Tamkang University recently became the first university in Taiwan to receive the highest honor awarded by the Executive Yuan’s Executive Protection Administration (EPA): the 20th ROC Enterprise Environmental Protection Award. The award will be presented to Tamkang University at a ceremony to be held on Oct 28. The award is designed to encourage Taiwanese enterprises with outstanding environmental records and urge other enterprises to follow suit. Tamkang received the award thanks to its ongoing emphasis on the environment. In particular, TKU has implemented a campus-wide recycling policy; it previously won the Executive Yuan’s “green building” award for its construction of the Lanyang Campus, and has implemented a comprehensive electricity and water saving policy at each of its campuses, including the installment of energy saving systems and user-sensor water facilities. Moreover, TKU has promoted environmental conservation through its myriad courses related to the environment, its service learning courses that help clean up the local Danshui environment, and its overall promotion of environmental issues through TKU media and student performances. The TKU Dean of General Affairs, Dr. Jeng Hoang-ell, said the efficient implementation of environmental policies was only possible due to TKU’s mechanism of total quality management. In the future, he added, TKU will continue to improve its environmental performance by promoting related issues among Tamkang’s 28,000 plus students.
In recent years, Shalun Beach in Danshui has become a popular spot for soon-to-be-wedded couples taking ‘wedding photos’ and tourists seeking a day of fun at the beach. Yet its surge in popularity has come at a price: trails of litter and leftovers that flow into the ocean and taint the natural environment. To help save the local beaches, Tamkang this year took part in International Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept 24. As part of Tamkang’s service learning program, 135 TKU freshmen from the departments of Electrical Engineering and Management Sciences braved the heat to collect trash. The main three types of litter scooped up by the students were cigarette butts, plastic bags, and Styrofoam boxes used for fishing. The beach cleanup activity did not just involve collecting the strewn items of trash, but also recording them on an ‘International Coastal Cleanup Card’, which documented the types of litter found, the amount of each type and their sources. Through this process, the students learned that by polluting the local beaches, we not only harm the local ecosystem but also international ecosystems, as they are all interconnected. Before heading to the beaches, students first listened to a talk given by a speaker from the Association of Wilderness, a local Taiwanese organization that works to protect and conserve the environment. During the talk, students were shown images of hermit crabs that had lost their homes due to pollution and now took shelter in discarded items of litter. First year Department of Electrical Engineering student, Liu Zhe-wei, stated that “this was my first time taking part in Coastal Cleanup Day activities. I used to think it was just about picking up trash. I never knew it also involved sorting the trash and recyclables into categories. During the process, I learned that the vast majority of litter came in the form of plastic bags. This type of little doesn’t decompose easily, and so is really bad for the environment. In future, I’m going to start to use a recyclable material bag instead of plastic bags”. In just one hour, the students managed to collect 369.9 kg of garbage (119.6 kg recyclable litter; 250.3 kg non-recyclable litter). The students were amazed at how much can be achieved in such little time when people work together.
This year from Sept 20 to Dec 20, the TKU Female Faculty and Staff Association will be holding a weekly “Campus Walk” activity to promote healthy living among TKU employees. Held Tuesdays at noon (12:20 to 1:40pm), the activity intends to clear the cobwebs off employees’ exercise gear and get faculty and staff moving. Each week, before setting out on the walking trail that wraps around the TKU Tamsui Campus, faculty and staff will perform a series of warm up drills demonstrated by the Office of Physical Education. The goal is to help employees get in shape and one day reach the lofty goal of “10,000 steps a day”. To prepare employees, the second session (week 2) will feature explanations of how to use a stepometer and there will be various tests to measure participants' height, weight, waist, body fat and BMI. During the activity, participants can access the Office of Physical Education website to view their progress in terms of ‘total steps taken’, ‘total distance walked’ and ‘total calories burnt’. In all, over 60 employees signed up for the activity, and in the first session a special guest appearance was made by TKU President, Dr, Flora Chia-I Chang, who encouraged participants. Secretary Tang Man-ching, from the TKU Office of the Secretariat, participated in yesterday’s first session. She exclaimed: “As I’m always really busy with work, it’s often difficult to get away from the office. However, this activity forces me to forget about my work for an hour and get some exercise while taking in the beautiful scenery around the Tamsui Campus. It really lifts your spirits!”
