BJTU Pilot School Reform Initiatives capture the Headline of China Education Daily

On April 30, China Education Daily headlines “University Focus” Column with a special report about the relevant reform initiatives of our school in exploring for “Pilot School”. It reads as follows:
Many initiatives launched to promote the talent cultivation and building teachers’ force and internal governance mechanism
 ——BJTU Explore for A Path for its “Pilot School” Reform
Since School of Economics and Management, BJTU, conducted its “Pilot School” Comprehensive Reform in 2012, it has strongly promoted the integrated reform in respect of the talent cultivation and building of teachers’ force and internal governance mechanism, which has greatly won the recognition from teachers and students and drawn the attention from the examinees and their parents.
“Small-class lecture, bilingual courses, interactive communication with professors and cozy academic accommodation environment,” a candidate told the reporter about why he signed up for School of Economics and Management outside of the interview room under the independent recruitment lately conducted by BJTU, “Most importantly, I was told this was the ‘test field’ for higher education reform.”
Since School of Economics and Management, BJTU, conducted its “Pilot School” Comprehensive Reform in 2012, it has strongly promoted the integrated reform in respect of the talent cultivation and building of teachers’ force and internal governance mechanism, which has greatly won the recognition from teachers and students and drawn the attention from the examinees and their parents. 
What will “Pilot School” Reform bring to this time-honored university? Of late, this reporter came over to BJTU to find out the ins and outs about it.
Reforming the Talent Cultivation Model- Equal Attention Paid to Candidate Selection and Talent Cultivation
“I am really more and more interested in what I major at!” said Zhang Yuanhao, who was recruited into the school two years ago through the independent enrollment and was fortunate enough in witnessing the first trial of “Pilot School’ Talent Cultivation Model Reform.
School of Economics and Management, BJTU, took upon itself the “Pilot School” Reform task and adopt “General education-based wide-caliber professional education” for undergraduates and launched the brand-new cultivation solution according to the world-class business school’s curricular structure, cultivation method and credit requirements.
Lectures are open to students of all specialties; dorm buildings are full of academic atmosphere; larger class lectures become small class lectures, “Teacher dominated lectures” transformed into exchange dialogs with Chinese and foreign scholars, etc., so with all of the changes, Zhang Yuanhao feels that he has greater expectations for the campus life and studies.
Highlighting the creative talent cultivation represents the core mission bestowed by the reform on “Pilot School”. How to help the excellent students stand out more brilliantly? This is the primary problem confronting the reformers.
Different from the past, this reform starts from the source. Zhang Qiusheng, Dean of School of Economics and Management, BJTU, introduces like this, the school conducts diversified selection and admission pilot reform based on the unified national exam, builds the comprehensive evaluation system for talent selection in the economics and management field to select the students with outstanding comprehensive strengths and greater potentials for the management cultivation.
The purpose of selecting qualified candidates lies in giving them the best cultivation. The school positively boosts the innovative talent cultivation model by combining the discipline features, reforming the teaching methods, promoting the synergic talent cultivation and achieving the international cultivation.
On the campus of BJTU, the reporter could see the newly added reading area, student discussion room, open discussion area in No. 2 Student Apartment Building of School of Economics and Management. Zhang Qiusheng said that they were exploring for the “New Academic” Cultivation Model with the building of the concentrated dorm building, classrooms, laboratories, library and network resources as the carrier, the team-based studies and management as the organizational structure, the integrated undergraduate-master-doctor cultivation model as the foundation to combine the ideological education, moral education and professional education and implement the full-range moral education and academic double tutorial system.
What has deeply impressed Zhang Yuanhao is that he could have the bilingual course entitled “Principles of Economics”. His teacher Wang Yacan effectively communicated with a US University to invite the foreign teachers to talk in class. “We can have the earlier chance to get access to the frontier knowledge of the foreign economics. Moreover, the American teachers pay more attention to the exchange with students just like the open courses offered by foreign universities online.”
What was talked about by Zhang Yuanhao was another talent cultivation reform imitative taken by School of Economics and Management—Promoting undergraduates to have English courses to enhance their international communication skills and broaden their horizons by implementing the plan for introducing foreign business school courses for undergraduates and the plan for building the international courses to materialize the undergraduates’ abroad study plan.
Through two years’ meticulous cultivation, the top-grade freshmen and sophomores are growing up strong and sturdy on “the test field” in the pilot School. “Now, the school has the profound academic atmosphere and the Grade failure rate falls to1.57%, considerably dropping than before. More than 50% students attend the student innovative program drilling under the guidance of their instructors,” said by Zhang Qiusheng.
Reforming the teachers’ management mechanism – full qualifications for teachers
Teachers are the key to enhance the talent cultivation quality. According to the statistics conducted by School of Economics and Management and in view of all research and practical activities participated by undergraduates last year, the participating rate for all teaching faculties accounted for 90% and the undergraduate professors’ lecture rate reached 100%.
