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Humanities and Arts Education in World-class Science and Engineering Universities Forum Held

日期 2018 10 13/分类 BIO News


October 12 and 13 saw the “Opportunities and Challenges: Humanities and Arts Education in World-class Science and Engineering Universities Forum” take place at Shenzhen’s Kylin Villa. More than 150 experts and scholars from more than 40 universities and institutions around the world came together to focus on the opportunities and challenges of the development of liberal arts colleges in the new environment. During the Forum, experts and scholars examined the experience and models of liberal arts disciplines in first-class science and engineering universities and explored the trends and paths of humanities education in the colleges and universities in the future.

Deputy Secretary-General of the Shenzhen Municipal Government Liu Jiachen and Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) President Chen Shiyi attended the opening ceremony and delivered speeches. The opening ceremony was hosted by Chen Yuehong, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at SUSTech.

Forum site

Chen Yuehong presided over the opening ceremony

More than 13 foreign universities and institutions were in attendance, with experts and scholars from other institutions from around the world coming for the summit. American universities included Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, James Madison University, the University of Missouri and Kansas University. Australian universities Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), University of Technology Sydney (UTS) were joined by Canadian universities the University of British Columbia and University of York. European institutions included France’s Lausanne Federal Polytechnic, Israel’s Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the University of Tampere in Finland and the Ludwig Art Museum in Germany, while Uganda’s University of Makerere was proud to be present.

5 universities from Taiwan Province, Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions sent representatives, namely Hong Kong University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Lingnan University, University of Macau and Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University. More than 20 universities from mainland China joined SUSTech, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, University of Science and Technology China, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Zhejiang University, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beihang University, Xiamen University, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Harbin Normal University, and the China Conservatory of Music.

Liu Jiachen

In her speech, Liu Jiachen spoke on behalf of the Shenzhen Municipal Government and welcomed the experts and scholars at home and abroad for coming to the Forum. She thanked everyone for their long-term support for the development of cultural and educational undertakings in Shenzhen and spoke about the recent economic, educational, scientific and technological development of Shenzhen.

She pointed out that the rapid development of SUSTech is another manifestation of the spirit of Shenzhen and the speed of Shenzhen in the field of higher education. The development of a distinctive liberal arts department is the only way for science and engineering universities to build a world-class university. It is also the basis for cultivating comprehensive, innovative talents.

“SUSTech is committed to improving students’ cultural literacy, by adapting to local conditions and boldly innovating. With SUSTech actively exploring new paths for liberal arts construction in its quest to become a first-rate science and engineering university.” She believes that SUSTech will promote the further development and upgrading of the school’s liberal arts department through future peer-to-peer exchange and debate.

Chen Shiyi

Chen Shiyi said that first-class universities needed first-class liberal arts education. The development of liberal arts education in science and engineering universities is a challenge that SUSTech has been working on for some time.

One of SUSTech’s goals has been to develop a liberal arts department that matches world-class science and engineering universities around the world. He introduced the achievements made in the development and construction of SUSTech since its establishment. He also placed special emphasis on the effective measures, preliminary results and its future development planning.

Chen Shiyi pointed out that the development of SUSTech’s liberal arts education is to hope to inherit the power of thought and culture while cultivating scientists and engineers with critical thinking, imagination, and creativity. This would realize the sustainable development of personnel training and effective operation of SUSTech. The creation of the liberal arts department at SUSTech will focus on the development of the association and highlight the characteristics of SUSTech.

By taking this approach, there would be a unique and development of the liberal arts and coordination with science, engineering, and medicine at a higher level. It will play a more important role in the cultivation of talents, the comprehensive development of students, and better support the economic and social development of Shenzhen. He hoped that the guests at the forum would work together to contribute to the development of the liberal arts at SUSTech and all science and engineering universities.

Li Fengliang

Li Fengliang, SUSTech University Council Vice Chairperson and Chair Professor at Center of Humanities gave the first report of the Forum. With the theme of ” The Future of Liberal Arts Education through Inter-disciplinary Integration: Perspective from Southern University of Science and Technology,” the report analysed the trend of cross-border, internationalization, generalization and innovation in the liberal arts construction of world-class universities of science and engineering. It has combed the history and typical characteristics of the liberal arts development of the domestic universities  and introduced the development of the liberal arts disciplines at SUSTech.

From the early stage of construction, SUSTech’s liberal arts disciplines have always adhered to the principle of “small and precise, high level, distinctive, moderate scale, and outstanding advantages.” It is committed to building close relationships with science and engineering. It combines the characteristics of humanities and social sciences by providing high-level liberal arts education for science and engineering students.

Within the framework of the “Three Schools” (School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Business School and Shenzhen Creative and Creative Design School) and the “Three Centers” (Center of Arts, Center for Language Education, Political Education and Research Center), SUSTech has made great efforts to construct a cultural education group and research platform in its own mold.

