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  • Academic reform in Beijing


At more than a century old, China’s Beijing University is a venerable institution. But many say its hiring practices for academic staff are downright antiquated – and more suited to a small family business.

In this article, Ding Yimin and Xiong Lei show how one economist proposes to banish academic nepotism at the university. Zhang Weiying’s package of radical reform will bring personnel practice into line with international standards. Under it, outside talent will be encouraged, promotion will depend on productivity, and hiring the university’s graduates straight out of school will be banned.

Among many issues, the emphasis on hiring from abroad has not been popular with faculty members. Some cite difficulties arising from comparatively low Chinese salaries. Others worry about a brain drain of young Chinese researchers. But Zhang, backed by the university administration, sees it as essential if the university wants to remain competitive globally.

Link to article in Science

Reference: Science, 302, 43 (2003)

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