International View, Chinese Characteristics, RUC Style: Build a Discipline System with Demonstration Effect in the School of Public Administration and Policy

In 1985, it was the first to build Land Resource Management Discipline, and the next year, it was the first to build Public Administration Discipline and set up Public Administration Master’s Program. In 2007, it was the first to build Urban Planning and Management Discipline on the basis of Public Administration Discipline.

It was among the first to be authorized to establish Public Administration and land resources management doctoral programs, to be selected as pilot schools to set up MPA program, and to be qualified to grant public administration first-level discipline.

It took the lead in translating Public Administration and Public Policy Classics and publishing 21st Public Management Textbooks, and building international public management academic exchanges between China and the US as well as among Four Districts of Cross-Straits.

It took the lead in developing interdisciplinary studies, constructing laboratories, setting up systems for annual interdisciplinary major cooperation projects, promoting the integration of public management and urban planning, and preparing to construct the first public management case studies demonstration base in China…This is the School of Public Administration and Policy, who constructed its disciplines as time requires and made changes as time passes.




Targetingat ranking top in China and among first class in the world,SPAP united with its counterparts to “develop original theories, lead the discipline construction, cultivate creative talents, serve for national strategies and merge into the international systems”. The school stays in the front of public administration academic and practical circle, striving to be the leader and demonstrator in the field of public management.

Adhering to the basic rule ofmaking argument for the time and making researches for the people, the discipline development in SPAP is always rooted in China’s practical experiences, oriented in China’s practical requirements, andrespond to the major theoretical and practical issues home and abroad. The school insists to conduct targeted reserved studies in a perspective manner, lead the fashion of the time and speak for advanced thoughts. SPAP makes its effort to build public management discipline with Chinese characteristics to present Chinese feature, Chinese style and Chinese manner from several perspectives including the guiding ideology, discipline system, academic system and discourse system etc.

As President Liu Wei emphasized when he investigated in SPAP, “in order to earn respects of the world byaddressing China’s local issues, SPAP should find a foothold on China’s national conditions, study on real situations, solve Chinese issues, produce research findings that achieve domestic leading level, so that it will be capable and confident to become a world level public administration school.


Pivot for Discipline Innovation, Ground for Original Theory


Guided by the thought of “innovate discipline development, respond local problems, strengthen international cooperation, promote discipline integration”, SPAP consolidates its traditional superior disciplines andtakes a great effortto develop emerging disciplines and inter-disciplines to realize innovation and discipline integration at the same time. SPAP owns public administration first-level discipline postdoctoral research station and eight doctoral programs including Public Administration, Social Medicine and Health Service Management, Social Security Management, Land Resource Management, Urban Planning and Management, Public Finance and Public Policy, Public Organization and Human Resources, Real Estate Operation and Management. SPAP continuously promotessecond-level discipline crossing and integration to highlight the outstanding features of public administration. As a result, the school establishes an influential discipline system that has a full range of disciplines, each performs its own function.

In spite of the fundamental bases and promising prospects, the leaders have a clear understanding and clear thinkingof the future. Yang Kaifeng, Dean of SPAP, said,”Making fundamental research is the basic principle of SPAP. Only when the scholars make studies in a thoroughgoing manner, can the schoolsettle down and get on its feet. On the other hand, the scholars should respond the call of the times, making efforts to address pressing and practical major issues. They need to explore the law of development and push theoretical innovation, and keep scaling new heights.”

Scale increase, organization restructure, quality improvement, integration promotion. SPAP continuously strengthen the traditional advantages of such key disciplines as public administration (national key discipline), land resource management (Beijing municipalkey discipline) and social security management etc. Meanwhile, other second-degree disciplines keep ranking first class among domestic universities. The school develops special academic fieldsthrough journals that are famous worldwide and rank top in China. In recent years, various efforts are made successively to earn supports for the emerging second-degree disciplines: research achievements are announced annually, scientific and teaching achievements are awarded annually, annual interdisciplinary major cooperation project system and second-degree discipline development support system are established, the Center of Evidence Based Study and China Institute for Philanthropy and Social Innovation are funded.




