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Institutions that are most attuned to university rankings are known as “strivers.” These striving universities chase prestige by altering policies to match league table indicators, while also benchmarking against elite universities within the domestic hierarchy. However, this model has mostly been ascribed to studies in the United States and it has not been considered in non-Western contexts. Through interviews with 48 academics and administrators from Chinese universities, the research explores striving behaviors in China and expands the US-centric model to include global competition with international rankings. The findings show that striving universities in China have placed considerable emphasis on international rankings, but distinctions from the central government have still dominated competition within the domestic hierarchy. Pressures from the various rankings must be balanced between the local and global. These new considerations offer a global outlook on the domestic university striving model.


This article was originally published in International Journal of Chinese Education in 2021.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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