Creating a ‘new shared space’ for quality: A case study of quality assurance in a Sino-UK partnership institute

Lu, Hui (2019) Creating a ‘new shared space’ for quality: A case study of quality assurance in a Sino-UK partnership institute. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3369327

Abstract

Since the Reform and Opening-up policy in 1978, transnational higher education in China has made remarkable achievements during the past 40 years. Over 1000 Sino-foreign transnational partnership programmes and institutions have been established in different cities and provinces in China. Despite the rigorous development trend of Sino-foreign transnational partnership programmes and institutions, this area of transnational higher education is still under-explored in the current scholarship, especially in terms of the issue of quality assurance.

This empirical study was designed against this backdrop of transnational higher education in China. By adopting Clark’s (1983) triangle of coordination theory as the theoretical framework, it focuses on exploring how the key stakeholders influence quality assurance approaches at the basis of a Sino-UK transnational partnership institute. Key stakeholders at different levels who were engaged in the quality assurance processes (namely academic managers, teaching academics at both institutions, and local students) were interviewed to understand their perceptions and lived experiences in relation to quality assurance at the partnership.

The study revealed the following key findings: first of all, the UK and Chinese partner institutions shared the common goal of developing a highly reputable partnership, however, their specific perceptions of quality and quality assurance differed due to the different national and institutional education contexts the two partners were in. From the UK home institution’s point of view, making sure that the partnership programmes were run in accordance with their institutional quality assurance rules and regulations was the overriding concern. Whereas, on the Chinese side, the Chinese partner, under the policy guidance of the government, placed high emphasis on introducing curriculum and education resources from the foreign partner as a means of self-improvement and increase in reputation. Second, five major stakeholders from the macro, meso, and micro levels namely, the Chinese government, the market, the Chinese parent university, the UK home institution, and the partnership institute, were engaged in quality assurance development in this case study partnership institute. How they influenced quality assurance and the major issues that the two partners focused on differed in different phases of the partnership development. Most importantly, there was also a sense of communities of practice between the local staff members, flying faculty, and students and parents during the process of improving quality of learning and teaching in the partnership institute. The two partners worked collaboratively towards creating a ‘new shared space’ for quality to develop contextually appropriate solutions when faced with challenges and contradictions. However, crucial factors such as effective communication, mutual trust, and willingness to make compromises were the key to achieving a successful partnership. It is argued that more attention needs to be paid to the micro dimension of quality assurance practices to better support the improvement of quality of learning and teaching in transnational higher education partnerships.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Quality assurance, transnational higher education, partnerships, China, UK
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Livingston, Professor Kay
Date of Award: 30 August 2019
Depositing User: Hui Lu
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75141
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2019 14:08
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2019 12:14
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75141
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75141

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