The third weekend of September is known throughout the world as ‘Clean Up the World Weekend’. This year, Tamkang University teamed up with the Good Neighbor Foundation to hold a number of activities aimed at cleaning up at least one part of the world – Danshui. As part of TKU's service learning program, Tamkang organized for around 130 students from the departments of Industrial Economics and Electrical Engineering to lend a helping hand. They started from the Danshui MRT Station and worked their way along the Danshui River promenade, collecting litter, sweeping, and cleaning the streets in a relay-style cleanup that involved 34,000 volunteers around Taiwan. One of the TKU volunteers from the Department of Industrial Economics, Wu Da-hao, explained: “I’m an overseas Chinese student. Where I come from, we don’t have any activities where we can go into the community and help clean up. So, this is my first time taking part in such a meaningful event”. The Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Ko Chih-en, noted that the TKU service learning program has not only brought out Tamkang students' passion for helping, but also channeled this energy into the larger community. When this weekend ends and ‘clean up the world weekend’ finishes, Tamkang students will continue to go into the community to clean up and help out. The areas that we help clean up will eventually extend to those surrounding the university, not just those by the Danshui River. In doing so, we hope to inspire local residents to join in and to bring a sense of natural beauty back to Danshui.
To remember the significant contributions made by women to the field of chemistry and recognize the efforts of chemistry associations from each country over the past century, 2011 was declared the International Year of Chemistry. The International Year of Chemistry is a joint initiative organized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Taiwan has joined in the festivities by holding a number of related activities around the island. One such activity was the launching of a Mobile Chemistry Lab, an entertaining ‘chemistry wagon’ designed and built by TKU’s Department of Chemistry. The Mobile Chemistry Lab is a 3.5 ton wagon with a gull-wing door that opens on to a small-scale, fully-equipped chemistry lab. The idea behind the mobile lab is to bring chemistry to the country, and in particular, to the more remote areas where access to education and science is limited. To date, the lab has toured around remote areas of Taiwan, including offshore regions such as Kinmen and Orchid islands. It is scheduled to begin touring schools throughout the famous Penghu Island from Sep 16. The Dean of the TKU College of Science, Dr. Wang Bo-Cheng, noted that the mobile lab, since its inception in February, has already attracted close to 100 passionate volunteers from all around Taiwan, who have taken time out of their own busy schedule to teach children about the wonderful world of chemistry.
On Sept 14, commissioners from the Control Yuan of the ROC and the Ministry of Education (MOE) came to the TKU Tamsui Campus. They came to assess Tamkang University’s policies in two specific areas: 1. TKU policy on internationalization; and 2. Measures for student recruitment to remedy the problem brought on by plummeting birth rates. The visiting delegation comprised commissioners from the Control Yuan, such as Dr. Louis R. Chao and Jeo-Chen Yin, as well as the Director General of the Department of Higher Education, Ho Jow-fei. Upon arrival, the commissioners were greeted personally by the President of Tamkang University, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, TKU’s vice presidents, and senior staff from Tamkang’s Lanyang and Tamsui campuses. The first item on the assessment schedule was a briefing, presented by President Chang, that described Tamkang’s current measures for achieving internationalization and counteracting the trend of waning student numbers. The content of President Chang’s briefing consisted of a ‘general overview of Tamkang’, ‘strategies for internationalization and current achievements’, ‘the current status of student recruitment’, ‘strategies for dealing with decreasing student numbers’, ‘the current status of student recruitment for international students’, ‘other suggestions’. After the briefing, the commissioners were taken on a tour of the recently refurbished Reitaku International House, a modern and spacious dormitory home to both foreign exchange students and local students. The commissioners expressed their utmost praise at the newly renovated structure, and commended Tamkang on its efforts as a leading proponent of internationalization.
Figures from May this year show that in Taiwan close to 17 million people (total population: 23 million) now regularly use the internet. Given the prominence of the internet in Taiwan, digital learning has become the logical next step in the field of education. To capitalize on this future trend, in the 2010-2011 academic year Tamkang University established a three-way digital learning program with two other local universities that offered students the option to learn online. It was called the Intercollegiate Digital Learning Program. Participating universities included Aletheia University and St. John’s University, both situated in the local Danshui district, and courses offered included ‘Tourist Travel Services’, ‘Creative Comic Book Animation’, and ‘Chinese Language Teaching’. The courses were a great success. And so, before the first semester of the 2011-12 academic year (the current semester), TKU received the Ministry of Education’s approval to continue. The magnitude of the program has now grown to include four new partner universities: Chung Yuan Christian University, Shih Chien University, Yuanpei University, and Tungnan University. Speaking at today’s (Sept 7) joint program signing ceremony, the Director of the Computer Center of M.O.E., Jung-Kuei Ho, said that in the first round of digital learning courses, Tamkang University’s vast experience in online course provision helped participating universities to develop the skills needed to offer internet based degree programs. During the ceremony, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, stated Tamkang’s current objectives: to develop long-distance education both locally and internationally, to set up joint online credit-awarding courses and degree programs, and to build an internet-based Chinese language academy that spans the entire globe.
