Located in Haining, Jiaxing, beside the Juanhu Lake, the International Campus of Zhejiang University (IC) in spring is an oasis of calm. For more than two months, nearly 800 undergraduates have been attending online courses in the “cloud classroom”. In the UK, the United States, Singapore, Austria and other countries, as well as in China’s provinces, dozens of teachers living in different time zones start their online teaching simultaneously. This characterizes the “international aspect” of the campus during the epidemic.
Centered on the “Double first-class” initiative, Zhejiang University (ZJU) is actively exploring a new model of international cooperation in higher education, which adheres to the collaborative approach of “‘unindependent’ institution, high-level, and 1+X”. The IC was launched in 2013 and started enrolling students in 2016. In 2019, the development of the IC was listed in the national outline of the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta.
According to the relevant responsible people of ZJU, the highlight of the key speeches made by General Secretary Xi Jinping during his inspection in Zhejiang should be thoroughly studied and implemented in order to create a model for international education cooperation, and to build a strategic vision for bringing together global talents and promoting innovation and development.
Key features of the IC model include collaboration with top-flight universities, appointment of global high-level talents, and investment in world-class education resources. At present, there are two Joint Institutes, namely Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute (ZJE) and Zhejiang University-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute (ZJUI), offering dual bachelor-degree undergraduate programs and, in the case of ZJE, a dual PhD program. Adopting the “4+0” teaching model, ZJE and ZJUI approaches the top level among similar joint institutes in China. Also, several other fruitful cooperative ventures are being developed by the IC with world-class universities. The “1+X” model of institutional cooperation is the first of its kind in China.
In the cultural cross-pollination between the east and the west, the IC has also actively explored a new model of ideological and political education for the Joint Institutes: unifying the syllabus, teaching requirements, credits, class hours, teaching materials, Chinese teaching of ideological and political theory courses, international promotion of traditional Chinese culture, the Residential College administrative system, and other distinctive ideological and political endeavors.
All kinds of talents are gathered together and bring forth innovation. The IC plays an important supporting role in the development of Zhejiang Province by reforming, innovating, and introducing talents. Through the implementation of the “Innovation and Talents Attraction Program for Universities and Disciplines” and the “Academic Master Gathering Plan”, high-level talents are recruited from across the world. At present, the IC has assembled a group of high-level international lecturers, 46% of whom have obtained doctorates in the world’s top 50 universities, and 53% of whom are non-Chinese-expatriate foreign talents.
ZJU strengthens the integration of science and education as well as industry-university-research collaboration, and promotes international research cooperation. In August 2019, the International Joint Innovation Centre of Zhejiang University was established in the IC, bringing together the International Joint Research Centre of Optoelectronic Technology of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Joint Laboratory of Photonics and Technology of the Ministry of Education, the Joint Innovation Centre of Sino-Portugal Advanced Materials of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and other national and provincial level international cooperation bases, so as to strongly support innovation and development in Haining.
Going forward, ZJU will continue to focus on the “Double First-class” initiative and collaborate with world-class universities in order to create a benchmark for high-level Sino-foreign Joint Institutes.
（Published in the 1st edition of Zhejiang Daily on May 25,2020, by ZENG Fuquan）