At this time of Tsinghua’s majestic spring, it gives me great pleasure to extend cordial greetings and best wishes to all Tsinghua students, faculty and staff, as well as alumni, at home and abroad. My heartfelt appreciation is extended to all friends of Tsinghua, throughout the world, who have contributed to Tsinghua’s development over the years.
The past year has been truly remarkable and fruitful. Major tasks have come to fruition and solid progress in advancing the comprehensive reform has been made, and we’ve stepped up the implementation of our global strategy. In addition, the Institutional Evaluation on Undergraduate Education was concluded with a strong endorsement by the experts of the evaluation committee of Ministry of Education. With renewed confidence and strengthened resolve, Tsinghua is poised for excellence.
Breakthroughs have been made in advancing the Education and Teaching Reform
Tsinghua has given top priority to the Education and Teaching Reform. We have fully adopted the multi-disciplinary admission process. 49 majors are consolidated into 16 multi-disciplinary categories. This admission reform helps break down disciplinary barriers and promote general education. Led by 16 distinguished scholars, a university-level Supervision Committee was established to oversee this implementation. Furthermore, we have restructured the undergraduate education curricula across the board, in order to give students greater academic flexibility, and support students to excel in multiple disciplines.
In replacement of the traditional examination based admission, we have adopted the application based admission process for Ph.D. programs, which includes a comprehensive review of the application materials and interview performance. This is designed to carry out a sound evaluation of the comprehensive quality of doctoral applicants, and facilitate the emergence of innovative talents that possess great academic potential.
For the first time in the university history, Tsinghua introduced the New Centennial Achievements Award and the Annual Award for Excellence in Teaching to recognize the extraordinary commitment of best performing teachers. The Center for Faculty Development has also been established to enhance professional skills and encourage world’s best teaching practices.
Reform on the scientific research system and mechanisms has been accelerated across the board
Higher education is a natural place for innovation to thrive. Tsinghua has set its sights on the frontiers of science and technology together with the national strategic objectives. We will continue to strengthen our innovative capabilities and strive to produce more advanced research outcomes. Tsinghua has brought forward its reform program related to the scientific research system and mechanisms that focus on a few key areas, including interdisciplinary research, cutting-edge technologies, and technology transfer.
In 2017, five interdisciplinary research institutes have been established: the Center for Intelligent Autonomous Systems; the Center for Intelligent & Connected Vehicles and Transportation; the Center for Flexible Electronics Technology; the Laboratory of Brain and Intelligence; and the Future Laboratory.
Policy reform measures have been implemented to break the traditional silos that separate schools and departments. By promoting interdisciplinary research across the board, allowing faculty to work across departments, conferring interdisciplinary degrees and establishing special funds earmarked for interdisciplinary studies, we will enhance our reputation as a university that places great attention to academic innovation and the cultivation of creative talents. In 2017, Tsinghua received 11 National Science and Technology Awards, including the first prize for the State Scientific and Technological Progress Awards, and 16 major research grants from the National Social Science Fund.
The Implementation of the Global Strategy has moved forward in leaps and bounds
Openness is one of the defining features of higher education in the 21st century. In line with China’s increasing role in world affairs, Tsinghua must actively participate in the knowledge sharing and common development of global higher education. By implementing the Global Strategy, we will continue to cultivate talents with global competence.
In February 2017, witnessed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Tsinghua University and Politecnico di Milano signed an agreement to establish the China-Italy Design Innovation Hub in Milan.On April 17th 2018, the Design Innovation Hub was officially opened, and the Tsinghua Arts and Design Institute in Milan was formally established.
In April 2017, Tsinghua initiated and jointly established the Asian Universities Alliance with 15 founding members, aiming at addressing regional and global challenges, specifically related to higher education and economic, scientific and technological development. In April 2018, the AUA founding members attended a higher education roundtable “The Rise of Asian Universities” at the Boao Forum for Asia. The first annual report on Asian higher education will be released this July.
The Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) institute, a joint initiative with University of Washington and Microsoft based in Seattle has continued to attract leading innovators and build global competence to tackle complex problems. In September 2017, the GIX teaching and research building was officially opened.
"Double First-Class" Initiative has moved into a new phase
In 2017, Tsinghua officially released its "Double First-Class (First-Class University & First-Class Disciplines)" development plan, in which a three-tiered discipline development system has been put in place, outlining four key disciplinary areas and 28 discipline groups and subjects. In the fourth round of national assessment of disciplines, 21 disciplines of Tsinghua University were graded A+. Tsinghua has established the School of Clinical Medicine and the Department of the History of Science, expanding its discipline layout. We have launched the “Double P” Plan (Plateau and Peak) to strengthen the development of the liberal arts and announced the first group of distinguished professors of arts, humanities and social sciences.
Tsinghua continues to be a source of inspiration for talented young people. In 2017, we have successfully attracted 49 young scholars who were approved to join the “National Thousand Talents Plan” for young scholars, and eight scholars were elected as Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
In the past year, Tsinghua University has forged ahead in a comprehensive, orderly and coordinated way, and reached new milestones across the board. As we celebrate the 107th anniversary, we can reflect on Tsinghua’s enduring vitality and dynamism. With more than 100 years of combined effort, Tsinghua is in full bloom.
Building on past success, Tsinghua will push ahead and make solid progress in its comprehensive reform, with a strengthened sense of responsibility and mission. We will make sustained efforts to tackle grand societal challenges head-on and make concrete, meticulous, and effective efforts in all our work.
It is my firm belief that, with the joint efforts of our faculty, staff, students and all stakeholders, 2018 will be the starting point for Tsinghua’s new era of even greater endeavors and achievements!