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Head of Learning Institute for Future Excellence

Suzhou, China
Closing date
23 Jun 2024

School: Academy of Future Education

Department: Learning Institute for Future Excellence

Position: Head

Location: Suzhou, China

Contract Type: Fixed-term, renewable. 3rd contract is open-ended


In 2006 Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) was created by the University of Liverpool and Xi’an Jiaotong University – a top ten university in China. Offering a unique international education experience, XJTLU brings together excellent research practice and expertise from both institutions and gives students the skills and knowledge they need to secure careers in a global marketplace. XJTLU now has over 25,000 enrolled students in both Suzhou and Liverpool in the UK, with plans to grow to about 28,000 students by 2025. There are currently about 2,000 staff, among which about 1,000 academic staff, with an almost even split between citizens of the People’s Republic of China and international passport holders. XJTLU offers our undergraduates and postgraduates over 100 programmes with a diverse spectrum of courses.

XJTLU is entering a new and exciting phase of its development as part of its strategic priorities for the next ten years. Adopting a new higher education model based on the concept of Syntegrative Education (SE), XJTLU is currently opening a new Entrepreneurial Education site in Taicang, part of wider Suzhou, where the Entrepreneur College (Taicang) is located. The Taicang site will be a pioneer of, and educational model for, the future campus in addressing challenges arising from the 4th Industrial Revolution. Other new initiatives include new working partnerships with Xi’an Jiaotong University, the continued development of the four new Academies, and exploration of further potential locations to develop the SE model.

With a focus on innovative learning and teaching, and research, XJTLU draws on the strengths of its parent universities, and plays a pivotal role in facilitating access to China for UK and other institutional partners. At same time, XJTLU is exploring future education by blending the educational theory, best practice and culture from west and east.

For detailed information about the university, please visit


The Academy of Future Education of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is an educational innovation ecosystem that focuses on research, exploration, support, and dissemination of philosophy and best practices for future education. The core mission of the Academy is to impact education innovation and reform in China and beyond through a variety of projects and programmes, based on fundamental approaches in educational innovation and systemic development designed to contribute to the future of education. The Academy supports individuals and institutions at all levels, including all the K-15 schools as well as vocational education and higher education institutions.

Four units make up the Academy, namely the Department of Educational Studies (EDS), Institute of Leadership & Education Advanced Development (ILEAD), and Educational Development Unit (EDU), Learning Institute for Future Excellence (LIFE). Key projects of the Academy include the following programmes:

  • Master’s and doctoral degree programmes in education
  • Research projects on future education
  • Education innovation community
  • Professional development programmes for educational practitioners
  • Student learning excellence support programmes
  • Online-onsite hybrid learning environment and resources.

Learning Institute for Future Excellence (LIFE) is dedicated to the promotion and development of lifelong learning at XJTLU and in the wider student community to respond to the opportunities and challenges of future society. To achieve this, LIFE first aims to transform students’ experience from exam-oriented learning to the learner-centred and research-led approach. Through the transformation of the learning model, LIFE also aims to promote students’ awareness and skills as Global Citizens with capacities in digital literacy, sustainable development, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.

LIFE provides a range of programmes covering students’ university journey from registration to becoming alumni, and includes degree years and careers. LIFE connects all contributions to lifelong learning in systematic ways, including IBSS employability, Taicang entrepreneurialism, the Extended Education System, English continuing support, modern languages, Think Tank initiatives on research-led teaching and teaching-led research, Centre for Student Affairs projects, and networks of all advisors to students.


Reporting to the Executive Dean of the Academy of Future Education, the Head of LIFE will be responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and operations of the department, as well as managing the department's staff and resources. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in education fields in particular learning science, as well as experience managing teams and developing effective strategies.



  1. To ensure the vision for the university and the Academy is clearly articulated, shared, understood, and acted upon effectively by department members.
  2. To lead the departmental strategic planning process to ensure the department is well-resourced. The Departmental Strategy is the fundamental guideline for the operation and development of the department. The University has a system of rolling three-year plans to identify annual operational objectives and resource planning.
  3. To work with the Executive Dean and Director for Learning and Teaching to ensure that teaching programmes maximise the market opportunity for presenting their discipline or field of study.
  4. To ensure that the content of modules is up to date; and that new advances in teaching technology and academic discussions are accommodated, constantly reflecting on one’s lessons and amending schemes of learning, lesson plans and teaching/learning materials.
  5. To oversee the department's research directions and performance – collectively and individually.
  6. To oversee the development of the Department’s external engagement.  Such outreach activities aim to help the department integrate into the University and appeal to the broader community. Outreach includes areas such as engagement with other departments within the University and external organisations.


