The year 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of School of General Education of Xi'an Eurasia University. Over the past decade, School of General Education has been exploring the significance and carrying out practices of general education.
In 2012, School of General Education was officially established and started to develop general education curriculum and build a curriculum framework. In 2015, it continued to improve the general education system and promote the general education reform of basic courses. In 2019, as the school-level training objectives were further defined, the curriculum system of School of General Education embraced an overall promotion. In 2022, to "ensure each learner benefits from general education for a lifetime", School of General Education continued to optimize the design and implementation of various curriculum and non-curriculum learning activities to build a platform for the dissemination of high-quality general education concepts. Now, it has become a representative active practitioner and provided a successful paradigm in the general education reform among domestic applied universities.
On the afternoon of November 9, "General education is the cultivation of the mind with the truth, beauty and goodness", the 10th anniversary celebration of School of General Education was held in the atrium, Floor 1, the North E Teaching Building. Hu Jianbo, Chairman of Xi'an Eurasia University, Liu Jin, Principal of Xi'an Eurasia University, Yu Mengchen, Secretary of the Party Committee, Zhang Junhong, Sun Jianrong, and Zhang Lefang, Vice Principals of Xi'an Eurasia University, Wang Yan, Assistant to Principal of Xi'an Eurasia University, and other university leaders attended the ceremony. Besides, Chen Yang, Executive Dean of School of Humanities and Education and other heads of second-class schools, Huang Xin, Deputy Dean of School of General Education, and representatives of teachers and students attended the ceremony. David Cheng, who has worked at Columbia University, a major university of general education in the United States, for many years, and is currently the chief scientist of MyCOS and visiting professor of Southern University of Science and Technology, was also invited to discuss the development of general education with teachers and students present.
Design of General Education Curriculum in Colleges and Universities: Consideration and Arrangement
At the beginning of the celebration, Dr. David Cheng gave a wonderful speech on the topic of "Design of General Education Curriculum in Colleges and Universities: Consideration and Arrangement". He put forward three inevitable problems in the development of general education: whether general education curriculum needs to focus on contemporary critical issues, how to meet the needs of different student groups through the common curriculum in the era of popularization of higher education, and how general education curriculum will cope with the changes brought about by the information society.
The difference between "Keeping Up with the Times" concept of Harvard University and "One Size Fits All" model of Columbia University shows that there is no fixed model for general education, and comprehensive consideration and reasonable arrangements should be made for general education curriculum according to the specific university situation and learning situation.
Dr. David Cheng believed that "lifelong learning" is necessary for people to adapt to the development of the future era. As a kind of humanistic education different from professional education, general education should pay more attention to cultivating students' comprehensive abilities and qualities. It should not only enable students to acquire knowledge but also cultivate their insight and wisdom to meet the challenges of modern life. Therefore, general education curriculum must be able to attract students to actively participate in, enrich their reading experience, and pose challenges to their intelligence cultivation during this process.
Talent Cultivation of Knowledge Workers
Professor Hu Jianbo shared his thoughts with the other teachers and students about the theme "Talent Cultivation of Knowledge Workers". He pointed out that the education provided by Xi'an Eurasia University should lead students to "happiness", and that the purpose of education was not only to teach students how to make a living in the future but also to help students develop the ability to feel good and be happy.
As Peter Drucker wrote in his book Post-Capitalist Society: we are undergoing a change that occurs every few hundred years, and this time we will all enter a knowledge society. In a knowledge society, knowledge has quickly become a key resource, and knowledge workers will become dominant. In a knowledge society, knowledge is not only a means of earning a living but also a path to happiness. As the knowledge society and knowledge economy come, education has gradually shifted from elite to mass, and the advancement and development of the future society will be dependent on the wisdom of the masses. A "knowledge worker" should be able to manage time, make external contributions, fully utilize one's strengths, prioritize important matters, and manage objectives. From the perspective of teachers who teach knowledge, measuring these abilities also establishes clear development planning requirements for teachers, students, disciplines, and majors. Teachers should constantly provide appropriate opportunities and scenarios for students to put what they have learned into practice, but most importantly, teachers must first become practitioners of "lifelong learning."
Professor Hu Jianbo hoped that all curricula in the School of General Education would aim to cultivate students' perseverance, lifelong learning ability, debate thinking, innovative thinking, expression and communication ability, and other general knowledge skills, and encourage students to become knowledge workers who could perceive happiness. As teachers who teach general education courses, they should lead by example, adhere to lifelong learning, and acquire the ability of lifelong innovation through lifelong learning.
