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December 14, 2011

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Home » Metro » Education

Jiao Tong to reform doctoral programs

SHANGHAI Jiao Tong University will open up the PhD tutor qualification to lecturers for the first time next year as part of a national reform pilot program to improve the PhD education quality, the university announced yesterday.

The university is encouraging excellent lecturers or assistant professors to coach PhD students. In the new system, teachers, no matter if they're senior professors or lecturers, will have to compete to work as PhD tutors. The university will evaluate tutors' performance to decide whether to let them continue their PhD tutorship.

Currently, once a teacher is allowed to coach doctoral students, he holds the right until he retires, according to Du Zhaohui, deputy dean of Jiao Tong's Graduate School.

"The new system breaks the confinement of titles and the tutorship monopoly," he said.

The new system will benefit young teachers with strong abilities and great passion in research work, no matter what their titles are.

Wang Xinbing, an associate professor and a PhD tutor at the university, said that giving more resources, including students, to innovative and energetic young teachers can also benefit universities, which get more research findings and published papers.

Meanwhile, the university plans to introduce a cap on the number of PhD students a tutor can supervise to improve the education quality. PhD instructors will be limited to at most three students, under the reform plan.

The number of PhD students in China has increased 4.6 times in the past decade, and many PhD supervisors have to coach dozens of students every year.

Many PhD students have become little more than cheap labor for their tutors to do research work or write papers.


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