2019 New Year Special Feature: International Education Development

2019 New Year Special Feature: International Education Development

Jan 31, 2019 Special Report

Chen Shiyi visiting SUSTech students in the UK

Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) is aiming to quickly build an international high-level research university. From SUSTech’s establishment, the global outlook of SUSTech has been an important strategic direction. In 2018, SUSTech has continued to march toward its goal of international education. SUSTech students and faculty members have debuted in various international forums and academic conferences, and our school system was further deepened with the addition of more outstanding overseas teachers joining the team of SUSTech faculty members. International students from different countries came to SUSTech to study, and there has been continued development of international exchange platforms and overseas cooperation projects.

Deepen the global vision under our unique training system

Study abroad to develop multicultural experience

When you enter SUSTech, the international standard is fundamentally integrated into every cell of SUSTech. In its education, SUSTech pays attention to the integration of top universities from around the world, by using English textbooks and primarily teaching classes in English.

The Center for Language Education is a perfect example of modern education incorporated from top international universities. While teaching 4461 students this year, it has taught 237 classes with an average class size of 20 undergraduate students, with a unique variety of compulsory and elective courses. Electives such as the Science in Science Fiction have become popular among students, and seen students gain a better understanding of the English language for their writing and analysis.

SUSTech has also adapted the “three-semester” system seen at many top international universities. By offering an intensive summer semester, students can take classes, consider their entrepreneurial options, pick up an internship or travel overseas for further study. At SUSTech, we welcomed a number of students and faculty members to study and teach at SUSTech over our hot summer, while many students traveled overseas for academic and research exchanges.

2018 also saw SUSTech start exploring international entrepreneurial education. The Global Engagement Office worked with the College of Engineering, the Humanities Center and the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship to create the first international entrepreneurship education program. This program partnered with the Seoul National University, with 20 South Korean students coming to SUSTech. There were a further group of students from the National University of Singapore who came to take part in industrial internships as part of the program.

SUSTech has seen more students head overseas than before, with nearly 400 students participating in nearly 60 overseas study projects worth nearly 10 million renminbi. These projects build cross-cultural thinking and establish an international vision full of new ideas and multicultural interactions.

Not only have more students left SUSTech to study, but more students have left their home countries to come to SUSTech. This academic year saw foreign students from Russia, Cambodia, Hungary, Kazakhstan and other countries choose SUSTech to start a new journey of life here. "We must cultivate outstanding talents from overseas that have the Chinese spirit and global vision order to expand our global outlook," said Zheng Chunmiao, Vice-Provost (Global Strategies).


More outstanding overseas teachers join

Joseph Sifakis reports for teachers and students

SUSTech saw more outstanding educators join its faculty in 2018, adding to its internationalization. Turing Award winner Joseph Sifakis is a perfect example of this, becoming a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

SUSTech is proud to saw that nearly 100% of its teaching staff have either worked or studied overseas. A significant number of the administrative team at SUSTech also have significant experience overseas, enhancing SUSTech’s cross-cultural understanding in areas such as communication, service and management. Such experience has become a unique feature and advantage for SUSTech.

Whether it is teaching, research or management, SUSTech can now be considered at a similar level to other world-renowned universities.

SUSTech Vice President Tang Tao believes that one of the most important reasons that these outstanding talents from overseas choose to come to SUSTech is that SUSTech has created an international “soft environment” or an environment comfortable for foreign faculty members. The majority of content across SUSTech is bilingual and with an increasing global influence on its cultural atmosphere, faculty members and students can feel comfortable on campus, thereby meeting international standards.

SUSTech faculty members are also showing their world-class standards in 2018, while attracting new faculty members from outside SUSTech to join the university. President Chen Shiyi became an academician for the second time, this time of the Academy of Developing Countries. Professor Bai Yong became the first Chinese person to become an academician of the Norwegian Academy of Technical Sciences while Professor Wang Haijiang was elected to the Canadian Academy of Engineering and Professor Lu Zhouguang became a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

There were also high-level awards winners in 2018, with Professor Tang Wei winning the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society Outstanding Youth Award and Professor Song Xuejun winning the International Pain Medicine Outstanding Contribution Award. Assistant Professor Park Congyi won the World Meteorological Organization Young Scientist Research Award.

These academicians and award winners represent just a small sliver of SUSTech’s success in 2018, and there will be more to come in 2019.


Academic cooperation projects have made important progress

Signing Ceremony of the Cooperation Agreement between SUSTech and MIT

On June 15, 2018, the agreement for the "Centers for Mechanical Engineering Research and Education at MIT and SUSTech" were signed. This important agreement was reached after several rounds of consultations between SUSTech and MIT since the end of 2016. He Zilong, Liu Xinyue, Ren Taiheng and Zhong Ke joined four other students as the first batch of undergraduates to witness the cooperation, as they are now studying at MIT.

