Funding granted by MOE's Higher Education Sprout Project reflects NCCU’s progress
|"Funding granted by MOE's Higher Education Sprout Project reflects NCCU's progress," said President Chow.|
Hung Chen Lu (盧虹蓁) /
Ministry of Education revealed the funding result of the 2018 Higher Education Sprout Project (高教深耕計畫，hereafter, “HESP”). President Edward Chow (周行一) states that the funding granted to NCCU reflects NCCU’s long-term efforts in integrating academic research, education, and public affairs, as well as in solving social problems and fulfilling social responsibility. It also proves that NCCU is the university in progress and continues to occupy the leading position among humanities and social sciences featured universities in Taiwan. However, the fact that none of the universities specializing in humanities and social sciences got into the second part of the HESP highlights the government’s negligence of the importance of these fields and the imbalanced grants to humanities/social science comparing to those given to engineering/technology related fields, which would definitely shrink the total international competitiveness of the nation’s higher education.
The second part of the HESP "Enhance International Competitiveness” has a total budget of 5.3 billion NT dollars (4 billion for the “whole-school program” and 1.3 billion for the “featured areas research center program”). Among all universities that submitted their proposals, only four were chosen to grant the “whole-school project.” According to President Chow, the government claims that they seek to reinforce the country’s global competitiveness, yet there must be more than four universities equipped with global competitiveness that need to be encouraged.
Facing strong competitors in higher education, having an opened and encouraging “policy” is extremely important. Not only universities of humanities and social sciences should not be left out, capable universities with all kinds of specialties should also be included to fight the so-called “International Higher Education Cup.” If the government funds less higher education institutions due to limited budget and resources, those have hardly established their international reputation would surely feel rejected and get frustrated. Although the Ministry of Education explains that there will be 65 specialized areas research centers being fostered in 24 universities, which will help the universities to become specialized global competitors, but a university’s international status and reputation should be comprehensive and definitely cannot be represented by merely few research centers.
President Chow emphasizes that most main global issues belongs to the fields of humanities and social sciences. A humanistic society should not only cultivate technical talents, but to take the spirit of humanism and social development as spiral cores, to foster youth to develop both scientific literacy and humanism, so to strongly increase their social awareness. Thus, what the nation needs are not only people specialized in techno-engineering domain, but also those who are good in interdisciplinary integrity and logical critical thinking. Our higher education should try not to repeat the same long-term mistakes by allocating most funds on technology, but to leave some space for the development of humanities and social science related fields.
NCCU is the most internalized university in Taiwan, having 720 partner universities from 68 countries in 5 continents, and 3,300 international students among 16,000 students in total, with an increase of 24% of international students in last three years. President Chow indicates that through promoting the 9-colleges’ English Taught Programs (ETP), international student recruitment and counselling, double degree programs, overseas studying, and this year’s to-be-founded International College, NCCU is establishing an internationalized campus, creating a multicultural and diversified atmosphere, promoting globalized administration, allowing NCCU to become fully interdisciplinary, build strong connections between locals and abroad, and strengthen international mobility and global competitiveness.
NCCU, as the President points out, has already set a 5-year blueprint of campus development, proposed feasible strategies and executive plans, and spread global net spots. With strong foundation in humanities and social science, NCCU can break through the impacts caused by international status, become more influential worldwide, further develop social responsibility globally, and contribute to both education and academic research. In terms of the strategy for global competitiveness, NCCU will continue to work on the following 3 main areas: academic research, international talent cultivation & recruitment, and industrial innovation & research development.
To recruit outstanding international faculty, NCCU has set a regulation to adjust the number of faculty quota in every college and seeks for external resources, with up to 1.2 million dollars per new international faculty to boost up NCCU’s global competitiveness. President Chou also declares that, NCCU initiated course refinement since 2016-2017 academic year. With the pyramid structure of courses integrated and offered by the College, and the “low threshold, high standard” principle to lower the qualifications of entering a double-major or minor program, students are able to take more interdisciplinary courses, get strong and firm knowledge in different fields, and train their problem-solving abilities, whereas faculty’s teaching hours will also be reasonably adjusted.
"The outcome of NCCU’s efforts has already demonstrated what first-rate university of humanities and social science should equip with: vision, magnanimity, and the will to shoulder responsibilities," said President Chow. In the future, NCCU will keep striving for leadership of the ideas, inspiration to society and global reach.