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Cardiff University Management and Innovation Programme

A comprehensive 13 week programme for a delegation of mid to senior level staff from Chinese universities delivered by the Continuing Professional Development Unit and Cardiff Business School.

China 2017 Delegation

Partnership background

During Vice Premier Madam LIU Yandong’s visit to Cardiff University in September 2015, a memorandum of understanding was signed for the development and delivery of a leadership programme.

This 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).


52 delegates attended the programme. Delegates were working in mid/senior management roles in a range of Universities in China. The majority of delegates were working at Deputy Director level, then followed by Directors and Vice Deans.

Learning programme overview

The residential programme ran from June to September 2017.

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

  • academic sessions (delivered by the Business School)
  • University management sessions
  • twice weekly 'English for Communication' sessions
  • improvement project tutorials leading to final presentations in the last week of the programme
  • networking events and visits to Cardiff University facilities
  • visits to other local universities including Bristol University and the University of South Wales
  • individual research time
  • visits to other organisations such as Welsh Government
  • optional sessions scheduled in response to areas of interest identified by the delegates.

Programme highlights

  • A pre-course training needs analysis was emailed to all delegates, its responses helping to shape the programme.
  • The programme was delivered entirely bilingually (English and Mandarin) by a highly skilled interpreter 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 Cardiff University and a detailed city guide.
  • Bi-weekly monitoring meetings were held between the Cardiff University project team and leaders of the delegation.
  • A 6 week review was sent to delegates at the midpoint of the programme, and a final questionnaire just before the programme end.
  • A welcome dinner was held in one of Cardiff University’s impressive formal dining spaces.
  • A farewell dinner set in the majestic Cardiff Castle provided a fitting celebration of the delegates’ efforts during the programme. The dinner included a certificate presentation and the giving of gifts including a commemorative book.

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 Cardiff 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.

Final Report detailing impact

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.