Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University: Its Past and Vital Future by John Aubrey Douglass and John N. Hawkins (August 2017)

Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University Book Cover, with picture of cherry tree blossoms

Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University - 
Its Past and Vital Future

John Aubrey Douglass and John N. Hawkins

With chapter contributions by

  • David P. Ericson
  • Stephanie K. Kim and Minho Yeom
  • Ka Ho Mok and Xiao Han
  • Miloni Gandi
  • Satoshi P. Watanabe and Machi Sato
  • Mosi Weng and Jia Zhang
  • Bryan Edward Penprase
  • Deane Neubauer, Joanne Taira and Donald Young
  • Charles E. Morrison

September 2017 - Berkeley Public Policy Press - UC Berkeley Center for Studies in Higher Education - East-West Center

John Aubrey Douglass is Senior Research Fellow—Public Policy and Higher Education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California—Berkeley

John N. Hawkins is Professor Emeritus in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP) at the East- West Center in Honolulu Hawai’i


This book explores the history of leading national universities in Asia and contemplates their capacity for innovation by focusing on the New Flagship University model. This model, presented more fully in The Flagship University Model – Changing the Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy (2016), envisions the university as an institution that not only meets the standards of excellence focused on research productivity and rankings, but one that is creatively responsive to the larger social needs of their specific national or regional environment and people. Chapters discuss the mission, policies and practices of the holistic and aspirational New Flagship University model and explore the contemporary academic cultures and innovations of leading national universities in China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India and elsewhere. Each is pursing aspects of the Flagship model on their own terms. Academic leaders and ministries in Asia are beginning to understand that the bell-curve approach of rankings and the myopic notion of a “World Class University” no longer provide an adequate strategy to guide policy, funding, and practice. This book furthers discussions within universities about their larger purpose and the internal academic culture that will bolster their drive to become among the best and most influential universities in the world.


Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University is a thoughtful and stimulating book that critically examines how leading universities within the Asia-Pacific region are responding in a time of accelerated and uncertain change. The book argues cogently for building a deeper understanding through a holistic and expansive framework that considers the many and diverse roles played by such institutions: as drivers of social mobility and economic advancement, as stewards of a spirit of public and community service, as a partner with government and business, and as a creator of new knowledge and future leaders. The pathways to continued excellence and societal impact will require that Asian universities evolve and adapt these key roles and core missions, while taking into account national expectations, traditions, and culture. The case studies examined also provide excellent insights and analyses into how Asian universities are exploring new opportunities, and innovating to meet changing circumstances and future challenges.  Definitely, a “must read” book for those interested in the future development of universities in Asia!

- TAN Chorh Chuan - President, National University of Singapore and Deputy Chairman, Agency for Science, Technology & Research, Singapore

For those who have an interest in the development and impact of higher education in the Asia Pacific region, the new book Envisioning the Asian New Flagship University offers a fresh and provocative contribution to the literature.  Douglass and Hawkins have assembled a comprehensive and informed set of chapters that trace the development of the flagship model in selected national settings in Asia, framing this discussion in the context of historical legacies, modern influences, and post-modern new Flagship futures.  This volume will be important for those who wish to understand the higher education dynamism of the region, the challenges posed of a rising Asia and the contribution that the Flagship Model has made to newly arising “hybrid” higher education institutions. 

- Robert M. Orr - United States Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (2010-2016)


Introduction: The Asian New Flagship University: Seeking a Yi Liu Future John Aubrey Douglass (UC Berkeley) and John N. Hawkins (UCLA and the East-West Center)

  1. Profiling the New Flagship University Model: An Introduction
    John Aubrey Douglass (UC Berkeley)

  2. The New Flagship University in the Context of Asian Higher Education Traditions
    John N. Hawkins (UCLA and the East-West Center)

  3. Quality and the New Flagship Ideal in Asian Higher Education
    David P. Ericson (University of Hawai‘i)

  4. An Uncertain Future: Leading National Universities in South Korea and the Flagship Model
    Stephanie K. Kim (UC Berkeley) and Minho Yeom (Chonnam National University)

  5. A Flagship University Quest: Challenges and Dilemma for a Chinese University
    Ka Ho Mok (Lingnan University) and Xiao Han (University of Hong Kong)

  6. Flagship Universities in India: The Dominance of Delhi University
    Miloni Gandi (University of Southern California)

  7. The New Flagship Model and Two Universities in Japan
    Satoshi P. Watanabe and Machi Sato (Hiroshima University)

  8. A Flagship Universities and Regional Economic Engagement: The Case of Zhejiang University
    Mosi Wang and Jia Zhang (Zhejiang University)

  9. Innovation in Undergraduate Education: The Case of the National University of Singapore
    Bryan Edward Penprase (Yale-NUS College)
  10. Yale-National University of Singapore College
    Bryan Edward Penprase (Yale-NUS College)

  11. A Complex Flagship Mission: The Case of the University of Hawai‘i
    Deane Neubauer, Joanne Taira, and Donald Young (East-West Center and University of Hawaii‘)

