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New set of criteria for awarding academic titles

Update: September, 27/2018 - 05:00
Đặng Ứng Vận. – Photo

Dr Đặng Ứng Vận, Chairman of the Council for the Professor Title in Chemistry and Food Technology, talks to the Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper on the new set of criteria for achieving the titles of Professor and Associate Professor.

What do you think of the new requirements for awarding the titles Professor and Associate Professor?

I should say the new requirements are more progressive than the previous ones. They were revised several times based on feedback from scientists.

The new requirements for attaining the titles are much higher than they used to be, bringing us closer to international requirements; however, I do not believe we have made a serious breakthrough yet.

You seem to be saying that the new requirements are still not strict enough. Could you explain why you feel that way?

I’d like to talk about candidates’ contributions to the country, particularly to its educational and socio-economic development. The new requirements do not mandate candidates contribute to national development in any way. While it is not easy to quantify what an individual adds to the country, we must work towards clear criteria in this area.

Many have said they are concerned about the requirement that a candidate for Professor must have at least three articles published in international journals, saying it is a particularly tough standard for those in the social sciences. How would you respond?

Việt Nam is now deeply integrated into the world. The young lecturers at our universities and institutes have many opportunities to exchange work with their peers abroad. So this is not an issue for those in the hard sciences; however, I do recognise this is a barrier for quite a few candidates. Professors of finance and economy told me they find it hard to publish their work in international journals because data used for research in their fields must be primary data, not secondary data.

To my knowledge, the new requirements do not specify what types of international publications are acceptable. In my opinion, candidates for Professor and Associate Professor would seek our higher quality journals if there was a system in place to award more points based on the quality and status of the journal that publishes their articles.

In the social sciences, a lower level of interest among readers makes it difficult to publish articles in foreign magazines, meaning the requirement poses a challenge. I remember years ago, at an international workshop on Vietnamese Studies, organisers struggled to attract foreign scholars to participate.

Could you explain the evaluation council’s voting procedures that decide if a candidate gains the title of Professor or Associate Professor?

Under the old rule, a candidate had to gain three-fourths of the votes from the jury board. With the new rule, titles can be awarded with only two-thirds of the votes. – VNS

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