A key institution of higher learning in Fujian with a century-old history and a glorious tradition, Fujian Normal University (FNU) has been hailed as the province’s “cradle of teachers.”
Tracing its origin back to Fujian Superior Normal School, founded in 1907 by the famous late-Qing scholar Chen Baochen, who once served as the teacher of China’s last emperor, FNU is Fujian’s oldest university and one of China’s most time-honored teachers’ colleges. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the school, which by then had been renamed Fujian Provincial Normal College, merged in 1953 with such celebrated centers of learning as Fukian Christian University and Hua Nan Women’s College to form a new and significantly expanded Fujian Normal College, which acquired its current name of Fujian Normal University in 1972.
The vicissitudes in its century-old history notwithstanding, a fine scholarly tradition has been inherited and sustained by generation after generation of its faculty and students. FNU is proud to count among its teaching staff quite a few nationally renowned scientists and men of letters, including Ye Shengtao, Guo Shaoyu, Dong Zuobin, Lin Lanying, Zheng Zuoxin, Huang Weiyuan, Tang Zhongzhang, Tang Chongti, and Yao Jiannian. A commitment to academic excellence by its teachers and students alike, unswerving even at times of trials and adversities, has given rise to a distinctive ethos embodied in FNU’s motto of “To know and to act, with devotion and with aspiration.” Inspired by its pledge always to “teach earnestly, study diligently, seek truth and promote innovation,” the University has been forging ahead and making remarkable achievements. The new epoch in China’s contemporary history, ushered in when “reform and opening up to the outside world” was adopted as the grand strategy for national development, has brought with it the public consensus that scientific-technological know-how and talents are indispensable to China’s rise and self-empowerment. Fujian in particular has embarked on an ambitious plan to turn itself into one of the most advanced provinces in China culturally, educationally and economically. Seizing this opportune moment, FNU has been striving for its own renewal by redoubling its efforts and mobilizing all the resources it could find. As a result, the University has been developing at an unprecedented speed lately.
Consistent with its preeminent status as a major university in Southeastern China, FNU’s development has been a priority for the government since the early days of New China. Over the past decade or so, it has received on its campus many a national leader, including Li Ruihuan, Li Nanqing, Jia Qinglin, Zhou Guangzhao, Qian Weichang, and Luo Haocai. Virtually all the top leaders of the province have paid regular visits to the University to show their support for its work. The frequent visits by these dignitaries are indicative of the extent to which the leadership has been attaching importance to the University.
Located in Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian province, the headquarters of FNU is made up of two campuses, the Qishan Campus and the Cangshan Campus, with a total land area of about 230 hectares. Right now, the University consists of 28 colleges, which together offer 56 undergraduate programs, over 120 master programs (including those conferring professional degrees in pedagogy, public administration, physical culture and arts), about 50 doctoral programs and 7 post-doctoral research centers. These programs cover subject areas in literature, history, philosophy, physics, engineering, pedagogy, economics, law, business management, agriculture, etc.. A balanced and coordinated development of this wide spectrum of disciplines has given FNU a distinct identity as a multi-disciplinal comprehensive university. And by conferring a whole range of academic degrees, from bachelors to doctorates, these programs also enable FNU to set up a full-fledged educational system within its institutional framework.
In addition to regular academic programs, FNU has also been authorized by the State to provide on-the-job trainings for teachers of elementary, secondary, occupational schools as well as colleges. It has been singled out for setting up experimental pilot programs in distance education and in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. And it has been authorized to admit students from Taiwan on an experimental basis. Teaching, however, is just one aspect of the dual task which FNU has taken upon itself. To turn the University into a school oriented to both teaching and research, its faculty has been paying just as much attention to scientific investigations and scholarly pursuits. The efforts have started to pay off. The University is at present the proud host to as many as 4 national centers for scientific research and personnel training, 8 key laboratories or research centers sponsored by either the ministries concerned or the provincial government, one Ministry of Education sponsored research center for basic education, and several dozens of provincially sponsored laboratories and research institutes.
Over 20,000 students are currently enrolled in the two campuses in Fuzhou, among whom over 4,600 are pursuing their graduate degrees and some others are international students from 17 countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Japan, and the Republic of Korea, and from China’s Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan areas or from overseas Chinese families around the world.
FNU attaches the greatest importance to recruiting talented researchers and distinguished scholars for its teaching staff. Maintaining a high-quality, properly tiered, and professionally dedicated faculty has been its top priority. Right now, it has a 2,600-strong teaching and auxiliary staff. Its faculty counts more than 700 full and associate professors, among whom two have been elected members of the Eurasian Academy of Sciences, seven have received the honorific title of “Young and Middle-aged Experts with Distinguished Services,” two are members of the subject-specific advisory groups under the State Council Commission for Regulating Academic Degrees, six are “Professors Extraordinaire” or “Minjiang Scholars”, one has been honored as “China’s Distinguished Teacher”, six as “Fujian’s Distinguished Teachers,” and 22 as “Fujian’s Distinguished Experts”, to mention just a small fraction of the countless honors and recognitions won by FNU scholars.
