In spring of last year (2012), TKU began offering a new and unique type of course: the Online Executive Master’s Program. The purpose of the program is to train on-the-job professionals from Latin American and Caribbean countries (that have diplomatic relations with the ROC) and thereby enable these professionals to carry out in-depth research on Asia or take part in international affairs. This is the first executive master’s program in Taiwan to adopt an online long-distance learning format and accept students from other countries. Because the course breaks down geographical barriers, it has become very popular among high-level dignitaries located in Central and South America. In its second year since commencing, it has attracted an “all star” line-up of students, including Mr. Estuardo Roldán, (Guatemala’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs), Mr. Juan Manuel de Jesus Flores (Representative in the recumbent FMLN Party, El Salvador), and Mr. José Antonio Ovelar Núñez (from the Senate of Paraguay). To officially welcome the 17 new learners and 15 continuing learners from last year, on the morning of March 4th, TKU held a special welcome luncheon. In the coming week, the learners will attend in-class lessons and orientation before returning to their respective countries to continue the learning process online. One of the Master’s students who has been in the program since its outset last year, Juan Federico La Mont Campos, is the Vice President of the Radio Host Association in Mexico. Federico noted that through undertaking the Executive Master’s program, he has been able to explore the relationship between Latin American and Asian cultures. This, in turn, has influenced his future ambitions. He now hopes to use “soft diplomacy” to bring the two regions even closer.
The TKU Goodwill Ambassador Association was established in 1997. Over the last 15 years, it have served as the "face of Tamkang", with its members responsible for greeting visitors and taking them on detailed tours of the Tamsui Campus. To share the joy and honor of 15 years of tireless service, the association recently held a 15th anniversary exhibition entitled "Memories, Goodwill, and Fate - Love is in the Air" (Feb 19-21). The Goodwill Ambassadors uphold principles of enthusiasm, service, and a friendly attitude. Before being inducted as members, they undergo a stringent training process which involves etiquette, personal grooming, and tour guide skills. Association members help to receive international visitors to TKU, assist during major TKU events and activities, and serve as emcees at a range of international conferences. Upon hearing of the exhibition, a number of local Taiwanese universities traveled great distances to attend the 15-year milestone event. One of the visitors, Director Lin Po-huang from Transworld University, Yunlin, expressed that he attended the event because "the TKU Goodwill Ambassadors are a very well-organized group". Director Lin came to the event to learn about the administrative processes implemented by the group and possibly apply some of this knowledge to similar associations at his university.
Cheers recently announced the result of its annual “enterprises’ favorite graduates” survey. TKU came 7th out of all universities in Taiwan and, for the 16th consecutive year, 1st among Taiwanese private universities. The Cheers annual survey compiles important information, feedback, and opinions on university graduates in the workplace through a questionnaire issued to managers and HR staff from 3000 companies around Taiwan. The survey is so highly valued that some companies use it as a reference point when hiring new employees. Cheers divides workplace performance into 8 separate attributes, including: a willingness to learn, adapt, and be flexible; the ability to cope with stress and remain reliable and consistent; professional knowledge and skills; the ability to work within a team; the ability to solve problems; an international perspective and foreign language skills; the ability to innovate; the ability to integrate these attributes into your job.
On Feb 18, after a long, three-week Winter Break, TKU faculty and staff returned to Tamkang for the first day of work in the Chinese “Year of the Snake”. To mark the New Year, TKU held the annual Tamkang University Morning Tea at the Chueh Sheng International Conference Hall, Tamsui Campus. The venue, at which the Morning Tea was held, was decorated with an auspicious New Year in mind. The food tables were lined up to resemble the Chinese character 旺 “Wang” (meaning prosperity). On the tables were fruits symbolizing peace and good fortune; fruits like apples, mandarins, and dates, among others. During the event, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, wished attendees a “Happy New Year” and outlined a number of TKU New Year “resolutions” and goals: 1. The active promotion of student activities related to the “year of moral character” campaign, recently launched by Tamkang. 2. Implementing into daily work practices principles of Total Quality Management, such as the PDCA process and other such procedures, which have become a part of the unique TKU culture; and 3. Strengthening the quality of administrative self-evaluation mechanisms.
Each year, on the day before the winter holidays officially commence, TKU holds a major "End-of-Year" gala to usher in the holidays and mark the coming Chinese New Year. This year, the gala festivities were organized by the Office of Student Affairs. Gala activities included a raffle in which students and staff had the chance to win up to NT $30,000; opening remarks by the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang; various energy-filled song and dance performances (including a rendition of the "Gangnam" dance) by staff from the Office of Student Affairs; and a breathtaking magic show, in which 4th year Chemistry student and well-known magician, Chu Geng-ching, performed a number of gasp-inducing illusions.
