Professor and Dean, School of Mathematics and Physics

Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University – School of Mathematics and Physics

Reports to: The Vice-President Academic Affairs (VPAA)

Contract Type: Full-Time for an initial 3 years, renewable. 

About the University

Located in Suzhou within the Yangtze Delta area, China, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) is a young, dynamic and English Medium Instruction (EMI) university founded in 2006. It is a unique collaborative institution, and the first joint-venture university in China to offer both UK (University of Liverpool) and Chinese (Ministry of Education) accredited undergraduate degrees for more than 100 programmes. XJTLU has ambitious aims to become a world-class research-led institution, and has committed significant investment into research development and the expansion of PGT and PhD student numbers on campus. The university already has over 18,000 students and nearly 1000 academic staff representing in excess of 90 nationalities. There are concrete plans to grow the student numbers to about 25,000 by 2025 with an increasing proportion of postgraduates. 

XJTLU’s main campus is located in the Higher Education Town of Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), well-connected via nearby airports to cities such as Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, and Taipei, and via high-speed rails to other major cities in China, including nearby Shanghai. Greater Suzhou is now the fourth largest concentration of economic activity in China in terms of GDP. XJTLU is currently finalising the building of a new teaching, research and entrepreneurial campus in Taicang, part of Greater Suzhou. Opening in September 2022, industry-themed schools and entrepreneurial degrees have been established through collaboration with the Taicang Municipal Government and industry partners, and will be a central pillar of the university strategic priorities for the next ten years.

For detailed information about the university, please visit www.xjtlu.edu.cn

About the current School of Science

XJTLU’s School of Science is in many respects thriving. The undergraduate program of Applied Chemistry has been accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry, becoming the first Sino-foreign cooperative university in China to obtain this certification. The Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, the second non-UK and the first in China to do so. Actuarial Science is accredited by the Association of Actuaries of North America (SOA) in the UCAP Universities & Colleges with Actuarial Programs program. In addition to the 2+2 program at the University of Liverpool, the Department of Biological Sciences also offers a one-year exchange program at the University of Leeds. Students majoring in applied mathematics also have the option of spending a semester in the United States or Australia. Students of the School of Science also have the opportunity to participate in international competitions, such as MCM/ICM (Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Interdisciplinary Mathematical Contest in Modeling) and IGEM (International Genetical-EngineeringMachine Competition). Students from XJTLU have performed well in these international competitions and won many awards. 

However, as a consequence of several key factors including the successful and rapid growth in student numbers and the rise of XJTLU’s Wisdom Lake Academy of Pharmacy, the current School of Science is now being restructured through the creation of two new Schools from the current one in order to deliver efficiency and effectiveness gains across all domains from research and impact through learning and teaching to governance, structure and operations. This restructuring is premised upon a through and detailed examination of disciplines, sub-disciplines, programmes, staff and student experience with inputs from five external experts in two different research and development processes. The present moment and vacancies therefore offer landmark and exciting opportunities for two senior academic leaders to take the reins of new School developments in each respective area in preparation for the next phase of activity through to 2026 and XJTLU’s twentieth anniversary, all with a fresh start from September 2022 onwards. To this end two Centres are now in operation and each is being reshaped to become a School.

About the new School of Mathematics and Physics

At present the Centre for Mathematics and Physics houses these five constitutent Departments: Foundational Mathematics; Applied Mathematics; Pure Mathematics; Financial and Actuarial Mathematics and Physics. There are 75 members of staff and 2581 students engaged with the following programmes: BSc Applied Mathematics; BSc Financial Mathematics; BSc and MSc Actuarial Science; PhD in Mathematical Sciences. Physics is taught as a foundational Year 1 subject primarily and as a component of other degree schemes.

About the new School of Natural Sciences

At present the Centre for Natural Sciences is comprised of three Departments: Health and Environmental Sciences; Biology and Chemistry. There are 43 memebrs of staff and 813 students engaged with the following programmes: BSc Biology; BSc Bioinformatics; BSc Environmental Science; BSc Applied Chemistry; MRes Molecular Bioscience; MRes Advanced Chenmical Sciences; PhD in Biological Sciences; PhD in Environmental Science. 

The Role and Responsibilities

An XJTLU Dean is the Head of a School on the SIP Campus at XJTLU and is crucial to its effective operation. The Dean serves as the Head of School, providing leadership and support to the strategic development of Departments within the School. The Dean plays a key representative role for the School within the university and externally. The Dean is a member of the extended XJTLU SMT. The Dean reports directly to the Vice-President for Academic Affairs for the operation of the School. The initial term of appointment is three years. 


  1. The Dean provides leadership and oversight to the School and chairs the School’s Senior Management Team committee (SSMT). 
  2. The Dean is a full member of the Academic Management Group, the Academic Leadership Group and Academic Board. 
  3. The Dean leads the School strategic planning process, with the support of the School Senior Management Team. The School Strategy is the fundamental guideline for the operation and development of the School. The university has a system of rolling three-year plans to identify annual operational objectives and resource planning. 
  4. It is the responsibility of the Dean to ensure that teaching, research, and professional engagement activities within the School are adequate to fulfil its mission and vision, and maintain the international accreditations currently held. 
  5. The Dean takes a leading role in the development of the School’s external engagement, representing the School both domestically and internationally. This ambassadorial function contributes to the increased reputation and standing of the School. 
  6. The Dean provides support for the University leadership agenda, and acts to ensure a synergistic collaboration between the School and the rest of the University. 