  12. Epilogue: A Summary Reflection on the New Flagship University
    Charles E. Morrison (East-West Center)


John Aubrey Douglass is Senior Research Fellow—Public Policy and Higher Education at the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE), Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley. Most recently, he is the author of the book, The New Flagship University: Changing the Paradigm from Global Ranking to National Relevancy (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as The Conditions for Admissions (Stanford Press 2007), The California Idea and American Higher Education (Stanford University Press, 2nd edition 2007; published in Chinese in 2008), and with Jud King and Irwin Feller (eds.) Globalization’s Muse: Universities and Higher Education Systems in a Changing World (Public Policy Press, 2009). Among the research projects he co-founded is the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium—a group of major research-intensive universities in the US and internationally, with members in China, Japan, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia. He is also the PI for the UC ClioMetric History Project, the editor of the Center's Research and Occasional Paper Series (ROPS), sits on the editorial board of international higher education journals in the UK, China, and Russia, and serves on the international advisory boards of a number of higher education institutes.

David P. Ericson is a Professor of Philosophy of Education and Educational Policy Studies and Chair in the Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education, and University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Prior to joining the Faculty of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in 1992, he was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1979–1992) and a professor at Virginia Tech (1977–1979). In the College of Education at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, he has served as chairperson in two departments, as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, and as director of the Office of International Education. He also served as Editor-in-Chief of Studies in Philosophy and Education for five years. With research and scholarly interests in philosophy of education, educational policy analysis, and comparative and international education, he has published widely on education issues, the logic of social science research methodology, and educational policy and reform issues in the US and Asia. He is particularly noted for his work on the structure and behavior of national educational systems in the US and Asia. He has been a Fulbright Senior Specialist Award holder (2007–2012), an award that has enabled his research efforts on educational reform issues in lower and higher education in Denmark and China. Most recently, he has been researching policy issues concerning the expansion and quality of higher education in Vietnam.

Miloni Gandhi is the Director of International Market Research and Student Experience at the Foothill and De Anza Community College District. Prior to this position she spent five years at the University of Southern California working in International Admissions with a focus on India. Most recently she was a Fulbright International Education Administrators Seminar Grantee in Japan and prior to that was a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow and completed the Asia Pacific Leadership Program under the auspices of the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i. A graduate of the UCLA Comparative Education doctoral program, she has a continued interest in International Education and global higher education policy.

John N. Hawkins is Professor Emeritus at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Co-Director of the Asian Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP) at the East-West Center in Honolulu Hawai’i. Dr. Hawkins is a specialist on higher education reform in the US and Asia and the author of several books and research articles on education and development in Asia. He was the Dean of International Studies at UCLA for 13 years, and has served as a Director of the UCLA Foundation Board and Director of the East-West Center Foundation Board. He has served as President of the Comparative International Education Society and Editor of the Comparative Education Review. His selected publications include Transnational Competence: Rethinking the US—Japan Educational Relationship; Changing Education; Research, Development, and Innovation in Asia Pacific Education, and Policy Debates in Comparative, International, and Development Education. He has published several additional books and articles on educational change in Japan and China. Dr. Hawkins has conducted research throughout Asia since 1966 when he first visited the People's Republic of China and Japan.

Stephanie K. Kim is the Program Director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously held a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship after completing her PhD in Social Science and Comparative Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on comparative higher education, appearing in journals such as Comparative Education and Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, and has also been profiled by the Times Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. She is currently working on a book manuscript on international student mobility between South Korea and the United States.

Joshua Mok Ka-ho is the Vice-President and concurrently Lam Man Tsan Chair Professor of Comparative Policy of Lingnan University. He received his MPhil and PhD in Sociology from The Chinese University of Hong Kong and The London School of Economics and Political Science respectively. Professor Mok is no narrow disciplinary specialist but has worked creatively across the academic worlds of sociology, political science, and public and social policy while building up his wide knowledge of China and the region Professor Mok has published extensively in the fields of comparative education policy, comparative development and policy studies, and social development in contemporary China and East Asia. In particular, he has contributed to the field of social change and education policy in a variety of ways, not the least of which has been his leadership and entrepreneurial approach to the organization of the field. His recent published works have focused on comparative social development and social policy responses in the Greater China region and East Asia. He is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Asian Public Policy (London: Routledge) and Asian Education and Development Studies (Emerald) as well as a Book Series Editor for Routledge and Springer.

Charles E. Morrison served as president of the East-West Center from 1998 to 2016.  He has been associated with the Center since 1980 in various capacities, including heading its former Institute of Economics and Politics. A US Senate aide early in his career, he has also been a research associate at the Japan Center for International Exchange. Morrison served as the international chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council from 2005 to 2012, and is a member of other national and international bodies that promote trans-Pacific security and economic cooperation. His PhD is from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he also once taught on Southeast Asia. He speaks and publishes widely on US Asia policy issues and the countries of the region, and gives special emphasis to regional cooperation, particularly the APEC process.

