Dean, the Academy of Future Education

Suzhou, Jiangsu (CN)
01 Mar 2021
End of advertisement period
31 Mar 2021
Academic Discipline
Social Sciences, Education
Contract Type
Full Time

Dean, the Academy of Future Education 
Title of Position: Professor and Dean, the Academy of Future Education
Reports to: the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the XJTLU
Unit: the Academy of Future Education, XJTLU
Campus: XJTLU, Suzhou

About the Academy 
XJTLU is seeking to appoint Dean to establish and develop its new Academy of Future Education. The Academy is ambitiously seeking to influence the  future shape and nature of education in China, internationally, and at all levels from kindergarten to lifelong learning. Its four constituent units are the Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development (ILEAD), the Department of Educational Studies, the Educational Development Unit and XJTLU Learning Mall. ILEAD is principally outward-looking and already has an established network and brand for delivering training and consultancy in advanced models of education and educational leadership throughout China.

The newly-formed Department of Educational Studies is the research engine of the Academy and is building educational research clusters as well as a portfolio of postgraduate programmes having already successfully launched our MA Global Education in 2020/21. The Educational Development Unit ensures all XJTLU Faculty are supported in their acquisition of new skills and knowledge so that the modes of educational delivery on campus and online are consistently up-to-date and in certain strategic areas are breaking new pedagogical ground. Learning Mall is a far-reaching educational ecosystem offering upskilling online and onsite in collaboration with our global business partners. The Academy has an Advisory Board with members who are all leading figures in global education, typically Presidents and Vice-President of other HEIs.

Role Description
The role of Dean of the Academy of Future Education is the principal leader of the Academy, providing effective direction in all aspects of Academy-wide activity, delegating responsibility within the Academy when appropriate. The Dean is expected to represent the Academy within the University and externally. The Dean will also be part of the XJTLU Senior Management Team and Academic Management Group.

The Dean must provide the sort of professorial academic leadership needed to take the Academy through its initial growth phase. Emphasis rests on the development of the Academy’s new degrees and its research endeavour and so candidates must not only be highly accomplished in their own right, they must also have clear collaborative commitment and the ability to develop and implement teaching and research strategies. Additionally, given the University’s pace of expansion, the Dean must provide wider academic leadership in matters such as staff development and recruitment, programme development and quality assurance within the Academy.

Duties and Responsibilities 
The main duties of the role include:

  • Daily operation and administration of the Academy;
  • Reporting to and collaborating with the Academy Advisory Board; 
  • Preparing both the annual budget and report on financial accounts of the Academy for approval as required; 
  • Developing Academy infrastructure, regulations and rules;
  • Delivering excellent learning and teaching, research, and enterprise engagement activities in the Academy;
  • Personnel decisions including recruitment as well as discipline, retention, and contract termination in the Academy;
  • Coordination and communication between the Academy and the University; and,
  • Any other work-related tasks assigned by the three VP and/or SMT of XJTLU.    

Person Specification
In order to succeed in a leadership position in an international institution enjoying rapid expansion, candidates must be characterised by flexibility, energy, commitment to collaboration, creativity, innovation and an enthusiasm for the pace, dynamism and global ambition which distinguish XJTLU and the Academy of Future Education. In moving to the next stage of the Academy’s development, it would be advantageous for the Dean to be bi-lingual in English and Chinese in order to engage effectively locally, regionally, nationally and internationally with business, government and other educational institutions.

The person appointed to the role will be able to demonstrate evidence of the following experience and core competencies.

  • A Ph.D. degree in a relevant subject from a university of high global standing;
  • Rich experience in teaching, research, academic leadership, strategic planning and financial management in a university, preferably an international university or Sino-foreign joint university;
  • Work experience in the educational sector would be an advantage;
  • First class networking skills and an ability to build and nurture external contacts and partnerships;
  • Excellent organisational, implementation and monitoring skills to deliver successful outcomes;
  • A track record of both high quality and impact research and successful academic management over a sustained period in at least one of the areas of specialisations in the proposed Academy;
  • Ability to communicate with a high degree of competence in both written and spoken English and Modern Standard Chinese;
  • Experience of living and working outside China;
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills;
  • A track record of working together with educational sector institutions and government. 

