A comparative study of faculty development programs in the United States and the People's Republic of China
In the history of higher education, professional development for faculty is not a new phenomenon. The continued success of an institution depends on academic excellence. The quality of academic faculty is a guarantee of the academic excellence of an institution. The external environment imposes serious constraints upon faculty members and their institutions, and these constraints may weaken faculty vitality and institutional vitality, whether in the United States or the People's Republic of China. In the United States, the maintenance of the vitality of faculty members has drawn many administrators' attention since the 1970's. In the People's Republic of China, since the conclusion of the Great Cultural Revolution in 1976, the shortage of faculty supply and the poor quality of faculty caused the government to pay attention to the improvement of faculty members' vitality. Faculty development became an urgent task of every university and institution. This study is concerned with a comparative analysis of faculty development programs as they were carried on by selected universities in the United States and the People's Republic of China. It endeavored to determine the most widely accepted patterns of faculty development program, as such, to identify their differences and similarities and, more importantly, to interpret their causal conditions as interacting forces in the total contexts of the two societies.