After the long winter vacation, TKU faculty and staff today (Feb. 11) returned to work. It was their first day back since Chinese New Year, and thus their first workday of the Year of the Rabbit. To celebrate, A Chinese New Year Morning Tea was held at the Chueh Sheng International Hall. In preparation for the event, the hall had been decorated with auspicious symbols, such as Chinese characters connoting peace and prosperity. The morning tea also doubled as an opening ceremony for two newly established Tamkang institutes: the Office of Quality Assurance and Audit and the Center for Japan Studies. The former will work to raise the standard of teaching at TKU and improve the efficacy of its internal operations. The Center for Japan Studies, on the other hand, will strengthen TKU’s ties with Japanese business and tighten the already close relationship TKU enjoys with its sister universities in Japan. The TKU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Kuo-Hsin Yu, made a speech during the event. He expressed his hope that in this New Year, the Year of the Rabbit, each member of TKU’s faculty and staff may play their part in taking TKU to new levels of academic and administrative excellence.
New statistics were recently released by the Webometrics Ranking Web of World Universities. Out of over 20,000 institutes of higher education, Tamkang University's ranking moved upward dramatically to 285th in the world, 32nd in Asia, 10th in Taiwan, and first among private universities in Taiwan. For more detailed information, please refer to the website http://www.webometrics.info/及http://www.webometrics.info/rank_by_country.asp?country=tw
Chinese New Year is almost upon us. To celebrate the New Year and usher in the upcoming winter break, Tamkang University held a Chinese New Year End-of-Year Gala. On the afternoon of Friday, January 21st, as rain sprinkled across the TKU Tamsui Campus, TKU faculty and staff poured into the Student Activity Center with cheerful anticipation. The line-up of entertainment was organized jointly by the Tamkang Military Training Department and the TKU Office of Physical Education. It featured a traditional lion dance show; a unique version of the classic fairy tale, Snow White, performed to a slideshow backdrop of the Tamsui Campus, and featuring characters from TKU's faculty and staff; a song and dance parody of the Korean pop sensation “Wondergirls”; and the centerpiece of the afternoon, a choreographed, PG-rated male strip show, which drew rapturous shrieks from the female portion of the 1,500 strong audience. Interwoven among the stage performance was a series of raffle draws. A total of 200 cash prizes were given away as part of the raffle, with the major prize of NT $30,000 drawn at the very end of the program. The winner, Department of Accounting Lecturer Yang Chuan-li, clasped the winning ticket firmly in his hand and dashed toward the stage to the thunderous applause of the crowd.
Not long ago, an extensive group of visitors touched down on Taiwanese soil. These visitors, 132 in total, are members of a youth group established by the (Taiwan) Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission. They come from countries across the globe, including Brazil, Panama, Paraguay, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and Costa Rica, to name just a few. During their trip, they partook in an array of activities, including tours to the world famous Shilin Night Market, Beitou, and the National Palace Museum. They were even taken to observe sites at which Taiwanese box office movies were filmed, and took part in a number of traditional Taiwanese wedding ceremonies, which intrigued the visitors, and left them awestruck at the cultural wonder that is Taiwan.
In winter this year, a vast legion of community volunteers from TKU societies and external service clubs have gone out into the community to help those in need. From TKU, a total of 386 teachers and students from 16 TKU societies formed 17 groups, who went to rural areas around Taiwan to provide free service and care to the locals. The volunteers comprise largely 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 journeys, the volunteers attended a Charity Service Send-off Ceremony. At the ceremony, the president of TKU Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang distributed certificates in acknowledgment of the volunteers’ efforts. She reminded students to keep in mind their own safety at all times, and wished them all a meaningful adventure. In a separate initiative, the TKU Cambodia Community Learning Team once again set out for Cambodia, where they will help to nurture local teachers and provide entertaining cultural performances. The team leader, TKU Department of Mathematics student Xiao Li-cheng, noted that they had prepared more in-depth teacher training courses for their trip this time, and that instead of exclusively performing Taiwanese songs – as they did last time – they will instead perform local folksongs that they learned on their last trip to Cambodia.
