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From Lanyang to Tamsui, Center for Holistic Education Embarks on a New Page

Date 2023-02-20 459 Clicks

Preface

“Since its establishment in the Lanyang campus in 2005, 3-All Policy has been implemented for over 17 years and has had significant impact and outstanding achievements that lead the country. It has long been the unique culture of Tamkang University”, at the 188th administrative meeting on December 23rd last year, the university president instructed, “… to provide comprehensive support measures for 3-All Policy and promote the Tamkang cultural characteristics based on the existing foundation.” “…, replicate the Lanyang 3-All Policy model in the Tamsui campus and expand it,” revealing a new chapter in the history of 3-All Policy in Tamsui.

Break down the boundaries between departments and establish a center across multiple units.

Starting from 2022 academic year, all 4 English-taught bachelor’s programs on Lanyang Campus have been moved to the Tamsui Campus. These programs include the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, the Department of English, the Department of International Tourism Management, and the Department of Global Politics and Economics. To further promote the “3-All Policy” on Lanyang Campus, which includes “All students gain complete exposure to English-based instruction”, “All third-year students spend a compulsory study abroad”, and “All students experience a residential college atmosphere”, the university established the Center for Holistic Education in November of last year. The center is headed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Hui-Huang Hsu, and its members include 3 college deans, 4 department chairs, and other relevant units of the university, working together to construct the “3-All Learning and Living Circle”.

The 3 conveners in charge of the Center for Holistic Education, who have all previously taught on Lanyang Campus, are the most suitable persons: Executive Secretary and Convener of the Whole-person Development Curriculum Working Group, Dr. Cheng-Hao Pao (Dean of College of International Affairs); Convener of the All-Residential College Activity Working Group Dr. Shi-Rong Wu (Dean of Student Affairs); and Convener of the Study-abroad Counseling Working Group, Dr. Chien-Mu Yeh (Dean of International Affairs). Tamkang Times interviewed the 3 conveners to discuss how to transplant 3-All Policy from Lanyang to Tamsui, and to understand the school’s educational philosophy for the Center for Holistic Education through their authentic “Lanyang Experience”.

All-Residence main base: Tamkang International Hall

The proposal of all first- and second-year students to live on campus is a continuation of the “all residential college” tradition. It is hoped that through campus life, the policies of studying abroad in the third year and instruction in English can be implemented. The president also hopes to combine the Taiwan-Europe scholarships, the Taiwan Huayu BEST Program, and the EMI (English as a Medium of Instruction) bilingual learning program to enhance the value of the residential plan.

The main base of 3-All Policy, Tamkang International Hall, formerly known as “Tamkang Hall”, is located on Zhongshan North Road in Tamsui. It is a 14-story building with 3 basement floors and is only a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute motorcycle ride from the Tamsui campus. Currently, exterior wall construction is underway, and improvements are being made to air conditioning and network equipment. In addition to the 4 departments of Center for Holistic Education, the Hall also includes international students of the Office of International Affairs and Mandarin learners of the Office of Continuing Education, creating an international atmosphere.

Required credits for the holistic development curriculum

“It is not possible to transplant the Lanyang experience directly to Tamsui, but it does not mean that it cannot be done,” said Dr. Cheng-Hao Pao, Executive Secretary and convener of the holistic development working group. The purpose of studying abroad in the third year is not just to study and earn credits, but also to cultivate problem-solving skills in a multicultural environment where integration and conflict both exist, and to increase the awareness of “biodiversity”. Therefore, adjustments have been made based on the culture of the Tamsui campus, and the “holistic development curriculum” planned for the 4 departments in the 2022 academic year are required courses. The content includes the following 3 categories:

I. “Social Issue Exploration and Practice” (Freshman Year): Task-based learning is the main approach, where students must select and complete relevant tasks related to different social issues announced by the instructor within one academic year. Students choose a topic of interest and engage in self-directed learning, using various methods such as social exploration, social experiences, lecture participation, and college activities to complete the tasks, thereby enhancing their understanding of social issues and promoting practical involvement. In the last semester, 14 activities and topics were offered, with many activities held at Tamkang International Hall at night to facilitate learning with international students. In the 2022 academic year, there are 16 topics are designed, covering “ community visits”, “after-school tutoring”, “SDGs narrative writing”, “dark tourism (historical scar tourism spots)”, “leave no trace in nature”, “social dilemmas faced by indigenous people”, “understanding new immigrants”, “guide dogs and a friendly campus”, “home care for the elderly”, “open source code (digital democracy)”, as well as gender issues such as workplace barriers, LGBTQ+, transgender, a friendly environment and equal treatment.

II. “International Learning” (sophomore level): this all-English-taught course is designed to help students understand the significance of international learning and prepare them for studying abroad in their junior year. The course instructor invites speakers to discuss various topics related to international learning, such as introducing the cultures of different countries and how to adapt and be tolerant of cultural differences, basic international etiquette, sharing the experiences of studying abroad, how to design travel experiences to learn about local customs and culture, and how to document international learning experiences through photography and writing. Students are then required to complete the application process for studying abroad in their junior year and share their own experiences and insights gained from their study-abroad experiences.