SPAP seizes the basic feature of human resources in Chinese public sectors to form a MPA education system with RUC characteristics. The school takes the lead to set up MPA core curriculums and carries out chief professor responsibility system for a wide range of majors.MPA students are co-cultivated by SPAP and many ministries and commissions including Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and State Administration of Taxation etc., which provides an important platform for the students to enhance their academic and practical ability.

SPAP owns a moderate and reasonable faculty team arrangement. The school boasts 79 full-time faculty members, 30% got their PhD degrees from abroad. One expert is supported by the “National Thousand Talents Program”, two by “the Recruitment Program for Foreign Experts” and one by “the Recruitment Program for Young Professionals”. One professor is a member of the Academic Degree Commission of the State Council, and two arespecially appointed Yangtze River Scholar. The school has one finalist in “Trans-century Excellent Talent Cultivation Plan” and eight in “New-century Excellent TalentCultivation Plan”.

The school is particularly successful in theoretical system construction, Chinese style school formation, and public management knowledge publication. Studies on the fields of Administration Philosophy and Ethics, System Analysis and Public Policy, Public Sector Human Resources, Urban Planning Management, Land Use Management and Social Security all take the leading position. Many textbooks used in the school are now widely used by other schools of public management and public policy all over the country. 21st Public Management Textbooksand the translated version of Public Administration and Public Policy Classicsand several other textbooks and monographs have been regarded as the important foundation to understand international public management academic frontier and promote education and researches. Public Management and Policy Reviewfounded in 2012 was approved to be formal academic journal, which made up for the lack of formal academic journals. Reprinted Information Center for Social Science of RUCindicated that the reference index in 2015 ofPublic Management and Policy Reviewranked first among all the Chinese public management journals.

The amount of published thesis remains high. There are always most papers published in Chinese journals, and increasingpapers published in other countries. The number of monographs ranks first among all domestic universities. In recent four years, the school boasted over 600 CSSCI thesis, 45 SSCI thesis, 74 monographs and 7 national planning textbooks.

Under the guideline of Cooperation Strategy, a win-win situation has been realized through deep cooperation between China and other countries, between SPAP and the ministries and governments, between public administration theory and practices, between public administration and other disciplines, as well asbetween the six second-degree disciplines.

For the past a few years, SPAP took a series of measures to push forward interdisciplinary integration and original theories: setting annual rewards for the contributors, encouragingthe creation of original theories and application of major national programs, breaking barriers between the second-degree disciplines, changing the individual workshop style research structure, and promoting the integration of different disciplines. For example, the first interdisciplinary major program was issued, led by Professor Sun Baiying from the Department of Public Administration, to focus on the governance of megalopolis in China, integrating the superior resources of several disciplines including Land Resources Management, Urban-Rural Development and Planning and Public Finance and Public Policy, etc.

An influential interdisciplinary research group has been cultivated. Famous professors being the core, and young and middle-aged teachers being main members, an innovative academic team is constructed to integrate the second-degree disciplines on major theoretical issues. Modern public governance theory is the core and evidence based theory is the foundation. The integration of all departments and majors is strengthened.Public Administration, public policy, public finance, land resources management, land and real estate economy and management, urban-rural development and planning, social medicine and health service management, social security, public organization and human resources, labor economy… all connect with each other and complement with each other.

Academic researches are closely connected with social practices through the studies and evaluation on the reformimplementation. To make a full use of the SPAP specialty that is highly correlatedto the national policies, the faculty is encouraged to engage in the studies and evaluation on the policies related to the hot spots and difficult issues in the field of public management.

The school holds academic saloon every week to create an academic exchange platform for the second-degree disciplines. For example, “Situations and Hot Issues of the Reform of Land and Real Estate Tax”was an exchange of four teachers from different majors, namely Qu Weidong from Land Management, Li Qing from Public Finance, Li Wenzhao from Public Policy and Liu Taigang from Public Administration.

Speaking of the way to keep leading the discipline, Dean Yang Kaifeng mentioned,”On the one hand, the discipline should be rooted in the reform practices, serve for the major national policies, actively engage in their making, implementation and evaluation, firmly seize the opportunity of the times and the country. On the other one, the scholars need to have the ability to create new theories, methodologies and tools, meanwhile have the confidence tosurpass the predecessors. They should learn from and communicate with the world class scholars, telling them Chinese stories and developinginfluential public management theories with Chinese characteristics, thus advance win-win cooperation with the world top universities.”


