SichuanUniver­sity pur­sues global vi­sion

Pro­fes­sors from pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tions around the world have been in­vited to teach in English

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHAO XINYING zhaoxiny­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Xie Heping, pres­i­dent of Sichuan Univer­sity, has his own ideas for build­ing the 120year-old in­sti­tu­tion into a world-class bea­con of higher ed­u­ca­tion.

“The most im­por­tant thing for us to do dur­ing the process is to nur­ture tal­ent with an in­ter­na­tional vi­sion and com­pet­i­tive­ness,” he said.

Xie is also an aca­demi­cian at the Chi­nese Academy of Engi­neeringan­da­dy­nam­i­cist, or an ex­pert in rock me­chan­ics.

To equip stu­dents with vi­sion and com­pet­i­tive­ness, the univer­sity, which is lo­cated in Chengdu, cap­i­tal of South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince, launched its im­mer­sion pro­gram dur­ing sum­mer va­ca­tion in 2012. It in­vited em­i­nent pro­fes­sors from pres­ti­gious univer­si­ties around the world to teach cour­ses in English for two weeks.

Ex­cel­lent stu­dents from around the globe have also been in­vited to visit the cam­pus and com­mu­ni­cate with stu­dents there.

“We did so be­cause we hope that each stu­dent at Sichuan Univer­sity — whether from a rich fam­ily or an im­pov­er­ished one— will spend time with the best teach­ers and peers, ac­quire the knowl­edge and abil­ity needed in in­ter­na­tional so­ci­ety and fi­nally grow up as out­stand­ing adults who are ca­pa­ble of par­tic­i­pat­ing com­pet­i­tively in in­ter­na­tional af­fairs,” Xie said.

So far, the pro­gram has been run with an an­nual in­vest­ment of 20 mil­lion yuan ($3 mil­lion). More than 500 ex­perts and schol­ars from some of the world’s best univer­si­ties, in­clud­ing Ox­ford, Har­vard and Yale, have taught 657 cour­ses in English. Over the past five years, at least 100,000 stu­dents — not only from Sichuan Univer­sity, but also from 10 other higher ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions in South­west China, such as Univer­sity of Elec­tronic Science­andTech­nol­o­gyof China and South­west Jiao­tong Univer­sity in Chengdu — ben­e­fited from the pro­gram.

Xie also be­lieves that Sichuan Univer­sity mus­ten­cour­age global col­lab­o­ra­tio­nand­of­fer in­tel­li­gent sup­port if it wants to be rec­og­nized be­yond China’s bor­ders.

To re­al­ize this goal, an in­ter­na­tional con­sult­ing coun­cil was re­cently set up to “make key sugges­tions on is­sues such as car­ry­ing out de­vel­op­ment strate­gies and select­ing and rec­om­mend­ing tal­ent for the univer­sity”, Xie said.

The con­sult­ing coun­cil con­sists of 53 ed­u­ca­tors, en­trepreneurs, of­fi­cials and sci­en­tists fromChi­naandabroad, in­clud­ing Sa­muelChaoChungTing, a No­bel Prize lau­re­ate in physics.

With the help of such great minds, Xie be­lieves that Sichuan Univer­sity will make rapid strides in the com­ing decades.

“We would be very happy to share the ex­pe­ri­ence with other univer­si­ties of China if we suc­ceed,” he said.

CHEN YUANMING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Over­seas stu­dents take part in an open­ing cer­e­mony that launches a week-long in­ter­na­tional cour­ses pro­gram at Sichuan Univer­sity in Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince.

Xie Heping, pres­i­dent of Sichuan Univer­sity

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