On Jan 22nd and 23rd, the TKU Graduate Institute of European Studies held the 2013 Russian Winter Camp. Held at the TKU Tamsui Campus, the camp involved classes and lectures by high-profile scholars and experts, who talked about Russia’s political and economic background, society, and culture; while providing interested students with knowledge on Russian higher education. The opening ceremony of the camp was attended by the TKU Vice President for International Affairs, Dr. Wan-Chin Tai; the Director of the Graduate Institute of European Studies, Dr. Chiu-ching Kuo; the Chair of the Department of Russian, Dr. Chang Ching-gwo; as well as various professors from related departments. During the opening remarks, Vice President Tai explained that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Taiwan/Russia relations have consistently grown and developed. He predicts that in the future, there will be an acute need for Taiwanese professionals who can speak fluent Russian. Also in attendance at the opening ceremony was Mr. Oleg A Balakirev, from the Moscow Representative Office in Taipei. Mr. Balakirev delivered a special lecture on the topic “Integrating the Russian and Asia Pacific Economies”. In total, there were 52 camp participants, who came from universities across Taiwan.
From Jan 22-24, various activities were held at the Tamsui campus as part of the 2013 Rover Scout Annual Gathering. The gathering was attended by 91 students from universities around Taiwan. Attendees included club rover leaders, Cub Scout representatives, and two club rover partners from Japan and Korea. The purpose of holding this annual event is to provide young “rovers” with an official platform from which to express their views and opinions. It is also a means of training students in discussing issues and planning large-scale events. The theme of this year’s gathering was “yesterday, a beautiful memory; today, a wonderful day; tomorrow, a bright and hopeful future”. Special guests at the opening ceremony, held on the 22nd, included the chairman of the General Association of the Scouts of China, Dr. Chao Shou Po, and the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang. Event activities included special lectures by high-profile speakers and discussions on the purpose of Rover scouts, among others.
The Flag Presentation Ceremony for Winter Vacation Volunteer Groups was held at the TKU Student Activity Center on the 14th January, 2013. In total, close to 500 people attended, including 29 TKU volunteer groups that will soon depart for various areas in rural Taiwan. Among these groups are the TKU Tennis Club and the Environmental Conservation Club. Both will organize winter camps to teach underprivileged children from Tamsui the importance of exercise and environmental protection. Other clubs, like the TKU Recreation and Lifestyle Counseling Club, will again head to rural Pingdong, where they will serve the local community. Department of Russian senior, Yang Hui-Ching, commented: “I’d like to do something really meaningful before I graduate. So I decided to get together with some friends, form a volunteer group, and give back to the local community.
Each year, TKU helps organize study programs for Chinese students living overseas. Recently, it held the 2013 Winter Program for Expatriate Youth, which drew 80 students from various countries, including Brazil, Panama, Paraguay, New Zealand, Argentina, and Costa Rica, to name just a few. The 2013 Winter Program took participants on a tour of traditional Taiwanese culture. The tour took two central themes: 1) traditional Taiwanese pineapple cakes and 2) Taiwanese-style wedding ceremonies and related customs. Students learned about how pineapple cakes are made. They visited the Museum of Cake and Pastry (Taipei City), where they got their hands dirty mixing dough, preparing fillings, and molding their creations into the iconic block-shaped pastries known throughout Taiwan as pineapple cakes. One of the participants, Tseng Yun-zhen, from Panama, commented that “from a young age, I’ve loved eating pineapple cakes. The texture, color, smell; the way it melts in your mouth. It’s pure bliss! Through this experience, I’ve learned exactly what goes into making pineapple cakes. It’s been such a fun and educational trip”. The Director of the TKU Center for Continuing Education, Dr. Chou Hsiang-Hua, explained that apart from learning about Traditional Taiwanese desserts and wedding customs, the participants also got to travel around Taiwan, and visit many scenic and cultural destinations. Starting out from Taipei, they travelled to Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Hualien, and Yilan. Along the way, they visited a traditional arts and crafts center, a rural fishing village, and an aboriginal village, where they got to experience traditional aboriginal lifestyle.