School of General Education: From Zero to Ten
The School of General Education's success in reform and innovation from 2012 to 2022 cannot be separated from the wisdom and contribution of its three deans, Chen Yang, Wang Yan, and Huang Xin. As the masterminds of the establishment and development of the School of General Education, they have continued to forge ahead and break new ground in a realistic and pragmatic way, and promote the concept of "General Education" to put roots down and spread both in and out of school. They reminisced about their time working at the School of General Education back in the day, and shared their thoughts on the future of General Education and their expectations for it, respectively.
As the first dean of the School of General Education, Chen Yang led all the teachers to work together on exploration in the early times of its establishment. There was no model of general education teaching practice in applied universities in China at the time of the establishment of the School of General Education. There were almost no mature solutions to the School's problems, so teachers had to think and explore on their own to find feasible solutions and paths. Looking back, every attempt and reform of the School of General Education was on the right track, meeting the laws and needs of the development of application-oriented universities. Chen Yang also mentioned that teachers of general education courses were unique in that they instill dreams and feelings in their students, guide them to unleash their internal strength, and teach them how to see themselves, the world, and all living beings to form correct world outlook, values, and life outlook.
Wang Yan, the second Dean of the School of General Education, firmly led it forward on the road to adapting to Xi'an Eurasia University's development during her term. Wang Yan noted that the School of General Education had been in operation for ten years with three deans and that their cognition and understanding of general education were similar despite their differences in personality and thoughts. She also believed that the goal of general education was to cultivate students with souls and hearts rather than machines that can only work. This manifested that students can actively develop their own knowledge system, think independently, and find appropriate ways to express themselves by constantly reflecting and improving. Wang Yan emphasized the importance of each general education teacher maintaining independent thinking and a unique personality at the end of her speech. If teachers want to cultivate students with general education abilities, they must first make themselves not simple so that every student can shine.
Huang Xin, the current vice dean of the School of General Education, expressed his gratitude to all the leaders, teachers, and students present, emphasizing that the School of General Education would not be able to present its current new look and achieve its current achievements without all the teachers and their ongoing efforts. Since becoming dean of the School of General Education in 2017, Huang Xin has remained committed to the original goal of general education: to cultivate students' skills, knowledge, and values to aid in self-improvement. To cultivate students' skills, knowledge, and values emphasizes that general education development should be in line with the objectives of cultivation of Talent in application-oriented universities. "Self-improvement" emphasizes the importance of maintaining students' curiosity for them to actively explore and construct their cognition of self and society. "The School of General Education has accumulated mature experience in curriculum system reform, Xi'an Eurasia University DNA curriculum construction, and sports club reform. It is expected that the practice of general education at Xi'an Eurasia University will have a broader platform and a brighter future in the next five, ten, or more years," said Huang Xin.
The School of General Education Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary! Thank You to Everyone.
The School of General Education's ten-year development cannot be divorced from every dedicated general education course teacher who works on the front lines of teaching. They build a bridge to the world of knowledge for students with a strong sense of responsibility and dedication.
At the School of General Education's 10th Anniversary Ceremony, awards such as the Outstanding Contribution Award for Curriculum Construction, the Teaching Award, Science & Technology Pioneer Award, Advanced Management Award, Team Outstanding Contribution Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Founding Faculty-Forward Award were established to recognize outstanding teachers in various fields and express their heartfelt gratitude to all teachers, encouraging more teachers to find, recognize, and achieve themselves in the future at Xi'an Eurasia University.
Ten years may be a brief period in one's life journey. But it is different for 177 teachers from the School of General Education because they have experienced the beauty of education in the past ten years together.
Looking back over the last decade, the School of General Education has undergone reform and exploration in an effort to explore the mode of general education implementation that is suitable for application-oriented colleges and universities, built a high-quality platform for the dissemination of the concept of general education in application-oriented colleges and universities, and gradually established a general education brand with our university's unique characteristics.
Based on a new starting point, the School of General Education will continue to grow in innovation and persistence over the next decade, and together we will create a better future!
Written by Liu Chixiaofei and Wu Zhifeng, photographed by Liu Feiran and Cai Zhuofan, and videos from Wang Mengyang and Hu Xin, School of General Education.