Introduction of Suzhou, XJTLU and the Academy of Future Education

Suzhou, alternately known as Soochow, is a major city located in southeastern Jiangsu Province of East China, about 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Shanghai. Being an economic center and focal point of trade and commerce, and the second largest city in the province, it is a prefecture-level city with a population of 8.27 million in its city proper, and a total resident population of 10.75 million in its administrative area (data as of 2019).

The city of Suzhou has a history of 2,500 years, is also one of the top tourist attractions in China, with an abundance of historical and cultural heritage including canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000. Suzhou is often dubbed the "Venice of the East" or "Venice of China".

Since the start of the economic reform and opening-up in 1978, Suzhou has become one of the fastest growing cities in the world. In 2019, the GDP of Suzhou totaled 1,924 billion RMB, representing an annual increase of about 5.6% and ranking it 7th among all cities in China. In addition, with high life expectancy and per capita incomes, Suzhou's Human Development Index ratings is roughly comparable to that of a moderately developed country, making the city one of the most highly developed and prosperous areas in China.

Established in February 1994 with approval from the State Council, Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) was the first governmental cooperation project between China and Singapore. Now covering an administrative area of 278 square kilometers, it is home to 1.19 million people, including 807,800 permanent residents. SIP is recognised as an important window of China’s reform and opening-up and a successful model of international cooperation. It is also the first open innovation comprehensive experimental area of China.

The gathering of numerous universities and research institutes in SIP brings economic and social benefits 

In 2019, SIP achieved a total GDP of 274 billion. In the published results on the annual evaluation of national economic development areas by the Ministry of Commerce of China, SIP ranked the 1st for four consecutive years (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019), and has set the target to become one of the world-class high-tech parks as supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. 

The area of Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID) in SIP has a planned area of about 51.85 square kilometers, and a planned population of 400,000 (among which 100,000 are students). The district is committed to building a high level Industry-university-research cooperation system, focusing on three key areas including biomedicine, nanotechnology applications and artificial intelligence. The latter is of direct relevance to the new AoFE. 

Since its establishment in 2002, SEID has attracted 14 national research institutes, 31 world famous universities and nearly 500 innovative R&D centers to join the district. 

National Research Institutes

  • Suzhou Institute of Nanotechnology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences;
  • Institute of Systematic Medicine of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences;
  • Suzhou Achievement Transformation, Chinese Academy of Sciences Shanghai Institute of Material Medical.


  • Universities
  • Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR);
  • Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU);
  • Suzhou campus of Renmin University of China;
  • Center in China, the University of Sydney;
  • Weitz Innovation Centre, Harvard University;


  • Innovative R&D Centers
  • Huawei Suzhou Research-and-development Center;
  • Software Suzhou Research-and-development Center;
  • GCL Central Research Institute;
  • Siemens China Research Institute;

Located in SIP, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is an international joint venture university founded by Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and the University of Liverpool in the UK. The University has over 18,000 registered students and near 1,400 staff (including 900 teaching staff).

World-class programmes 
The University has established eight schools, which are School of Advanced Technology, Design School, School of Humanities and Social Science, International Business School Suzhou (IBSS), Institute of Leadership and Educational Advanced Development (ILEAD), School of Languages, School of Science and School of Film and Television Arts (SoFTA). The Schools offer approximately 100 degree programmes in the fields of science, engineering, business, finance, architecture, urban planning, language, culture and all are taught in English except for general and fundamental courses. Graduates obtain two degrees: an XJTLU degree from the Chinese Ministry of Education and a globally recognised degree from the University of Liverpool.