  1. Be responsible for the organization and administration of the department.
  2. Be responsible to the University for implementing all its academic and operational policies, rules, and regulations. Of particular importance in this regard is the conduct of examinations and marking and moderation regimes; implementation of the staff attendance and absence policy; observance of the staff code of conduct; observance of quality assurance processes and procedures.
  3. To chair department meetings focusing on learning and teaching and research, ensuring a detailed agenda and minutes are produced and distributed in a timely manner.
  4. To provide regular progress updates to the school management team to ensure they are fully aware of all subject areas' successes, issues, and concerns.
  5. The HoD is directly responsible within the Department for duties including:
    1. Strategic and annual planning
    2. Individual staff work allocation to allow for an appropriate work/life balance  
    3. Budget development and expenditure  
    4. Financial approvals for expenditure from the departmental budget
    5. Ensuring quality and standards are upheld
    6. Staff appointments; identifying needs, defining the specification and justification, organizing recruitment, overseeing interview panel arrangements, and recommending appointments.
    7. Formal staff Professional Development Reviews and processes
    8. Staff disciplinary issues
    9. Student disciplinary issues and complaints
    10. Assignments of administrative duties to other staff
    11. Implementation of staff attendance and absence policy
    12. Leave of absence approvals
    13. Dissemination of information regarding the development of the University, especially changes to policy, university regulations, and issues discussed at the Academic
    14. Leadership Group.
    15. Maintenance of record of staff authorised and unauthorised absences
    16. Ensuring that the requirements of PRC legislation and XJTLU regulation on Health and Safety are all met.


The successful candidate should be able to demonstrate:

  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people;
  • A passion for teaching and research and a commitment to academic excellence;
  • An ability to think strategically and develop and implement plans to achieve goals;
  • A willingness to work collaboratively with other departments and stakeholders within the School and the University.
  • Self-motivated and able to motivate others;
  • Proactive and flexible

We seek someone with the ambition, creativity, and organizational skills to succeed in an exciting environment of continued growth and significant change.

Applicants should:

  • A PhD in Education or a related field;
  • At least three years of experience in research and teaching, with a proven track record of academic excellence and leadership;
  • Experience managing and leading a team of faculty and staff;
  • Experience working with industry partners and stakeholders, and a commitment to promoting industry engagement and innovation. 


Employment at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is regulated by Chinese Labour Laws, and must comply with the regulations of the provincial government. These regulations stipulate who is eligible for legal employment with regard to obtaining work permits and visas.  Please be advised candidates over 65 may be not eligible for a work visa in the P.R. China.


Clear career development path with annual review. Professional development trainings are provided.


SALARY: Competitive salary in the market


  1. Allowance: XJTLU provide various month/annual/one-off allowances as
    1. Housing allowance
    2. Travel allowance
    3. Kids’ education allowance
    4. Relocation allowance
    5. Etc.
  2. Commercial insurance: international insurance plans customized for XJTLU staff and family members. (details refer to the University Policy)
  3. Paid holidays:
    1. Statutory Holidays (11 days)
    2. Annual Leave (36 days)
    3. Family Matters Leave
    4. Paid Sick Leave
    5. Marriage Leave
    6. Paternity Leave
    7. Parental Leave
    8. Etc.
  4. Working visa and residence permit in China: XJTLU sponsors working visa and residence permit in China for the staff.


Please submit your application on our university website [HERE]. Applications must be submitted in a single pdf file that includes 3 parts in the order of:

  • A cover letter
  • A current CV, including date of birth, country of citizenship, and highest degree level
  • Contact Details for Three References

For specific enquiries relating to the position, please email the Executive Dean of the Academy, Dr. Xiaojun Zhang at Informal enquiries may be addressed to HR at

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