Today (Feb 6) was the first day of work for TKU administrative staff after a long, three-week winter break. To celebrate the new Chinese Year – the Year of the Dragon – Tamkang University held a Lunar Year Morning Tea at the Chueh Sheng International Conference Hall, Tamsui Campus. The hall was filled with auspicious symbols, such as a ‘god of wealth’ figurine and apples and mandarins (which connote safety and prosperity); while the tables were organized in the shape of 101, to suggest the 101st year since the founding of Taiwan, the Republic of China. During her opening speech, the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, wished TKU staff the best for the Year of the Dragon, invoking an array of Chinese proverbs containing the Chinese character “long”, meaning dragon. She also thanked TKU staff for their efforts throughout the previous academic year, which produced outstanding results for TKU in the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) 2011 evaluation. President Chang also mentioned several directions for TKU future development in the coming academic year, including preparing for the 2015 MOE Evaluation of University Departments, collecting funds to assist in the building of the Information Education Building, and benchmarking to enhance the efficiency and quality of university operations.
According to statistics recently released by the Webometric’s Ranking Web of World Universities, Tamkang ranked 309th out of 20,000 universities around the world. This means it placed 43rd in Asia, 10th in Taiwan, and 1st among private universities in Taiwan. The list of Taiwan universities in the top 500 includes National Taiwan University (42), National Cheng Kung University (63), National Chiao Tung University (72), National Tsing Hua University (113), National Central University (125), National Chung Hsing University (182), National Sun Yat Sen University (190), National Cheng Chi University (280), National Taiwan Normal University (295), Tamkang University (309), National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (343), National Yunlin University of Science and Technology (367), National Taiwan Ocean University (478), and Tung Hai University (498).
This year’s End-of-Year Gala was held on the afternoon of Jan 13 at the TKU Student Activity Center. The lineup of entertainment for this year’s event was organized by the Center of Continuing Education and the TKU Lanyang Campus. The Gala began with an opening address from the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang. In her address, President Chang thanked all faculty and staff for their attendance as well as their tireless efforts over the past year. She also wished the entire body of TKU employees a happy New Year, invoking a Chinese proverb to usher in the Year of the Dragon. The entertainment began to the beat of the drums brought by the Lanyang Campus contingent. The show included a drum performance staged by San Min Elementary, Chiao Hsi, songs from an elderly choir (average age of 60) known as “Happy Life” that regularly meet to practice at the Center for Continuing Education, an opera solo performance of “O Sole Mio”, and a traditional Chinese New Year melody by a veteran member (82 years old) of the Happy Life Choir. In between the performances, a cash raffle was held. A total sum of NT $150,000 was given away in increments of $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, all the way up to $30,000. The raffle is an annual End-of-Year Gala tradition that brings excitement and laughter and fills the event with suspense.
In winter this year, a vast legion of community volunteers from TKU societies and external service clubs will go out into the community to help those in need. From TKU, close to 500 teachers and students from 23 TKU societies and local volunteer groups will head to rural areas around Taiwan to provide free service and care to the locals. The volunteer groups are made up of Tamkang University alumni associations and societies, as well as a melee of community groups including environmental teams, counseling service organizations, and the Union Dolphins work team. Before embarking on their philanthropic journey, the volunteers yesterday (Jan 9) attended a Charity Service Farewell Ceremony. At the ceremony, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, encouraged TKU student clubs to incorporate an element of community service into their club curriculum. The Office of Student Affairs distributed heart-shaped cards to the volunteers; while fellow students gave them “caring for you” farewell presents and wished them all the best on their volunteer journeys. The Farewell Ceremony ended with a large group photo of all attendees and volunteers.
On the afternoon of Jan 6, TKU hosted a lecture by renowned economist and Academia Sinica academician, Dr. C.Y. Cyrus Chu. The talk was held at the Carrie Chang Concert Hall at 2:30 pm, and was attended by TKU students, faculty, and staff who crowded into the hall to make the most of the rare opportunity. Dr. Chu talked about opportunities for Taiwanese economic development in the context of the current global economy. He began by explaining the significance of an innovation-based economy, described how globalization has affected Taiwan’s national economy, analyzed new modes of industry given trends in the current era of globalization, and gave three examples highlighting the key to seizing opportunities associated with globalization. According to Dr. Chu, findings from last year’s Technology Consultation Conference suggest that Taiwan’s economic direction should move from efficiency-based operation to innovation-based operation. In terms of industry development, Dr. Chu noted that the key is not specialization of expertise, but instead insight (being able to view outcomes without the need for calculation). He asserted that, given the difference between an innovation-based economy and the traditional economy, several economic theories, such as the Chicago School of Economics, should be amended. The main characteristic of an innovation-based economy is the need to constantly innovate in order to retain a relative advantage. Doing so would spur increased returns as opposed to diminished returns, the latter of which is inherent with economic models based on specialization, argues Chu.
