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In the Media

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In the Media

Practical + interesting: Humanities a Hot Spot for Science and Engineering Freshmen

Sep 12, 2018 In The Media

At the beginning of the new semester, Professor Chen Yuehong, director of the Humanities and Social Science Center of Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech), encountered a pleasant problem. It turned out that after the school's elective system opened for the 2018 freshmen days earlier, the 420 places in the "Writing and Communication" class were snapped up in short order. The students who did not choose were requesting an increase in the number of courses.

SUSTech’s Humanities and Social Science Center offer not only this course but also provides classes such as “Science Fiction: From Novels to Movies,” “Humanistic Masters Series,” Social Science Center’s “Archaeological Discoveries and Chinese History,” “Architecture, Space and Culture” and other humanities. The courses are also very popular, which is beyond the expectations of the school.

SUSTech was born in Shenzhen, the innovation city of China. It draws on the academic discipline setting and university-running models of world-class science and engineering universities. It is based on science, engineering, and medicine, and aims to create a world-class research university. Why is the humanities class becoming a hot topic for students in such a typical science and engineering university?

The reporter walked into Classroom 302 of Teaching Building No. 1 of SUSTech and observed the “Writing and Communication” class. The reporter found that not only was every student present, but the atmosphere in the class was warm and enthusiastic. Instructor Yang Li from the Humanities Center taught the students some practical writing skills and conducted some writing training with the class. The students were able to digest and master the knowledge through practice.

After the class, the reporter interviewed several students, and they all expressed their great fortune to "grab" this class. As science and engineering students, they are also very concerned about the cultivation of Chinese writing and communication skills. They hope that by studying this course, they can master more writing knowledge and skills to lay a solid foundation for professional learning in the future. Lin Ruimin, a 2018 freshman, said that she had always been interested in writing and hopes to broaden her knowledge by enriching her studies during her time at university. Talking about the feelings of the first class, she smiled and replied: "The teacher's lecture style is interesting, appealing, full of content, and practical."

2018 freshman Alexander Aizezi is a native of Shenzhen. He was influenced by the high school language teacher. He feels that humanistic accomplishment is very important for science students. “Teachers talk about the importance of communication and, at the same time, we are thinking about the positioning of our university life. At least in this lesson, teachers use writing and communication as the basis to inspire our thinking about ourselves. The opening of writing and communication classes is very necessary to help us become a spiritually complete and emotionally full person."

Humanities Center Director Chen Yuehong believes that the reason for doing this is because top science and engineering universities must provide an excellent education in the humanities. When Chinese students come to universities, they lack stylistic awareness when writing emails or laboratory reports, preparing project designs or completing their graduation theses. With most of the top universities around the world mandating guiding courses on academic writing, SUSTech is continuing to be a leader in higher education reform in China. By requiring the 2018 freshmen to take this class, the students will be better prepared for the future. Students will be enhanced with improved research writing skills, academic standards, and set of guidelines to use in a variety of areas in the future.

(Reporter Yan Shenghe, correspondent for newspaper Fan Huili)

Translated and Adapted: Chris Edwards

Proofread: Xia Yingying

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