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[Educational Reform] General Education is the Cultivation of the Mind with the Truth, Beauty and Goodness! 10th Anniversary Celebration of School of General Education


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.

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