On the 14th of January, Tamkang University held a TKU Faculty Farewell Tea Party, a tribute to TKU teachers retiring at the end of this semester. The seven TKU teachers and employees set to retire were invited as guests of honor. They include Prof. Huang Fan-guang, from the Department of History; Assoc. Prof. Liao Guo-an from the Department of Physics; Prof. Yu-fan from the Department of Electrical Engineering; Prof. Gai Zhe-sheng from the TKU Graduate Institute of Educational Policy and Leadership; the Director of the Division of Continuing Education, Qiu Zhu-lin; and a staff member from the Office of Academic Affairs’ Registration Section. Tribute speeches were made by the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang; the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs and Administrative Affairs, Dr. Kuo-Hsing Yu and Dr. Po-yuan Kao respectively; the Chairman of the TKU Women’s Association, Huang Hong-zhu; and the Chairman of the TKU Retired Employee Association, Lin Yun-shan. They presented each of the teachers with a farewell memento. One of the teachers to be honored was Dr. Yu Fan, a veteran TKU professor from the Department of Electrical Engineering who has worked at TKU for the last 39 years. His youthful personality and fun-loving antics have been immortalized in countless anecdotes that will forever remain a part of TKU folklore.
Over the past semester, TKU freshmen have partaken in Community Learning classes. Of late, Community Learning students have been required to create a map of the most user-friendly campus routes for TKU disabled students. The participating students include freshmen from the departments of Civil Engineering, English, Japanese, and German. Together, they surveyed the entire Tamsui Campus, inspecting all disabled-friendly zones and facilities. They then produced sketches and diagrams of the most easy-to-use circuits of the campus based on disabled students’ needs. In the process, they analyzed the entry and exit points of each TKU building, and used different colored markers to differentiate between buildings and sites in the TKU Tamsui Campus that: i) Disabled students can access on their own ii) Disabled students can not reach on their own, and iii) Areas restricted for all students. To formulate the most precise Campus Map possible, disabled students were enlisted to participate. Volunteer disabled students thus took time out of their own schedule to assist in the activity. A “Friendly Campus Map 1.0” has now been published. In future, Community Learning courses will strive to continually refine and improve on this initial effort, to enable TKU disabled students to more readily make their way around the Tamsui Campus.
This year in April, members of the Higher Education and Accreditation Council of Taiwan will carry out an assessment of Tamkang University’s Tamsui Campus. To prepare for the assessment, TKU today held a “self-assessment” simulation activity. As such, external experts arrived at TKU today to appraise school performance in the areas of TKU market positioning, school governance and operation, teaching and learning resources, performance and social responsibility, and continual improvement and quality assurance. At 9:30am, the group of external commissioners held a self-assessment preparatory meeting. At 10am, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, presented a brief overview of TKU’s overall status and the commissioners then read and reviewed related TKU information. The group inspected the main library, the Center of Resources for the Blind, the theme-based simulation classrooms in the College of Business and Management building, the Center for Learning and Teaching, etc. At 1:30pm, talks were held between faculty, staff, and students, and at 3:50pm, there was a round of general discussions. As part of the evaluation, the commissioners each selected two teachers, two staff members, and two students, with whom they conducted interviews. The results of the self-assessment will provide a vital basis for the official assessment in April.
From May of last year, the TKU Department of Architecture has been working with the Taipei City Urban Redevelopment Office (TCURO) to set up a symbolic new display. The display is located at Dihua St., which is home to one of Taipei’s oldest markets, replete with baroque style buildings that date back to Japanese rule in the early 20th century. The display was designed to reflect the fusion of old and new embodied in the Dihua St. Market. The TCURO and TKU’s Department of Architecture were allotted a “public shop”, an unused plot of space in the Dihua St. Market, in which to set up the display. The display consists of relics from a time gone by, which TKU students arduously collected, one by one, from local merchants and residents. They include an old-style Chinese lantern, a Ginseng medicine box, ceramic bowls, an oil-paper umbrella, and an antique–style window frame, among others, all of which have been delicately presented on a huge row of wooden racks. Each of the antique items has a story behind it, which has been chronicled and exhibited for the benefit of visitors and future generations. The display has achieved its purpose. It has rendered into concrete form the collective memories of all of Taipei’s senior citizens. To such citizens, Dihua St. remains an undying vestige of Taipei’s City’s colorful past.
