14 May 2018

The characteristics of international faculty at Chinese universities

Professor Futao Huang has co-authored a new paper investigating the characteristics of international faculty at Chinese universities.

The study looks at individual, educational, and professional characteristics and how these vary among different groups. It also looks at the reasons international faculty chose to come to Chinese universities.

The study is based on findings from a 2017 national survey and case studies of four leading universities in Shanghai.

The findings show that most international faculty are male, full-time professors, mainly in the natural sciences and engineering fields. In addition, being highly educated and having lived and/or worked abroad were the main criteria for academic hiring, especially in leading universities.

Most international faculty came to the Chinese leading universities for either academic or professional reasons, or due to their fondness for Chinese life and culture. Although some initially came to work in China by chance, after they had taught or done research in a Chinese leading university for a year, they chose to continue doing so.

As international faculty make up a growing portion of academic hires in Chinese universities, understanding their main characteristics and prior academic life has significant implications for the internationalisation of Chinese higher education.

International faculty in China: case studies of four leading universities in Shanghai is published in Asia Pacific Education Review.