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Higher Education Sprout Project

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“Deeply rooted through regional networks in the Shui Sha Lien area with a special focus on talents and opportunities in Southeast Asia” is the school motto that succinctly describes the growth of National Chi Nan University (NCNU) since its establishment 25 years ago.

Through various school-wide experimental projects built upon the outcomes generated from the last stage of the Higher Education Sprout Project, a Ministry of Education program devoted to bolstering the quality and sustainable management of Taiwan’s higher-education institutions, NCNU now excels further in aspects of innovative teaching, social responsibility, and public engagement by establishing a fundamental operation model and creating mid- to long-term developmental goals.

In the next three years, the university will build on this existing foundation to strengthen its current humanistic approach and social practices, expand international academic exchanges, and implement the practical principles of “operational efficiency and experience sharing.” The project framework for implementation, transformation, expansion, operational sustainability, and community-based cultivation is described as follows:

A. Strengthen innovative teaching by re-evaluating the main elements of education and designing innovative curriculums.

B. Nurture the school’s unique characteristics by connecting with local networks and implementing interdisciplinary social practices.

C. Enhance public engagement in higher education by expanding assistance programs for disadvantaged students and implementing social justice.

D. Embrace the university’s social responsibilities by investing in local prosperity, establishing co-learning opportunities, and promoting mutually beneficial practices.

E. Sustain institutional operations by ensuring teaching quality and integrating cross-domain resources.
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Rooted in Shui Sha Lien, Blossoming in Southeast Asia

*This 2020-2022 school plan is modeled after the school flower, the cherry blossoms that dot the mountainous campus every spring, and the five elements that sustain all plant life.

 

A. Strengthen innovative teaching

Strengthen the university’s innovative teaching by:

• Designing courses featuring local characteristics connected to local industries and social trends.

• Strengthening the diversity and depth of innovative teaching exchanges and co-learning platforms.

• Promoting entrepreneurship and digitally oriented courses to achieve the effectiveness of innovative learning and a seamless transition to a career after graduation.

• Enhancing entrepreneurship resources, creating team areas for teachers and student groups, and developing courses that meet local needs and feature local characteristics.

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The Radiant Sun Strategy

A1. Discipline-based curriculums

NCNU shall continue to promote the design and development of practical curriculums while fostering entrepreneurial-minded courses to cultivate creative entrepreneurial talents. The university is also adopting the concept of “college as the core teaching unit” to offer further flexibility and adjustable allocation of resources to promote interdisciplinary learning.

A2. Strong reading, writing skills

NCNU shall continue to offer “guided writing” courses to freshman students and expand the curriculum based on students’ needs in different colleges. The university is also revising the “feature writing” curriculum for each college, developing college-specific content, training instructors, and improving the language capabilities of students.

A3. Practical computer, language skills

NCNU shall invite teacher representatives from each college to plan discipline-based elective courses according to the characteristics of each college. It is hoped that the proportion of undergraduate students enrolled in programming courses will increase every year; the goal is to reach 55% of total student population by 2022.

A4. Diversified learning environments

In addition to constructing a learning environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship, NCNU shall continue to offer innovative teaching and courses and develop flexible, creative modes of operation. Other plans include promoting the digital curriculum and teaching, improving digital resources, and producing more distinctive digital courses that better meet student needs.

A5. Career counseling, entrepreneurial internships

NCNU shall effectively assist students in exploring their interests, career orientation, career development planning, and internships or workplace participation. At the same time, the university is working to institutionalize alumni surveys and assist in the revision and adjustment of professional development courses.

A6. An empowered teaching community

NCNU shall continue to offer instructional training and professional networking opportunities, and further integrate activities among different departments. The goal is to deepen collaboration among the University Social Responsibility (USR) teams of the institution’s four colleges to elevate teaching momentum and resources.

 

B. Develop the school’s unique characteristics

Connecting with local networks and implementing cross-domain social practices

Making the school’s unique characteristics more prominent by:

• Actively sharpening the university’s image based on its founding motto, “deeply rooted through regional networks in the Shui Sha Lien area with a special focus on talents and opportunities in Southeast Asia.”

• Remaining dedicated to the spirit of past developmental plans to truly internationalize the university. s

The Blue Ocean Strategy

B1. Shui Sha Lien College

The faculty members and students of NCNU have a strong interest in learning about the development of rural areas in central Taiwan, namely the Shui Sha Lien region, and look forward to constructing a more systematic learning system. The current focus is to gradually develop the Shui Sha Lien College using the general education center as its base. The goal is to cultivate the talents of rural areas and to demonstrate the school’s deep cultivation of Shui Sha Lien’s potential.

B2. Indigenous outreach, talent cultivation

NCNU aims to better integrate school resources and establish a sound information system that reflects indigenous livelihoods. Other priorities include: recognizing students’ learning levels and living conditions, providing one-stop student services, developing a mechanism for fostering indigenous youths, fulfilling the university’s social responsibilities, collaborating with tribal villages and off-campus aboriginal organizations, initiating related national activities, and making NCNU an essential hub for exchanging views on indigenous issues.

B3. A sustainable university

NCNU is designing an eco-friendly campus in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, especially SDG 15 for promoting sustainable terrestrial ecosystems and SDG 17 on revitalizing global partnerships for sustainable development. In addition, the university is organizing diversified activities promoting and developing environmental education, and investing in regional environmental sustainability to live up to the international reputation of this school as a green university.

B4. Strengthened ties with SEA

NCNU systematically cultivates talents with international mobility and professional knowledge in Southeast Asia and shall continue to develop unique, cross-border projects on topics such as Gamelan art. By integrating international, cross-university, and cross-project resources to organize international seminars and lectures, and inviting a new generation of young professionals from Southeast Asia to study and live in Taiwan, NCNU also remains true to the collaborative spirit of academia.

