Fujian Normal University: A Profile
Fujian Normal University (FNU), a century-old university based in Fuzhou, a historic cultural city known as “Land of Culture on the Coast”, is a time-honored and well-acclaimed provincial institution of higher learning. Founded as Fujian Superior Normal School in 1907 by the famous late-Qing scholar Chen Baochen, who once served as the teacher of China’s last emperor, the present day FNU went through a few changes—merging with the former Hwa-Nan Women’s College of Arts and Sciences, Fukien Christian University and Fujian Provincial Teachers School respectively—to form Fujian Teachers College in 1953. In 1972, the University was renamed Fujian Normal University and has been thus referred to since then. In 2012, the Ministry of Education and Fujian government signed an agreement to jointly support the development of the University. In 2014, FNU was designated as a “provincial high-level university for prioritized construction”.
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 internationally 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 traditional and innovative 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—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, including the title of “National Civilized Institution” and other high-level titles and honors. As you sow, so shall you reap. Since its establishment, FNU has graduated over 500,000 talents of various levels and types, thus making a tremendous contribution to the economic and social development of the province and the country.
Currently the University proper consists of two campuses: Qishan and Cangshan, with a total land area of about 260 hectares. FNU offers 81 undergraduate programs, of which 74 were open for enrollment in 2016. Currently there are over 20,000 full time undergraduate students, over 7000 graduate students of various types, and 1700-strong teaching and auxiliary staff in the main campuses. Its faculty counts 55% full or associate professors and 46.9% doctorate degree holders. The honorific titles and recognitions received by such a pool of excellent talents include one member of the Eurasian Academy of Sciences, three adjunct academicians, two professors and two young scholars sponsored by Changjiang Scholar Awards, seven others supported by National Science Fund for Outstanding Young Scholars or by Program of Global Experts and two more by National Natural Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars, three members or conveners of the subject-specific advisory groups under the State Council Commission for Regulating Academic Degrees, one convener of the Expert Panel of National Post-Doctor Regulatory Commission, seven state level young experts of outstanding achievements, seven faculty members selected by the New Century Talents Project, three state level excellent teaching groups, two “Distinguished Teachers”, two “Celebrated Cultural Experts”, two ministerial level innovation teams, 18 faculty members supported by New Century Excellent Talents in University, and 125 scholars of State Council Allowance throughout the years.
The focus on morality and integrity for professionals and the endeavors in a further education reform have translated into a constant upgrading of teaching and research. FNU has been rated A in the undergraduate teaching evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Education, winning 16 first or second state level prizes for achievements in teaching over the years. 18 of FNU-compiled textbooks have been selected as national planned teaching materials for undergraduate courses in the “12th Five-Year Plan”. Other state level recognitions include two comprehensive pilot reform programs; ten “programs with distinct features”; 24 courses respectively designated as “best-designed courses”, “best resource sharing”, “best video demonstration”, “best bilingual demonstration”, etc.; five (virtual simulation) demonstration centers for experiment teaching; four innovative experiment zones for talent training modes; and one education project for outstanding teachers. FNU also runs personnel training bases—four for state level talents, one for university counselors, and one for teachers of vocational schools in the priority list of the Ministry of Education. In the Challenge Cup and other competitions, FNU students are remarkably successful, winning Grand Prizes, Gold Prizes, and First Prizes, to name just a few. Three of their doctoral theses have been selected into China’s Top 100 outstanding doctoral dissertations.
Bringing into full play the leadership role of its well-established disciplines in turning FNU into a high-level university, an academic arrangement has been structured of first-rate Art, advanced Science, and featured Engineering. A balanced and coordinated development of this wide spectrum of disciplines has given FNU a distinct identity as a multi-disciplinary comprehensive university. Academic programs cover 11 subject areas in literature, history, philosophy, physics, engineering, pedagogy, economics, law, business management, agriculture, and art. The University has one state key discipline, three provincial innovation (and cultivation) platforms for advantage disciplines of Fujian universities, nine provincial key disciplines with special features, 26 provincial key disciplines, 19 post-doctoral research centers, 19 primary discipline doctoral programs, 37 primary discipline master programs, and 13 professional master programs. In the third-round national discipline evaluation, six of FNU disciplines were ranked among the top 20 in the country, among which three entered the top 10 list. Chemistry ranked among the top 1-percent in ESI (Essential Science Indicators).
