Tournament in academia: a comparative analysis of faculty evaluation systems in research universities in China and the USA.

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Authors: Jianxiu Gu and John S. Levin
Date: May 2021
From: Higher Education(Vol. 81, Issue 5)
Publisher: Springer
Document Type: Report
Length: 9,334 words
Lexile Measure: 1520L

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Abstract :

Based on content analysis of faculty evaluation policies, this article addresses faculty evaluation policies and notes the links between the ideology of neoliberalism and a tournament system of faculty evaluation in research-intensive universities in China and the USA. The focus is upon the similarities and differences of faculty evaluation systems in China and the USA. Faculty evaluation reflects neoliberal values and the logic of the market, with corresponding diminution of academic logic and the traditional values of the academy, particularly academic quality, through market-oriented competition. Both systems are tournament-like systems that emphasize the management of performance and operations of competitive mechanisms, with the goals of efficiency and effectiveness. Three main differences between the faculty evaluation systems in US research universities and Chinese research universities are evident: a traditional concept of collegiality in the US university but not in China; in the USA, criteria for and procedures of faculty promotion evaluation indicate reasonable flexibility while the faculty evaluation system in Chinese research university lacks flexibility; and, service requirements for faculty promotion evaluation in Chinese research universities are not as stringent as in the USA. Two institutional logics operate in the promotion evaluation process of research university faculty-academic and market, or neoliberal-and further research is needed to determine the effects of these two logics.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A660358206