Where is the teachers’ driving force? Zhang Qiusheng answers, “It depends on the system”. Actually, the teachers’ personnel appointment, evaluation and salary system have long been the demanding task. There are 7 initiatives involving the support for the system reform of the teachers’ screening, assessment and evaluation set forth in “Guidelines of Ministry of Education Concerning the Promotion of Pilot Schools”, which is recognized by reformers of BJTU as “imperial sword”.
With the strong policy support, School of Economics and Management immediately got into action. Through the full survey by the school, it adopted the full-staff appointment system and built the post-based salary system, identified the reform solution based on the “AB Track” as the core personal appointment, evaluation and salary system.
Zhang Qiusheng explained, “A Track” posts adopt the modern school evaluation and salary system while “B Track” posts are even more demanding. Some quantitative landmark results related to the talent cultivation was increased and annual salary system was adopted based on the “basic threshold” evaluation. The newly-recruited teachers will be fully incorporated into “B Track” posts for management, but the current teachers may decide to choose either of the track posts at their discretion. Teachers working at “B Track” posts will have the priority for their personal promotion.
“Newly-recruited teachers comply with new methods while the former ones still follow the old method, which represents the usual practice in the human resources reform. Yet, it is puzzling that only a few people can be positively mobilized as it fails to exert the due impact on most of the “old” teachers, ”remarked Zhang Qiusheng, School of Economics and Management should stride forward with larger steps, effectively open AB Track Channels by implementing the full staff  appointment and differential evaluation and building the withdrawal mechanism. That is to say, if teachers working at “A Track” posts can fulfill all evaluation tasks for “B Track” posts, they can have the supplementary treatment for “B Track” posts pursuant to the discussion of the Evaluation Committee of School of Economics and Management. At the same time, Zhang Qiusheng emphasized, no matter what posts, if a teacher fails to reach the qualifications during the 4 year appointment and evaluation period, he will face the demotion, post transfer or dismissal.
With a view to cultivating the team with the competitive advantages and reaching the “1 + 1 is larger than 2” effect, School of Economics and Management also builds the team evaluation model. The team evaluation emphasizes the principle of “Capacity and professionalism” as the core for “post appointment, evaluation and distribution based on the team”. On the one hand, pooling forces to focus on difficulties, and on the other hand, improvement of the team strength drives forward the individual development of the teachers.
In early 2013, 190 teachers from School of Economics and Management smoothly signed the New Appointment Contracts, 19 teachers having signed contract for B Track post and two teachers’ teams having signed the team evaluation tasks.
Reforming the Internal Governance Mechanism-Activating the school’s vitality
As for the time-honored School of Economics and Management, BJTU, the true charm of the pilot school reform lies in the breakthrough the barriers of the system and mechanism and activating the school-running vitality.
Improvement of the internal governance structure is one of the key pilot school reforms. According to the principle of “Legal school running, Self-management, Democratic supervision and Social participation”, School of Economics and Management, BJTU, has started to explore for “School System” since 2011.
The so-called “School System” is to set up three schools based on three First-level Disciplines, respectively “Applied Economics”, “Business Administration” and “Management Science and Engineering”. The leaders of each school have no administrative ranks but are selected based on the methods of “self-application, university review and public voting”. In view of the functional duties, the schools are mainly engaged in the Macro planning, resources allocation, organizational building, personnel management, recruitment and employment, talent cultivation, student management, professional degree cultivation and profit making, evaluation and assessment, etc. so the school are mainly involved with the disciplinary development, team building and overseas academic exchange and other corresponding work. 
Zhang Qiusheng continued, the School System Reform give strong vitality to the school running, which contributes to the further improvement of the discipline characteristics and gives full scope to the discipline advantages and effectively combines the discipline development with the school development to explore for the disciplinary development new model according to the requirements of the first level disciplines. The enthusiasm for teachers to participate in the school democratic management has greatly increased and more than 90% teachers have taken part in the democratic evaluation of the school dean election.
Furthermore, BJTU has also discussed the proposals for amending and upgrading the articles of association of the relevant schools to build the social support and monitoring mechanism, set up the councils, Advisory Boards and International Consulting Committees composed of the social participants to conduct the administration-production-teaching-research school-running model and build the mechanism with social resources to support the school running.
As “the test field” of the entire higher education reform, the Pilot School Reform has been highly regarded as a systematic engineering. Therefore, the reform is limited to the relevant schools, but many external factors may contribute to its success.
Cao Guoyong, Party Secretary of Beijing Jiaotong University told this reporter, at present, the school still undertakes three national educational system reform pilot programs, respectively “Exploration for Production-Teaching Joint Talent Cultivation Model and Mechanism for Universities with Industrial Features”, “Exploration for International Talent Cultivation Model for Universities with Higher Features” and “University Talent Appointment Mechanism Reform”, so the entire university reform provides the favorable environment and soil for the pilot school for sound development. 
Cao Guoyong remarks, the efficient pilot school reform does not lies in the repeated issuance of new policies, but in the thorough understanding of the current policies for earnest implementation thereof. Only by doing so can “Special Reform Area” transform into “Demonstration Area” for the higher education reform and development.