On the evening of Jan 4, the TKU College of Management held its annual Year-end (Chinese lunar year) Gala. The gala was a prestigious event with over 170 guests, including TKU vice presidents Po-yuan Kao and Wan-chin Tai, former TKU presidents Chen Ya-hong and Yun-shan Lin, former vice presidents Chao-Kang Feng and Kan-nan Chen, the Dean of the TKU Memorial Library, Prof. Hong-Chu Huang, and Executive Director of the Center for Learning and Teaching, Yu Chia-cheng. In the opening speech of the gala evening, the Dean of the College of Management, Prof. Wang Chu-ching, highlighted the themes of this year’s gala: “the continual improvement of Total Quality Management” and “academia-industry cooperation”. He also made several suggestions on possible ways of improving the gala event. The gala featured performances by College of Management faculty and staff and NT $400,000 in cash and prizes. The main prize – an i-pad 2 – went to Department of Transportation Management assistant, Hsu Wei-shan. Given that one of the themes of the evening was academia-industry cooperation, several members of industry were also in attendance, including the Chairman of Konglin Construction, Wu Ling-chan. Ms. Chan expressed: “my close contact with the TKU College of Management began when I started my EMBA. I’m so glad to be able to attend tonight’s gala and can see that the organizers have put a lot of thought into each of the evening’s activities”.
On Jan 3, 119 students from Central and South America arrived in Taiwan. The students are of Chinese background but have grown up overseas, in countries such as Brazil, Panama, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and New Zealand. They are here on a Youth Study Tour, a 21 day travel program organized by the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission and Tamkang University’s Division of Continuing Education. During the 21 day program, students will visit famous destinations around Taiwan and truly experience the local Taiwanese culture. They will take tours of the Office of the President and the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall; see the bustling night views from Taipei 101 and Ximending; head to Taichung and Taoyuan to experience local Hokkien and Hakka cultures; view cultural relics in the old Taiwanese capital, Tainan; experience the lifestyle at traditional Taiwanese fishing villages; See the dazzling lights at Kaohsiung’s Ai River, Southern Taiwan; then head Northeast, to view the rural beauty of Taiwan’s East Coast. Finally, students will return to Tamsui, to see why it has become a popular international tourist destination. For many of the participants, this will be their first time taking part in Chinese New Year and witnessing the myriad of boisterous processions that accompany a major election. The first thing that the visitors noticed upon arriving was the friendly, helpful attitude of the volunteering Tamkang tour guides. The Director of the TKU Division of Continuing Education, Chou Hsiang-hua, noted that Tamkang volunteers went through a process of screening and then over one month of intensive training to prepare for their task of welcoming and looking after the visiting students. The carefully organized itinerary and stringent training of local volunteers was part of a planned preparation phase that will ensure the visiting students see the true beauty of Formosa.
Completed six years ago, the Foreign Languages Building is one of the more modern blocks on the Tamsui Campus, with a unique glass wall structure and a green front lawn home to ancient, sprawling trees. Visitors often say that the building and its surrounds give the feeling of being in an overseas university. Recently, TKU decided to give the building a more artistic touch. It displayed paintings drawn by foreign language students on the walls near the lifts of levels two to five. Then, on 30th December, an opening ceremony was held at the front of the Foreign Languages Building. It was hosted by the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang. The paintings depict cultural images that correspond to each of the language departments in the College of Languages and Literatures. Department of English students drew a picture of England’s Big Ben; Department of Russian students painted a traditional Russian doll; Department of Spanish students depicted Don Quixote, and so on. The Dean of the College of Language and Literatures, Dr. Wu Hsi-Deh, explained that the beautification of building space is a form of lifestyle expression. The idea of using wall paintings to accentuate the beauty of the architecture was advocated by Dean Wu, and served to give the students a greater sense of teamwork and a feeling of belonging.
Results of the 2011 university evaluation carried out by the Ministry of Education (MOE) last semester have been released. The evaluation assessed 37 public and private Taiwanese universities in five specific areas: university market placement, university governance and operation, teaching and learning resources, performance and social responsibility, and mechanisms for continued improvement and quality assurance. Tamkang achieved impressive results, obtaining a "pass" (out of either 'pass', 'conditional pass', or 'fail') in each of the above-mentioned five categories. The President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, thanked the entire body of TKU faculty and staff for their continued efforts in improving operations at TKU. She added: "the fact that we received such great results will help to spur our efforts in sustainable development and increase our overall competitiveness". The evaluation was carried out on April 13-14 this year and consisted of interviews with members of faculty and staff, an assessment of university data and an inspection of university facilities. The results were announced December 23.
