The Center for Higher Education Research (CHER) started as an office serving the university administration by studying new problems in higher education reform in 1983. The senior administration emphasized research was the basis and driver of higher education reform and development, and encouraged exploring Chinese and international higher education in the coming 21st century. They made research into higher education an indicator for evaluating the performance of each school and department, and decided to upgrades the office to the center in December 1998. To meet the need of building up world-class university, CHER was separated from administration, and became an independent academic unit in November 2000. CHER’s missions include research, cultivating talents and serving the university reform and development. It offered three master programs in Education, one Ph.D. programs in Public Administration and one in Sociology.
CHER was authorized to confer the Master’s degree of Education in Higher Education in 2000, in the Theory of Education, and the Economics and Management of Education in 2003, then in the Sociology of Education in 2004. It was also permitted to confer Ph.D in Economics and Management of Education in 2011. CHER was merged into the Zhou Enlai School of Government in the reform of discipline optimization in August 2014.
The faculty had 14 members before the merge. There are 2 professors ( also Ph.D. advisors) and 2 associate professors at present. It offers one master program and one Ph.D. program in Economics and Management of Education in Public Administration. Until 2020, the faculty members published 400 academic articles, 300 among which on CSSCI journals, authored or edited 22 books and 3 textbooks, finished 66 research programs, 20 sponsored by national funding bodies, and 46 by ministries of central government or provinces.
CHER currently focuses on Economics and Management of Education, and explores new issues in higher education as well as other levels of education in China from the perspectives of economics, management, philosophy, and history. It seeks to employ theories in practice, to generalize practices to set up new theories, to promote communication, and research into problems the public concern, and to push educational reforms forward in China.
CHER started a quarterly journal Nankai Forum for Education, in1986. The journal publishes scholarship from a wide variety of perspectives, and contributes to reforms in peer institutions across China.