Introducing top talents and results, College of Liberal Arts aims for first-class disciplines

Modified: September 2, 2016

Source: The News Center

Authors: Chen Wenju, Li Weimiao

As JNU enters its second year establishing itself as a Guangdong Province high-level university, the College of Liberal Arts reports continuing achievements in building talents teams and and academic achievements.

In July, four JNU professors were leading talents in the Ten Thousand Talents Project, with the College of Liberal Arts topping the list. In June, the approval of 31 programs supported by the National Social Science Fund made JNU one of the top 10 universities in China; 11 of those programs, including two key programs, came out of the College of Liberal Arts. The number of Chinese literature programs approved ranked first, and Chinese history programs tied for fourth. In April, the college independently trained the first Chang Jiang Scholar of Arts. In January, two scholars were elected to the National Culture Promotion Talents Project, one from the College of Liberal Arts. JNU now has three Excellent Social Scientists in Guangdong Province. All come from the College of Liberal Arts.

Introducing and cultivating talents to construct a high-level talents team

Many great educators and talents have emerged during the 87-year history of the College of Liberal Arts. Noted scholars including Chen Zhongfan and Zheng Zhenduo served as deans of the college before 1949. Celebrated scholars including He Bingsong, Liang Shiqiu, Shen Congwen, Li Jianwu, Qian Zhongshu, Hongshen, Cao Juren and Xia Yan taught at the university. Masters in literature like Zhu Jieqin, Chen Lesu, Chen Xujin, Xiao Yin, Huang Yiqiu, He Jiahuai and Qin Mu also taught at JNU since its re-establishment in 1958. Since JNU reopened in 1978 in Guangzhou, the College of Liberal Arts has constantly attracted high-end talents, including Rao Penzi, Zang Bohui and Jiang Suzhuo.

The college aims to introduce and cultivate high-level talents, thus infusing vigorous vitality into the development of literature and history subjects. From Shandong University, the college introduced Prof. He Zhongming, born in the late 1960s, who was a New Century Talent of the Education Ministry, and another from Jilin University. Moreover, the college put forth effort to recruit competent young and middle-aged scholars to be Chang Jiang Scholars. The college also focuses on promoting the application of distinguished professors among Chang Jiang Scholars, as well as leading talents of the Ten Thousand Talents Project and the National Culture Promotion Talents Project, and now all have made great breakthroughs. He Zhongming and Liu Zenghe have been appointed distinguished professors of Pearl River Scholars, and the college now has three.

At present, young teachers with advanced degrees and senior professional titles are gradually forming the teaching staff in the College of Liberal Arts, which is structured by degrees, professional titles, age, graduate schools, etc. Statistics show the college has 116 full-time teachers, of whom 95 hold doctoral degrees, accounting for 81%; 52 hold with senior professional titles, making up 47%; and 41 are doctoral supervisors, taking up 37%. Teachers under age 35 constitute 23.2%; those between 36 and 45, 26.8%, those between 46 and 55, 27.7%, and those over 56, 22.3%. Among full-time teachers with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, 103 have learning experience in other universities, making up 95.4% in total.

Upgrading Major Research Projects and Faculty Team

With the mobilization and support of Jinan University, Professor Rao Fanzi has led a National Social Science Project on “Centennial Overseas Chinese Literature” since 2011. In 2013 Professor Zhan Bohui, over 80 years old, took the initiative in applying “Large Compilation of Dictionaries of Chinese Dialectology in Theoretical Research and Digitization.” Inspired by the scholarly atmosphere, many professors have subsequently received approvals and made historic breakthroughs. Altogether there were 10 Major Social Science Projects from 2011 to 2015. In 2016, the College of Liberal Arts successfully applied for 11 major projects.

Visiting programs and forums help make young teachers a major force in teaching and research.

The faculty of the College of Liberal Arts is familiar with famous universities abroad like Cambridge University and Harvard University because many young scholars have visited and studied at foreign universities, establishing solid relationships with them. In addition, JNU has learned a lot from them in terms of broadening academic views, reflecting study of theory and inventing new teaching methods. For example, Li Yunfei, a JNU professor studying and working in the Cambridge history department as a visiting scholar, improved his Latin and overcame the language barrier in reading original European medieval history books. Based on Latin documents preserved in St. Martin’s monastery in France since the 11th century, he published his essay “Voluntary Vassalage and the Attachment of the French Grassroots Society in the 11th Century.”

The College of Liberal Arts hosts high-level domestic and international academic seminars and invites prestigious experts and scholars to lecture annually. In addition, it introduces high-level domestic and international experts to enhance cultivation of young teachers. In the last year, it has hosted seven high-level conferences and more than 30 lectures given by experts and scholars. Faculty members are fully funded by the college to join domestic and international academic seminars once or twice annually. They have joined forums and seminars like “Forum for Literature of the May 4 Movement: Tradition and Localization,” “Academic Seminar on Literary Criticism and the Engendering of Chinese Literary History in the 20th Century” and “Forum for Experts of Literature and History Discipline at Jinan University.” These forums and seminars provided development platforms for young teachers.

The College of Liberal Arts hosts the seventh “Cross-Strait-Four-Regions Forum for Contemporary Poetics: International Academic Seminar on Intergenerational Experiences and the Poetic Representation.”

“Space Arts of The Story of the Stone” is Jinan University’s first MOOC.

Theory of literature and art is one of the national key disciplines. Chinese language and literature and Chinese history are, respectively, key and predominant disciplines in Guangdong province. The College of Liberal Arts has three authorized first-level doctoral degree disciplines, three post-doctoral stations and 16 authorized second-level doctor degree disciplines. According to the Assessments of the Ministry of Education in 2012, the discipline of Chinese language and literature ranked 15th among participating colleges and universities, and Chinese history and world history ranked 18th and 19th respectively.