The Current Dean

 

 

 

Vision for Managing the

College of Liberal Arts, NCKU

Yuhneu Chen

College Dean and Professor of History

 

Founded in 1956 and formally established as an independent college at NCKU in 1967, the College of Liberal Arts is simultaneously celebrating its 60th birthday and 48th anniversary this year. It has now developed into a faculty comprised of 4 departments, two graduate institutes, and three research centers, which all make a great contribution to cultivating a great number of intellectuals to serve this nation. To cope with the rapidly-changing society characterized by globalization, nowadays, we have to make a reflection on whether or not our research and expertise in humanities are “pragmatic” enough to meet the urgent needs of the society. And this ideal is realized with the founding of the Graduate Institute of Archeology in 2015. In addition, we also enlarge the scope of our interdisciplinary research and teaching. Nevertheless, we are facing great challenges and threat posed by the decreasing funding and subsidies for higher education in Taiwan, the dramatic drop in birthrate, and the trend for pursuing pragmatic knowhow caused by the commercialization and industrialization of the society. Hence, while responding to the pressure imposed by the science-and-engineering-dominated society, we should also try hard to enhance the active and effective integration of the resources available to the college’s teaching and research units as well as to encourage mutual communication and cooperation among them so that the College can always develop progressively. Given the above-mentioned, we have to undertake four tasks:

 

I.                To boost future development by reflecting on our past achievements

While commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Department this year, the 60th anniversary for the Foreign Languages and Literature Department next year, and the 50th anniversary for the History Department two years later, we are to make some profound reflections on the significant achievements over the past 50 years; meanwhile, we should try to commemorate those achievements by hosting an “NCKU College of Liberal Arts Achievement Exhibition” in the near future.

 

II.              To activate the historical complex and sublimate the humanistic atmosphere

The College of Liberal Arts is located at the most impressive and elegant campus of NCKU and it holds several historical buildings and constructions. The History Department Building is 104 years old, standing next to the remains of old East Gate and being flanked by the relocated Minor West Gate of the old Tainan City. Next to the Minor West Gate is the Historical Artefact Exhibition Hall, which is now under reconstruction according to the plan of the MOE-funded interdisciplinary project “Sigma Creativity School: Constructing the Link among the University, the City, and the Enterprises.” And at the main gate of this exhibition hall we can also find another two monuments: “Minor South Gate” and “Commanding the North Gate.”  With the four gates around, the College of Liberal Arts is gifted with a natural and exquisite antique natural space for performance. In addition, walking around Cheng-Kung Pond to the west, we can see another historical building complex, including the Art Institute Building. With the neighboring green green grassland of the Bunyan Garden, the college thus enjoys an antique, tranquil and elegant walking space across this campus, displaying the “Poet’s Walk” of NCKU comparable to the “Philosopher’s Walk” in Kyoto Japan, as it internalizes the beauty of arts and humanities. Moreover, the Taiwan Literature Building, located on another campus, helps to activate the tranquil atmosphere with its glamour of cultural heritage in the neighborhood. Hence, given the exquisite space, the College is supposed to make the most of its cultural heritage to organize and host more significant cultural and academic events that could boost our humanistic teaching/research and artistic creation.

 

III.            To integrate the teaching resources and create a learning-friendly environment

Since teaching is the most important development task for every teaching unit in this College, to properly organize and integrate the curricula plays a crucial role in enhancing students’ motivation for learning and their learning efficiency. In addition, it has become an urgent need to cultivate students’ multifunctional ability in the globalization era in terms of curricular reform. To achieve this objective, first, we plan to further the “Humanistic Studies Chair” that was previously held at this College. As for the pragmatic curricula in correspondence with the social changes or the needs of the career market, besides the current running programs such as “Journalism,” “Chinese Teaching,” and the recently-established “MA Program in Drama,” we plan to set up “Religious and Cultural Studies Program” and the “Austronesian Studies Program” based on the Graduate Institute of Archeology, which is also linked with our plan to set up “Southeast Asian Cultures Studies Program,” the very program that  corresponds to Taiwan’s current “South-bound” economic policy.

 

IV.            To combine and integrate the research capacity

To achieve this goal, we have to endeavor to get more domestic and overseas funding and subsidies by effectively integrating our research manpower and expertise and try to overcome the challenges posed by budget cut. Besides encouraging the faculty to apply for more funding from various administrations inside and outside the campus, we plan to evaluate the current development of the departmental journals of this College so that we may offer some constructive proposals for their reform and thus ensure their academic quality.

 

V.              To enhance domestic and international academic cooperation and internationalization

To achieve this goal, we have to further our cooperation with both domestic and international academic units such as Taiwan Literature Hall, Taiwan History Hall, Academia Sinica (Taiwan), and prestigious overseas universities. Both the Foreign Language Center and Chinese Language Center of this College play a very important role in boosting our cooperation with domestic or overseas universities.

 

Finally, as to seeking a proper orientation toward or vision for our future, I personally have an expectation for this College given its advantage of being located in Tainan—the so-called “cultural capital” of Taiwan, because we are endowed with a rich, serene, and exquisite cultural heritage of antiquities. Comparatively speaking, we are blessed by a very similar rich cultural heritage and momentum of Kyoto Japan, and those cultural essences could help us develop our unique humanistic traits when facing global challenges in higher education.