A Parisian satellite town known as Bussy Saint-Georges recently named an alley after local Taiwanese diplomat and TKU alumnus, Mr. Ching-long Lu. It is the first time a Taiwanese diplomat has gained such an honor in France and was the result of Lu’s continued efforts to promote bilateral ties between different cultures in the rapidly-developing town. Lu is not your average foreign diplomat. He is skilled in the arts, photography, singing and theater. He has been dubbed as the primary figure responsible for Taiwan’s changing image in France. Where did he develop these artistic abilities, one may ask? Lu says that while at university, students must participate in student clubs. By doing so, students learn how to better interact with others and gain a variety of other skills and life lessons that are essential to their future success.
A group of Master’s and PhD students from the TKU Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering recently received an award in the Get Fresh Innovative Design Contest held by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, ROC. Their entry was a mobile life-saving and protection system that combines three major features of protection, tracking / location, and automatic reporting. After attaching it to the user’s body, the sensor in the device monitors the user’s heart rate, breathing, temperature, body position, and other physiological information. If one’s physical state changes suddenly and shows signs of fainting etc., the system sends an emergency signal through a wireless device to the user’s emergency contact, showing them the user’s physical symptoms and precise location. The invention took one to create and has already undergone real-life testing at the Taipei Veteran’s Hospital.
A group of students from TKU’s Department of Transportation Management recently claimed top spot in the “school campus” category of the 1st HiNet Micro-film Contest. In the same contest, the students also received the award for “Best Movie Plot” and a total cash prize of NT$ 150,000. The group was led by third year Transportation Management student, Tsai Cheng-Hsi. Tsai explained that in the past, the group entered several similar contests and achieved excellent results. “Thanks to our previous successes, we gained the confidence to enter this competition”. The TKU students called their group CU One. Their entry was titled “What Factors Affect the Speed of FTTB?” It is a humorous short film that shows the viewer how to increase the speed of their internet. The film took almost three days to shoot. Tsai noted that “during the process of filming, we faced a number of obstacles and setbacks involving insufficient equipment and incompatibility between the camera and computer. It is a real sense of accomplishment to overcome these problems and gain recognition for our efforts”.
The TKU College of Education recently published a book entitled “Learning and Teaching for Digital Natives”. The book, which is a collection of papers and research by experts in the field of Educational Technology, represents the first such book of its kind in Taiwan. The book’s editor-in-chief and professor of Educational Technology at TKU, Dr. Hsun-fang Kao, explained that “digital natives” refers to people who were born in or after the 1980’s; people who grew up in the “age of the internet”. The way people of this generation learn is naturally going to be different from people of earlier generations, notes Dr. Kao. In fact, many teachers at elementary schools and high schools are members of earlier generations, or “Technology immigrants”, who resist keeping up with technology and reject learning about technology. Such people can also be termed “technology refugees”, according to Dr. Kao. The differences in learning between these different groups have created a serious generation gap. Dr. Kao said that the book contains 11 chapters. She hopes to provide essential information to motivate educators to address the “technology gap” between students and teachers.
From December 24 – 28, 2012, the Creative Digital Media Lab of the TKU Department of Information and Communication is holding an exhibition at the Black Swan Exhibition Hall, Tamsui Campus. The exhibition showcases the work of students from the Department of Information and Communication, who have created games, websites, animations, music, and videos as part of course projects and company internship programs. The exhibition is divided into two sections, including a “special case” display area and a section exhibiting outstanding work from previous years. The Chair of the Department of Information and Communication, Dr. Sun Chien-Yu, explained that during the exhibition, there will also be seminars to help interested students become more familiar with the mission and aims of the Creative Digital Media Lab.
On December 18, 2012, the Interior Minister of the ROC Executive Yuan, Dr. Lee Hong-yuan, came to TKU’s Tamsui Campus to give a special lecture. The lecture was entitled “A Memorandum for Taiwan in 2030”. It talked of Taiwan’s future in terms of government policy on environmental issues, as well as public policy and participation by citizens in the decision-making process. Interior Minister Lee began his speech by discussing environmental and structural problems currently plaguing Taiwan, such as measures in place to prevent flooding, the depletion of oil resources, the ever-increasing possibility of insufficient food sources, and the rising average temperatures experienced in Taiwan in recent years. Fifth year Department of Architecture student, Li Kuan-ru, said that the speech left a lasting impression. He got a deep sense of the responsibility on the shoulders of today’s youth to challenge and overcome society’s problems and to create a sustainable home for generations to come.
