CDL Central Committee: improving faculty performance evaluation systems

Source: The Paper

During the “Two Sessions” 2021, the Central Committee of the China Democratic League (CDL), a democratic party with a fine tradition of offering valuable suggestions on educational and cultural issues in political consultations, tabled a proposal on establishing a multi-dimensional and classified faculty evaluation system.

The proposal laid bare several shortcomings of the current evaluation systems implemented by many higher education institutions (HEIs). First, generally, evaluation of faculty performance is conducted once every two to four years, or even annually; and while stating clearly the quantities of research results and other achievements required, these systems normally do not assess the quality of achievements. Consequently, frequent evaluations with inappropriate criteria tend to prompt wrong conducts in academic pursuit and stifle teachers’ creativity. Second, specific features of different disciplines and evaluation tracks haven’t been given due consideration, leading to a homogeneous faculty promotion system.

To solve these problems, the CDL Central Committee suggested that: 1) a long-term classified faculty performance evaluation system should be established to enable teachers to choose the evaluation tracks that are suitable for them and allow for dynamic adjustment and multi-dimensional development; 2) HEIs with distinctive missions should be encouraged to adopt their own approach to faculty evaluation; 3) the peer review mechanism should be improved.

In addition, the Committee further proposed that clear classification of faculty types was important in designing appraisal methods, evaluation cycle and promotion criteria. For example, different appraisal methods should be taken for different types of faculties, including high-level talent, new recruits, and tenure-track or regular faculty. A green channel of promotion was also needed for faculty members with outstanding contributions or achievements.