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    A new Education Policy and Management Concentration for a new world of Higher Education

    For some time the traditional forms of governance and practice in higher education had been coming under challenge from phenomena such as increased student mobility and advances in digital technology. However, the emergency response that was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic has hastened a fundamental rethink about the ways in which teaching should be delivered in the future.

    Add to this the specific opportunities, and potential challenges, afforded by the latest AI technology and, from a regional perspective, the burgeoning demand for skilled professionals to promote good governance in the higher education sector in the Greater Bay Area, and the need for a new Education Policy and Management Concentration the under the Doctor of Policy Studies programme is clear.

    Lingnan perfectly placed to deliver

    Lingnan University’s Doctor of Policy Studies (DPS) programme is already the only professional doctorate in policy studies in the Greater China region. However, as DPS Programme Director Professor Maggie Lau explains, Lingnan’s School of Graduate Studies listened to the feedback from graduates from the existing successful programme. “We learned from students from previous cohorts that they wanted more courses focused specifically on higher education,” she points out.

    Lingnan’s response has been to develop a new Education Policy and Management (EPM) Concentration within the DPS programme. The EPM Concentration, which will be launched in September 2024, is an advanced study programme focusing on international higher education, policy and governance, as well as the management and leadership issues involved in managing a contemporary university. The Concentration will have a strong experiential learning element and equip graduates for roles in public and private universities, consultancy agencies and think tanks.

    To deliver this new programme Lingnan will call not only upon its own expert faculty but also, through its existing and newly developed partnerships, to specialists from institutions within the region and across the globe. Lingnan University is a long-standing member of the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership, an international platform promoting inter-university research in higher education. While its School of Graduate Studies has recently secured partnership agreements with the Higher Education Institute of Beijing University of Technology, with Hang Seng University of Hong Kong and with Durham University in the UK. Colleagues from these institutions, who have the relevant research and teaching experience, will form the teaching team for some of the Concentration’s courses and share in the mentoring and supervision of its students.

    The structure of the new EPM Concentration

    Since it’s infeasible for students to acquire all the key understandings required solely from classroom teaching, the new concentration places an emphasis on experiential learning. The relevant EPM courses will centre around a study trip, a dialogue with policy practitioners, a symposium, and engagement with the media.

    “As regards experiential learning, I think it’s really important that we learn from the different practices which exist in other countries and places,” Prof Lau says. “That’s why it’s important to join symposiums and conferences.”

    As students are exposed to ideas and practices which originate both within the region and internationally, they can evaluate what does and doesn’t seem to work.

    Four new courses will be introduced to the DPS programme for this new Concentration, and these will be taught by Lingnan University’s partner institutions. The courses are: Managing Change in Education – Study Trip to Mainland China; Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership Symposium; Internationalisation of Higher Education:  Theories and Practices, and Seminar on Managing Change in Education: Comparative Perspectives.

    To provide students with a solid foundation in policy studies theory and practice, four core courses will be retained from the original DPS programme. These are: Globalisation, Changing Governance and Policy Analysis; Research Methods in Policy Studies; Guided Study in Policy Issues, and Policy Dissemination and Strategic Communication.

    While two second year courses – Guided Study in Policy Issues, and Policy Dissemination and Strategic Communication – will help prepare students for the individual project they will pursue in their third year.

    This full-time programme will take a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years to complete.

    An individual policy studies project

    The new concentration will offer students the opportunity to pursue their own individual policy studies project in their final year. In this way they can contribute to the advancement of knowledge, and the development of the Greater Bay Area, through independent and original research from both comparative and international perspectives.

    Prof Lau cites some examples of the types of issues and topics students from previous DPS cohorts of students could choose to tackle in part of the programme: Research on the Implementation Approaches and Development Path of Basic Education Internationalisation in Shenzhen; University Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Quality Assurance Reforms in Pakistan: The Role of Borrowing and Lending Policy, and; A Comparative Study of Distance Higher Education in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan—Regulation, Quality, Assurance and Their Impact on Teaching.