The Mobile Chemistry Lab began its journey in the autumn of 2011. To date, it has travelled over 10,000 km and been to high schools across Taiwan proper as well as nearby offshore islands. On the afternoon of December 18, shortly after the mobile lab arrived at Wanli Junior High School, New Taipei City, a Signing Ceremony was held between the Dean of the TKU College of Science (Dr. Wang Bo-Cheng) and the Deputy Director of the New Taipei City Department of Education (Kung Ya-Wen). In the coming months, TKU will work with the Department of Education to make science (chemistry in particular) more accessible to students in rural, outlying areas of Taiwan. The Mobile Chemistry Lab is scheduled to visit 14 junior and senior high schools in various parts of New Taipei City in the first half of 2013. The Mobile Chemistry Lab was designed as part of the celebrations for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry. The International Year of Chemistry was a global initiative organized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It commemorated the 100th anniversary of IUPAC’s inception and marked 100 years since Marie Sklodowska-Curie broke a host of records by being the first person to receive two Nobel prizes. It was also designed to celebrate the essential role of chemistry in our daily lives.
On the evening of December 12th, from 7-9pm, the TKU College of Science held its annual concert. Called a “Dialogue between Technology and Art”, the concert is an annual event that this year drew an audience of over 260 people, including TKU faculty, students, and staff. Among those in the audience was the TKU Vice President for International Affairs (Dr. Wan-Chin Tai), the Dean of the College of Science (Dr. Wang Bo-Cheng), the Dean of the College of Engineering (Dr. Ho Chii-dong), and various department chairs and professors. The performances varied from symphony orchestras to 80s pop ballads. There were even magic shows, modern dance acts, ceramic flute performances and pop rock bands. All performers were from the College of Science. Phd candidate Li Shu-han, from the Department of Physics was surprised to find that the College of Science had such a wide pool of musical and artistic talent. “They’re amazing!” he exclaimed.
In 2008, Tamkang University became the first university in the world to be deemed an International Safe School by a specialized unit from the World Health Organization (WHO) known as the Collaborating Center on Community Safety Promotion (CCCSP). Every three years, schools classified as international safe schools are reevaluated by the CCCSP to ensure they have maintained and even improved on the health and safety standards employed three years earlier. Today (Dec 11, 2012), CCCSP committee members came to Tamkang University to take part in TKU’s first reevaluation. The members include the Chairman of CCCSP, Dr. Leif Svanstrom, as well as safety experts from Sweden, Japan, and Taiwan. While at the TKU Tamsui Campus, Dr. Svanstrom commented that in Taiwan, there have already been 70 schools that have successfully passed the CCCSP safe school evaluation, which is the highest proportion of international safe schools out of any country or region throughout the world. During today’s inspection of Tamkang’s campuses and health and safety statistics, the committee members learned that, since 2009, the overall rate of accidents at Tamkang have decreased from 4.88% to just 2.81% in 2011. After a thorough assessment of TKU’s health and safety achievements and current health and safety policies, TKU once again received International Safe School status for a further three years. The result of today’s reevaluation was formally recognized in a signing ceremony held between CCCSP members and TKU staff at 4pm today at the TKU Tamsui Campus.
On December 7, a delegation of four members from TKU sister university, San Francisco State University (SFSU), visited the Tamsui Campus. The delegation consisted of the new SFSU President, Dr. Leslie E. Wong, Vice President Dr. Robert Nava, and the Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, Dr. Douglas Hupke. SFSU and TKU officially became partner universities on June 8, 2007. Since then, the level of interaction and exchange between the universities has been substantial. Each year, TKU sends 20 students to SFSU as part of its Junior Youth Abroad Program. There are also frequent faculty exchanges, mutual visits, and special lectures. President Wong became SFSU’s 13th president on August 1st, 2012. This is his first trip to Taiwan as SFSU President. After arriving at the Tamsui Campus, President Wong was taken on a tour of the campus and took part in an informal discussion on future prospects to increase academic exchange between the universities. At lunchtime, TKU President Chang held a major luncheon in honor of the SFSU guests.
On December 5, 2012, Tamkang University signed an academic partnership agreement with National San-Chung Senior High School. The agreement will entail cooperation in the form of course support and assistance, faculty development, student club cooperation, and joint international education programs. The agreement signing ceremony was held at the Ching Sheng International Conference Hall, Tamsui Campus, on the morning of December 5th. Signees included the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang and the Principle of San-Chung Senior High School, Ms. Chiang Chia-hang. During the ceremony, President Chang noted that this is TKU’s first time to enter an academic partnership with a Taiwanese senior high school. Yet the schools have cooperated before in the past. For example, students taking the entrance exam for TKU do so at various sites around Taipei, including San-Chung Senior High School. Moreover, two years ago, as part of a cooperative initiative between the schools, TKU Associate Professor David Kleykamp went to San-Chung Senior High to train various teachers on how to better instruct high school courses in English.