Aiming high while keeping a firm foothold, FNU vigorously promotes collaborative innovation in its scientific research. At the state level, FNU has a key lab cultivation base, an engineering research center jointly supported by the state and the provincial governments, and one “2011” collaborative innovation center (as one of the core collaborators); at the ministerial and provincial levels, there are 32 scientific platforms, including key labs under the Ministry of Education, engineering research centers, and research bases for humanities and social sciences. At the level of provincial universities, FNU owns 21 research units, such as key labs, engineering research centers, as well as research bases for humanities and social sciences. Altogether FNU researchers have won more than 600 awards and prizes, of which 18 are the three most prestigious national awards (i.e., the State Science Award, the State Technological Invention Award, and the National Science and Technology Progress Award), three first prizes for outstanding achievements in researches of humanities and social sciences in universities, and one first prize in natural science. In the past five years, among the almost 500 state level projects of various types and over 3000 other projects undertaken by FNU researchers, six are major programs sponsored by the National Social Science Foundation or key programs of humanities and social sciences research supported by the Ministry of Education, three academic works have been selected into the achievement library of national social sciences, and one other has been collected by the China Academic Library for translation into foreign languages. Meanwhile, FNU makes full use of its research achievements in the economic and social development by collaborating with enterprises, facilitating the commercialization of research findings in various ways. FNU has also developed a number of think tanks featuring the region and the university, which come through as FNU’s “strategists” on major practical issues.
Situated in the core area of the 21st century Maritime Silk Road and adjacent to Taiwan, Hongkong and Macao, FNU takes full advantage of this privileged location to develop its international exchanges and cooperation. Currently the University has established friendly and cooperative relations with more than 110 universities and institutions in the USA, UK, Australia, etc. and with UNESCO, and real cooperation with over 40 universities in Taiwan have been launched. Teaching Chinese as a foreign language is another proud achievement FNU has made in recent years. So far 774 volunteers in 14 groups have been sent to 12 countries (the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.), two Confucius Institutes established in collaboration with the Angeles University Foundation of the Philippines and Al Azhar Indonesia University respectively, and one Confucius classroom opened with the Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, USA. These projects have greatly promoted FNU’s prestige at home and abroad, one indicator of which is the visit President Xi Jinping and other state leaders paid to our Confucius Institute in Al Azhar Indonesia University on their tour to the country.
FNU 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), both are designated as “core periodicals published in Chinese”. The former edition has been listed as one of the “journals of renowned columns” by the Ministry of Education and the source journal of Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index, while the latter has been selected as one of China’s “core periodicals in science and technology” and the source journal of Chinese Science Citation Database. The FNU library, one of China’s ancient book protection centers, holds a collection of 4 million paper books and 2 million electronic books. Whereas the number marks it out as one of the largest libraries in normal universities throughout China, the FNU library is famed internationally for its impressive collections of ancient texts, rare books, rubbings of engraved tablets, 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 boasts a modern education technology center, sophisticated and extensively-applicable internet facilities, and, to provide for various sports games, training, as well as for fitness, a number of state-of-the-art and well-equipped stadiums and sports fields. Affiliated to FNU, there are one branch college (in Fuqing City), one high school and one elementary school. The Affiliated High School of FNU is acclaimed in the province as the holder of the greatest number of International Science Olympiad medals.
The chapter of 110 spectacular years has just been turned over. Upholding its principle of morality and integrity for professionals, FNU is now devoted to implementing a comprehensive reform broadly, promoting a connotative development widely, and enhancing the school quality extensively. The University is taking giant strides forward, in order to be upgraded into a higher level comprehensive university with distinct features, to make further contribution to the development of Fujian province, building it into a region of flexible mechanisms, advanced industry, affluent people, beautiful ecology, and, in turn, to play a part in realizing the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
（Data above updated to Sep. 2016）
(Translated by Wang Jing Reviewed by Lin Mingjin）