Signed a strategic cooperation agreement with King's College London

In 2018, Southern University of Science and Technology also reached an agreement with King's College London, Paris HEC Business School, and Milan Polytechnic Institute to carry out high-level cooperation. These are all of strategic significance for SUSTech to improve its educational level, promote the development of different academic disciplines, deepen its international development, and enhance its global reputation.

The internationalization of SUSTech’s academic cooperation has been critical in promoting the improvement of scientific research at SUSTech. SUSTech has signed nearly 100 international cooperation projects with some of the world's top universities. For example, SUSTech is co-cultivating doctoral degrees with the University of Birmingham. It is also co-constructing joint research centers, such as working with the University of Michigan to build an advanced manufacturing international collaborative laboratory, and the University of East Anglia to build a "water research center.”

Many research teams in individual departments at SUSTech, especially the “Peacock Project” team in Shenzhen, have successfully collaborated with universities around the world. In recent years, about 50% of the SCI papers published by SUSTech are the result of international cooperation. Internationalization is a huge advantage for research and development at SUSTech.

The Global Engagement Office launched the SUSTech Internationalization Vision White Paper. Based on the research on the international development strategies of many universities in the world, it combed the challenges and opportunities of talent cultivation in the world's universities, and the characteristics and advantages of our international development. The next step of international development and the long-term development of the school will examine the direction, goals, strategies and action plans for reference in order to lay a solid foundation for the high-level discussion on international development inside and outside SUSTech.


The international influence of the University continues to increase

2018 International Advisory Council meeting held

From November 18th to 20th, 2018, the second meeting of the International Advisory Council (IAC) took place. 14 of the 16 members of the IAC attended, including the world famous universities Oxford University, University of Michigan, and the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Through this visit, they deepened their understanding and strengthened their support and cooperation for SUSTech. Shenzhen mayor Chen Rugui met with all the attending committee members and listened carefully to their insights. He said that the international appeal of the South University of Science and Technology is impressive.

SUSTech continues to work hard to integrate into the world. It is not only an active participant in international education and academic activities, but also works hard to improve its international visibility and voice. It also organizes many influential international events. Besides the two events mentioned above, there were also a series of international activities such as the "Peak Forum on Liberal Arts Construction of World-class University of Science and Technology".


THE World University Rankings ranks SUSTech 8th in mainland China

SUSTech also has a prominent performance in the ranking of international universities, and ranking the international first-class universities, examining the gap, summing up experience, and constantly moving forward. In its first time in the "Times Higher Education World University Rankings", it was ranked 8th among mainland Chinese universities. Among mainland China universities, SUSTech was also ranked 38th in the QS World University Rankings and 43rd in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). In the ARWU rankings, SUSTech was 3rd in Guangdong Province and 1st in Shenzhen. SUSTech was ranked 16th in the ranking of Chinese University in 2018, and No. 1 in Guangdong Province. It is the only non Double First-Class University in the rankings.

2018 International Development Global Promotion

In 2018, SUSTech opened its minds and expanded its horizons to establish contacts with famous universities around the world. SUSTech developed relationships with Hebrew University (Israel), Monash University (Australia), University of Tokyo (Japan), Nairobi University (Kenya), Waikato University (New Zealand), and University of Alberta (Canada), among other universities. SUSTech’s international exchange and learning activities have developed substantially, with 9 staff travelling to 25 universities to study, research and lead students in their study-abroad programs. With in-depth knowledge of university management and operations, it ensures that SUSTech can fill in the gaps in its knowledge through internalization and effective deployment of staff across a variety of departments. This expansion of global energy across campus improves all levels of SUSTech, thereby resulting in a better campus for all.

SUSTech has signed more international agreements, increasing to 88 up from 23 three years ago, reflecting the international popularity and importance of SUSTech. With visits from HRH Prince Andrew the Duke of York, Prime Minister of France Édouard Philippe and four Nobel Laureates, SUSTech is becoming a magnet for high-level influencers.


Looking back at 2018, SUSTech’s international education has developed well. This is particularly shown with students published in top academic journals such as Physical Review Letters (PRL), Applied Physics Letter, Angewandte Chemie Edition, Science, Electronics and Nature. Students have also taken home many awards at international and domestic competitions, such as the ACM/ICPC, World University Supercomputing Competition, and the China International Aircraft Design Challenge. SUSTech was also ranked first among mainland China universities for giving students the opportunity to study abroad.

These achievements reflect the rapid development of SUSTech’s internationalization. It is the best feedback for SUSTech’s youth and vigor. It is a firm reminder of the strength and commitment of SUSTech’s leadership team, as well as the vitality and charm of Shenzhen, an international and youthful metropolis.

This article is based on the contribution of the Global Engagement Office and the fifth interview with SUSTech Vice President Tang Tao.

Graphic Editor: Liu Hui

Translated and Adapted: Chris Edwards

Proofread: Xia Yingying

Main picture design: Qiu Yan