On December 22, Tamkang University held a "kite prayer activity" at the Shao-Mo Memorial Gymnasium. The activity was designed to bring together students, faculty, and staff, who collectively built kites and inscribed in them messages and well wishes for the coming year. The activity began with a kite display last week, which not only exhibited a diverse range of kites, but also offered students information on traffic safety and disaster prevention. For the Kite Prayer Activity, TKU especially invited well-known kite expert, Feng Can-huang, to provide instruction on assembling and designing kites. Then, at 3:20 pm, students, teachers, and staff headed to the square in front of the Shao-Mo Memorial Natatorium, where they set their kites and well wishes to the sky.
During last year’s 8th National Conference on Education, the President of Taiwan, Mr. Ma Ying-jeou, mentioned a new educational initiative being promoted by the Ministry of Education. The initiative aims to increase numbers of international students (from 13% to 2.6% of overall students), enhance the scale of academia-industry cooperation, and ultimately, raise the level of competitiveness of Taiwanese universities. Subsequently, in August this year, the Director General of the Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, Dr. Wen-tong Lin, led a Taiwanese delegation to the 2011 Conference on higher Education in Taiwan and Japan, held in Osaka. During the conference, a suggestion was made: to organize a presidents’ forum that would further promote interaction and exchange between universities in Taiwan and Japan. And thus, with this as a background, the First Taiwan-Japan University Presidents’ Forum was born. The Presidents’ Forum component of the event is currently being held at TKU’s Tamsui Campus (Dec 19), while other Forum-related activities will extend until Dec 21. The event’s main organizer is the ROC Ministry of Education; joint organizers include the Association of Private Universities and Colleges and the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET); while the host is Tamkang University. The event will be attended by a total of 120 scholars from 74 leading institutes in Taiwan and Japan, including the President of Doshisha University and representative member of the All Japan University Consortium Committee, Dr. Eiji HATTA; the Vice President of JAFSA (Japan Network for International Education), Dr. George R. Harada; the Chancellor of Josai University, Dr. Noriko Mitzuta; the President of Josai University, Dr. Yasunori Morimoto; the President of Osaka University of Commerce, Dr. Ichiro Tanioka; the President of Soai University, Dr. Satoru Kaneko; the President of J.F. Oberlin University, Dr. Toyoshi Satow; the President of Reitaku University, Dr. Osamu Nakayami; the President of Asia University, Dr. Haruo Ogawa; the President of Seinan Gakuin University, Dr. G.W. Barkley; and the President of Tokushima Bunri University, Dr. Masato Murasaki, with a total of 30 plus Japanese delegates and 33 Taiwanese university presidents. The Forum commenced with opening speeches from the Political Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Tsong Ming-Lin, the President of the Association of Private Universities and Colleges, Dr. Haydn Chen, and the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang. The opening speeches were followed by a keynote speech from the Director General of the Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, Dr. Wen-tong Lin, which focused on the theme of the Forum, ‘New Trends and Opportunities in Higher Education’. Subsequently, 12 university presidents from leading Taiwanese and Japanese universities delivered speeches on three broad topics: ‘University Development and Operation’, ‘International Cooperation and International Student Recruitment’, and ‘University Development and Academia-Industry Cooperation’. During her opening speech, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, noted that “Tamkang University has inaugurated a Graduate Institute of Asian Studies, a Center for Japanese Research, and a Japanese Culture Classroom. It has 24 sister universities in Japan; while each semester, an average of around 60 Tamkang students go to Japan for student exchange and 40 Japanese exchange students come to study at Tamkang. Our comprehensive facilities in the area of Japan-related research reflect the strong emphasis we place on our relationship with Japan. We are therefore honored to be hosting the First Taiwan-Japan University Presidents’ Forum and believe that, through the Forum, universities in both Japan and Taiwan stand to gain from long-term mutual partnership and cooperation”.
Many freshmen arrive at the Tamsui Campus with a long list of enquiries: ‘Where should I go to eat?’, ‘How do I register my information with the local council?’, ‘Where can I go to see a doctor if I get sick?’ are among the first few questions asked by most new students. To answer such questions and provide general information on the local environment in terms of restaurants, accommodation, transportation, and entertainment, freshmen students this year worked together to create ‘green maps’. As part of the Green Map initiative, freshmen went into the community to map out unique cultural relics, areas of particular environmental value, and popular tourist sites. The Green Map Movement began in the U.S. and has now spread to over 50 countries and 600 cities worldwide. Tamkang has incorporated the Green Map concept to imbue in students the importance of getting to know and interacting with one’s local community, caring for the environment, and affecting sustainable development. An exhibition displaying the completed green maps was held between Dec 13 and 16 at the Chinese palace-style classrooms near the Chueh Hsuan Chinese Gardens, Tamsui Campus. The maps included information on important local institutions, hospitals, medical clinics, as well as iconic Tamsui restaurants, scenic spots, and culturally important areas all around the Tamsui district.
