From the Nation to the World

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From the Nation to the World

文章johnney » 12月 週一 31, 2007 2:25 pm

Dept. of Diplomacy 外交學系 (exchange student)
KIM Jae Yeon(金載淵)

From the Nation to the World

National Chengchi University has been recognized as one of the best universities in Taiwan but still unknown to the outside world and which is meant that its strength yet internationally recognized. What are the reasons? Simply speaking, it is because this university is competent in the nation but that is not enough to be competent in the world. Then it is all right because it is yet at least good enough in the nation? No. As the term ‘globalization’ becomes a buzz word, one of the implications it has given to us is that the students in Taiwan should compete with the students from the all around world. For example, if a student from the department of NCCU is working for an investment bank in Taiwan or in other countries he or she should be able to compete with his colleagues and competitors in the field from various countries. In that regard rephrasing the previous question, NCCU is well prepared to take an initiative in that rapidly changing part of the field of human resource market? The given mentioned fact of NCCU overtly gave us an answer that it is not then how can we deal with this situation? What are the innovative strategies to promote this university from the nation’s best university to the world’s best university? From now on, I will explore the possible best answers by three sections. In the first section, I will define what the internationally competitive university is. In the second section, I will suggest to NCCU how it becomes that level of university. In the third section, I will provide some examples of universities in Asia region: Korea University, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and lastly National University of Singapore.

What Is the Internationally Competitive University?

Before its setting responsibility for teaching, universities are primarily focusing on its mission to researching so internationally competitive universities are meant that the universities are strong in researching. It does not mean that teaching is less important otherwise it indicates us what is the priority. Especially if we are looking forward, then this priority issue should be considered our major concerns.

To be strong in the research field, universities are required to provide three assets: first easy vast amount and high quality of research resources. Many best universities in the world are famous for its vast amount and high quality of research resources. As an example, thinking of the reputation of Harvard University originated from its one of the world’s top quality and quantity library. Second, if we began to provide those research resources, then it eventually draw the attention of research-oriented highly self-empowered and motivated scholars. They will do a ground-breaking work as in the case of the University of Chicago in the mid of its development. The money Rockefeller invested to this university helped to establish a great amount of research resources and that led them to have one of the best faculty members in the world. Third, as we began to have the best faculty then it is going to magnetically draw the best graduate students who want to do their MA or Ph. D work under the guidance of those professors. So these are three step-processes. Then how it is going to start work? I would say it starts from the opening-up initiative process. As we know, in this world today, North American universities are strong in almost every field in fact they dominate it. How come it happens? To some extent, it can be stemmed from the wealth and strength of those nations in North America. But more importantly if we trace back to the history and if we consider the three-step processes to be an internationally competitive university that I mentioned above it is due to the fact they have got good library, faculty, and graduate students. And if we become thinking of that, then we realize there are a lot of immigrants from the Old World, Europe. They bring money to build the libraries, they bring the best scholars and many of them become later Nobel Laureates, and also they bring best graduate students who now leading the world, government, business and universities. What is this implication? The internationally competitive university starts from openness when it is opened to accept outside resources, and when it begins to enlarge its resources it is led to be internationally competitive. Then how we can do? In the next section, there are stories of universities you can follow up.

Asian Universities Are Changing

Asian universities are changing form seeking national-level competitiveness to international-level competitiveness. In this section, I will provide four examples of universities: Korea University in Seoul, City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong, and lastly National University of Singapore in Singapore. I will take these four examples because those four universities are located in South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore which are along with Taiwan as regarded as Asian four tigers in other words Taiwan’s traditional economic competitors.

Korea University is also traditionally regarded as one of best universities in South Korea, similar to NCCU it is notable its competitiveness in humanities and social science. However, as the last president Euh came it aimed to its university education policy towards ‘Global KU’. Specifically, in addition to previous ESP (Exchange Student Program) it established VSP (Visiting Student Program) with universities such as UBC (University of British Columbia) and others in English-speaking region. That helped students literally almost anyone who wants to get a chance of study abroad to be able to do it. As an example, I myself have been in Hong Kong last year and in Taiwan this semester. Secondly, it has expanded its English-taught courses and now it becomes 30% of whole university courses which is meant that it has become bilingual university. Also, the new recruited faculty members are required to be able to teach in English. This is preparation for inviting more foreign students and faculties from outside the world. Along with this strategy, Korean culture and language center has become famous either. From this initial stage, now this university looks forward and in last year made an ambitious joint MBA program with Fudan University in Shanghai, and National Singapore University in Singapore. This is aimed to strengthen its regional cooperation and development in research area. For these efforts, now university has become more internationally recognized and competitive both in the nation and the world.

City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology are relatively young universities in Hong Kong or Asia. Those are 20 years around old universities. However they are all internationally well-recognized and highly competitive universities due to their selection and concentration strategy. City University of Hong Kong is very practical university its teaching is not confined to theories but more concerned of how we actually apply it to the real world. Its student caring and career consulting program is notable and well-organized. International exchange program has been developed from the beginning of university and it has been conducted effectively by the authority of not only international office but also by the department individually. For example, if an exchange student comes and enrolls in the department of social and public administration he or she is cared not only by the international office but also the department itself. It lessens the duplicability of administration work and burdens of responsible employees and students concerns. It has very strong tie with professors and in-class mates by various practical but meaningful activities. Comparatively, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is famous for its research-oriented competitiveness and especially its MBA program known as the best in Asia. Unlike other universities in Hong Kong, it distinguishably followed the American university education system, and trying to focus on what it can do best and let go the others. It is similar to the former GE CEO Jack Welch’s ‘No.1 or 2’ policy. Even though it has humanities and social science departments those are relatively small and weak but it is highly strong in the other areas like science and technology as it named but the popular and strong are is business. It effectively uses the background of Hong Kong as an Asia’s financial hub to develop its program and unleash potential.

National University of Singapore is along with Beijing University and Tokyo University and probably Hong Kong University one of the most well-known and strong universities in Asia. When we look at this university, we can find all the strategies that I mentioned are combined together. From the earlier stage, it insisted to be an English-speaking university to be international. It has also maintained and eagerly pursued wide and active involvement and participation in academic exchange. Also, it is also taking ‘selection and concentration’ strategy as we can know from its curriculum and other related programs. For example, its political science department is famous for its regional study like ASEAN that is Singapore has an active role in. In sum, overcoming language barrier and expanding the relationships with other countries and universities and improving effectiveness of administration and focusing what you can do and you can do best in a certain field of research is a gate to go to the internationally competitive university.

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