International Corner  

Executive Vice President Chang Shares His View on Great University Education

Executive Vice President for Administrative Affairs Ching-Ray Chang and Deputy Vice President for International Affairs Bennett Yu-Hsiang Fu visited the city of Xi’an in China’s Shaanxi Province from April 5-9 to attend the 120th anniversary of Xi’an Jiaotong University.  The visit allowed the two universities, which signed their first exchange agreement in 2007, to deepen their friendship and discuss opportunities for future cooperation.  While there, the two NTU administrators also participated in a world universities exhibition and world universities presidents’ summit, during which Executive Vice President Chang delivered a speech.

Besides discussing academic research exchanges with XJTU’s School of Science, Chang also shared his views on world-class universities during an interview with a reporter from the newspaper Shaanxi Daily.

In the interview, Chang said, “Each university has a different emphasis, and while some are employment oriented, I take a different perspective because I believe that students educated at good universities are not of a unified standard.”  Chang went on to talk about his notion of a great university, stating that the reason why universities in Europe exude such a sense of “sacredness” is because of their history: “graduates of great universities are always proud of their history.  This is because these universities represent the spirit and culture of their country and region.  An elite world university should possess history, a distinguishing character, and, especially, a strong faculty.”  Using the California Institute of Technology as an example, Chang added that “a great university is not marked by its size.”

Asked to share his advice for students, Chang stated, “First, students must appreciate learning and regard the acquisition of knowledge as a pleasure in itself.”  He stressed the importance of developing a solid foundation that is wide and diverse in scope, adding that “Students should not limit their space for future growth by positioning themselves in a single narrow field too early.”  

Chang went on to compare life to a marathon that requires a philosophical logic: “Don’t compare yourself to those above you.  Study happily and grow happily.  As long as you make progress each day, you’re doing well.”  Lastly, Chang encouraged students to be honest with themselves: “Regardless of your field of study, you must honestly face your strengths and weaknesses.  When you make a mistake, you must have the courage to admit it and make changes.”