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UESTC International Cooperative Education Marches towards New Horizons

published: 2016-03-10 15:36:00       hits: 

Jointly supported by University of Glasgow (UoG) and University of Electronic Science & Technology of China (UESTC), UoG-UESTC Joint School has evolved from “Programme” to “Institution”, embracing its “first spring” in 2016. Recently, the Ministry of Education formally approved UoG-UESTC Joint School of UESTC as a “No Separate Legal Entity of Chinese-Foreign Cooperatively-Run Institution". All the efforts for the application work started from early 2015 have finally been rewarded.\

March 17, 2015, President Li Yanrong and President Anton Muscatelli, University of Glasgow, signed an agreement on Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run institution

Founded in January 5, 2013, UoG-UESTC Joint School is UESTC’sfirst school of joint operation by Chinese and foreign university. It was designed to host the undergraduate programme in Electronics andElectrical Engineering through cooperation between University of Glasgow and University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. While today, this “experimental plot for international education cooperation” bears new implications—it has evolved from joint programme to joint institution.

From now on, UoG-UESTC Joint School has three new undergraduate programmes, Communication Engineering, Microelectronic Science and Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, which have obtained the enrollment qualifications. More importantly, from previous one programme in Electronics & Electrical Engineering to currently four programmes, it is not only the numbers of programmes and students that have increased, but also the education independence and development space have been greatly improved as well.

 

Looking back, the joint “Programme” was a good start at that time, but the real splendor will gradually reveal itself. Just as the approval letter of the Ministry of Education reads, “The cooperation between University of Electronic Science andTechnology of China and the University of Glasgow of UK in the field of communication engineering, life science, etc. would introduce high-quality educational resources form overseas, explore new ways to educate top innovative talents in applied technologies, and play a leading role model for the internationalization of higher education in central and western regions of China.”

Shared Visions Demonstrate Strategic Consensus

Three years ago, UoG-UESTC Joint School was one of the few Chinese-foreign cooperative undergraduate programmes in Electronics & Electrical Engineering of the top universities of “Project 985”. Today, it opens the gate to the professional undergraduate education to Communication Engineering and Microelectronic Science and Engineering, and presciently set foot in the new field of Biomedical Engineering with interdisciplinary advantages, making it stand out in the leading position of the Chinese-foreign cooperative undergraduate programmes in Electronics & Electrical Engineering.

Generally speaking,from the overall situation of the Chinese-foreign cooperation in education, although various levels and types are covered, including more than 200 specialties in 12 disciplines, such as science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, humanities, social sciences,the international education cooperation mainly focuses on business, management and so on, and the proportion of science, engineering, agriculture and medicine is still very small, far from satisfying the need of social development for talents in these fields. Therefore, it is the right time to expand and upgrade of UoG-UESTC Joint School.

Moreover, “Many experts believe that, for the education cooperation between UoG and UESTC, there is still much potential waiting to be released.” Di Aiying, Director of the Office of International Cooperation & Exchange, said that before the application for the establishment of cooperative “Institution”, the International Office conducted in-depth research together with UoG and listened to the advice of both Chinese and British experts. The research conclusions and experts’ advice both suggested that UoG and UESTC could further advance their cooperation in education levels, types and fields.

Indeed, UESTC hasalways been playing a leading role in the field of Electronics & Electrical Engineering with traditional advantages plus distinctive characteristics, and have recently been marching towards “Industrial Electronics”, especially “Information Medicine”. However, the initial programme in Electronics & Electrical Engineering can hardly develop in full strength with limited scale and fields. In particular, when UoG-UESTC Joint School gradually grew in the past three years, the contrast of “small shoes for big feet” was increasingly obvious, which means that further improving the level and scope of international education cooperation was increasingly necessary.

And this is also the goal of internalization strategy of UoG. UoG ranks relatively high and maintains good international reputation in the field of Electronics & Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering for its faculty and research. UoG was aware that for the future development, internationalization and further development of its disciplines must be promoted toimprove its global influence. The cooperation with a Chinese university is of particular strategic significance.

Consequently, University of Glasgow, famous for its rigour and prudence, finally chose UESTC as its important strategic partner in engineering field,manifesting the full recognition of UESTC in Engineering, especially in Electronics & Electrical Engineering.

