About The SSDPP
The School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP) was founded in September 2008. It was originally the Institute of Social Development and Public Policy (ISDPP), first established in 1999. The School was founded during an era of dramatic globalization and the astonishingly rapid development of China. During the past decade, extensive reforms in public policy and management have been adopted around the world; governments have been eagerly improving their nations with a competitive spirit, and the Chinese government has endeavored to better its people's livelihood and construct a harmonious society. In order to meet the needs of the day, we have chosen the promotion of social equity and justice as our mission and the creation of a meritocracy as the core values of the SSDPP. The school integrates knowledge and academic strength from various disciplines among the social sciences, with a focus on empirical research and the implications of public policy, and pursues collaboration with the public sector, including governmental as well as academic exchange with both domestic and international institutions. We produce cutting-edge research based on a profound understanding of Chinese society, engage in dialogue with top scholars around the world, draw upon leading international expertise to find solutions to problems specific to China, and export Chinese wisdom and experience to be implemented in other parts of the world. Thus, in the past ten years, we have responded actively to many social and public issues in China as well as to issues around the world, and we have gained strength through this process.
Research and Policy Intervention
In the past decade, over 180 research projects have been undertaken by our faculty members, including 11 major national projects, 45 provincial and ministerial projects, and 63 projects involving international collaboration, and a total of 62.57 million Chinese Yuan of research grant money has been raised. Our faculty members have authored 22 academic books and published more than 220 articles in academic journals such as The Lancet. Eight of these journal articles were included in the SSCI and the AHCI and over 100 were included in the CSSCI (among them were 12 articles in Chinese Social Sciences, four in Sociological Studies, four in The Management World, five in Statistical Research, one in Economic Research Journal, and four in Xinhua Digest). They have also presented more than 100 research reports on a variety of topics, some of which were favorably received by the State Council, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and other state leaders. Four research projects have won provincial and ministerial-level awards. For instance, in 2003, the project "The Reform of Social Assistance System in China" was awarded first prize in Studies on Civil Affairs Theory by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. In 2006, projects conducted by our faculty members won first and second prizes in the Ninth Beijing Competition of Best Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The academic strength of our faculty and our emphasis on empirical research provides a solid base for the School to engage in policy analysis and intervention. Many of our professors have been consultants with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, giving important insight into the creation and revision of public policy.
Teaching and Mentorship
Over the last ten years, we've grown from a research institute into a public policy school granting doctoral degrees in three majors – Social Security, Social Medicine and Public Health Management, and NGO Management, as well as offering Master's degrees in four majors – the abovementioned three and Social Policy. We adhere to a student-oriented pedagogy, and encourage many different strategies and innovations in order to provide better education. Our philosophy in student training is to find a common path with our global peers as well as to maintain our roots in Chinese society. Our students receive rigorous training in both qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as in theory. We adopt curricula, course material and teaching methods that have proven effective at internationally prestigious public policy schools and revise them to better meet the needs of our own students; we offer courses in both Chinese and English, enliven lectures with case studies, and set up mentor-committees to guide students through their graduate study; we introduce students to cutting-edge scholarship in the field; offer them opportunities to participate in large-scale projects; and instruct them in how to conduct their own independent research. The robust performance of our graduates in the job market is perhaps the most eloquent statement one could make about the effectiveness of our teaching and mentorship.
We currently have a total of 28 faculty members including, five full professors and 11 associate professors and one New Century Excellent Talents in University (NCET) scholar funded by the Ministry of Education. Many professors received their doctoral degrees from internationally prestigious institutions, such as Harvard, Columbia, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. Our faculty come from a rich variety of disciplines in the social sciences that complement each other in academic background, theoretical tradition, and research methodology, and they all devote themselves to exploring better approaches to policy research and analysis. Young but well-trained scholars are the backbone of our faculty. They bring energy, enthusiasm and creativity to their research and teaching.
Step by step, we've built a solid foundation for social and public policy research over the past ten years. Since 2008, when we were transformed from a research-focused institute into a graduate school which emphasizes both teaching and research, a whole new world has opened up to us. We enjoy greater opportunities while shouldering greater responsibility. We are a young school and as such, we are full of life, ambition, and creativity. However, we have a long way to go before we mature to the point of realizing our potential; and so, in this journey, we encourage particularly the introduction of innovative ideas in order to discover our own means of building an institution. Thus, all members of the SSDPP – professors, researchers, students and staff members – are highly motivated to participate in the formation and consolidation of its unique management style, working culture, and value system. With the passion, persistence and professionalism of all involved, we will eventually realize our potential and turn the SSDPP into a world-class public policy program.
SSDPP was established as a center of rigorous academic inquiry that also trains practitioners and consults with government to apply the latest thinking in social policy design and implementation to the practice of public policy in China. At the Institute, social development is defined as "development that is equitable, inclusive, and sustainable, that is responsive and accountable, and which empowers the poor and marginalized to participate effectively." In China, social development takes place in the context of a transition from a centrally planned to a market economy, and takes the form of transformation from a paternalistic state to a participative civil society. Effective and fair participation of citizens in the process is essential to ensure the formulation of effective social policies that lead both to equitable outcomes and to sustainable economic and social development while minimizing the tendency for economic development to divide societies into distinct sets of 'winners' and 'losers.'
Specifically, as an organization committed to promoting China's social development, SSDPP, through its research, education, consulting, and training programs, seeks to:
• influence public policies to promote equitable and sustainable outcomes;
• empower citizens to participate effectively in the process of social change;
• boost domestic capacity by training and educating practitioners and future leaders in the field of social policy.
To promote the study of issues in social development related to or arising from China's economic restructuring and to encourage the inclusion of knowledge and policy prescriptions emerging from these studies in the formulation and administration of public policies in China, SSDPP seeks to:
• strengthen the linkage between research in social policy and actual government policy-making and administration in order to achieve a positive and lasting impact on China's social development;
• apply sophisticated research techniques to understand China's most pressing social issues;
• contribute to the international exchange of ideas and experience about public policy and social development;
• devise and deploy scientifically-based indicators of Chinese citizens' social, economic, and health care behavior.
To ensure we can achieve our set objectives, we feel we should start from better understanding the costs of rapid economic and social changes, providing evidence-based policy recommendations, creating a knowledge base which has been derived from empirical analyses, and focusing on individuals, families and communities in order to derive a comprehensive vision of China's future.
The school's vision is:
• to understand the historical/social context of China's development and the consequences and costs of its rapid development;
• to be a think tank with an impact on policy-making;
• to work with government, NGOs and the private sector to forge partnerships for a better society;
• to have domestic and international influence in both education and knowledge creation;
• to use research as a tool for understanding social problems, implementing social change and evaluating the effectiveness of policies;
• to change HOW key players think about problems and how they go about responding to them;
• to have all of this result in effective social policies that lead to social transformation, which in turn will improve the overall health outcomes and well-being of the population.