A university in East China's Jiangxi province has begun to offer their students the ability to select the age and personality of their lecturers.
Students at the metallurgy and chemical engineering department of Jiangxi University of Science and Technology noted that they would like to see their teachers be between the ages of 25 and 40 years old. In addition, they would like them to have "funny" and "positive" attitudes. Students were able to make these selections during the enrollment process, allowing them to have custom-fit teachers throughout their four-year college experience.
Because of this feedback, the university has selected a group of younger teachers to lecture within the department.
"Custom-made teachers could help the school know more about the students' requirements for their teachers," said Xu Zhifeng, head of the department.
He added that it is the hope of the university that offering custom teachers will in turn allow the teachers to work better with students, writes Chen Ziyan for China Daily.
Options for teachers include age, gender, and various teaching styles.
The program is a new experiment in the country, which has previously assigned students to a random teacher if several sections for one class exists. Students studying metallurgy and chemicals were chosen for the program, as this is an area that is struggling as the country transitions to a more service-based economy, and requires the most skilled students it can attract.
Millennials in China who have had international exposure are typically the first to complain about the older tenured teachers in the country, writes Scott Cendrowski for Fortune. These instructors are more apt to follow the older command teaching style, which emphasizes rote memorization as opposed to interaction and theory.
In all, the university received feedback on the issue from 180 students. Results show 70% would like a funny and positive teacher, while slightly more than 65% said they would like their teacher to be between 25 and 40 years old, writes David Matthews for Times Higher Education.
"I never thought I could have a custom-made teacher, and I am very excited," said Xie Yu, a first-year undergraduate, according to the outlet. "It shows that the university cares for us, and we must study hard."
Another student added that it would be nice to have a female teacher, because "she might be more considerate compared with the male teachers."
In order to meet these demands, the university has brought on a number of younger teachers who hold advanced academic degrees.
The head of the chemical engineering department has said that results of the new pilot program will be shared with the rest of the university.