The Bridgehead of International Communication, theThink-tankof National Development


Relying on the public management discipline that derived from management and politics which were equipped with profound knowledge background, SPAP has become a key academic position of public management. The school provides a platform for the full development of international public management and offers support for the scholars home and abroad. At the same time when the school promotes all-round cooperation all over the world, SPAP vigorously introduces the outstanding achievements of China’s public management, forming a discourse system with Chinese characteristics step by step.

SPAP issued a series of high-end academic conferences, including Sino-US International Conference for Public Administration, Cross-Straits Conference on Public Management, Cross-Straits Seminar on Public Governance, Annual Conference on Public Policy, Conference on Human Resources Management in Public Sector, Conference on Public Finance Management and Policy, Annual Conference on Urban Management and Policy, North China Symposium on MPA Education… All these important conferences offer a great platform for the scholars to discuss the preceding issues.




The 8th Sino-US International Conference for Public Administration held recently received around 300 participants from China and other 14 countries. For the first time, there was one super forumon gender and public policy. The Young Scholars Capability to Study and Publish on International Journals Improvement Workshop co-sponsored with the University of Oslo, Norway provided a great opportunity for the young scholars from the schools of public management to have a deep and well-targeted communication with each other.

SPAP assigned several teachers to receive case study training in Harvard University to improve their teaching standard. Each year, one or two teachers will be assigned to Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan to give lectures for one semester on “China’s economy reform and policy” and “China’s Foreign Policy” for MPP students, MPA students and those from other majors. SPAP and Hitotsubashi University will exchange teachers to give short-term lectures.

The visual public policy lab brought a great social and academic effect. Jin Nuo, Chairwoman of RUC,spoke highly of the role the lab played in advancing teaching and scientific researches, talent cultivation, public decision-making and social services. She said, “It is an important task for public administration to transform advanced and outstanding thoughts to public policies that bring benefits to the citizens.”

SPAP devotes to deeply studying and responding to China’s development and the major theoretical and practical issues the Party faces while ruling the country, and launching great academic achievements to make contributions to insist and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. The school undertakesa great deal of projects and policy consultations, which exerts an influence on the ministries and governments.

In recent four years, the vertical and horizontal research projects and academic and social achievements are quite influential. In 2015, the school undertook around 190 research projects of all kinds. SPAP makes use of the advantages of RUC to carry forward the core socialist values, perfect the governance system of the country and promote the governance abilitymodernization. The school hosted several projects supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Social Science Foundation of China, and the Ministry of Education, decision-making consultation projects supported by the National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science, as well as preliminary research projects for the 13th Five-year Plan, the special plans by the National Development and Reform Commission and other ministries, and the 13th provincial Five-year Plans. The think-tanks in the fields of law amendments, key special plans, urban-rural planning standards construction, public administration and law enforcement reported over 50 achievements, which were permitted by the Party and state leaders and applied by such authorities as the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Land and Resources, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Civil Affairs, and the State Administration of Cultural Heritages etc.

The administrative team paid particular attentiontothe teaching theory that adheres to the traditions of Chinese civilized state governance and the long history thought of “good governance”, and that insists on the integration of academic researches, policy suggestions and cultural heritages. Tang Jun, one of the team members, hosted the major project “Research on Administrative Law Enforcement System of Cultural Heritages and the Standards for the Administrative Law Enforcement Authorities Construction”supported by the State Administration of Cultural Heritages. Its influential results have been permitted by General Secretary Xi Jinping and several other central leaders.

The team led by Professor Yan Jinming spent five years to work out the Chinese Island Conservation Plan (2011-2020)which was officially announced to implement in 2012. Following the Island Protection Act, the Plan symbolizes a major initiative to push forward the island development.

The urban planning team spared no efforts to provide voluntary assistance to the post-disaster reconstruction of Yushu, Qinghai Province. Led by Professor Ye Yumin and Associate Professor Gui Yanli, the team made thorough investigations in the disaster area and completed the Post-Disaster Reconstruction Plan for Chengduo County, Yushu. For the past six years, over 30 teachers and students overcome all difficultieswith their professional knowledge to make contributions to the reconstruction.


