Leadership Perspectives: Nick Miles, Provost, University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Established in 2004, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) was the first Sino-foreign university in China. It is a partnership between the University of Nottingham and Zhejiang Wanli Education Group. UNNC enrolls around 8,000 students and approximately 10% are from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas countries.

UNNC is one of the nine universities in China established as Sino-Foreign joint ventures. The 2003 Regulations on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Running Schools defined the implementation framework to govern joint programs and institutes in China at three levels–universities (separate legal entities), institutes (within a Chinese university), and programs.

I had a unique opportunity of visiting four joint venture universities and interviewing their leaders in January 2020. I visited Duke Kunshan University, NYU Shanghai, University of Nottingham Ningbo China and Xian Jiaotong-Liverpool University. Full video interviews are available here.

Given below is the video interview with Professor Nick Miles, Provost, University of Nottingham Ningbo China and an excerpt from it.

On institution building experience:

“Our new strategy is about values, principles, and enablers and we describe the University of Nottingham as a university with campuses in three countries [the UK, China and Malaysia]. Over the next five years, building research capacity will be high on our agenda. And, from a student numbers point of view, there’s a quantity, quality stuff. You know, we need to be very careful here about just building hard infrastructure and putting students in there. It’s about the quality we deliver. So, the growth we’ll see will be more in the Post Graduate (Taught and Research) and in research capacity, which is really exciting.”

On managing joint venture partnership:

“I think the key thing to note about partnership is that there are at least two partners and you have to respect both parties….I kind of see my role as managing that partnership. So that both sides see each other’s perspectives, because there can be things that can get lost in translation. I don’t just mean language, and so you have to kind of translate both parties’ views each way and use the joint venture partnership as a platform, not as a constricting platform but a platform for growth. So that works for both sides….as long as you keep channels of communication open, you respect each other and it’s about making things happen for the positive and trying in ways the negatives respect them. But move on.”