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From Teacher-Education University to Comprehensive University: Case Studies of East China Normal University, Southwest University and Yanbian University

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Three different “logics”—that of the internal strategies of the institutions, the economic pressures of the socialist market economy and the political policies of the state drive the development of a university. The dynamic interaction and coexistence of the three logics has determined the transformation models of teacher-education or normal universities in China. This paper aims at describing and analyzing both the process and the forces that led to these transformations by taking East China Normal University (ECNU), Southwest University (SWU) and Yanbian University (YBU) as examples. Reliance on government and market resources has put these universities into a dilemma: On the one hand, they wanted to retain their original features so as to preserve their leading position in the “teacher education” market, and on the other, they needed to merge, expand, restructure and enhance their quality as they pursued overall development. The case analyses show that the teacher-education university’s need for self-development, which is the internal determinant, plays a critical role in its transformation. At the same time, the socioeconomic environment and national policies influence the institution while it displays considerable capacity for self-adjustment.


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