William D. Blizzard, Jr., Ph.D. is a 2008 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Dissertation Committee

  • Alan Guskin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Elizabeth Holloway, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Lee Lu, Ph.D., External Reader


Case Study, China, Chinese Education, Higher Education, Leadership, Communist Party, Networking, Universities, Red Guard, Cultural Revolution, Communist Youth League

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The purpose of this study was to determine how the building of Shenyang Jianzhu University’s new campus was accomplished under the leadership of Professor Fuchang Zhang, Secretary General of the Chinese Communist Party for the university, using his Communist Party network. This study was conducted in the city of Shenyang, Liaoning Province, Peoples Republic of China, using interviews with Professor Zhang, his peers, government officials, and other university presidents. Archival data is also included. There were limitations in the study that included personal and professional friendships, student recruiting issues, as well as methodological limitations because all interviews had to be translated from Mandarin into English and transcribed. The study surrounds the controversy of a proposed move of Shenyang Jianzhu University from its old campus to its new campus. There were university faculty, government officials, as well as other university presidents who resisted such a move based on government regulation, funding, and peer pressure for the other presidents to do the same. Professor Zhang assumed leadership of the university through a two-tiered system of a president and Communist Party Secretary General of the university upon the retirement of President Chen. This gave Professor Zhang the opportunity to build the new campus for Shenyang Jianzhu University. The study further focuses on Professor Zhang and his powerful role and paradoxical style of leadership. On the one hand, he is a strong, tough leader who is capable of taking full control of the university leadership formally, through his role as the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary (his official role) and informally, through the administrative apparatus. On the other hand, he is a team player, is persuasive, and is a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader who seems to create a great deal of trust in his Party and Liaoning Province peers. Combining these two sides together, this paradoxical leadership led to success in the difficult political environment he faced. His success seems to have been the result of the support of his powerful network of peers, who went through the difficulties of the Red Guard and Cultural Revolution, and their sacrifices together, which has given them a strong bond of trust.