The multiplicity and diversity of FNU’s programs and the high quality of its faculty have translated into a constant upgrading of its teaching and research. In recent years, FNU has won 19 top national awards for its excellence in teaching and in text-book compilation. 15 of its course offerings have been designated as the nation’s or the province’s “best-designed courses.” 5 among its state-sponsored pilot studies on reforming China’s basic education have been cited nationally as the best of its kind, and 50 teaching-related studies have won similar awards within the province. In recent years, FNU has won and undertaken over 100 state-sponsored research projects in various fields, and more than 3,000 sponsored by ministerial and provincial agencies. Altogether, FNU’s researchers have won close to 700 awards and prizes, of which 16 were the three most prestigious national awards (i.e., the State Sciences Award, the State Technological Invention Award, and the State Technological Progress Award), and an additional 17 were other national awards.
The school publishes a long list of scholarly journals, including The Journal of Fujian Normal University (the humanities and social sciences edition), The Journal of Fujian Normal University (the natural sciences edition), The Journal of Subtropical Resources and Environment, and Foreign Languages and Literature. These periodicals have been circulated widely and received well. Both editions of the FNU Journal are designated as “core periodicals published in Chinese,” and the humanities and social sciences edition in particular has been listed as one of China’s top-ranking journals in social sciences and widely indexed.
The University is also noted for its fine facilities for teaching and research. Its library holds a collection of as many as 2.86 million books. Whereas the number marks it out as one of the largest libraries in normal universities throughout China, the library is famed internationally for its very impressive collections of ancient texts, rare books, rubbings of engraved tablets, photographs, calligraphic works and paintings, Fujian’s local cultural and historical documents, early editions of foreign language publications, and major newspapers published during the historic period known as the May Fourth Movement. The University is equipped with over 7,000 computers for teaching and research, over 100 multimedia classrooms, and more than 30 language laboratories. Among its facilities for conducting pedagogical and scientific experiments are a university computation center, an analyzing and testing center, a center of modern educational technologies, in addition to the 70-odd research institutes and centers run by different colleges. A high-speed intranet serves all its campuses, and it is expanding rapidly to cater to the ever-increasing needs of the university community.
FNU is located in Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian province and the center of the economic zone on the western coast of the Taiwan Strait, with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan close by and the countries in Southeastern Asia within easy reach. Taking full advantage of this excellent geographical location, the University has spared no efforts in promoting exchanges with academic institutions outside of the Chinese mainland, forging friendly and productive ties with colleges and research institutes in over 30 countries, including the U.S., Britain, Australia and Japan, and with UNESCO agencies as well. Its program of teaching Chinese overseas has distinguished itself in Southeastern Asia. So far, FNU has successively sent to the Philippines four groups of volunteer teachers of Chinese, whose professionalism and dedication have won enthusiastic praises from both the local Chinese communities and the Chinese embassy in the Philippines, and received commendations from the State Council’s Office of Chinese Language Council International as well. On the 16th of January in 2007, Premier Wen Jiabao in his visit to the Philippines, had a cordial meeting with the volunteers and had a photo taken with them.
Offering the students a superb education has always been FNU’s central concern, a cornerstone of its fine tradition and one of its unique characteristics. The school’s commitment to a quality education has remained firm throughout the years, undiminished and uncompromised even by its phenomenal expansion in recent decades. Its students have been distinguishing themselves internationally and nationally, winning prizes after prizes over the past couple of years in tough competitions over photography, programming, English, math modeling etc.. Among the three hundred thousand-odd graduates from its various academic programs are over 60% of the principals, master teachers and key members of the teaching staff of Fujian’s high schools, a substantial number of professors, scholars and researchers working in colleges and research institutes throughout the province, as well as an equally impressive number of government officials at different levels and corporate executives in business enterprises of various sizes.
FNU has been paying close attention to enhancing moral edification and cultivating civic spirit among members of its community。Special efforts have also been made to render the administration of the University more transparent and efficient. What it has managed to achieve in these areas has won the University a long list of national and provincial recognitions. Over the years, FNU has been honored as one of China’s model organizations in fostering civilized behaviors among its members, as one of China’s exemplary institutions of higher learning in democratizing the management of school affairs; as one of China’s most caring employers, and one of China’s most public-spirited schools. It has also won countless kudos and honors from the province for its efforts in this respect.
The University has, as its bases for conducting educational experiments, a high school, an elementary school and a kindergarten embedded to its institutional structure. The FNU Affiliated High School is one of the most prestigious secondary schools throughout the province and even the nation, boasting among its alumni as many as 12 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and winning more medals and prizes from the International Olympiads of Academic Subjects and other prestigious international competitions than any other school in Fujian.
Currently, China is making every effort to turn itself into a harmonious and innovative socialist society. The implementation of this strategic initiative has provided FNU with yet another historic opportunity for growth. Guided by Deng Xiaoping’s theory, the thought of “the three represents,” and the concept of “scientific development,” FNU has brought the latest five-year plan for its own development in line with the national and the regional socio-economic agenda. Innovative work is being done in all its educational, scholarly and research endeavors. More high-end professionals and technicians are being trained on its campuses. The University is functioning as the key supplier of competent personnel for Fujian’s ambitious project to build up a prosperous economic zone on the west coast of the Taiwan Strait, as the wellspring of new ideas for tackling major social and economic problems confronting the country and the province, and as a center for scientific, technological and cultural exchanges with the outside world. And it is making great strides toward its goal of becoming a high-quality comprehensive university with unique characteristics and a cosmopolitan scope of vision.
(All the data is up to December, 2011)