“World-class” research universities have long been a priority in the educational, corporate, and political spheres in China. With the establishment of the Outline of China’s National Plan for Medium and Long Term Education Reform and Development (2010-2020), China seeks to develop globally competitive research universities that are based on position in the global rankings. In this article, the author examines the role of college environment (e.g., academic, campus, interpersonal) on college student’s learning and development relative to China’s quest for “world-class” universities. Utilizing Jamil Salmi’s (2009) theoretical framework of ‘world-class universities,’ this article introduces Chan’s conceptual framework of ‘Environment-Learning-Resources (elr)’ to suggest how the college environments influence the imposition of structure, processes, and student learning at emerging global research universities in mainland China.

In: International Journal of Chinese Education