According to a study by the Ministry of Education, Taiwanese children born to foreign brides typically spend less than an hour a day completing or revising their homework. The reasons parents are unable to help such children with their homework include a “lack of time due to the need to make a living” and “poor language ability”, cited the study. This is a problem faced by disadvantaged children across Taiwan. In an attempt to mitigate and even reverse this trend, several organizations and initiatives have been set up throughout Taiwan in the hope of helping young students from disadvantaged families “keep up” academically. One such initiative, the Little Sunshine Project, has been serving local families in Tamsui. For the past semester, as part of TKU’s Community Learning program, Tamkang freshmen have been helping care for children from the Little Sunshine Project in Tamsui. Each week, they help young children to read and write, and to finish their homework. Yet as the current semester rapidly draws to an end, their Community Learning duties will soon be over. So of late, they have been thinking feverishly of how to make a lasting difference in the children’s lives. Their answer: a musical tribute; a symphony concert, dedicated to the children, that would give the children a chance to appreciate fine music – and art in general – and provide them with a snapshot of university life, around which they may build and create a successful future. The concert was held on Wednesday, December 29. As the concert was about to begin, the children handed gifts and hand-written cards to the TKU students who had been looking after them. One of the participating TKU students, Zhao Li-ya, commented that “The Community Learning program will soon be over. While interacting with the kids at the concert this evening, I could sense that they were excited…Although we’ve only played a very minor role in their overall process of growing up, I hope that they’ll remember us; remember that they once had a group of older ‘brothers and sisters’ who helped them with their homework”.
Statistics have shown that as Taiwanese students go from elementary school to high school to university, the likelihood of them partaking in regular exercise declines. To counter this trend, TKU has set up a “Healthy Campus” course. In the course, faculty members from the Office of Physical Education provide students with professional exercise and dietary information. Promoting health and safety is also an essential component of TKU’s Community Learning program. At the beginning of this month, as part of Community Learning, students surveyed the TKU Tamsui Campus to find the best routes for visually impaired students. The Center of Resources for the Blind was also enlisted to give students help and advice. During the Community Learning course, to gain a clearer idea of how the campus landscape feels for a blind student, students wore blindfolds, wielded white canes, and walked together carefully in rows. Department of Japanese student, Liu Yi-shan, said that “even just five minutes of walking blindfolded was a challenge. We don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to always see exactly where we’re going. It is so difficult for blind people to get around. We should do our best to help blind students by trying to lessen their burden”.
On the evening of the 22nd, TKU’s Tamsui Campus came alive with lights and music from two separate but equally festive events. One of the events was a light ceremony. It was a symbolic display, a celebration of Tamkang’s 60th anniversary, and a gesture to mark the imminent arrival of the 100th year on the Chinese lunar calendar. The ceremony was held at the University Commons, a popular quadrangle that had been decorated specifically for the light show. In the depths of winter the quadrangle remained warm thanks to two pyramid-shaped campfires and a battery of shining lights. In attendance was the TKU President, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, who got the light show under way and gave a brief opening address. She voiced her hope that students may demonstrate courage and wisdom when facing changes and challenges, and urged them to strive for their full potential by always applying the values of simplicity, truthfulness, firmness, and perseverance. Just as her speech was finishing, music began to pour forth from the nearby Student Activity Center. The 2010 White Christmas Masquerade had begun. Inside, where the music was blaring, was a sea of masked faces, of men in suits and women in dresses, dancing, laughing, and shrieking with joy. The event was jointly held by the TKU Office of International Exchange and International Education (OIEIE), along with the Volunteers of International Students (VOIS). Together, they had organized an evening of Christmas-style entertainment. A highlight of the evening was the party pageant, in which a “party king” and “party queen” were chosen from a group of 10 candidates. The announcement of the party king and queen brought jubilant screams from the crowd, and was followed by a round of waltz performances, which capped off a truly memorable Masquerade.
Tamkang University was established in 1950. Under the leadership of its pioneering founder, Dr. Clement C.P. Chang, as well as current president, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, it has today become one of Taiwan’s leading private universities. It has also received various accolades and awards for its outstanding accomplishments in sports and athletics. To celebrate six decades of success, a spectacular sports and martial arts show was held on the evening of Dec. 20 at Tamsui Campus’ Shao-Mo Memorial Gymnasium. The extravaganza was called the “60-year Sports Spectacular” and comprised ten jaw-dropping performances that showcased the product of months of practice and intensive training. The opening performance was a kendo demonstration with an unexpected twist. It began as several members of TKU’s kendo club – clad in dark blue, heavily-padded kendo uniforms – walked onstage. One of the members then took off the traditional kendo mask that was covering her face. The audience gasped in delight, as standing before them was the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang. The display of kendo sparring that followed mixed humor with the traditional discipline and beauty of Japanese martial arts to dazzle and captivate the vast audience. There was also a traditional Chinese lion dance, pommel horse and rhythmic gymnastics displays, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, a cheerleading performance, ballroom dancing, fencing, and extreme dancing. The Director of TKU’s Office of Physical Education, Hsiao Shu-Fen, commented that “this is a sports demonstration that combines strength and beauty…it is an innovative and original activity that shows the vibrancy and energy characteristic of Tamkang University”.
