In the afternoon of April 8thand in the room No A405 of WNLO, 30 freshmen in the Internationalization Demonstration School （IDS） were experiencing their first newly-set international course-Critical Thinking in Communication co-taught by professor Barry R.Masters, the former visiting scientist in department of Biomedical Engineering of MIT and professor Fu Lin in WNLO.
Maybe you have never heard of the IDS in HUST and have no idea of what it is, why it’s so called and what are the differences between IDS and other HUST schools. But undeniably it really exists in HUST campus.
Internationalization Demonstration School，also called School of Enigneering Sciences , was founded based on the WNLO and is one of the four pilot IDSs approved by the government.
In 2012, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and MOE initiated the “ Internationalization Demonstration School Promotion Plan” , aiming at a comprehensive reform on the overseas intelligence introduction in higher education. By introducing overseas high-level expert panels, building the IDS, exploring innovative teaching, research and management mechanism, the Plan was designed to finally facilitate the development of higher education. The first group of universities approved to build a pilot IDS are Tian Jin University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, HUST and Shanghai Jiaotong University.
In September 2013, considering the specialties and comprehensive advantages WNLO boasts in overseas intelligence introduction, international exchange and the cross development of multiple disciplines, HUST decided to found the IDS based on WNLO in the hope of making full use of its excellent resources and then nurturing the top innovative talents with a multi-disciplinary horizon, solid science and engineering knowledge foundation and great international competitiveness by introducing high-level international faculty and adopting an international operative model of teaching and learning.
In June 2014, IDS began to operate. In September, 30 freshmen from different schools and departments were selected as the first group of students in IDS.
“We, as a new school shouldering the responsibility of internationalization demonstration have always been considering how to construct the international course system and build the international teaching experimental zone,” said Fu Lin, vice dean of the IDS.
Since the establishment of the school, it has aimed its construction goal at that of the international top universities. It insisted on constructing the course according to the international benchmark, introducing foreign faculties and advanced teaching philosophies and methods so as to make a seamless connection of students’ further development with the international top universities. Our goal is to try to make the students feel that they are just like studying in foreign top universities except the difference of the geographical location.
By comparatively analyzing the undergraduate engineering education of the international top universities like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and UC Berkeley, HUST finally decided to highly integrate the former courses and setting 20 new international courses. Every international course shall be taught by a standardized teaching group led by a responsible professor with rich experience in undergraduate teaching and with the joining of at least a foreign expert. These courses will be taught totally in English or bilingually.
Reporters found that college English was not included in the school course plan while technical writing and critical thinking in communication are there conspicuously. English application ability improvement project training, summer overseas training and overseas graduation design are also included.
In the first class of the course-critical thinking in communication, Barry handed out 100 pages of English learning materials to the students. In his opinion, the most important thing is to leave students more time for extracurricular learning and guide them to make full use of this time to learn independently.
“In order to prepare for the first class, I spent nearly one day on the review. “said Zhang Ruizhe. ‘ A large amount of homework obliges the students to spend a lot of time on independent learning.
Professor Li Xun, selected in the Recruitment Program of Global Experts and director of the school teaching steering committee thinks that constructing the course in an international horizon can result in the heavy task after class, thus bringing more stress to the students; After the course condensation , teachers still need to cover all the knowledge points in their teaching, which poses more challenges to them since they will be urged to update their knowledge and teaching experiments and participated more actively in the construction of the course.
Barry said with a smile after getting to know the course system of IDS: The SES （School of Engineering Sciences） program is harder than hell，but the reward is greater than heaven. He thinks now the learning is full of challenges but the returns are lifetime beneficial. His opinion gained the favor of the students.
Every student is equipped with an academic advisor and a supervisor and the 10 research platforms are open to them. The school supervisor system to be implemented arouses a lot of expectations from the students.
IDS had tried a lot of methods to achieve the parallel development of teaching and educating and the individual training. In order to improve students’ knowledge structure and operative abilities, the latter are encouraged to develop their innovative thinking based on the knowledge so as to make it systematized, linearized and clarified. The school equipped every student with supervisors and adopted the small class elite teaching model so as to make supervisors the leader of their college life, the lab the place of training students’ operative abilities and enlightening their scientific research. The final goal is to make students easier to integrate into the international world with international horizons and innovative abilities.
Following this method, academic advisors will pay attention to students’ individual characteristics. They will teach students in accordance with their aptitude and guide them in their research enlightenment and research report writing while supervisors focus on training students’ research abilities, guiding them undertaking research projects, perfecting students’ method of doing research, organizing and guiding them to write academic papers, training their oral English report ability and helping them contact foreign supervisors in their graduation design.
While this method is still under draft and survey, the “research geniuses” in WNLO have shown their support to it.
Professor Tang Jiang , selected in the Young overseas high-level talents introduction plan replied : ‘The supervisor system is a good try and the students in IDS are so fortunate because they are delicately and carefully nurtured . The key is also students’ attitude and activeness“.
Guo Weihua ,selected scholar in Young overseas high-level talents introduction plan said:” I really dreamed to have a supervisor when I was studying in the university. Now I can help the students to realize their dreams by providing a good environment for scientific research. I fully support it and happily welcome them to join our lab.”
Professor Zhang Zhihong , the New Century Excellent Talent in University put forward 4 suggestions and hoped that everyone can be actively involved in optimizing the system and creating a sound environment.
Wang Shu, a student in IDS looked forward to his new personally designated supervisor very much “ I hope he can be extremely excellent and I can get my scientific thinking trained in his lab.”
March 24this a happy day for Xu Yang, Luo Yilin and Li Junyang. In the themed class meeting that day, they received the good news that each of them will have a three-week long exchange study in this summer in UC Berkeley with the full funding of the school and the university.
On hearing of the news, Xu Yang devoted himself to preparation such as improving his English listening and speaking ability and getting to know the American culture. He said he had much to prepare but at the thought of being able to experience the teaching methods of the top universities in US and visiting the well-known enterprises in San Francisco, he couldn’t feel more exciting.
Wanf Zhi from School of Material Science and Engineering said in an interview that here there are enviable labs and many opportunities to exchange with international scholars; it’s just so amazing and fantastic!
“Widening the international horizon requires going global so IDS urges students to finish their graduation design overseas” said Fu Lin. In 2017, the 30 students will be sent to the top foreign universities or research institutes for a 6-month-long graduation design and project training with a 1 versus 1 fund support. Besides this, HUST Academic Affairs Office, International exchange office together with WNLO will also cooperate in offering multi-channel and multi-level foreign exchange programs to students.
Next, the school plans to assist the university in pushing forward and implementing its reciprocal faculty dispatch work with international top universities. While dedicated to running the IDS and training international talents well, the school will also help to enhance the international influence of the university.