Dr Xiaojun Zhang got his PhD degree at Xi’an Jiaotong University. He joined Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University as the Deputy Director of Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development (ILEAD) in 2013, which was created by him under the support of university leaders. Now Xiaojun is Chief Officer of Education at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Team Leader of Entrepreneur College (Taicang) Collective Leadership Team. He also takes roles including inaugural Executive Dean of the Academy of Future Education, and Acting Dean of Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Hub.
Xiaojun is an edupreneur who initiated all the four units within the Academy of Future Education. He was appointed as Head of ILEAD in 2017 when ILEAD became a department of Education. He restructured the faculty development centre at XJTLU and built the team of Educational Development Unit (EDU) in 2018. The Department of Educational Studies (EDS) was created by Xiaojun in 2019, and Learning Institute for Future Excellence (LIFE), as an innovative platform to support student transformation and global citizenship competence development at XJTLU, was created by him in 2021.
Dr Zhang led the development of several projects with national level impact. He created XJTLU National University Teaching Innovation Award in 2016, developed the Association for Sustainable Faculty Development in Higher Education in 2018 with more than 90 institutional members, and initiated the ILEAD Talk series established in more than 20 cities in China. Since August 2023, Xiaojun was appointed as Chief Officer of Education to lead on the educational development and innovation at XJTLU, and in particular to facilitate the exploration of syntegrative education as team leader of XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang).
Dr Zhang is a Principal Fellow of Higher Education Academy (PFHEA) in UK.
One of Xiaojun’s current work focuses on educating the educators in universities, including teachers, professionals, and institutional leaders and managers. He has developed many professional development programmes for educational practitioners across the country. His programmes were attended by more than 15,000 staff from more than 500 Chinese universities. Since 2013 he has been invited for more than 200 speeches for educational practitioners and researchers on the topic of education and teaching innovation. Xiaojun created one of the most influential community for teaching innovation in China: XJTLU National University Teaching Innovation Award. More than 4,250 innovative teachers from 500 Chinese universities applied for this award since 2016. Every year there are millions of online visits to this events, and there has accumulated more than 500 excellent teaching innovation cases.
Dr Zhang’s research area includes institutional change and institutional logics; Educational leadership; Internationalization in Higher Education, especially the Sino-foreign Cooperative universities; Future education in the AI era; Syntegrative Education; University transformation and teaching innovation, in particular research-led learning and teaching; student-centred education; student transition etc. Dr Zhang welcomes PhD applications in these areas.
Xiaojun has published more than 100 academic papers and 5 books. His research focus on problems in practice and pay attention to practical implications. Most of his research has been adopted in his training programmes for higher education practitioners. One of his most recent books titled "University Transformation: From Teacher Dominated to Student-Centred" published by Tsinghua University Press is a guidebook for education practitioners who want to transform their education. Xiaojun proposed the "diamond model" of teaching innovation in AI era and highlighted ten key directions of teaching innovation in his another recently published book "Future-oriented Teaching Innovation" by Economic and Management Press.