Each year, the Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (FIRA) holds an international robo-soccer competition, known as the FIRA RoboWorld Cup. This year, between Aug 26 and 30, 330 participants (52 groups) from 11 countries contested for a shot at the championship. In the end, top spot was clinched by the Tamkang University Robot Research Team. This is nothing new for the Robot Research Team. They were crowned champions in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Yet, what is new is the decisive way in which they won, claiming a staggering six gold and three silver medals. The Robot Research Team is composed of two separate groups: the RoboSot (Robot Soccer) Research Team and the HuroCup (Humanoid Robot Soccer) Research Team. Therefore, the bulk of TKU’s medals were claimed in the RoboSot and HuroCup categories. As in previous years, the TKU Robot Research Team was lead by Prof. Wong Ching-chang of Tamkang’s Department of Electrical Engineering. The RoboSot Research Team consisted of 12 members, including team captain He Cheng-yao; while the HuroCup Research Team consisted of 17 members, including captain Hu Yue-yang.
Each year, as the academic year commences, Tamkang holds a unique welcoming ritual for newly arrived freshmen. The ritual involves new students, teachers, and the president of TKU, as well as a steep slope with a peculiar name: the ‘Slope of Overcoming Difficulty’. Comprising of 132 steps, the slope was once the sole path leading to the Tamsui Campus. Now, students and staff scale the slope to truly live out the message behind the slope: that difficulties are temporary and can be overcome. The scaling of the slope has become a Tamkang tradition, which this year is being held on the mornings of September 1 and 2. In these weeks leading up to the start of the new academic year, a number of other activities have been planned, too. There’ll be student and family orientations, a dormitory open house, freshmen orientation camps organized by academic departments, a beginning of semester lecture series, as well as student association recruitment activities and student society week.
From August 22 to 24, a Taiwanese delegation took part in the 2011 Conference on Higher Education in Taiwan and Japan, held in Osaka, Japan. The delegation was headed by the President of TKU and Chairperson of the Foundation for International Cooperation in Higher Education of Taiwan (FICHET), Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, and the Director-General of the Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, Dr. Tony W. T. Lin. It consisted of 27 members from 12 Taiwanese universities, including six university presidents and five vice presidents. Apart from President Chang, the Tamkang contingent comprised the Vice President for International Affairs, Dr. Wan-chin Tai and the Director of the Office of International and Cross-Strait Affairs, Dr. Pei-Wha CHI LEE. The origins of the conference can be traced to the signing of an academic agreement between FICHET and the Consortium of Osaka Universities, when the latter visited Taiwan in 2008. This was the first official interaction between the two parties since the initiation of the partnership three years ago. During the conference, eight university presidents from Taiwan and Japan (four from each) shared their experiences as leaders and described the educational principles by which their respective universities operate. During the trip, the TKU contingent visited several Tamkang partnership universities and educational organizations in the Osaka region. One of the partnership institutions was Doshisha University, a prestigious Japanese university at which 17 TKU students will be studying in the coming academic year.
On the morning of Aug 24, TKU staff and local firefighters teamed up to teach young children a range of important safety skills. The children were taught to use fire extinguishers; they learned general principles of firefighting, how to escape if there’s a fire, basic rescue techniques, natural disasters, and how to prepare evacuation kits in the case of emergencies. The children also learned valuable life-saving techniques, such as CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver. The idea for the event arose from the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami that razed towns along vast stretches of Japanese coastline. It was organized by staff from the TKU Office of Military Education and Training, many of whom worked tirelessly throughout the summer holidays to ensure the event went smoothly. It was designed to teach young children essential safety principles and give children an awareness of the precious nature of human life.