The report also points out that the university is facing future development, focusing on humanistic education and its cutting-edge characteristics. Li Fengliang’s report also emphasized interdisciplinary research focusing on practical innovation and other aspects of the construction of new characteristics of liberal arts.

Andree Ritivoi

Professor and Head of English Department at Carnegie Mellon University Andree Ritivoi, gave a keynote speech around the theme of “On Equal Terms: An Educational Vision for (Re) Technology and Science to Humanity.” She believes that despite the widespread sense of humanistic crises in both public and academic circles, few people pay attention to what humanities education can bring to students. She puts forward what the humanities are able to provide to students, and spoke about the relationship between humanities and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Andree asked the very challenging question of whether humanities can be a truly equal partner with science and technology. These problems were taken as an entry point and were combined with recent examples at the Carnegie Mellon University, in order to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between the humanities and science and technology. She also mentioned that SUSTech as a science and engineering university is so focused and dedicated to humanities education, which impressed her.

Yang Rui made a report

Deputy Dean of the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Education Yang Rui was next to speak. He reported on “New Wine in Old Bottles: Humanities Education in a Context of New Knowledge Realities.” From the classification of humanities education in ancient China and Western traditions, his report analysed the current trend of humanities education in Chinese universities and colleges and universities. The predicament and causes of education have explored some new realities of the generation and refraction of contemporary knowledge in the context of increasing globalization and proposed new methods of teaching humanities for universities, especially science and technology universities.

Efraim Lev

Head of the Department of Humanities and Arts at Technion Israel Institute of Technology Efraim Lev gave an illuminating lecture on “Humanities and Arts in the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology – A Leading Institution in a ‘Startup Nation .” The report described the history of the Israel Institute of Technology and the contributions of its graduates and researchers on a global scale, focusing on the Department of Humanities and Arts of the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the Enrichment Program, and collaboration with Haifa University. He pointed out the science and the major challenges facing humanities and arts education in technology courses and provided possible solutions.

Liao Kebin

Professor Liao Kebin from Peking University’s Department of Chinese gave the final report of the morning about “TResolving the Conflict between Humanity and Functionality in Chinese Language Education at Higher Education Institutions: A case study of Peking University.” He used Peking University as a counterexample to the content of his speech. The report pointed out that at present some universities in China offer “college Chinese” courses, giving them too many teaching goals, resulting in contradictions between humanity and instrumentality, which results in less than ideal outcomes. The report believes that it is necessary to further clarify the purpose of humanistic education in “university language.” As a result, it is important to follow the unique rules of humanities education and set diversified teaching content. Some of his examples included adopting flexible teaching methods, fully respecting teachers’ autonomy, enhance the sense of teachers’ responsibility, improve teaching effectiveness and make courses more attractive to students.

On the afternoon of the 12th, the summit split into 4 subforums. These smaller forums will examine topics entitled “Humanities and Arts Education in World-class Science and Engineering Universities: Objective and Approach,” “Transdisciplinary Studies and Social Sciences,” “Higher Education Research for the Integration of Liberal Arts, Science and Engineering,” “Boundary and Exploration: The Multiple Dimensions of Arts and Science.” These subforums were organized by specific SUSTech departments, namely the Humanities Center, the Social Science Center, the Higher Education Research Center and the Art Center. The participating scholars will conduct a series of reports, in-depth exchanges, and discussions around the sub-forum theme.

The third plenary session will begin on Saturday 13th. Dean of Stamps from the University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design Gunalan Nadarajan will present the ” Integrating Arts and Humanities in Science, Technology and Engineering Education: Challenges and Opportunities” report and Associate Dean from RMIT’s Institute of Research and Innovation Chris Eves will speak about ” Developing a Collaborative Research Agenda in Multi-discipline Schools and Faculties.” Professor and Vice Chancellor Barnabas Nawangwe of Makerere University in Uganda will provide his thoughts on “Facing The Challenges In An Interdisciplinary Era: A Dialogue Between Humanities And Science” while Professor and Head of the Department of Science, Technology and Archaeology Shi Yunli from the University of Science and Technology China will speak about “General Education and New Humanities Education”. Chair Professor and Vice Dean of SUSTech’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences Zhou Yongming will close the summit on the morning of the 13th. Based on the previous reports and discussions, there will be more comprehensive and in-depth exchanges and discussions focusing on “On the New Meaning and New Way of Humanities and Arts Education in Science and Engineering Universitie.”

With the opportunity of this forum, SUSTech will further learn from the valuable experience and practices of first-class universities in the field of humanities and arts education. It attaches great importance to and makes full use of the research and exchange results of this forum and will actively explore new ideas for the development of liberal arts education.

Translated and Adapted: Chris Edwards/ Xia Yingying

Proofread: Xia Yingying

Photo: Su Jiahui, Zhang Xiaoyan, Wang Kaiqiang

Reprinted from SUSTech official website:



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