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1. School-Running History
Founded in 1898, Huazhong Agricultural University (hereafter as “HZAU”), is a university listed in Project 211(a project of National Key Universities and colleges initiated in 1995 by the Ministry of Education) and “Double First-Class” university project directly under Ministry of Education. As early as its establishment as Hubei Farming School, the School invited many renown scholars such as Wang Guowei and Fan Bingqing as well as Japanese and American instructors with Chinese origin for course teaching and translation tasks. The Foreign Language Teaching and Research Department, founded after institutional reform in 1952, was later integrated into Department of Fundamental Courses along with Mathematics Teaching and Research Department in 1979. In 1983, a Foreign Language Training center was founded at HZAU through World Bank’s Agricultural Education and Research Projects applied jointly by Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Water Conservancy and Electricity, and China Meteorological Administration. The Training center in total provided English language courses to 1500-odd agriculture and forestry public servants who were going abroad, contributing to English language talent cultivation in the course of early oversea cooperation and exchanges while also developing a team of excellent foreign language teaching faculty.
In June 1993, Foreign Language Teaching and Research Department and Foreign Language Training Centered merged into Department of Foreign Language Studies concerning domestic needs for high-end foreign language talents. This institution is now known as HZAU College of Foreign Language Studies since February, 2008. The College, composed of Department of English Language Teaching, Department of Business English, Department of College English Studies (a combination of Department of College English for Undergraduates and Department of College English for Graduates), Master of Translating and Interpreting Education Center and Foreign Language Experimental Teaching Center, is divided into 11 basic teaching units and strives to provide quality teaching by vigorous educational reforms at all levels. In recent years, both Department of College English Teaching and Department of English Language Studies are awarded as Provincial-Level Excellent Teaching and Research Departments.
2. Teaching Faculty
Among 115 teaching faculty, 96 are teaching staff (including one foreign teacher) and 19 are administrative staff. The College is equipped with 6 professors, 42 associate professors, 44 senior lecturers and 4 assistant lecturers. Accordingly, the percentage of teaching staff with senior titles and that of teaching staff with PhD degrees are 50% and 27% respectively. 12 teachers have joined the “Shishan Shuoyan” Project in total, including 1 A-level research talent, 1 B-level research talent, 1 A-level distinguished teacher, 1 B1-level distinguished teacher and 8 B2-level distinguished teachers. The number of graduate supervisors for professional-track degrees and academic degrees are 14 and 11 respectively along with another 16 external supervisors. The college employs 2 foreign teachers on a regular basis, and most of the teaching faculty have over study experiences. 3 teaching faculty have full-time or part-time administrative roles in international academic or publication institutions, and 15 in domestic counterparts.
Among 88 university-level and above teaching contest awards, 62 are of university level, 18 of provincial level and 8 of national level. In particular, two teachers won the first prize of Hubei Young Teacher Teaching Contest and are thus awarded with Hubei Wuyi (May 1st) Labor Medals for outstanding teaching performance.
The past decade witnessed continuous educational reforms in college English teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels as well as English major talent cultivation. So far, the College received a second prize and a third prize in Hubei Teaching Award. 8 MOOC courses are developed and put into operation, 6 first-tier courses are developed, including 1 national-level course and 5 provincial level first-tier courses. Introduction to British Literature, the national-level first-tier course, is now available on www.xuexi.cn.
3. Educational System
The college presently offers two bachelor of arts degree programs, namely BA in English Language and Literature and BA in Business English respectively, as well as one academic master’s degree in foreign language and Literature Studies and one professional master’s degree in translation and interpreting (MTI). Currently, both undergraduate programs in English and Business English are listed in first-tier major construction projects at provincial level.
The College started to offer diploma programs in English Concerning Foreign Affairs in 1993 and has delivered 127 graduates in total. Undergraduate programs in English Language and Literature, Business English as well as master programs in Interpreting and Translation and Foreign Language and Literature are offered initially in 1998, 2011, 2015 and 2019 respectively. By June 2021, there are 2973 undergraduate talents and 96 graduate talents in total, among which 2297 with bachelor degree in English Language and Literature and 676 in Business English. There are 579 registered undergraduates and 42 registered postgraduates at present.
4. Talent Cultivation
Cultivation Approaches. The college adopts a talent cultivation approach featuring undergraduate students-centered, student centered, equal emphasis on domestic and international studies, as well as critical thinking and practices. The Department of College English Teaching, in alignment with HZAU’s “Double First-Class” Project, endeavors to cultivate talents with global competence, intercultural communication competence, integrated language proficiency, critical thinking ability and autonomous learning ability via vigorous educational reforms. Programs in English and in Business English, tailoring to HZAU strength disciplines, aims to cultivate talents with solid language foundation, refine culture tastes, profound literature literacies and strong agriculture background. Meanwhile, post-graduate programs place equal emphasis on theoretical and practical studies, striking to cultivate talents in translation and interpretation as well as foreign language and literature studies.
Academic Programs. Both undergraduate programs in English Language and Literature and in Business English are listed in first-tier major construction projects at provincial level. There are 8 MOOC courses, including College English Integrated Course (Level 1, 2, and 3), IELTS Writing, Advanced English, Introduction to British Literature, Introduction to American Literature, and Introduction to Foreign Literature. Particularly, Introduction to British Literature, now available on xuexi.cn, is a national-level first-tier course. In addition, College English Integrated Course (Level 1, 2, and 3), Introduction to Foreign Literature, and English Reading and Writing (Level 1 and Level 2) are listed in first-tier course construction project at provincial level. Currently, we offer courses in 5 languages, including English, Russian, French, German and Japanese.