On the evening of Dec. 18, the Tamkang EMBA year-end gala was held at the Taipei International Youth Activity Center in Taipei. The gala was different from previous years. It was a banquet and a talent contest, where students, faculty, and staff of the TKU EMBA programs took turns to deliver energetic acts and lively dance performances. At the beginning of the program, the hosts – Huang Ya-jun and Wang Wei-jia – dressed up as Santa Claus and went from table to table handing out Christmas candy. This was followed by the first performance of the evening, an up-tempo and interactive session of aerobic boxing by Department of Business Administration student, Zhu Tian-xiang. An action-packed cheerleading performance was to follow, and featured dazzling flips and several series of somersaults. There was choir singing, ballroom dancing, classical Chinese music, and comedy skits. Yet possibly the most entertaining show of the night was that performed by the “techno dancing divas”, a colorfully-attired gathering of directors, CEOs, and professors from the College of Business and Management. Together, they performed a lively dance act that at once bedazzled and amused the audience. The evening was a great success. The light-hearted fun and exuberant atmosphere was the perfect culmination to a year of hard work and arduous efforts.
From December 16-18, the TKU Department of English will be hosting the Fifth International Conference on Ecological Discourse. Participants at the conference include local Taiwanese scholars and overseas scholars from Japan, Korea, Australia, Mainland China, India, America, Spain, and Turkey. The conference will feature 8 lectures by various experts in the field, and two separate areas will be set up to display almost 60 academic theses. The development of ecological discourse at Tamkang can be traced back to the visionary ideas of the former TKU Dean of the College of Foreign Language and Literature, Dr. Lin Yao-fu. Over a decade ago, he helped to establish one of the very few academic bodies that focused on ecological discourse research in Taiwan. The topic of this year’s conference is “Eco-criticism in Asia: Reorienting Modernity, Reclaiming Nature?” It will explore and discuss issues related to ‘modernity’ and ‘nature’ in the context of Asia. More specifically, discussion will center on the problems triggered by rapid economic growth in Asia and global warming. The Chairman of the TKU Department of English, Dr. Peter Huang, noted that for this year’s conference, important scholars from various regions around the world will be in attendance. He voiced his hope that together they may produce substantive, long-lasting breakthroughs in the field of ecological discourse, and generate awareness on environmental issues in a variety of regions around the world.
Beginning this semester, TKU freshmen have been going into the community to make a difference. Their regular visits into the community have been part of a community learning scheme, implemented by Tamkang to help students gain even more social experience, to nurture in students a sense of responsibility and social awareness, and to blend academic learning with community giving. One part of community learning involves drawing “green maps”. This means going 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. In the last several weeks, TKU freshmen have thus been entering the community to draw maps of local sites that mean something to them. The completed projects were displayed at an exhibition in the TKU Tamsui Campus from the 12th to the 14th of December. One of the maps charted the location of every local church and temple. Another portrayed the old-style, heritage-listed buildings in Tamsui; while yet another showed all of Tamsui’s parks and “green areas” from a bird’s eye view. The activity has not only helped students form a bond with their beautiful surrounds, but has also allowed TKU freshmen the chance to appreciate Tamsui’s venerable history, its vibrant natural features, and its vivid, character-filled architecture.
At the beginning of this month, the Ministry of Education, the Industrial Development Bureau, and Google Inc. jointly held an event widely recognized as the Olympics of university-level data management: the 2010 University Information Service and Data Management Competition. Out of 76 participating universities and a total of 329 university teams, Tamkang’s Department of Information Management claimed a vast bundle of first placings and emerged from the competition as the team with the most wins. Over the years, one of TKU’s guiding principles has been the promotion of information-oriented education. This consistent focus has bred an atmosphere of excellence in information service and management. One of the TKU teachers who supervised students before and during the event, Prof. Hsiao Jui-hsiang, said that “in the context of this annual competition, whether students win or not is not the point. Our target and responsibility as teachers is to help the students showcase the fruits of their four years of study, and to guide students to solve problems and apply their creativity".