  1. The Dean has oversight over all activities within the School, where the administration of departments and functional activities may be managed by Heads of Departments and Associate Deans respectively. 
  2. The Dean may be asked to take on specific administrative tasks by the university. These include service on committees and working parties; as chair of review panels; and other more specific duties. 
  3. The Dean is directly responsible within the School for:
  • Strategic and annual planning
  • Work allocation of the senior management staff
  • Budget development (in coordination with Heads of Department)
  • Budget expenditure
  • Financial approvals for expenditure from School and Departmental budgets
  • Ensuring quality and standards are upheld
  • School-level staff appointments: identifying need, defining the specification and justification, organizing recruitment, overseeing interview panel arrangements, and recommending appointment
  • Staff promotion recommendations (in coordination with Heads of Departments)
  • Professional Development Reviews and processes for School management team staff
  • Staff disciplinary issues (with Heads of Department)
  • Assignments of administrative duties to staff
  • Leave of absence approvals 


  1. The Dean manages all academic and professional support staff through their respective reporting lines, led by Heads of Department for academic staff, and the School Manager/Associate Deans for professional support and (where appropriate) technical staff. 
  2. The Dean manages rather than directly administering. The Dean ensures that staff carry out their duties professionally, effectively, and at the highest standard possible. Management entails talking and communicating with people, providing support to them in their work, ensuring direction and providing useful and meaningful feedback to enable School and Departmental work to be successfully completed. 
  3. The Dean provides in-line supervision and management of some individual staff. 
  4. The Dean is responsible for the effective management of the Annual Performance Management system at School-level. 

Key relationships 

  1. The Dean is responsible for the School and reports to the VP Academic Affairs. 
  2. The Dean works closely with the Associate Vice-Presidents for Learning and Teaching and Research and Impact to ensure the ongoing development of the portfolio of degree programmes, research outputs, and international activities. 
  3. The Dean works closely with the Director, the Centre for Academic Affairs who acts to support the academic work of each department. 
  4. The Dean works closely with HoDs in the School and the School Manager to ensure the development of research synergies, provision of administrative services and economies of scale, and activities to raise the profile of Departments and the School. 
  5. The Dean works closely with other Heads of School (Deans) in the University, especially through the Academic Management Group which focusses on the strategic development of academic units and of academic staff. 
  6. The Dean works closely Heads of Department in the University, especially through issues raised up by the Academic Leadership Group, which is the key forum in the university for the discussion of operational academic affairs. 
  7. The Dean works closely with the School’s chairs of committees including Research Committee, Teaching and Learning Committee, and Global Engagement Committee. 
  8. The Dean meets regularly with their direct reports within the School. 
  9. The Dean meets regularly with all staff in the School. 
  10. The Dean is leader and mentor to all staff in the School, especially for managers at the School level and within the School. 


  1. The Dean is responsible to the Vice-President Academic Affairs for the academic development of the School. This includes research performance, teaching delivery, and outreach activities. 
  2. The Dean is responsible for the regular assessment of teaching and research outcomes, and works with relevant administrative departments for the improvement of teaching and research outcomes. 
  3. The Dean is responsible for ensuring the application of all university policies and regulations by members of staff in the School. 
  4. The Dean is responsible for ensuring adherence to the laws and directives of the People’s Republic of China by staff in the School. 
  5. The Dean speaks with the university’s authority within the School. This authority is particularly important in safety matters. The Dean’s authority may only be countermanded by the VP for Academic Affairs. 


  1. Deans will complete an annual Professional Development Review that will allow for the evaluation and monitoring by the VPAA of growth and development of the areas outlined in this document. 
  2. Additionally, the annual planning process will be used to review the effectiveness and efficiencies of resource and budget management at the school level. 

Essential Qualifications and Attributes:

  1. Candidates must hold a Ph.D. in a relevant subject and must also have a track record of research productivity commensurate with career stage.
  2. Candidates must demonstrate a strong academic background with significant experience of teaching and research as well as senior management in Higher Education. Prior experience in a Transnational Higher Education setting is a distinct advantage.
  3. Candidates must demonstrate a willingness and enthusiasm to embrace and manage change as the two Centres are in moments of transitional development with their launch as independent Schools scheduled for 1st September 2022.
  4. Candidates must demonstrate evidence of successful outcomes in building productive partnerships among other higher education institutions, industry where appropriate, and with wider society.
  5. Candidates are expected to become familiar with and observe both Chinese and UK rules and regulations of higher education.
  6. Candidates must have exceptionally good people skills and have the ability and experience to form and develop a new academic unit.
  7. Candidates must have an international reputation and demonstrate impacts in their disciplinary and interdisciplinary areas of expertise.
  8. Candidates must have rich experience in research, academic leadership, financial management, strategic planning, people management, as well as senior academic management experience in a university, research institution or similar functions/areas.
  9. Candidates must demonstrate a good track record in learning and teaching and especially in engagement with students in keeping with XJTLU’s student-centred ethos.
  10. Candidates must have a fluent or near-fluent level of communicative competence in English; Chinese-English bilingualism is advantageous for fulfilling the duties of the Deanship. 


Please apply through our online system. Please click Apply to access.

Please also send your application to Zhi Yang at zhi.yang@xjtlu.edu.cn in HR. Your application should consist of your CV and Cover letter in English outlining your interest in the position and your accomplishments in relevant areas. Applications for the post should be received by 21st August 2022.

Informal enquiries may be directed to the Vice-President Academic Affairs (VPAA) (Email: Chris.Harris@xjtlu.edu.cn).