This strategic consensus was demonstrated by shared visions of both sides on the foundation of UoG-UESTC Joint School and joint efforts in promoting its evolution from “Programme” to “Institution”.\

Professor Anton Muscatelli attended the UESTC Forum and made a wonderful speech on Education for Internationalized Talents and Citizens

Win-Win Cooperation Gathers Preponderant Disciplines

The evolution from “Programme” to “Institution” means not only the great improvement on educational independence, but also the exponentially increased work intensity and difficulty. It is learned that the three new programmes will enroll 300 students in total for each semester. Then the overall enrollment of UoG-UESTC Joint School will reach 540 plus the 240 students of the current cooperation programme.

Even if only some students will be enrolled conservatively for trial in the next academic year (the autumn semester from this September), then a few years later when these new programmes become mature, they will exert great pressure on faculty, management and so on, which will be an important issue that must be resolved. Accordingly, from now on, the Joint School must bear the long-term development in mind and make sure that its faculty is fully prepared.

Compared with the original disciplines of UESTC, the disciplines of cooperative education will fully utilize the disciplinary advantages and quality resources, focusing on building anintegrated and complete knowledge architecture of general Electronic Engineering and appropriately enrich interdisciplinary knowledge. Specifically, the featured courses of UoG like Introduction to Electronics, Introduction to Life Science, Electronic Design Project, Teamwork Project, Professional Practice, etc. will be introduced to cultivate students’ professional capabilities, and meanwhile attach great importance to train students’ scientific literacy, independent exploration and innovation capability, cross-cultural communication skills, management abilityand teamwork capacity.

Graduates from this education architecture can either pursue a Master’s degree in Communication and Information System, Signal and Information Processing, Optical Engineering and Optical Communications, etc., or become international high-level technical talents to undertake the work such as product research, technology development, technology management and technical support in the related processes of Communication and Information Engineering like Communication R&D and Production, Communication Operation & Management, Information Services & Terminal Development, Network Design & Optimization, etc.

To fit into the education system, the teaching arrangements have been very meticulous. From the curriculum of each semester and the number of credits of each course, to who will teach, how to carry out the examination and/or assessment, how to control the process, how to guarantee the conditions and situations of the engineering practice, etc., detailed regulations and their implementations have been made.

With the support from the University and other Schools, UoG launched open recruitment and trial lecture on campus and finally hired excellent teachers with good expertise, teaching ability and English presentation skills to form a teaching team. The team members are all endowed with strong research ability, rich teaching experience, long-time overseas study or working experience, and excellent English teaching skills.

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British teachers designated by UoG to instruct specialized course in UESTC

UoG has arranged many capable teachers to instruct specialized course in UESTC, including Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering, Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh, IEEE Fellow, IET Fellow, Fellow of The Institute of Physics, etc.

Prosperous Future Promises Fruitful Journey

After the foundation of the Joint School in 2013, it planned to enroll 120 students for the first enrollment via “Glasgow Plan”. Yet, due to the positive social response to our promotion, we finally enrolled 144 students from 12 provinces and the local minimum admission scores were all higher than those of the key universities. In 2014, our programme expanded enrollment, with 241 Chinese students and 3 international students enrolled, and the local minimum admission scores were higher than the previous year. In 2015, we enrolled students from 14 provinces with the local minimum admission scores of 12 provinces higher than before, and 12 international students were enrolled.

Well, after having evolved from “Programme” to “Institution”, will the three new programmes be as popular as the first one? This is another realistic issue for UoG-UESTC Joint School. “Considering education, we will be prudent for our initial enrollment; while regarding the future, we are very optimistic.” said Zhao Zhiqin, Dean of UoG-UESTC Joint School.

The optimism of UoG-UESTC Joint School does not come from nowhere. On the one hand, both partners are world renowned universities, which shall result in obvious brand effect; on the other hand, the cooperation programme has a mature organizational structure for operation and management, with advanced British management mechanisms introduced and implemented, i.e. Joint Management Board, Academic Committee, etc. are also established apart from the administrative bodies, covering precise process management and strict quality control in teaching, and democratic supervision for the guarantee of educational standards.

After three years of operation, UoG-UESTC Joint School has accumulated rich practical experience, which could benefit the operation of the new programmes.

