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China Scholarship Council University Management and Innovation Programme

Delivered by Cardiff Business School and the CPD Unit, this three year collaboration between the University and China Scholarship Council resulted in a bespoke, comprehensive 13-week programme for a delegation of mid-to-senior level staff from Chinese universities.

Partnership background

The University has an established relationship with the higher education sector in China, fostering many formal academic links and strategic partnership agreements with universities across the country for both research collaboration and student exchange.

The successful University Management and Innovation programme ran annually for three years and was the result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2015, in the presence of China’s Vice Premier, Madam LIU Yandong during her visit to Wales. 2018’s event marked the third consecutive year that the programme was held at Cardiff University.

The programme was sponsored by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), which supports mid/senior-level leaders from Chinese universities. CSC organises these programmes on an annual basis around the world (similar events have previously been organised in Canada and Singapore).

The University’s partnership with the China Scholarship Council dates back several years and has seen scholars progress from undertaking postgraduate studies into senior academic positions.


During the first year of the programme, 38 delegates attended. In 2017 this increased to 52, and in 2018, we hosted 106 delegates from a total of 83 universities. Over the three years, this resulted in the University welcoming 112 Chinese universities to Cardiff. The majority of delegates were working at Deputy Director level, followed by Directors and Vice Deans.

Learning programme overview

The residential programme ran from June to September each year.

The theme for the programme was leadership and management in a university context, with a particular focus on innovation. The learning programme was designed to provide:

  • the latest thinking related to leadership, change and university management
  • weekly interactive sessions delivered by academics from Cardiff Business School
  • insights from senior University administrators and academics who shared their approach to university management
  • the opportunity to experience management at a range of other universities in the region
  • a change to network with peers and learn from each other
  • twice weekly English language skills sessions
  • time to work on an improvement project, building on experiences gained on the programme in order to bring about change in home institutions
  • networking events and visits to University facilities
  • on the job learning opportunities; delegates selected from a range of options to visit a department of the University and undertake activities such as an informal question and answer session with staff, a tour or facilities or a lunch and learn session.

Programme highlights

  • A pre-course training requirements analysis was emailed to all delegates, its responses helping to shape the programme.
  • The programme was delivered entirely bilingually (English and Mandarin) by highly skilled interpreters who worked throughout the duration of the programme, building a good rapport and relationship with the delegates.
  • A bilingual online welcome pack was issued to all delegates a week prior to their arrival in Cardiff. The pack included their full educational schedule, information about their accommodation and the facilities available to them at the University and a detailed city guide.
  • Bi-weekly monitoring meetings were held between the University project team and leaders of the delegation.
  • Pastoral sessions were offered to delegates throughout the programme, with drop-in sessions available each week.
  • Cultural events and excursions including a tour of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium and St Fagans National Museum of History.
  • A six-week review was sent to delegates at the midpoint of the programme, and a final questionnaire just before the programme end.
  • A welcome dinner with a British-Chinese fusion meal at the University’s stunning Aberdare Hall.
  • A formal certificate ceremony; the delegates were also presented with gifts from the University, including a commemorative book documenting their training programme and three-month stay in Wales.
  • A farewell event set in the historic National Museum Cardiff, which was attended by representatives from the Chinese Embassy, provided a fitting celebration of the delegates’ efforts during the programme.

Outcomes and impact

At the end of the programme, delegates presented on an improvement project that they had worked on during project tutorial sessions.

A panel of senior Cardiff University staff presented the delegates with detailed feedback on their projects including (but not limited to) how well their understanding of key issues was communicated, their understanding of stakeholder perspectives and any suggestions for improvement.

The level of investment in and engagement with the project demonstrated by the delegates was reflected in the feedback provided by the panel. For one particular delegate, the panel commented:

I really appreciated the problems that you identified as part of the changes as well as the positives. Some innovative and creative solutions put in place to improve the system within the current governmental framework.

Feedback from the panel.

Links developed

A key aspect of the programme was ensuring delegates had the opportunities to develop links with colleagues at the University and other organisations. The project team facilitated meetings between delegates and a host of different departments within the university. Networking events also played a central role within the programme.

Feedback from delegates since their return to China indicates that these links have continued.

Final report detailing impact

It is clear the programme has triggered positive change in Chinese universities, thanks to the sharing of all course resources and the effectiveness of our teaching. This was achieved through our open, transparent and honest approach of Cardiff University knowledge. The programme was a great opportunity to develop relationships with key individuals across the Chinese education system and learn from their practices and, through reflecting and exploring our University's transformational journey, we cannot only help others, but better understand ourselves.

Indeed, thanks to the three years working with the China Scholarship Council, Cardiff Business School is experienced in helping educational institutions to better understand themselves as organsations and embrace improvement acticity, and have consequently helped other universities, such as Kuwait.

We greatly appreciated working with the China Scholarship Council on this professional programme, and hope our relationship with them continues to blossom.

[Delegates] conduct international joint education and academic exchanges and other contacts [from Cardiff University].

Feedback from delegate, 2018 programme

After returning home, I shared my three-month study experience with my colleagues, about 100 people. As far as the management of innovation and entrepreneurship education is concerned, I am more willing to cooperate with enterprises and explore the relationship between the transformation of scientific and technological achievements and entrepreneurship education by referring to the model of Cardiff University.

Feedback from delegate, 2018 programme

Following their departure from Cardiff, the delegates fed back on their experiences during the programme. When asked to identify the best things about the programme, one delegate commented:

Lecturers and staff members were warm and trustworthy, providing a bridge for communication. Thank you.

Feedback from a delegate.

Comments and feedback were used to write a final report detailing the impact of the programme and further feedback will be collected once delegates have been back at their home institutions for three months.

Contact us

If you would like to speak to us about how we could design and deliver a similar programme in collaboration with your organisation, please contact our friendly team for an initial informal discussion:

Continuing Professional Development Unit