III. “Team Development” (senior year): An advanced course of the “Social Issue Exploration and Practice” course. Tasks-based learning is the main focus, and students are required to form a team at the beginning of the semester and, under the guidance of the course instructor and college advisor, complete tasks such as setting practical project goals, planning and implementation, and presenting outcomes before graduation. During the course, students will learn problem-solving and communication skills, and try to integrate the concepts of participation, execution, and implementation of activities. At the same time, the course aims to strengthen the connection with SDGs/sustainable development/USR’s key indicators, or related to entrepreneurship or competitions.

All-residential college activities enhance students’ abilities

In addition to arranging all-residential college activities, the school has established an “All-Residential College Activity Working Group” to integrate the resources of the Student Affairs Office, incorporating activities from relevant units such as club activities, USR project, counseling services, and overseas student counseling. The convener of the All-Residential College Activity Working Group, Dr. Shi-Rong Wu, gathered 4 department heads and teachers before the start of the semester to discuss activities for this semester.

He emphasizes that the most important thing is to enhance students’ abilities, and he focuses on promoting IELTS, GEPT, and AI international certification. In the second week of the semester, 22nd, the “Launching Ceremony of All-Residential College Activity of the Center” was held, which included an “IELTS Exam Guidance and Curriculum Planning Seminar”. IELTS Manager from IDP Education Ltd. Warren Chang explained the content, format, scoring criteria, registration process, and examination methods and skills of the IELTS exam to students, and provided a Q&A session to help students clarify their doubts.

In addition, Dr. Shi-Rong Wu has also taken steps to arrange a cooperation with the College of Artificial Innovative Intelligence to guide students in obtaining international AI certifications. He stated that under the direction of “AI+SDGs=∞” of Tamkang, it is urgent to cultivate expertise in AI. He has already collaborated with Artificial Innovative Intelligence Club to offer relevant courses and study groups.

The activities for the next semester have also been planned. In addition to themed tutoring of each subject, appointments with department heads, study groups, career talks in English, and theme events (clubs, workshops, or experiences sharing from studying abroad), the continuation of Lanyang’s “High Table Dinner” is also in the works. There are also a variety of activities such as movie appreciation, DIY succulent plant pots, hiking and fitness events, and local cultural experiences. These activities combine the resources of various sections of the Office of Student Affairs and are carried out with the principle of being complimentary and prioritized for the students of the Center.

Junior Abroad counseling- replicate successful experiences.

Junior abroad program is a major feature of the Lanyang campus. Even after the Lanyang campus was merged back into the Tamsui campus in the 2021 academic year, the junior abroad program remains one of the key focuses of the “3-All Policy”. Dr. Chien-Mu Yeh, the Dean of the International Affairs Office and Convener of the Junior Abroad Program at the Center for Holistic Education, said,” We hope to incorporate the spirit of Lanyang into Tamsui by having all juniors study abroad and through flexible adjustments that combine past experiences with the atmosphere of the Tamsui campus, which emphasizes freedom and values student opinions, to promote international learning.”

Because of their study-abroad experience in their junior year, students were able to broaden their international perspective. During their one-year study abroad, Dr. Chien-Mu Yeh observed that students became more capable of seeing things from different perspectives. Furthermore, their soft skills, such as independence, tolerance, and respect for others, showed significant growth, and their hard skills such as English proficiency and professional skills also improved greatly. Over the years, students who have studied abroad have always shared their experiences with their teachers, which has made him very pleased.

Currently, the Junior Abroad Counseling Teams of the Center for Holistic Education is managed by the Office of International Affairs. They integrate and coordinate application information from 27 partner schools and hold briefing sessions, among other matters. They work with guidance counselors to make introductions to students and help them prepare for studying abroad.

In addition, in order to enable junior-abroad program students to complete the necessary procedures for studying abroad smoothly through systematic management of data and to study abroad with peace of mind, the “Junior Abroad Counseling System” was developed when they were on Lanyang campus. Dr. Chien-Mu Yeh proudly stated that more than 95% of the feedback received from previous third-year students who went abroad was positive, and the students returned with a wealth of experience after one year. Because of the good implementation effect on the Lanyang campus, the school hopes to bring the junior abroad program back to the Tamsui campus and expand the popularity of the “3-All Policy”.

“We have improved the study abroad guidance system for third-year students, combining it with the system settings of the Lanyang campus and customizing it to indicate the identities of junior abroad and exchange students.” The main functions of the system include selecting schools, study abroad guidance, reporting on study abroad situations, and credit recognition. Students can upload information through the system, which facilitates the International Affairs Office’s study abroad process and enables the office to understand students’ progress in preparing for study abroad and their learning situation after going abroad.

Expectations

Drawing on the spirit of Oxford, both the former Lanyang campus and today’s “Center for Holistic Education” are filled with educational ideals. “Independence, confidence, global competitiveness, and international mobility” are the qualities that Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Center for Holistic Education, Dr. Hui-Huang Hsu, envisions for the talent that will be cultivated through “3-All Policy”.

SDGs #SDG04 Quality Education #SDG17 Partnerships for the Goals