As was discussed in Chapter 2, one of SEdC's recent policy objectives has been to strengthen the management role of the university president. Although much formal documentation presented to the Bank mission showed the president as still being subject to the direction of the Party Secretary, there was no evidence that this was in opposition to the president's academic autonomy. What is less clear are the respective roles and powers of University Councils as regards the provincial bureau or SEdC. There is also a potential area of confusion in those cases where universities have established Boards of Trustees as well as a governing council.
Many universities have established Boards of Trustees in order to establish and develop links with society and local enterprises. However, the role of such boards is not always the same. Most institutions use it to provide contacts with a wide range of commercial enterprises and their funds, some stress the involvement of local provincial or municipal government officials, while Chongqing University actively involves its board in its internal management and expects it to review the University's development plans.
University organization structures have been changing. Many of those presented to the Bank mission appeared to be very flat with relatively large numbers of people shown as reporting directly to the president. After its recent merger (Chengdu Scientific and Technological University and Sichuan University), Sichuan United University has no less than six vice-presidents. In discussions with senior officials, a typical senior organization structure in universities emerged along the following lines:
-Vice-President, Education or Dean of Studies
-Vice-President, Finance and Administration (and Enterprises)
In two universities, a post of secretary general was shown at the same seniority level as that of vicepresident. The incumbents were senior, trusted academic staff who acted as the president's chief administrative officer. Other administrative job titles commonly found were: Director of Personnel, Director of Finance, Director of Academic Affairs, Director of Foreign Affairs (or International Relations), Director of General Affairs and Services, and Director of Science Research. In almost all cases these posts were filled by former teachers who had become administrators. In some institutions there were specialist offices for functions such as: Student Assignment, Campus Accommodation, the University Hospital, University Printing House, and management of university enterprises. The typical organigram was similar to that in the United States, with senior academic staff acting as vice-presidents and managing heads of administrative functions.