Raoul's China Saloon (V4.0 Beta)

The Bar Room => The Bar (ON-TOPIC) => Topic started by: Calach Pfeffer on October 25, 2017, 11:03:27 PM

Title: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 25, 2017, 11:03:27 PM
On the one side there's colleges and institutes and "normal universities" aka afaik technical schools, and on the other side there's the "university" - what's the difference? I know there's some certification process any educational institution must go through before they gain "university" status, but I don't know the details. Does anyone?
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: old34 on October 26, 2017, 01:43:07 AM
A normal university or a normal college are for training teachers. Just substitute "teachers" for "normal". This comes from the 1920's US college/university system. I once taught at an "education institute" which taught students from various majors to be teachers. Except it was a 3 year program, the students could not get a bachelor degree-more like a diploma or associates degree, and the English majors could only teach in a primary school. Colleges can grant 4 year bachelor degrees, and universities are more comprehensive and also offer post-grad degrees. It all comes down to licensing and certification. That education institute upgraded itself and its Chinese teachers and emerged as a"foreign language university". Previously few of the regular Chinese teachers hade Master degrees, but then they started sending the best ones abroad to get them. They also hired 10 PhD Chinese teachers from other universities to fill the admin roles in different departments. They also had to build a new campus, the money for which came from the institute turning over its land to the province. Every uni, college or institute I've been at has had to go through re-certification every 5 years which is why they come up with stupid rules like I needed to prepare 2 different tests each mid-term and final which went into a big brown envelope at the end of the year along with the class results and the syllabus they made me prepare, all of which went into a big empty room filled with files from every class and teacher. I was told the certification examiners might pull some of the files and look through them. At one university, they did NOT install black/white boards in the new buildings. Just computer and A/V systems so teachers were told to open Word at the beginning of each class and type in what they might normally write on the board. It was at this point that I took all my class Word files for the semester and turned them into PPTs for the following semester. Everyone (CTs and FTs) quickly got used to it. here comes the denouement: In the 6th year when they were getting ready for their 5 year re-certification, we came to class one Monday and found white boards installed in all the classrooms. I asked why and was told that the examiners were coming from another city and the school was worried they couldn't deal with seeing board-less classrooms. the white boards stayed through the end of the year, but no one used them.

Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 26, 2017, 04:54:57 AM
My own institution is, at least in English, unclear on what it is. It's not a university, but in English they will sometimes refer to themselves as such. They may these days more often say Institute since that is the official English designation, the one they write on the letterheads and website. I'm unclear on whether or not this school can award postgrad degrees - some deans seem to think they can, but I suspect they're fudging some bit of communication there. But the undergrad degrees are definitely 4 year and the school is definitely public (mostly)....

In any case, this year they/we will attempt once again to pass the certification process and become a full-fledged university. So I've been wondering what the certification process consists of. What gets measured? I assume there would be assorted concrete measures, like number of classrooms, nature of equipment, and so on, but what of the intangibles, the "academic standard" and so on? I'd be damn interesting to know what at minimum an educational institution must provide, do or be like to be counted as that kind of higher education.

(Full disclosure: I'm hoping it has something to do with research capability - or more exactly, the ability to create research capability in students.... that'd mean some interesting things for things like teaching methodology and classroom requirements.)
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: old34 on October 26, 2017, 05:30:22 PM
I'm sure research is one of the ingredients.

Is yours a 学院 xue yuan? I've taught at 3. 2 of them called themselves colleges and one called itself Institute. The colleges offered 4 year bachelor degrees. No post grad degrees. One college also had a few three year degrees (nursing). The institute offered mostly 3 year degrees and for a short time had a 4 year English degree, but they lost that during one of the 5-year reviews. Not sure why, butI think it had something to do with the quality of the Chinese English teachers-credentials and research. Shortly thereafter, some of the better English teachers were sent abroad and they all were "encouraged" to write 3 "research articles". they then embarked on a five year plan to raise the school to a university 大学, which they eventually succeeded in as I previously detailed.
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 26, 2017, 10:50:50 PM
Yep, 学院, looking to become 大学.