The Birthplace of RUC School, the Cradle of Innovative Talents


Talent Cultivation is the foothold of discipline development. SPAP pays attention to cultivate the manner of public administration. It seeks to bring up a great number of public administration talents who think of the public, know the public, and have the capacity to be responsible for the public.




The rapid development of the school is closely connected to outstanding talents and favorable atmosphere.Li Jiafu, Chairman of SPAP, said,”The school always takes care of the vocational development of the faculty and staff, as well as the requirements of the students, managing to create a relaxed and harmonious environment for the teachers and students. Only in such environment, can the faculty make researches with great concentration, the staff provides service in a whole-hearted manner, and the students study intensively.”

Guided by the thoughts of “regional guidance, innovation oriented, consolidated standard, procedure compliance, international integration, results emphasis”, SPAP focus on the cultivation of “national model and social pillar” that is equipped with “solid theory, scientific methodology and mind that seeks truth and public interests”.

For undergraduate students, moral education comes first, capacity is priority, and all-round development should be ensured. Their cultivation insists on the ideology of “combination of methodology and skills, integration of science and social science, comprehension of Western and Chinese context, unification of knowledge and practice”.Professional education and general education are integrated, and the attention is attached on solid foundation. Undergraduate Talent Cultivation Roadmap is fully implemented to cultivate innovated talents in the field of public administration. In order to build the cultivation mode of “wide range, solid foundation, strong capacity”, the approaches of “three clears and four constructions” are put forward. The school advances the building of research-based study system and makes great efforts to build excellent course system. Yan Jinming, the deputy dean in charge of undergraduate education, said,”talent cultivation should focus on the creation of public spirit, strengthen the education of theory and methodology, guide the students to follow major practical issues, thus cultivate innovative talents.”The school carries out the reform of curricula type and content. In particular, the schoolmakes great investment on methodology course, organizing four special teams in social investigation research methodology, statistics theory, social science research design, and data analysis and essay writing.

The cultivation of PhD candidates and academic postgraduate students focuses on solid foundation, knowledge application and research potential. The colligate reform is carried forward. The recruitment of PhD candidates transforms from examination system to the system of application – reexamination –verification. Aninternational level training system has been built and introduced to other PhD candidate cultivation institutions. This system includes a full set of theory and methodology curricula, seminars and international exchanges that cross second degree disciplines. The school establishes successive bachelor-master-doctor programs, andestablishesdual doctor programs with Victoria University of Wellington. A system is completed to support and award scientific researches and encourage the students to make study and exploration. The master courses of real estate economy have obtained RICS certification.

There are 14 programs for postgraduate students. The mission is to cultivate leaders of“vision, pragmatism, innovation and dedication” for central and local public organizations to carry forward values of responsibility, integrity and fairness. SPAP is one of the first 24 pilot colleges to recruit MPA students. It scored straight A’s in the first national MPApilot college education evaluation. Only two colleges scored A in all 25 indexes. In 2007, SPAP was selected asthe only pilot college to cultivate dual certificate MPA students. In 2010, SPAP was selected as a one of the seven pilot colleges to carry out MPA colligate reform and accepted by the experts. SPAP boasts most excellent thesis elected by the National MPA Education Steering Committee.Now the school is constructing the first public management case studies demonstration base in Chinaand preparing for NASPAA accreditation.

International exchanges for the students include undergraduate international exchange plan, “1+1+1” dual master’s degree plan, and joint PhD training program etc. SPAP achieved agreement with over ten universities and academic institutions in the US, the UK, Netherlands, Norway, Swiss, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Since 2010, 74 postgraduate students have participated in the dual master’s degree programs.

The graduates serve as teachers in key universities including Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Sun Yat-Sen University and Xiamen University. They have become the backbone of the field of public administration in China and earned great reputations.

“School of Public Administration and Policy enjoys a good social reputation. Through high level academic exchanges and researches, it provides strong supports for the government decision-making and local development.”Chairwoman Jin Nuo highly appreciated the achievement SPAP gained in teaching and researches, international exchanges and party construction. She urged the school to continue its education reform, intensify talent cultivation, optimize education style, follow the key issues on national economy and social development, exert influences on the collaborative innovation of universities and governments, and make great contributions to the reform of public administration.