At the Tamsui Campus on the evening of Dec. 6, art and science achieved a delightful fusion in a musical display put on by the TKU College of Science. The event was held at the Carrie Chang Fine Arts Center, and was a concert with the catchy title “A Dialogue between Art and Technology”. As part of the evening, College of Science faculty and students teamed up with students of other TKU colleges and used the piano, violin, harmonica, flute, and guitar to perform a number of musical pieces, including the theme music from the Japanese cartoon Spirited Away. Among the talented line up of performers were the winner of the TKU Jinshao Music Award, Zhan Yu-ting, and a member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Eric Wang, whose violin solo dazzled and astonished the audience. There was also a magic show, in which 4th year science student, Zhu Geng-qing, performed a series of comical stunts and tricks to humor the crowd, bringing levity to the artistic event and filling the concert hall with laughter. In attendance at the concert were various members of TKU faculty, including the TKU Vice President for International Affairs, Dr. Wan-chin Tai, former TKU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Kan-nan Chen, and the Dean of the College of Science, Prof. Wang Bo-Cheng. Prof. Wang noted that as other colleges have not yet held such an event, the concert was a pioneering step toward musical appreciation at TKU. The purpose of the fun-filled evening was to enable students from each faculty of the College of Science to become better acquainted, and to help nurture an appreciation of art among science students, thus producing balanced, well-rounded science graduates. At the end of the evening, TKU teachers were invited onstage. And as the ballad tribute “The Fruit of 60 Years” played in the background, the teachers danced and cheered, and capped off what was a memorable and thoroughly entertaining evening of art and science.
5th year TKU Department of Architecture student, Li Chen-an, has taken top honors in the 2009-2010 design competition “form‧Z Joint Study Program”. For his award-winning piece, entitled “Launching from Taipei 101”, Chen-an designed a futuristic, fantasy-style model of Taipei City, with a central focus placed on Taipei’s prominent 101 building. In the model, Taipei 101 becomes the central hub from which small, translucent shuttlecrafts disembark, flying passengers to various points around Taipei. During their trip, passengers are able to glance out from the craft’s glass shell for a spectacular 360 degree view of Taipei. The concept combines a renowned Taipei landmark – in the form of 101 – with a brand new means of transportation, to redefine the way in which Taipei residents view their city. Li Chen-an said that having been born and raised in Taipei, he had a vast pool of ideas from which to draw on in creating his design. He also received a silver medal for his “man-powered vehicle” design, which incorporated a 3D model to focus attention on the severe environmental issues currently faced by mankind. In addition, TKU Department of Architecture student, Cai Wan-lin, also received a silver medal for her piece, entitled “Green Knight on a Motorcycle”. The design draws on the recent Taipei Flora Expo to depict a mobile garden that floats through the air, by creating hi-tech backpacks and helmets with floral designs to be worn by drivers of scooters. TKU was the only Taiwanese university to receive awards in the 2009-2010 form‧Z Joint Study Program competition.
On Nov. 30, the Ministry of Education held a forum which showcased the results of their push toward cyber space. The forum hosted Taiwanese universities with substantial web based learning platforms. Tamkang University offers one of the leading, most comprehensive learning platforms of all Taiwanese universities. TKU’s Cyber Campus provides masters degrees, international distance education, and cross-cultural distance learning programs. Given TKU’s prominent role in Taiwanese cyber education, the President of TKU, Dr. Flora Chia-I Chang, was asked to help open the forum, along with two other dignitaries, including the Minister of Education, Wu Qing Ji. In his opening speech, Minister Wu explained that there are now a total of nine online masters programs offered by Taiwanese universities, which collectively offer 117 certified courses. He commended Tamkang University’s ongoing efforts in providing online learning, and particularly applauded TKU on its cooperative distance learning program with Waseda University in Japan. President Chang, in her subsequent speech, announced that starting from next year, TKU would be offering a masters program to be conducted entirely in Spanish. The program will cater to students in Central and South America, and will comprise a focus on economics, trade, politics, and culture in the Asia Pacific region. It aims to spread digital learning technology and educational resources to Central and South America, and in doing so, provide people in such regions with access to higher education.