This year, the EMBA Year-end Gala was held at Hung Kan Restaurant on Sat. Dec 10. Guests at the gala included students from the nine departments offering EMBA programs, EMBA alumni, and teachers/staff, who came together to celebrate the end of the year with a night of fun and laughter. The theme of this year’s gala was a continuation of that of last year, featuring a talent competition, guest judges, and the announcement of the top three entrants. The performances were energetic and diverse, and included choral music, aboriginal dancing, trivia quizzes, a male strip show, magic shows, and creative dance shows. In the end, first place went to the Department of Business Management, for their rendition of a well known Chinese musical. Second place went to the Department of International Business for their African dance performance. The Executive Director of the Tamkang EMBA program, Lin Jiang-feng, explained that “Tamkang EMBA programs are offered by nine separate departments, which serve as a platform for the dissemination of business related knowledge. It not only provides students with the opportunity to obtain specialized expertise in a professional academic field, but also allows students to apply their knowledge and meet a diverse range of business professionals”. The year-end gala ended with a lively performance that included singing and dancing from TKU teachers and special guests.
On 8th December, an eight-person delegation from Mainland China’s Lanzhou University visited the TKU Tamsui Campus. Led by the President of Lanzhou University, Prof. Zhou Xuhong, the delegation came to take part in a signing ceremony that would see Tamkang and Lanzhou officially become sister universities. Counting this recent signing, TKU now has 31 sister universities in China, and is set to initiate student exchange with Lanzhou in the first semester of 2012. The President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, explained that Lanzhou University enjoys a central location in China and is one of the “985 Project” (a project for founding world-class universities in China) universities. Its academic achievements are outstanding. Moreover, Tamkang University’s first ever Mainland Chinese PhD candidate, Lin Guohu, is a graduate of Lanzhou University. With this background, the signing took on ever greater significance. Lanzhou University is one of Mainland China’s leading universities. It is one of the 41 Mainland Chinese universities that have been approved by the ROC Ministry of Education. Established in 1909, Lanzhou is one of the key comprehensive universities directly under the control of the Ministry of Education, China. It houses 23 schools, 35 institutes, one national laboratory of applied organic research, and three key laboratories for research on arid and grassland ecology, West China environment, and magnetism and magnetic materials. America’s well-known science publication “Science Magazine” once published an article on China’s 13 top universities. Lanzhou was ranked 6th.
Over the past two weeks, freshmen from the TKU departments of History and Chinese Literature have been taking part in service learning. As part of the program, they have held plays and performances and created their own props to promote ‘road safety’ and ‘schoolyard safety’ at a local Danshui school, Tian Sheng Elementary. The plays demonstrated in a fun and lively manner the dos and don’ts of road safety, as well as teaching students about the hazards of schoolyard bullying. For weeks before the performances, Tamkang freshmen worked hard to design and produce a number of creative props, including cardboard bicycles, buses, cars, trees, and the popular cartoon characters Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star. Students got engaged in the plays. They giggled and laughed and applauded. Tian Sheng Elementary student, Ye Ya-zhen, commented: “thank you [Tamkang students] for holding these plays. They were really good and funny, too, and taught me a lot about road safety. It’s just a shame that there is only one class, because I’d love to see you [Tamkang students] perform more plays!” Fan Yu-hsuan, a first year TKU student from the Department of History noted that “after the play, the children were really happy. Apart from the feeling of accomplishment I felt from the enthusiastic response of the children, the experience also taught me how to work in a team, how to divide up the work and assign projects to different people based on their personal traits and strengths. It was an invaluable learning process!”
Tamkang University has long been a pioneer in the establishment of academic / industry cooperative schemes. A TKU department especially proactive in forging links with business is the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering. On 8th December, the Computer Science Department held an Opening Ceremony to herald the start of close cooperative relations with a number of leading companies. The Opening Ceremony, which was held during the 2011 Cross-Strait Conference on Information Science and Technology and iCube, will see TKU team up with the likes of AboCom, Acer, MiTAC, to provide students with an all-round education that combines theory with practice. The initiative will expand the scope of companies available to students as part of the “311 Junior Leaders Program”. The 311 program is a requirement for students hoping to take part in practical industry internships. To qualify, students must obtain recommendations from 3 supervising teachers (including the department chairman), must partake in 1 team project (either class-based or in a student society / club) and must gain accreditation in at least 1 specialized field. The Chairman of the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, Dr. Chin-Hwa Kuo, explained that in order to build the program into a comprehensive initiative, the department must evaluate industry demand for personnel and respond by setting up corresponding courses and training schemes.
