies on academic profession from institutional perspective.

8 (4) Generic framework: government, market, organization and profession.


10 Legal Nature, Administrative System and Academic Profession
Legal infrastructure: important for studying academic profession (Enders, 2006). Continental Europe: civil servant status. UK and USA: profession independent from government (Rhoades, 2007). How about AP in China?

11 It is necessary to elaborate how Chinese universities are defined by law.
According to the General Principles of the Civil Law, which was promulgated in 1986 and has been effective to date, China’s institutions can be classified into four types: enterprise (for profit), state organ, public unit and civil society (non profit). Public unit is a unique organizational existence for China, somewhere among the other three types with strong public feature( Zhou, 2008).

12 Legal status for public universities: public unit.
Legal status for private universities: private and non-business, other than any of the four types. Legal definition makes a significant difference for AP in public (84.66%)and private universities (15.34%) in terms of compensation and benefit, in favor of the former (Table 1).


14 (2) Administrative System
Two types of universities within public university category: universities attached to central ministries including Ministry of Education and universities attached to local governments. Administrative system makes a significant difference for AP in first (16.42%)and second categories (83.58%) in terms of qualification, compensation and benefit, in favor of the former (Table 2).


16 Evolution of Personnel System and Academic Profession
HE reform was mainly dedicated to the public university system. AP in Chinese universities has experienced fundamental changes since the late 1970s.

17 Four waves: (1)In the late 1970s, intellectuals including university faculty political status as a part of the ruling class. (2)In line with the reform and opening up policy, academic community began to have more chances of international exchanges. Statistics show that, 78% of the presidents of the universities directly attached to Ministry of Education and 62% of doctorate supervisors have studied overseas (Hayhoe and Zha, 2006).

18 (3)There was once significant movement of intellectuals from academic community to industrial sectors. (4)In the late 1990s, academic profession became attractive, as faculty working conditions were improving and their income going up. National strategy: “rejuvenating the country through science and education”, “211” and “985” schemes.

19 Two examples: First, per capita income of faculty in a local university grew from RMB 977 in 1982 to RMB 5,879 in 1996, 5 times higher than the original in 14 years. Second, per capita income of the faculty in a university directly attached to Ministry of Education grew from 22,612 in 2000 to 75,738 in 2008, 2.3 times higher than the original within 5 years

20 Personnel policy in universities includes manpower hiring and income.
One practice found in some universities is to combine qualification and hiring together. The essential difference between the two rests with whether a professional title or a certificated specialty is identification or a post.

21 Reform of faculty income system in the past 30 years has been driven by government policy, featuring a shift from “title-based fixed salary” to “title-based fixed salary plus performance-based salary” so as to link faculty income with their performance and contribution (Qi and Wang, 2008).

22 Evolution of Organizational Existence and Academic Profession
(1) Reform of Higher Education Administration Decentralization tendency in HE administration. In 1994, 367 were under the administration of central ministries and 713 local governments. In 2007, 111 were under the administration of central ministries and 1502 local governments. Faculty in central level institutions account for 16.40%, while those in local level institutions for 83.60%.

23 (2) Diversification of funding sources
From 1990s, Chinese universities were forced to look to diversified funding due to insufficient public budget allocation, including university-run business, training courses for enterprises, research, consulting and donations (Hayhoe and Zha, 2006).

24 Statistics reveal a remarkable change that the % of government budget fell to 42.77% in 2005 from 80.34% in 1996, while the % of tuition and fees that students have to pay went up to 31.06% in 2005 from in 1996.


26 Empirical analysis shows that budget funding in different disciplines within one university vary remarkably. Scientific research funding and the number of excellent faculty are positive in science and engineering schools; student size is an important factor in liberal and social science departments; budget funding has to do with to what extent a department is market-oriented ( Guo, 2007).

27 Market factors have much impact on the distribution of academic professions in different disciplines. In the past 20 years, significant changes occurred in two disciplines. One, % of faculty in economics went up from 1.74% in 1980 to 12.78% in 2007; two, % of faculty in sciences and engineering went down from 23.89% in 1980 to 12.11% in 2007.


29 (3) Rising Efficiency Enrollment was modest in size while faculty was relatively big in 1980s and 1990s. Enrollment expanded drastically since the 1999. Table 5 shows that enrollment to faculty ratio in 1980 was only 4.6, but grew to in 2007.


31 (4) Greater Independence in Decision-making
Public universities are allowed for greater independence in decision-making, including on the management of faculty.

32 Independence in faculty management can be seen from the following aspects:
(a) Recruitment Universities are allowed to decide independently on criteria, number, procedure and candidates regarding faculty recruitment as long as candidates have all the qualifications required by Teachers Law and are allowed by public unit staffing system.

33 (b) Promotion and firing
More universities are now able to decide independently on promotions. Eligible universities are even allowed to grant titles such as special professor and chair professor. Peking University went through an HR system reform in 2003, putting into place mechanisms like tenure and up or out.

34 (c) Faculty’s income structure
In addition to government budget, a variety of income items, such as post subsidies from special government-funded projects (985 and 211 programs), from scientific research and from university-run business, performance-based payment and bonus.

35 Table 6 shows the income structure in a university in 2000 and 2008.
Incomes from government budget and from the funds collected by university accounted for 32.60% and 67.40% respectively in 2000; the figures were 21.25% and 78.75% in 2008. The proportion of income from government budget dropped by 11.35% while that collected by university grew by 11.35%.


37 Conclusion Institutional reform guideline: to increase efficiency with limited resources. Diversified personnel management pattern. Universities: shifting from largely controlled to independence. Academic profession: shifting from “danwei man” to social man.

38 Government has played an important role in pushing forward the changes in academic profession.


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