Professor Aijuan Chen
Highfields Fellow 2010
Professor Chen and Dr Bin Wu outside the Orchards, July 2010
Professor Aijuan Chen spent her fellowship based in the China Policy Institute and gave a joint seminar with the School of Education on the expansion of higher education in China (further details below).
Professor Chen is an interdisciplinary scholar with a degree in Engineering, a Masters in Science, Technology and Society Studies and a PhD in Management Systems with a focus on the economic analysis of higher education expansion and the consequences on labour markets. She has worked in companies including a university R&D firm and a joint venture company to perform strategic planning and business analysis in China. She therefore has in-depth understanding of the unevenness of China’s economic transition and the implications for interdisciplinary research.
Professor Chen has a wide range of research interests and expertise; one of her research areas is higher education and social justice, in which she has published one book and 10 papers on the dynamics, process and consequences of China’s HE expansion in the last decade. Another stream of her research is the organisational behaviour of Chinese enterprises, including the roles of social capital and corporate social responsibility (CSR) which are of increasing concern to Chinese companies. She also has substantial experience in conducting research in the areas of regional development strategy, the urbanisation of county towns, and rural planning.
Xian, capital of Shaanxi Province, lies at the Eastern end of the ancient “Silk Road” with rich tourist resources, and Professor Chen also has interests and research experience in rural tourism studies from the perspectives of both cultural and ecological tourism. The latter is particularly useful to CPI’s research because rural Shaanxi is an ecologically fragile region, with a large number of rural poor who need to find alternative livelihoods such as migration and rural tourism instead of traditional cropping. In this regard, Professor Chen’s expertise interfaces with many scholars within the Faculty who are interested in tourism, migration, vocational training, rural sustainable development and poverty alleviation
The Expansion of Higher Education, Governance Reform and Social Justice in Transitional China
Abstract: In recent years, China's uneven pattern of economic development has led to debates about social justice, in terms of the next steps for development and reform. This seminar will argue that further adjustment of the role of governance in economic and social management is unavoidable if social justice is to promote equality of opportunity in future economic development. The necessity for reform is particularly evident in the case of the expansion of higher education, which has led to mixed results: an improvement of access to HE in all regions and social groups on the one hand, and a deterioration in the distribution of HE resources amongst them on the other. Based upon a systematic collection and analysis of official statistics and university enrollment information over the last decade, this discussion will reveal the achievements and limitations of HE expansion, analyse key factors influencing social justice and explore possible solutions involving reform of governance.