Initial research (in English) is proving difficult. I can find lots of lists of universities but no talk of what constitutes a university in China. Since the relevant authorities will be here in November the FAO is considering putting on an explainer meeting before then for the foreign staff. Might find out then what it's all about, but I suspect not.
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: cruisemonkey on October 27, 2017, 03:58:27 AM
Two years ago, my 'uni' went through the accreditation process to be 'upgraded' from _____ Institute of Engineering to _____ University of Engineering. It was amazing to watch! Starting about a week before the 2-day accreditation inspection, everything on campus was 'spit polished'. Things that had not been cleaned in the preceding seven years - instructors' classroom computer consoles etc. - were suddenly spotless. Every piece of litter: plastic, paper and cigarette butt in the bushes disappeared.

We became a university... then everything reverted to as before. Apparently, appearance is one of the most important factors in the accreditation process. China - all icing and no cake.  ahahahahah
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 28, 2017, 04:55:48 AM
School is saying when we go to class during the three days of the inspection, we should have namelists, lesson plans, and assessment rubrics to hand in case they are asked for. All of them. Not just that week's lesson plans, every lesson plan. I've started saying that up until now (and including now) I've been almost completely ignorant of how my efforts are assessed and that more importantly I have been and continue to be entirely ignorant of any detailed objectives the school may have in its mission and detailed targets the department may have for its students, and thus that if I have ever helped the school succeed in its mission, it was by accident. Ergo, I don't know what to show any inspectors beyond my normal good work even though as far as I know the only person who ever judges my work as good is me.

I'm hoping they'll take the hint. I am also seriously doubting they'll even know there is a hint in there, let alone care. I am too often reminded of my unimportance.
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: old34 on October 28, 2017, 09:20:02 PM
For years, I have created a Numbers spreadsheet for each class. I wrote about this once in the Teacher Tips section. http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=9653.msg176236#msg176236 (http://raoulschinasaloon.com/index.php?topic=9653.msg176236#msg176236)

It has (usually) 5 tabs. 1. Roster including a column for attendance.; 2. Syllabus/Lesson Plans by week; 3. Grade Sheet depending on type of class but usually includes homework, projects, mid-terms, finals and any necessary rubrics for each; 4. Final Assessment sheet with Rubric; and 5. Final Scores with the percentage breakdown (in recent years schools seem to prefer 40% Attendance; 20% Mid-term; 40% Final Exam. I also built into it a table which accumulates all the scores, assigns letter grades, and presents a cumulative snapshot of the range of grades in the class.  This is the page I use to input the final scores for each student into the school system which also asks for the ranges. I then print out a copy from the school system and print out a copy of the entire 5 pages of my class Numbers spreadsheet, staple them together, sign each page, and hand it in at the end. This gets added, I'm sure to the big brown envelope I mentioned earlier.

Were I in your shoes now, I could simply print off the whole class Spreadsheet now and bring it to class next week, in case the examiners asked for it.
Title: Re: Colleges and universities in China - they're different??
Post by: Calach Pfeffer on October 28, 2017, 11:36:37 PM
Normally in my various ppts I will have (in different weeks, depending on what's happening that week):

- a list of the major topics covering the whole semester and which weeks we look at them
- the current three weeks worth of syllabus in more detail (topic title, associated pages in the textbook, major textbook exercise number)
- an outline of the entire semester's worth of activity (which week's focus on discussion, which include assessment activities)
- assessment meanings (what a given score means in terms of class goals)
- a very general rubric (a list of the skills meant to be acquired during the semester)
- a very general explanation of that rubric in terms of what anyone has to produce, either in writing or in speech
- a statement in terms of weekly activity of what lets you pass (what score in a case study means you're currently failing or currently passing)

What I struggle with though is what place all this has in wider schemes of my department and this school. I discuss what I do with the dean, and he has over the years provided some very valuable nuggets of guidance, but those rubrics and gradings and skills expectations I have? They're not part of anything anyone else here does. They all funnel down into one final score out of 100, and that's all anyone seems to know about what I've done here. And now these dipshits want me to produce stuff for some national inspection? What possible contribution can I make beyond looking pretty? If they were serious about assessing me, I'd be serious about them being assessed too, but as usual that has escaped everyone's attention.