As early as 46 years ago, TKU began holding an annual seminar for leaders of student associations. Lasting for five days, the seminar not only enables future leaders of student clubs to hone their skills as leaders, but also equips such students with confidence and know-how, allowing them to make an immediate impression in the workforce. This year’s seminar ran from Aug 18 – 22 and drew 213 participants, each of whom will be leading a TKU student association in the coming academic year. During the seminar, the participants took part in classes and activities that taught them about leadership. The curriculum was designed to instill in students three primary lessons: how to build one’s sense of self-worth, how to create group awareness, and how to work toward a new and better future. These lessons were learned with the aid of several small-group “tutorials”, in which students were taught practical lessons on time management, DIY innovation, effective communication, event planning, and many more. By the end of the five days, students had not only made several new friends, but were also excited about all the new knowledge they had gleaned. Third year English student and leader of the Business Simulation Club, Huang Bo-xun, was ecstatic. He explained how he had found it very difficult to lead the club last semester, how he was just about ready to quit, and how he had originally planned not to attend the seminar. After attending, however, he found the motivation to continue, identified a set of new objectives, and felt relieved to meet a group of like-minded leaders from whom he could gain support and advice if needed. For many Tamkang students, the process of learning is not just about accruing intellectual knowledge or IQ, but also acquiring emotional intelligence or EQ. For the past 46 years, the Seminar for Leaders of Student Associations has been disseminating EQ on a large scale, and grooming Tamkang graduates to become leaders and luminaries in their chosen professional fields.
Starting from Aug 13, TKU has held a number of introductory seminars for freshmen and their parents. The seminars will continue until Aug 28, with a total of 16 seminars to be held at various locations around Taiwan, including Jinmen and Penghu Islands, located off the coast of Taiwan proper. On the morning of the 20th, introductory seminars were held at the Tamsui and Lanyang campuses. The purpose of these orientation-style seminars is to introduce new students and their families to TKU. This is done by describing Tamkang’s educational philosophies, outlining future career options, sharing experiences and stories at TKU, and facilitating interaction between alumni and freshmen so as to help freshmen swiftly acclimatize to their new environment. In attendance at the Tamsui Campus seminar were the TKU vice presidents, including the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Gwo-hsin Yu, who hosted the event, as well as TKU department chairs. During the seminar, Vice President Yu encouraged students to make the most of the open and liberal academic environment at TKU, to continually strive to acquire academic and technical skills, and to develop a heightened sense of social and community awareness. The morning session involved an ‘Introduction to TKU’, while the afternoon session consisted of an interactive seminar and tour of the TKU Tamsui and Lanyang campuses.
On August 10 and 11, the Human Resources Division of TKU held an orientation for new department chairs. It was designed not only to welcome new department chairs and prepare them for the task ahead, but also as a forum for interaction and learning. The orientation consisted of reports and experience sharing by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Human Resources Division and the Office of Student Affairs. There was instruction on how to use the Public Document Management System, and then a less formal banquet and Karaoke singing. The purpose of the activities was to allow new department chairs to better understand their new responsibilities, and also to become better acquainted with one another. The event featured a special guest: the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, who encouraged the department chairs by distributing meaningful prizes. She also made a brief speech, commenting that “leadership is not something we are born with, but something we can learn and consistently improve at”.
Recently, TKU student Liao Ru-hsuan took first place in the Powerpoint category of the 2011 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office. The competition final was held in San Diego, America, and the preliminary rounds drew a total of around 200,000 entrants from 70 countries. It was Ru-hsuan’s first time entering a software competition. The astounding result can be traced back to March this year, when she took part in courses to gain Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification and Techficiency Quotient Certification (TQC). In the courses, her exceptional performance made her stand out among classmates. She was rewarded with a scholarship for two entire days of training per week. A little over a month later, she received MOS and TQC licenses. Then, in mid-June, she took part in the local leg of the 2011 Worldwide Competition on Microsoft Office. She came first and qualified for the international component of the tournament. She then underwent stringent training for two months under the guidance of Chen Zhi-yang and Liu Wen-xiu, two TKU students possessing high-level Microsoft Office skills. For the last six months, Ru-hsuan has faced a spectrum of difficulties, disappointments, and problems coordinating course time and training sessions. Through resolute focus on her objectives, she has managed to prevail. Ru-hsuan commented “I feel I’m so lucky. The certification courses offered by the TKU Career Planning and Placement Section not only allowed me to obtain important licenses, but also helped to pique my interest in Microsoft Office. This then led me to two incredible teachers, who helped me so much along the way. In the past, when I saw acceptance speeches from prize winners who constantly praised their teachers or mentors, I always felt that they lacked a sense of originality. But now I understand: you can’t be the best at something without the help and support of many others. I get it now”.