On Dec 3 and 4, the TKU Shao-Mo Memorial Gymnasium was home to a major table tennis tournament. The Faculty and Staff National Table Tennis Cup is an annual event that this year drew 663 participants from universities around Taiwan. The event featured opening speeches from the Deputy Minister of the Sports Affairs Council, Chen Shi-kui, and the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang; an opening exhibition match, as well as 169 grueling singles and doubles matches to decide the overall winning university. The skill level of entrants varied greatly, from former national players to relative novices. At the end of the tournament, the top three universities were decided: 1st place went to National Formosa University; 2nd place went to National Chung Cheng University; and 3rd place went to Takming University of Science and Technology. The competition is one of the activities established since Tamkang University’s “Health and Exercise Year” in 2006. As part of the initiative, TKU students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to take part in at least one item of sport on a regular basis to promote health and well being.
Since becoming the first university in Taiwan to implement compulsory club and society courses, Tamkang has been visited by numerous universities around Taiwan hoping to observe and learn from Tamkang’s experience. Visiting universities include the Chinese Culture University, Kaohsiung Medical University, Feng Chia University, and National Cheng Kung University. Last Friday, November 25, Tamkang University hosted the most recent group of visitors. This group contained 40 students, faculty, and staff from one of Taiwan’s leading institutes of higher education, National Cheng Kung University. The guests were greeted with a performance by the TKU Wind Ensemble Club. They were then taken on a campus tour, followed by an informal discussion, and, finally, a group photo. The first stop on the campus tour was the Carrie Chang Fine Arts Center, which is currently home to a display of works by two of Taiwan’s leading artists: the Director and Associate Director of the Carrie Chang Fine Arts Center, Li Chi Mao and Prof. Chang Ben-hang respectively. The main focus of the visit, however, was a tour of the offices used by teaching assistants of TKU societies. The abundant resources and spacious, leading edge facilities had the visitors gasping “this is fantastic!”
Starting from this year, TKU freshmen are required to take courses related to the operation and management of student clubs and societies. This initiative is the first of its kind among universities in Taiwan. To ensure that the newly initiated courses run smoothly, Tamkang University has selected 40 students to serve as future Teaching Assistants (TA). These TAs possess extensive experience serving as leaders of TKU student societies, as well as enthusiasm and a passion for helping. Recently, these 40 students undertook an intensive training course designed to hone their skills as leaders. Extending for 40 hours over four full days, the course featured lectures, demonstrations, and interactive games by external experts devoted to the operation of student clubs. One TKU participant, fourth year student Fang Ya-ling, commented: “I really experienced the benefit of participating in a student society while interning during the summer holidays. During my internship, I asked the human resource manager why companies care about whether or not applicants have taken part in student societies. He answered ‘the first impression student society members give people is that they are open-minded and good at interacting with others. Usually this attribute is very important in the workforce’”.
From 23rd to 27th November, TKU President, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, lead a delegate of senior TKU staff on a visit of Tamkang’s sister universities in Kyoto, Japan. Members of the visiting TKU group included the Vice President for International Affairs, Dr. Wan-chin Tai, the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Chiu Jeong-Yeou, the Dean of the College of Management, Dr. Wang Chu-ching, the Chairman of the Department of Japanese, Dr. Maa Yaw Huei, and the Dean of the Office of International and Cross-Strait Affairs, Dr. Pei Wha Chi Lee. The delegates visited three of Tamkang’s sister universities in the Kyoto region, including Ritsumeikan University, Doshisha University, and Kyoto Tachibana University. This was President Chang’s second visit to Japan in recent months, after attending the 2011 Conference on Higher Education in Taiwan and Japan in August. At the time, President Chang met the presidents of Ritsumeikan and Doshisha Universities, Prof. Kawaguchi Kiyofumi and Prof. Eiji Hatta respectively. However, this is President Chang’s first visit to all three Kyoto sister universities since signing partnership agreements with Ritsumeikan, Doshisha, and Kyoto Tachibana in 2000, 2007, and 2010. The visit gave TKU the opportunity to strengthen its partnership with its Japanese sister universities, and facilitated the signing of a student exchange agreement with Reitsumeikan University.