TCU has continuously received grants from the Ministry of Education for its Teaching Excellence Project during the past ten years, and was recently granted additional funding for its “Teaching Innovation Pilot Project” and “New Southbound Project,” in academic year 2017-2018. To attract more Taiwanese students and international students to come to TCU, the university plans to establish an iD School and an International College. In planning its curriculum, TCU endeavors to expand international collaboration among students, strengthen student mobility, and improve students’ narrative ability in Chinese and English.
It has been 23 years since TCU was founded in 1994, and its efforts in preparing students to be good professionals have been well recognized by the general public. When Global Views Monthly published its “2017 University Rankings in Taiwan,” Tzu Chi University placed 20th overall, 6th among private universities and first on the east coast. TCU’s president, Dr. Peng-Jung Wang, treasures the values of our education. To highlight humanities and character education, and to accentuate student’s competitiveness, TCU carries out various international projects, and collaborates with domestic industrial institutions. Now, TCU has established good connections with many Southeast Asian countries, and as a result, a majority of TCU’s international students are from this region. Through building a friendly learning environment, TCU wishes these students will feel very comfortable to study here. Dr. Wang was grateful that the Ministry of Education has recognized our efforts, and was willing to provide extra funding and encouragement to us to do more. In addition, Dr. Wang mentioned that many international exchange students came to Hualien and studied at TCU for a short term this year, yet unlike the international students studying at other universities, they interacted with community residents, explored local culture, experienced firsthand from taking humanities courses, and learned to care for Mother Earth by doing recycling work.
TCU’s “Teaching Innovation Pilot Project” aims to initiate a variety of brand new teaching innovations on the solid structure of the “Teaching Excellence Project.” The “Teaching Innovation Pilot Project” covers founding of the iD School and the International College. The International College will offer numerous multidisciplinary programs in English, and it will create a dynamic learning environment for international students. In addition, it will also welcome Taiwanese students to study side-by-side with international students. When going into their sophomore year, students of the International School may choose their majors and join those departments, or stay in the International School.
The “New Southbound Project” aims at enhancing international collaboration and student mobility, as well as connecting with assorted transnational learning platforms. Through this project, TCU students will have more overseas clerkship or internship opportunities. In addition, this project will start an “International Health Service Platform,” and to assist Southeast Asian professionals to advance their studies in Taiwan. TCU will work with National Cheng-Kung University, National Taiwan University, Taipei Medical University, Kaohsiung Medical University and I-Shou University to form “Regional Alliance for Medical Education,” to strengthen national collaborations on healthcare and public health research, and promote cooperation and professional exchanges.
TCU students will go overseas more often, to promote Chinese culture, and more international students will study at TCU for a short period. This year five TCU students received grants from the Ministry of Education to teach Chinese in the US, New Zealand and Thailand as assistant teachers. These students were from the Department of Oriental Languages and Literature, and the Department of English Language and Literature, who took part in TCU’s “Chinese Teaching Program.” Meanwhile, twenty US students came to Taiwan this summer and attended TCU’s summer program. Moreover, TCU provides plentiful funding for students to go overseas to complete their internships, participate in exchange programs, serve as volunteers, give presentations at various conferences, or attend international contests. The funding per student is much higher than at other Taiwanese universities. Studying at TCU will connect students with the world and enhance their international perspectives.
TCU also took initiatives for assisting faculty members to promote their teaching innovations. This summer, two faculty members from the Department of Nursing went to the US to attend the University of Washington and Kaplan International College in Seattle, to learn teaching skills extensively. Besides this, four faculty members attended Stanford University’s d. School to cultivate their innovative design and study powerful models for teaching. Later, they will apply what they learned to teach all English courses at TCU, lead a movement, and become agents of change.