One University, Two Systems: the Influence of Individuals on the Creation of Shanxi University

October 8, 2013 - 16:30 - 17:30
Nador u. 9, Monument Building
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Presentation by

Aisi Li

DPhil in Educational Studies

Columnist on Higher Education for UK Chinese Times


One University, Two Systems: the Influence of Individuals on the Creation of Shanxi University

Presentation is available here

The presentation will look at one case of policy transfer in early 20th century, specifically in the area of international cooperation in higher education.  The foundation of Shanxi University is a good example of the collaborative efforts between the Chinese and British in late Qing China (1842-1912). Its structure, “one university, two systems”, reflected the pragmatic attitudes of the two towards Sino-Western cooperation in education.  In order to achieve their shared goal of founding Shanxi University, the leaders of the two groups exerted their influence throughout the founding process to arrive at a compromise that was acceptable to both sides. The leadership of these individuals was the essential element in the foundation of Shanxi University; without it, the University could not have been started. Shanxi University is just one example of how individuals can play an important role in the development of higher education institutions. Through the study of the negotiations, this presentation attempts to understand how personal preferences and perspectives influence the interpretation and adoption of foreign educational practices, particularly when structured support is insufficient.


Aisi Li completed her DPhil in Educational Studies at the University of Oxford in 2012. Her thesis, Competition and Compromise between British Missionaries and Chinese Officials: The Founding of Shanxi University in 1902, explores the complex process through which a foreign model enters another local context. Her research interests include educational policy transfer and higher education in transition.