In addition, the model of “cooperative education with world famous universities” makes it no necessary to study abroad, greatly reducing the educational expenditures for the students and parents, which is another important reason for the international cooperative education to be so popular.

Moreover, as for the prospects, the communication technology, microelectronics technology and other core technologies are still the key to the development of the entire industry in the new information era. Meanwhile, the intersection and penetration of electronics industry into other industries is an irresistible trend with great demand of interdisciplinary talents from Electronics and other disciplines. Based on moderately expanded and strengthened interdisciplinary courses, the three new programmes are designed to meet this demand of talents in the new information era, which will surely become potential and popular “Golden Major”.

Profound Significance in Promoting Reform to Strive for World Class

In The Latest Developments of and Policies on the Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Domestic and Overseas Education, Chen Yinghui, Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation & Communication of the Ministry of Education, points out that as an important driver to promote the reform and development of Chinese education, the Chinese-foreign cooperation in education shall shift from scale expansion to the new stage of quality development, especially from learning by imitation to leading by innovation.

She believes that since Chinese society has now entered the new stage of innovation-driven and transformational development, Chinese-foreign cooperation in education shall have the awareness, basis and abilities to pioneer and innovate. We shall focus on the disciplinary development to establish the best modern education adapted to Chinese society, striving for the long-term benefits instead of short-termism. And the Chinese-foreign cooperation in education shall play an innovative and leading role to induce the “catfish effect” to strongly promote the reform and development of domestic education.

In fact, UoG-UESTC Joint School bears the duty and mission of promoting the educational reform of UESTCfrom the start.

Under the guidance of the core development strategy of internalization, UESTC did not affiliate the cooperative programme to any other Schools but unprecedentedly set up a new School for only one programme and appointed competent faculty to promote its development.

The goal of these efforts is to facilitate our comprehensive cooperation and improve the overall education and teaching of UESTC. What’s more, we can further enhance our abilities in international research and university-enterprise cooperation.

After three-years’operation since the launching of the first cooperative education programme, UoG-UESTC Joint School has been fully acknowledged by UoG and UESTC, students and faculty, parents and the public as well as peer universities. The representatives of UESTC have delivered keynote speeches on many related conferences on Chinese-foreign cooperative education to promote the experience sharing among universities. The international popularity and the social satisfaction of both universities have been increased through the Programme.

Today, the cooperative education of UoG-UESTC Joint School has achieved another upgrade. “We hope that our Joint School would facilitate the development of an internationalized faculty of top level, help improve the talents education system, further advance the disciplinary development of UESTC and contribute to improving its abilities in scientific researches and services for local economy.” said Zhao Zhiqin.

In terms of disciplinary development,UESTC believes that the internationalization development mode, i.e. building a sound international cooperative education platform and establishing comprehensive and substantive cooperation with the preponderant disciplines of foreign famous universities, will not only be an important path of development, but also an important way to achieve the internationalization strategy of UESTC. The three new programmes will further enhance the alliance between the two universities and improve the development and internalization of the electronic disciplines of UESTC.

As for the development of high-level internationalized faculty, after the foundation, UoG will select experts and professors of international and domestic fame from Britain to teach in the cooperatively-run institution according to the agreement signed by both partners. This will provide an opportunity to present advanced international teaching, including teaching concept, teaching method, etc., for the teachers of UESTC, which will surely help improve the teaching standards and quality.

To serve as the communication platform, UoG-UESTC Joint School will set the foundation for research cooperation between the two universities, broaden the international vision of the faculty of UESTC and encourage them to participate in international cooperation in education and research, thus training internationalized talents and improving the internationalization of education and research.\

About 80 students from UoG-UESTC Joint School visited GE China Innovation Center to learnabout its development strategies of globalization and localization

Gao Shiquan, the General Secretary of Party Branch of UoG-UESTC Joint School, holds that with China’s rapid economic development and its growing internationalization, higher education shall change the traditional talent training mode, broaden students’ international vision, improve their ability of innovation and help them build the architecture of knowledge and capability adapted to international competition. And through cooperation with UoG to establish Chinese-foreign cooperatively-run institution, we could improve our traditional talent training mode and achieve its transformation with higher standards and internationalization. It will play a positive role in promoting the achievement of our “double first-class” goal, i.e. first-class university and first-class disciplines.

Translator: Xu Wangbin