The TKU Cambodia Volunteer Group recently returned from their fifth volunteer trip to Cambodia. From July 8 to 25, the group bonded with the local Cambodian children and designed a range of classes aimed to improve the children's computer and Chinese language abilities. Before setting out, the volunteer group carefully planned out each of the classes, making sure to account for differences in students' levels of proficiency. During the day, there were basic Chinese classes, Chinese drawing and singing classes, and computer classes for the younger children. Then, in the evening, advanced computer and Chinese language classes were held for the senior students. In the daytime classes, the younger students were taught the Chinese transcription system through the use of picture style flash cards. Zeng Pei-jing, a fourth year TKU student on her third volunteer trip to Cambodia, described how "on the last day, as the children recited the Chinese alphabet and danced, I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment".
At 10am today, August 1, a ceremony to welcome new department chairs and inaugurate new TKU departments, administrative sections, and research centers was held at the the Chueh Sheng International Memorial Hall, Tamsui Campus. Among the newly established organizations were the Intelligent Automation and Robotics Center, the Information Technology and Behavioral Research Center, the Office of International and Cross-Strait Affairs, along with the International and Cross-Strait Exchange Section and the International and Mainland Student Guidance Section. A total of 22 changes have been made to first and second level management positions. During the ceremony, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, delivered a brief speech. She took the chance to thank the former department heads for their long-term commitment to TKU. She also encouraged the new leaders to continue working to improve Tamkang. President Chang last week attended a gathering for Cross-Strait universities, which included the most respected universities from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. She noted that Tamkang’s attendance at the event reflected its close relationship with leading universities in Mainland China. Also at the ceremony, President Chang asserted TKU’s four major directions for the 2011-2012 academic year. These are as follows: 1. Improving guidance services offered to Mainland Chinese students and strengthening the foundations of Mainland Chinese student recruitment. 2. Implementing development plans for teaching and research; augmenting Tamkang’s unique characteristics. 3. Enhancing opportunities for research and future development through increased funding and closer cooperation with industry. 4. Drawing on a broad range of resources to construct a new Information Education building.
According to recent figures released by Webometrics’ Ranking Web of World Universities on July 30, out of over 20,000 institutes of higher education around the world, Tamkang is now ranked 272 – up 13 places from its ranking of 285 earlier this year. Locally, TKU’s ranking moved up one place, to 9th. In terms of private universities in Taiwan, Tamkang again took top spot, and was the only Taiwanese private university to be ranked among the world’s top 300. For more details, please refer to the websites: http://www.webometrics.info/ http://www.webometrics.info/rank_by_country.asp?country=tw
In Taiwan, there are laws and regulations that guarantee work for the blind and visually impaired in the massage industry. This is set to change. Starting this October, the safety blanket that once protected the blind and visually impaired will shift to an entirely different industry: the telephone-based customer service industry. To ensure that this transition goes smoothly, the TKU Center of Resources for the Blind teamed up with Chunghwa Telecom to develop a comprehensive range of products for use by blind customer service representatives. This includes a leading-edge, blind-friendly telephone headset system, as well as specialized personnel training and counseling services. The system has already been tested by 15 blind and visually impaired Chunghwa Telecom customer service representatives, who together conducted an average of around 5,500 telephone-based customer satisfaction surveys per month. One of these service representatives has now been promoted to manager. The new telephone headset systems are set to be used by blind customer service representatives at the newly established “Eye Innovation Customer Service Center”. A joint venture between TKU and Chunghwa Telecom, the center was officially inaugurated on July 28 at a ceremony held in the World Trade Center, Taipei. The center will provide consulting services to customer service companies looking to hire blind or visually impaired employees, as well as offering customer service outsourcing solutions. Although still in its initial stages, the center stands to redefine the role of blind and visually impaired in today’s society.
Recently, a handful of TKU student associations came together to make a difference. They set out to Taidong, in remote Eastern Taiwan, where they held a free 7-day camp for underprivileged aboriginal children. The camp taught the children a range of skills and featured fun classes on general science knowledge, computer know-how, and a plethora of amusing games. Camp volunteers consisted of members of TKU student associations, including the Union Dolphin Club, the Hualian Alumni Association, and the TKU Aboriginal Club, with 17 volunteers in total. The camp leader, Li Qing-fang, commented: “the children’s enthusiasm to learn and their eager participation in all of the activities made it a truly memorable experience”.