Postgraduates obtain a University of Liverpool degree that is recognised by the Ministry of Education. All academic departments at XJTLU offer PhD opportunities, which helps to achieve the university’s vision of “becoming a research-led international university in China and a Chinese university recognised internationally for its unique features”.

Transforming higher education 
Since its establishment in May 2006, XJTLU has contributed to the development of higher education in China as well as developed its “Five-Star” model (Philosophy & Value System, Knowledge System, Capability System, Comprehensive Education Strategy, and Support Systems of Implementation) through the implementation of which, it has continuously upgraded its student development system and management and operation mechanisms in response to demands. Over time, XJTLU has won wide recognitions for its highly internationalised environment, advanced educational concepts and high-quality talent development.

Learning and teaching
With a focus on the idea of a “happy life and successful career”, XJTLU bases its values upon diversity, discipline, innovation, liberty and trust. In keeping with global trends, XJTLU, by virtue of a resilient management structure and innovative educational model, is able to integrate the cultural and educational essence of the west and the east to produce world citizens with international perspectives and competitiveness. It is exploring new models for higher education that will exert a strong influence on the development of education in China and the world.

Ambitious graduates
When they graduate, XJTLU students’ ambitions and aspirations take them all over the world into jobs and further study. In 2019, over 85% of graduates planned to continue their studies in world-renowned universities (Masters and PhD), with 33.61% entering one of the world top ten universities and almost 78% receiving offers from universities ranking in the world top 100. Nearly 15% of the graduates work in Fortune 500 companies in China and the world.

International faculty
XJTLU upholds the same high standards as world-famous universities in hiring academic staff members. XJTLU cooperates with international headhunting companies to hire top academic talents from all over the world. It currently has more than 920 academic staff, the majority of whom hold foreign nationality. All regular teaching staff have to hold a doctorate degree from a well-known university and have rich teaching and research experience.

Passionate about research
XJTLU offers an intellectually exciting environment in which to conduct original research, recognising the importance of both fundamental and applied study in generating new knowledge and ways of thinking. With a focus on research-led learning, inherited from two highly regarded parent institutions, the University has constructed a series of first-class research facilities. In 2009, the University was selected by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) as a supporting unit and was chosen as a member unit of the national “863 Program” in 2012.

Delivering innovation 
As of the end of 2018, XJTLU has successfully applied for 260 government research projects at all levels and achieved high-level research achievements. It includes 105 national-level projects, 155 provincial and municipal level projects. At the same time, the University has carried out 65 in-depth cooperation with various institutions, including the Shuangwan Village located at Wujiang Taihu New Town, Institute of Automation at Chinese Academy of Sciences and Arts Group Co., Ltd.

XJTLU Academy of Future Education (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Academy’) is a new and major university initiative built on:

  • Alignment with the University’s Vision & Mission and the 2018-2028 Strategy (international, innovative and industry-linked)
  • The fact that a high-profile Academy of Future Education is indispensable for the development of the higher education sector and its global ecosystem

Positioned as a centre of excellence in early years education, as well as primary and secondary education, and lifelong learning, the Academy aims to explore innovative higher education models to build strong responses to both domestic and global educational demands, and contribute to building up an international innovation ecosystem for the benefit of all students, whether undergraduates, postgraduates or studying short courses. 

Please submit your applications online

Applications must be submitted in a single PDF file that includes 3 parts in the order of: 

  • A cover letter specifying your suitability for the role
  • A current CV, including date of birth, country of citizenship, and highest degree level
  • Contact details for three references (at least a reference from current or most recent employer. Preferably current employer *and* last employer)

Applications for this post should be received by 31 March 2021.   

Informal enquiries may be directed to the Vice President for Academic Affairs at the XJTLU, Professor Chris Harris (Email: Chris.Harris@xjtlu.edu.cn).  

If you are unable to apply on-line please contact yiting.xu@xjtlu.edu.cn  

Similar jobs

Similar jobs