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University goes global with titles for foreigners

Updated: 2015-02-19 07:56
By Li Wenfang in Guangzhou (China Daily)

Guangdong University of Foreign Studies has become China's first higher education institution to offer academic titles to its foreign faculty in its "go international" efforts.

The university administration awarded one professor, five associate professors, eight assistant professors and 27 lecturers earlier this month, among its 98 overseas teachers, said President Zhong Weihe.

Foreign and Chinese faculty members in Chinese universities were previously managed differently. While the Chinese had academic titles, the foreigners did not.

Managing faculty members is key to becoming an international and first-class university, and it is necessary to assess foreign and Chinese teachers using a unified standard, Zhong said.

Pay for foreign teachers in Guangdong University of Foreign Studies has not changed much over the years, despite inflation, and academic titles serve as the basis for adjusting payments, he said.

The titles are awarded by assessing academic background, work experience, teaching, research, and contributions to the academic field and society.

The university was designated in 2013 as one of six universities in Guangdong province to spearhead comprehensive reform.

Efforts have been stepped up in recent years to internationalize education. Foreign faculty members have been introduced to courses other than linguistic ones, such as international relations, economics and business management, and also encouraged to engage in research.

As part of their contribution to society, foreign faculty members have been reviewing government documents and joining consulting projects commissioned by the government.

With the introduction of academic titles, the university administration hopes to enhance the sense of honor and belonging for the foreign faculty members, Zhong said.

"We have come to a new starting point and hope to enhance the attractiveness to talents and lift the overall quality of our foreign faculty members," he said.

In the future, the university will also hire people from abroad for administrative posts.

Raymond Rocher, an associate professor in his sixth year at the university's Department of French Language and Culture, said the title he received means recognition for his work and also encourages his teaching and research activities.

Rocher joined the compilation of a Chinese-French dictionary led by Huang Jianhua, a former president of the university.

"It is good in the global move by China, and the university is leading the way in awarding titles to international teacher," he said.

liwenfang@chinadaily.com.cn

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