Deane Neubauer is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, Senior Research Fellow of the Globalization Research Center (UHM) and Co-Director of the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership. Educated at the University of California, Riverside and Yale University (PhD 1965) in political science, he has taught additionally at the University of California (Berkeley and Irvine), Waikato University (NZ) and the University of Sydney. His research interests lie in health policy, political economy, education, and globalization. His work explores globalization phenomena as a major vector of social change throughout the world. He served as the chair of the Department of Political Science (1974-1978), as founding dean of the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa (1980-1988) and was the founding director of the Globalization Research Center at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa and subsequently Executive Director of the Globalization Research Network, a collaboration of four US universities. He served as Chancellor of the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa from 2001–2002 and as Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Hawai’i System from 2001–2004. He has worked extensively throughout the United States in higher education accreditation, having served as a member of the Western Association of Schools.

Joanne Y. Taira is Senior Executive for International and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Hawai‘i (UH), a system of ten colleges, universities, and research, service, and education centers throughout Hawai‘i. Taira convenes the system wide international education committee; coordinates the President’s Emerging Leaders Program; and is Hawai‘i’s liaison for an alliance of states focused on increasing higher education completion and decreasing gaps for underrepresented populations. In 2011, she oversaw the APEC project, Quality in Higher Education, and serves on the steering committee for APHERP. She earned a BA from Carleton College and a master’s in Asian Studies and PhD in Education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  

Bryan Penprase is a Professor of Science at Yale-NUS College, and for 20 years was the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy at Pomona College. Bryan received both a bachelor’s degree in Physics and a master’s in Applied Physics from Stanford University in 1985, and a PhD from the University of Chicago in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1992. Dr. Penprase was a professor for 20 years at Pomona College, where he served as Chair of Physics and Astronomy, and was founding co-Director of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning. Dr. Penprase served as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Yale University, where he was one of the authors of the blueprint for the Yale-NUS College Curriculum, and advised Yale’s President Salovey and the Yale Provost on topics ranging from online learning, Math education at Yale, and Teaching and Learning Centers. Dr. Penprase co-organized a series of conferences on the Future of Liberal Arts and Sciences in India, and helped develop the Freshman Scholars at Yale program. At Yale-NUS College he is the founding Director for the Centre for Teaching and Learning, and is a member of the NUS Teaching Academy, where he is chair of the NUS Teaching Academy Horizon Scanning Committee, and works on a wide range of topics in higher education policy and research in STEM education and cultural issues in teaching and learning.

Machi Sato is an Associate Professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education, Hiroshima University, Japan. She has a master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the Australian National University and D.Phil. in Education from the University of Oxford. Dr. Sato’s research has explored public university reform in Malaysia, the concept of faculty development, lived experiences of FD practitioners in Japan, and identity formation of academic managers and doctoral students. She teaches qualitative research methods and teaching and learning in the university at a graduate level, supervises master’s and doctoral students who are working on various topics. She is currently leading an international research project on academic identity with Dr. Tai Peseta of the University of Sydney and Dr. Barbara Grant of the University of Auckland.

Satoshi P. Watanabe is Professor of Economics and Education at the Research Institute for Higher Education and Vice President for University Management and Planning at Hiroshima University, Japan. Satoshi has contributed to various public policy research initiatives, working as a statistician for the City of New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, a consultant for the World Bank, and as a senior researcher at the Washington, DC-based think-tank, American Institutes for Research, authoring publications for the US Department of Education and the US Congress. Satoshi was also a visiting scholar at the Center for Studies in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley in 2011–2012. Satoshi’s current research topics include labor market and employment policy, resource allocation in higher education, retirement and pension systems in postsecondary institutions, and applied econometric analysis.

Mosi Weng is a PhD Candidate at Zhejiang University, China. He is currently a visiting student researcher at the Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley. His research interests focus on academic entrepreneurship, higher education management. He has a concentrated record of research and publications, his previous work on entrepreneurial transformation of universities in China, which published in XinhHua Digest (Top journal in China), won him National Scholarship and Zhejiang University Annual Top 10 Students’ Academic Achievement Award.

HAN Xiao is a Research Assistant Professor of Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies in Lingnan University. She obtained her PhD from the Education University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include transnational higher education, education policy, graduate employment and education inequality.

Minho Yeom is Professor of Education at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea, where he once served as Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning in the College of Education. He has written widely on issues of higher education reform at the micro and macro levels, particularly curriculum changes, learning communities, writing center operation, faculty professional development, and government policy. He holds a PhD in Educational Administration and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh. His major research interests include educational policy development and evaluation, higher education reform, comparative international education, teacher education, and writing across the curriculum.

Donald B. Young is Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Science Education at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. Previously, Dr. Young served as Director of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) in the College of Education. He has been a classroom science teacher, curriculum developer as well teaching undergraduate, graduate, and in-service teacher education programs. His research interests are in learning and teaching science, program dissemination and implementation, and in multi-dimensional assessment. Dr. Young holds degrees from the State University of New York–Albany and the University of Hawai’i.

Jia Zhang is an assistant professor at the Institute of Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Zhejiang University, China. She obtained her PhD degree in Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include higher education, school effectiveness and school improvement, educational leadership, and teacher professional development. Her publications have appeared in Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, Educational Management, Administration & Leadership, and Asia Pacific Journal of Education.

John N. Hawkins
Publication date: 
August 15, 2017
Publication type: 
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