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Cultivation of Talents with Global Perspective

International Summer School, Renmin University of China


With the outset of the 21st century, Renmin University of China (RUC) has actively launched a series of reform and construction with her focus on the goal of constructing a world-class university with which people feel satisfied. The periodical target of “Consolidate the foundation, and reshape the image” has been primarily achieved. In the recent years, Renmin University has set a new periodical target of enhancing her internationality in a comprehensive pattern to expand global influence and achieve the target of “taking-off in a decade”. Great importance has been attached to enhancing her internationality in various aspects of the university. Accordingly, a number of measures have been taken to realize this target. Among them, the university started an international summer school in 2009, which has won an initial success to have extensive impact socially and internationally.

The four-week summer school is scheduled to be held in July every year. With enhancing the internationality of teaching in a comprehensive manner and the quality of talents cultivation as its chief targets, and focusing on the internationality of several core elements as its key development, which include the curriculum, faculty, students, campus culture etc., the summer school devotes itself to constructing a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary and multi-layered integrative classroom teaching and campus living environment by integrating the resources of the entire university, inviting instructors and professors from world-class universities to teach in English, enrolling international students and carrying out a variety of teaching activities. The organization of the summer school has indeed provided a great opportunity to accumulate precious experiences in terms of the curriculum perfection, the innovation of the modes for talents cultivation, the improvement of staff quality and the promotion of teaching quality in Renmin University. Meanwhile, it opens a new way for the promotion of the internationality of talents cultivation.

Educational Philosophy---“Local Internationalism” and “Bidirectional Internationalism”

“Local internationalism”---based on the university, create an international atmosphere and enhance her internationality.

Students of RUC have access to learning from world-class professors, take world-class courses and exchange with students from different countries and cultures without the necessity of going abroad. Through this means, they could gain the greatest benefits at the least learning costs.

“Bidirectional internationalism”---the summer school programs, on the one hand, introduce to China world-class scholars, curriculum and teaching philosophy as well as teaching methodology; on the other hand, they also introduce distinctive curriculum of Renmin University to other universities in the world, which makes the teaching and research capacity and potentials of RUC scholars known to their overseas counterparts as well as students who are interested in the relevant courses. Thus, the international influence of RUC is expanded on a large scale.

Curriculum Construction ---Creating the brand of Chinese studies, developing quality courses and promoting general discipline education

Series courses on Chinese studies

Chinese development Chinese economy Chinese politics Chinese society Chinese culture

Series courses on general and frontier disciplines

Economics Sociology Political science Management science Humanities Science and engineering

Series courses on Language Training

Chinese language training courses for overseas students Intensive English training courses for RUC students

Professor Recruitment---World-class universities and world-class faculty

Core curriculum faculty for the summer school: overseas professors from world-class universities, chair professors of the Yangtze River Scholars, chair professors of RUC, and other distinguished scholars home and abroad as well as excellent overseas Ph. D returnees and outstanding professors of RUC.

Every year,  about 120 scholars give lectures in the university-level core curriculum. Most of them come from world-class universities and research institutes, including Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, Cornell University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Cambridge and University of London.

Teaching Modes---Teaching in English with diverse approaches

All the courses are taught in English except the Chinese training courses.

Professors from world leading universities brought their teaching modes and approaches into the summer school classrooms in China. Teaching approaches such as question & answer, reading report, social surveys, social interns, practice and social experiences, and teaching modes such as group discussion and case study are interspersed in the classroom activities. It is characteristic of diverse classroom assignment, colorful teaching programs, and active student participation in the classroom activities. These teaching modes and approaches play an important role in the cultivation of students’ creative thinking, autonomous learning capacity as well as their independent research capability.

Student Groups---multi-discipline, cross-school, cross-country and cross-culture

Students of the summer school come from a diverse background. Among them, the RUC undergraduates, master and PhD candidates constitute a dominant part of the student body. The summer school integrates overseas students from near 40 countries and regions, students coming from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and mainland Chinese students studying in overseas universities. 

Extracurricular Activities --- Colorful experiences and diversified exchanges

Course experience activities---According to the curriculum, students are arranged to conduct field studies and social survey.

Life experience activities— Overseas students are organized to visit places of interest such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace and Chinese painting exhibitions in order to promote their understanding towards the Chinese civilization and encourage them to experience Chinese culture and a rapidly developing China.

Learning exchange activities---Student partnership is realized through the pair-work between RUC students and international students. An evening gathering named “One Night in Beijing” is held to display the mien of RUC students, to exhibit the Chinese traditional culture and to promote the exchanges between Chinese and overseas students.

Teaching Management----System innovation and continuous perfection

(1) Constantly improved teaching-facilities

An English website is designed specifically for the summer school to be involved in student enrollment, publicity and daily teaching management.

RUC libraries have special sections for books in English and Chinese and also house other reference books relevant to the summer school courses. Electronic books of core courses are also designed specifically for students to borrow or browse.

(2) Caring and thoughtful volunteer services

A number of outstanding students are selected by the university to serve as volunteers to help overseas students adapt to the Chinese learning and living environment.

(3) Teaching assistant system:

Teaching assistants are assigned for each international instructor by various colleges of RUC. The teaching assistantship is generally held by young teachers or Ph. D candidates, who coordinate the classroom teaching and learning activities.

(4) Scientific and effective classroom management

Two levels of classroom teaching management are established by RUC for the summer school. The first level is the classroom teaching inspection group from the Office of Academic Affairs, who takes care of the daily classroom inspection and classroom order check. The other level is achieved through the selection of monitor and deputy monitor from the volunteers in each class who help teachers with their classroom teaching.

(5) Teaching evaluation and student satisfaction survey

The summer school conducts an annual satisfaction survey and classroom teaching evaluation from all students in order to obtain comments and suggestions from students both home and abroad and to assess the teaching quality of every classroom. Based on students’ comments and suggestions, work will be continuously improved and the quality of summer school will also be enhanced.

Educational Mode---Integrating the university with colleges and linking work from each aspect

The summer school implements an educational mode of “integrating the university with colleges and linking work from each aspect”. Besides the core courses organized by the university, different colleges also offer EMBA, MPA, seminars, lectures, language training courses and many other distinctive teaching activities, conduct various summer vacation social interns, practice and training, summer camps at different levels, hold forums, academic conferences, organize students exchanges among different universities and also conduct postgraduate summer school programs, etc. Every year, more than 5,000 persons participate in these activities. The implementation of various activities of the university greatly enriches the connotation of the summer school and helps create an integrative and comprehensive campus academic culture atmosphere centering on the construction of core courses at the university level and provides a favorable condition for mutual learning and communication among students from different countries and at different levels to cater to their diverse needs.

Social Feedback- --Positively accepted with great expectation

The summer school has invited an initial positive response from the society. Since 2009, RUC summer school has been reported in Guang Ming Daily in two consecutive years. In 2010, Science Times gave a comprehensive coverage of 2010 RUC summer school entitled “2010 RUC summer school: A Small semester levers a big world”. Besides, China Education Daily, Beijing Legal Times and other media also conducted relevant reports concerning the RUC summer school. A talk on “Theories and Practice of Chinese painting” given by Professor Zheng Xiaohua during the summer school period was broadcast on CCTV. This class was viewed throughout the world through the international channel.

“Under the backdrop of the increasingly fierce international competition in higher education, RUC has no doubt made a brand-new attempt as to how to provide the students with an international learning environment.”

-- Science Times, 31 August, 2010

“The summer school is very nicely organized. The internationality of Renmin University has been enhanced through the establishment of the summer school, which helps the university well prepared to ascend to one of world-class universities.”

--- David Jasper, Professor of College of Liberal Arts and Religion, University of Glasgow, RUC specially-appointed professor of Yangtze River Scholars

“In 2010, RUC summer school was more maturely operated and arranged. The curriculum also reflected the international standards. Renmin University indeed successfully promoted its international influence through her summer school.” “Students here are very interesting, open-minded and they have the international perspective.”

--- Leif H. Skibsted, Professor of Food Chemistry, Department of Food Science, Faculty of Life Science, University of Copenhagen, guest professor of RUC

The summer school of Renmin University attracts many celebrated international scholars and a great number of overseas students to participate, which not only promotes the internationality of the university, but also contributes greatly to the internationality of China.

--- Professor Zhang Weiwei, senior researcher of Asian Studies Center, Geneva

The RUC summer school is very good. During the summer school, I not only obtained a lot of knowledge, but also made many friends, all of which I cherish most.

--- Jin Shaoyan, undergraduate of Department of International Politics, University of California at Berkeley