New NCCU President expects professors, students to be thought leaders
|The new National Chengchi University President Edward Chow (周行一) Photo: Teh Pei Qi (鄭佩棋)|
By Yvonne Wu(吳映璠)
The new National Chengchi University (NCCU) President Edward Chow (周行一) said in an interview with NCCU Journal that he hoped both the university’s professors and students will all be the outstanding thought leaders in the age of globalization, adding that he will do so by first reducing the number of courses students should take.
Chow said he is determined to adjust the course structure. He said that professors at NCCU are often in charge of many tasks at the same time, adding that the administrative jobs make them unlikely to produce high-quality teaching and research.
Chow stressed the importance of independent thinking for professors, saying that “thoughts are the only way to influence people.” He added that the mission of NCCU includes not only teaching but also creating new knowledge that is critical in helping students to learn and the society to develop. Professors now have less time to think and to do significant research due to their busy work schedules, he said.
Meanwhile, Chow found that students at the university now take so many courses that they have less time to think, making them unlikely to absorb the knowledge. He said that the objective of the education should be to ensure that students have good character as well as the ability to learn by themselves when they start their careers.
To address the problem, the new NCCU President had made reducing the number of required courses students should take and building a tighter and more efficient course structure his No.1 promise in his campaign. By doing so, Chow said students could their courses better and have more flexibility in engaging in extracurricular activities, such as sports events, community services and internships.
Through adjusting the course structure and streamlining the administrative works, Chow said professors need not have to teach that many courses and can concentrate on teaching, interactions with students, writings and doing other creative works. He said that he hoped that the change would help both NCCU professors and students become influential thinkers in the academic communities as well as international society in the future.
During the interview, Chow remembered his first day on the NCCU campus, when he saw the stains on the wall of the Sihwei Hall. “I’ve never thought that NCCU would be hit by floods,” he said.
Chow further said that there were not many buildings on the campus at that time. Though the campus looks very different now, Chow said that the thing that has remained unchanged was students’ purity and sweet temperament.
“I organized the first graduation party at NCCU,” Chow said, adding that he spent a lot of time on campus when he was an undergraduate student. “Students spent less time in school now. I hope that, by better organizing public spaces, more students are motivated to spend more time on campus and to use the sources here.”
Speaking of his plans for NCCU, Chow said he had been seriously thinking about building an underground parking lot that can replace current parking spaces when the construction of the MRT station near NCCU is scheduled to begin in 2016. He added that, by doing so, more spaces will be used to build public facilities, such as a multi-functional student activity center that has a bookstore, restaurants, a theater, and guest houses.
“If possible, I will try to speak with our residents in the Wenshan District if they would love to work with us to make the Zhinan Rd. (指南路) a place filled with cultural atmosphere,” he said. “You can imagine that the Zhinan Rd. would turn into a place like Yongkang St. (永康街) [in the Xinyi District in Taipei City] one day.”
Although the university still lacks funding for construction, Chow said he believed that the alumni as well as people devoted to education would love to help.
“We still have the chance,” he said.
Chow said he would register at LinkedIn for NCCU and invite the university’s alumni to share their work experiences on the online social network which can then be a useful database for the students when they start their careers. He also said that he would use Facebook to communicate with students and welcome all reasonable and politely-delivered opinions.
Chow is the professor of the Department of Finance and was the dean of College of Commerce from 2005 to 2008. He was elected as the new President of NCCU on Oct. 18.