B5. Internationalization

The school shall continue to promote the development of a systematic English curriculum for the entire school, add English-language courses in line with the academic focus of each four colleges, and improve instructional skills in English. Other ongoing exchanges and interactions between international and local students also strengthen the international mobility of all campus members, professors included. The path towards internationalization will also depend on smart marketing to achieve the goal of elevating the school’s image on the world stage.

 

C. Enhance public engagement in higher education

Expanding assistance for disadvantaged students and implementing social justice

Enhance public engagement in higher education by:

• Implementing school affairs research to guide school operations, and keeping community services and school management open and transparent.

• Recruiting minority members and economically disadvantaged students through a comprehensive student learning and support system.

• Adjusting existing practices on a rolling basis to improve quality in operations and engagement strategies.s

The Fertile Soil Strategy

C1. Research-driven school operations

NCNU shall establish an evidence-based school information management unit that will function as a research think tank. Such a system will serve as reference for school-wide governance, as well as identify operational and promotional standards for all units within the university.

C2. Community outreach, development

The university shall continue promoting internal participation in school affairs, as well as caring for the surrounding community and pursuing sustainable development goals with the help of different media partners and the joint participation of faculties and students. Such media channels and digital platforms serve as a stage for teachers and students to showcase their achievements, while also bolstering the school’s image.

C3. Increased enrollment for the disadvantaged

The school shall continue with first-stage enrollment measures for disadvantaged students to ensure admission for indigenous students and students living with disabilities. Apart from establishing priority admission policies for culturally and economically disadvantaged students by relaxing admission standards and creating more incentives, the university shall also cooperate with the Ministry of Education to create multiple channels for enrollment and increase their admission chances.

C4. Support systems for the disadvantaged

The university shall continue to provide disadvantaged students with resources to further their education, such as career consultations and collaborative team models that drive peer learning. To redistribute some of the teaching work, researchers with school affairs will discern learning levels and provide one-to-one tutoring to these economically disadvantaged students. The university will also increase their admission chances, incorporate social responsibility projects, build a comprehensive support system, and strengthen the educational and consultative services for disadvantaged students.

 

D. Fulfill the university’s social responsibilities

Promoting local prosperity, co-learning, and mutually beneficial practices

Fulfill the university’s social responsibilities in this 2020-2022 plan by:

• Refining collaboration with local governance, improving the school’s academic and outreach services, and creating an “USR Hub” on campus for bringing together related resources.

• Designing co-learning and exhibition activities, supporting the USR teams from different colleges, and nurturing local outreach initiatives from neighboring communities.

• Cooperating with the neighboring Chung-Hsing Senior High School and the university’s affiliated senior high school to develop collaborative social welfare programs with breadth and depth.

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The Socially Responsible Strategy

D1. Platform for collaborative governance

The Shui Sha Lien Center for Humanities Innovation and Social Practices is the unit responsible for the USR Hub operations. It shall continue to handle school activities for enhancing co-learning, publishing relevant results, establishing local practices and award guidelines, and foster a sense of honor and camaraderie among all participants.

D2. Social and practical knowledge

This project was created in the hope of constructing integrated social participation with a three-phase learning module and a student learning program that would incorporate university social responsibility goals. The participatory teaching, humanistic approach to education, and successful outreach case studies will continued to be shared with other university departments and entwine the prosperity of the school with that of the Shui Sha Lien region.

D3. Outreach programs on technology

Regarding the problem of insufficient programming teachers for elementary and middle schools in the Shui Sha Lien area, the university shall continue actively deepening the operations of coding clubs in elementary and middle schools. An outreach model called “Hand in Hand” was carried out to cultivate local teaching resources for innovation and technology.

D4. Collaboration with middle, high schools

With the 2019 standard syllabus implementation, every high school in Taiwan must develop a school-specific curriculum that includes social and natural exploration. Based on experience accumulated over the years, the university will collaborate with Chung-Hsing Senior High School and the university’s affiliated senior high school to develop a cooperative model to fulfill their social responsibilities and curate an action-based curriculum. Read More

 

E. Sustain the university’s institutional operations

Ensuring teaching quality and integrating cross-domain resources

Ensure the university’s sustainable operations by:

• Implementing strategies A to D, i.e. strengthening teaching innovation, developing the school’s unique characteristics, enhancing public engagement in higher education, and implementing social responsibility projects.

• Championing innovative teaching, improving student-teacher ratios, encouraging full-time faculties to devote themselves to community work or industrial research, and cultivating a new generation of talents while ensuring the quality of teaching.

• Encouraging teachers through multiple channels of promotion and career advancement opportunities to invest in real-life applications of their field and diversify their development.

• Integrating campus resources, local connections, and cross-domain resources to develop the university’s unique set of diverse characteristics.

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The Harmonious Coexistence Strategy

E1. Rolling revisions and quality assurance

Based on the feedback from the external curriculum audit and the Teaching Quality Assurance Committee, NCNU shall continue to make rolling revisions and track improvements to ensure high-quality teaching. The university has also established a review system for monitoring the effectiveness of innovative curriculums and set up an exhibition area to showcase the Higher Education Sprout Project's cultivation plan.

E2. Optimal student-teacher ratio

To align with teacher evaluations and the diversified promotion system, the university shall continue to support recruitment based on each college’s professional needs, give priority to prospects and faculty members with multi-disciplinary training, and improve the student-teacher ratio.

E3. Cross-domain networks, integrated resources

NCNU shall continue to organize industry-government-academia platforms to develop various Shui Sha Lien-based community initiatives, integrate human and financial resources, and bring practical knowledge and experience to cross-border international exchanges.

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