The Role and Practice of Leaders in Professional Development in China: University Lecturers’ Perspective


Leaders in the higher education sector provide university lecturers with many professional development (PD) opportunities. However, these opportunities have yet to be taken seriously; how leaders can effectively promote university lecturers' active participation in PD has become an issue worthy of investigation. This study investigates how leadership in higher education can effectively enhance university lecturers' involvement in professional development (PD) in China. It examines the complex interplay between leadership roles and lecturers' PD needs, considering the centralised system's challenges and lecturer perspectives across various Chinese universities. Employing a mixed-methods approach, the study analyses qualitative and quantitative data to understand lecturers’ perceptions of PD, leadership responsibilities, and barriers to effective development. The findings reveal that the PD of Chinese university lecturers is intricately linked to title evaluation and performance appraisal systems, significantly influencing their engagement in PD activities. Leadership is pivotal in setting PD goals, allocating resources, and nurturing a conducive learning environment. However, challenges such as limited opportunities and standardised PD formats necessitate leadership adaptability to align PD initiatives with the evolving external landscape. The research concludes that enhancing lecturer PD requires a collaborative effort between university leadership and lecturers, particularly in adapting to dynamic external influences. Recommendations are provided for fostering this collaboration within the context of Chinese universities. These insights are instrumental for university leaders to offer better support and shape lecturer development, ultimately elevating the quality and impact of higher education in China.

Author Information
Wanlu Chi, University College London, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACEID2024
Stream: Educational policy

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon