The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Ministry of Education have jointly issued a document entitled, Guidance on Deepening the Reform of the Faculty Promotion and Merit System in Higher Education Institutions to give instructions on the reform of the faculty promotion and merit system.
The Guidance noted that faculty members at higher education institutions (HEIs) constituted an important part of the country’s professional and technical talent pool, and represented a significant force for furthering educational development and high-level talent cultivation. The purpose of the faculty promotion and merit system is to promote creativeness and the pursuit of academic excellence, in a way to build a high-quality, professional, and innovative teaching workforce. As such, the system should incorporate clear classifications and sound evaluations with necessary differentiation in line with the inherent features of different disciplines, professional activities, and their corresponding academic requirements.
The Guidance clearly stated that the system needed to be enhanced, and that while keeping the current classification of evaluation tracks generally intact, including mainly teaching-oriented, and teaching and research-oriented tracks, individual HEIs could set new tracks to adapt to their own development focus. The evaluation criteria should be improved to prioritize morality and compliance with ethical codes of conduct, highlight teaching and performance of other duties, and promote assessment of major achievements instead of imposing rigid requirements on publications, titles, education degrees, awards, or research grants. The evaluation mechanism should also be innovated by introducing more thoughtful classifications (considering different academic units with different missions, and different disciplines and professional activities), peer reviews, external reviews, and independent evaluation by third-party institutions. Green channels should be opened for key talents to stimulate creativeness. In addition, the system needs to be more decentralized, allowing individual HEIs to adopt their own approaches of evaluation and develop specific procedures accordingly.
The Guidance stressed that the reform of the faculty promotion and merit system was a major measure to further the modernization of HEIs governance and development of higher education. Educational authorities at different levels and all HEIs need to create a favorable environment for reform by preparing careful plans and taking steady steps, to ensure desirable results.