Practice Platforms. The College Practical Training Center is composed of a Cloud-Networking platform, a simultaneous interpretation platform, a business training platform, a computer-assisted translation platform, a recording studio and a campus English radio station. The station, providing campus broadcasts about domestic and international news, university news and English language learning tips on a daily basis, serve as a vivid platform to expand students’ horizons. In addition, new media platforms such as Voice of Waiyuan and a series of course-based wechat public accounts are also in operation. The College is also responsible for providing extra-curricular activities in performing arts, cultural festivals and the President Cup English contest yearly. Other platforms, specializing in discipline-based contests, student research and volunteer work, also provide students with ample opportunities for all-rounded development.
Talent-Cultivation Reforms. Department of College Foreign Languages Teaching adopts a run-through cultivation method featuring “General English + Academic English”, “theory + practice” and “language + culture + academic literacy”. Department of English Language and Literature Studies, awarded with second prize in provincial teaching award, provides training in integrated language skills, intercultural communicative competence, and high-order thinking skills. Department of Business English follows a principle of “Business+English+Competence+Practice” for talent cultivation. Starting from 2021, a new double bachelor degree program in English and French is offered.
Cultivation of Comprehensive Literacies. Passing rate of TEM-4 and TEM-8 among English majors are 40% and 30% higher than that of average national counterparts respectively. Passing rate of TEM-4 and TEM-8 for Business English majors are 40% and 35% higher than that of average national counterparts respectively. Many students won prizes at disciplinary or professional competence competitions. The percentage of excellent rate of International Business Practical Training Certificates is 85%. In 2019 and 2020, with 40-odd students wining first prizes at the National Contest For College Business English, the College ranks 3rd domestically and is thus awarded as “Excellent College”. In particular, with 20 students winning first prizes nationally, the award rate for first prize at national level, 51%, is ten times higher than that of average counterparts. In 2018, one student is awarded as the outstanding winner of Yixue Contest for Business English Practical Skills in Hubei Province. One graduate of Class 2020, Gong Qi, received admissions from 7 renown global universities upon application. 68 students won prizes at National Contest for College Business English in 2021 and HZAU is thus granted the Outstanding Organization Award for the Contest.
Further Study Prospects. More than 30% of college graduates pursue further studies home and abroad via official recommendations or entrance examinations to attend high-level universities in China yearly, prospective destinations include Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and Shanghai Foreign Studies University, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Oversea graduate study destinations include University College London, Nanyang Technological University, Johns Hopkins University, The University of Edinburgh, The Australian National University, University of Toronto, etc.
Employment Opportunities. Many graduates work in large-scale companies such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Gree, Huawei as well as state-owned enterprises or public institutes such as Bank of China, China Telecom, China State Construction Engineering Group, CCTV, Zhejiang University, and Zhongnan University.
According to an undergraduate graduation report provided by Mycos in 2018, the employment rate of students majoring in English in 2017 is 100%, and satisfaction rate for teaching quality provided by the College is 98%. English major is considered as a program with quality teacher-student communication and thus enjoys the highest satisfaction rate and most recommendations from alumni. Feedback from enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other cities also indicates that graduates from the College are usually evaluated as talents with diligence and strong team spirits.
5. Scientific Research
The College runs two university level research institutes, namely Research Center for Foreign Language Education and Research Center for Agricultural Academic English. Additionally, there are four college level interdisciplinary research centers in linguistics, literature studies, translation studies, as well as regional and country studies in world agricultural cultures.
From 2011 to 2020, the College has undertaken 5 national-level research projects supported by National Social Science Foundation and 60-odd provincial level research projects. Among 275 published papers, 94 are published on journals within Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index and 12 are within Social Science Citation Index or Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Additionally, the College has published 14 monographs and textbooks and have compiled 4 textbooks for post-graduate programs in total.
The College regularly invites scholars in fields of foreign language education and foreign language studies fort on campus academic lectures. Meanwhile, teaching faculties are strongly supported by the College to attend high-level academic conferences home and abroad.
6. International Cooperation and Exchanges
The College has established stable partnerships with domestic and oversea universities for scholar visiting and student exchange programs. The College regularly hosts international conferences. For instance, on June 2021, the College hosted an international conference on New Media Translation and Interpretation. The College also offers intensive oral English summer courses for about 600 HZAU undergraduate students in partnership with 20 professional EFL instructors from United States. The college engages fully in internationalization course of HZAU in talent cultivation. For instance, the college provides teaching assistance for HZAU-Auburn University summer courses.
The college also engages fully in internationalization course of HZAU by strengthening its global competence and cross-cultural communication competence. For instance, the college provides translation services for English mediated courses, official websites of HZAU as well as domestic and oversea publication-related documents via the self-initiated Agricultural English Corpus teaching and research platform.
Many teaching faculties and students volunteer as interpreters and translators for international conferences and contests. In addition, the College yearly holds Model United Nation for central China regions and that for HZAU.
Many teaching faculties, such as Dr. Qin Jianghua and Dr. Xu Beibei, have undertaken part-time administrative positions in international academic institutions.
The College offers “3+1” and “2+2” joint degree programs and student internship opportunities at renown international organizations.