Academic Standards Board

We understand that without verifiable and measurable guarantors of rigor and integrity, it can be difficult to determine what quality of education is provided in international study abroad and academic degree programs. All universities that offer accredited coursework under the LION brand are unified by their membership in the Lion Global Education Consortium. To ensure academic rigor and pedagogical efficiency, consortium members must adhere to the standards of the Academic Standards Board (ASB).


  Course Requirements

Consortium by-laws require every member to submit each course to the ASB for approval before the course may be offered in a LION program. To secure approval, each course must foster and develop:

  1) Student engagement in the classroom;

  2) Critical thinking skills;

  3) Analytical and problem-solving skills;

  4) Flexible learning outcomes accommodating a full spectrum of learning differences;

  5) Multiple objective perspectives regarding concepts and applications;

  6) Diverse approaches and emerging theories along with ethical and sustainable applications.

Assurance that learning outcomes are achieved in each course is attained by being continuously reviewed for compliance by the ASB. Classroom professors are consulted and coached to modify classroom activities to ensure that these learning objectives are satisfied. The ASB cannot approve the delivery of any consortium member course failing to fulfill these learning outcomes.


  Board Structure

The Academic Standards Board consists of local campus-based oversight committees organized under the authority of the consortium’s Central ASB. This combination of campus and Central ASB efforts is committed to one overarching mission: to provide consistency, unsurpassed quality, and the full, non-negotiable dedication to excellence demanded by member universities throughout the entire consortium.

Professors, deans, and administrators at universities throughout the United States and Canada are familiar with the concepts underlying the ASB system. Indeed, the structure and function of the ASB initiative is designed to replicate the highest ideals and standards exemplified by similar programs at the world’s leading institutions of higher education. The organized peer-to-peer classroom evaluations, interactive professorial feedback, internal quality control metrics, and independent systemic review are the same hallmarks of academic integrity and pedagogical rigor in place at every respected university and college.

Each campus ASB consists of a minimum of two (2) U.S. or Canadian university professors, one (1) bilingual professor or administrator from the local university awarding academic credit, and a local representative of the Chinese Ministry of Education. Campus ASBs may also include non-contributing observers from universities who are a study abroad partner of the local consortium member.

The Central ASB consists of faculty members who have previously served on a campus ASB, a representative of each consortium member university, and a representative of the Chinese Ministry of Education. Because most members of the Central ASB will not usually be located in the same city, much of their work takes place via Video Tele-Conferencing (VTC), audio conference call, Skype, Facetime, or some other technology-aided meeting tool.



The responsibilities of each campus ASB include the following:

  1) Ensure that each instructor at that campus is observed and evaluated during the academic term by at least one (1) ASB member for the duration of at least one (1) entire classroom session. Members of the ASB who are also teaching during the term are fully included among those who are to be observed and assessed, without exception.

  2) To allow time for any requisite mid-course corrections, all of these classroom observations take place within the first two (2) weeks of the program. The ASB member who observes any class prepares a detailed written report within three (3) calendar days following the visit. The report is provided to and discussed with the professor, who can respond to feedback in writing within three (3) calendar days. A copy of the report and any faculty response will be submitted to the local member university’s administration and another copy to the local China Ministry of Education representative for review and filing. A copy of all reports remains on file with the consortium for a minimum of three (3) calendar years following the completion of the term.

  3) Review each syllabus in use at the local campus to ensure uniformly high standards of professionalism, full sufficiency of subject matter coverage and content, consistency of format, and accuracy. This syllabus review is conducted and concluded at least two (2) weeks prior to the beginning of every term, every year, to allow adequate time to resolve any issues.

  4) Serve as a resource for the local university to swiftly and meticulously investigate and recommend resolution of any and all allegations and complaints of cheating, plagiarism, misconduct, sexual harassment, discrimination, favoritism, grading disputes, attendance issues, and/or professorial inadequacy.

  5) Provide peer-to-peer counseling for faculty members whose degree of academic rigor, subject matter mastery, or pedagogical strictness is, in the opinion of the local consortium member, or in the opinion of a majority of the ASB, either inappropriate or deficient. This counseling strives to maintain a professional level of consistency, from professor to professor and from course to course, while still ensuring academic freedom and an appropriate amount of professorial pedagogical discretion.

  6) Throughout the entire calendar year, remain available as a source of detailed information, supplemental factual evidence, verification of reports and decisions, and process validation. The recollections and notes of all campus ASB members can supplement the reports and other records of classroom visits and minutes from hearings. Whenever needed, all members of the campus ASBs serve as reliable providers of all available indicia of academic rigor, pedagogical efficacy, and systemic integrity.


The Central ASB serves to resolve any controversies at the campuses requiring higher-level action. It maintains a systemic perspective, and ensures consistency and reliability within each campus, and across the entire consortium. The Central ASB also functions as an appellate authority in cases of alleged dishonesty, plagiarism, cheating, lack of complete academic integrity, or any other form of misconduct at any of the campuses.

The Academic Standards Board stands at the heart of the LION Global Education Consortium and everything our members stand for. Our unprecedented actions in planning, organizing, and fully implementing the ASB system reflect the impeccable core values of the world-class universities that trust the consortium to maintain their unsurpassed standards of integrity and rigor. We have aligned every aspect of everything we do to ensure that the educational experience we provide to every one of our students is as uncompromising and above reproach as that available at any of the world’s finest institutions of higher learning.


  Central ASB Members

Dan Herron
Miami University

Dongmei Li
Xi’an Jiaotong University

John Kunich
Belmont Abbey College

Zhiping He
Shenzhen University

Janine Maddock
University of Michigan


Ministry of Education

Lei Peng
Sichuan University