SUSTech Inaugurates Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts
Wei Jingjing | 10/15/2018

Following the successful hosting of the “Opportunities and Challenges: Humanities and Arts Education in World-Class Science and Engineering Universities Forum,” Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) inaugurated the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech.

SUSTech President Chen Shiyi and Director of the Society of Fellows addressed the ceremony. He welcomed the 11 junior scholars who had been studying both within China and across the world. “The Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts plays an important role in the academic career of young scholars,” said President Chen, before providing advice about research and planning to the junior fellows. He spoke of the strong support from SUSTech for all aspects of the Society, in order to create a first-class academic environment. He had high hopes for the young fellows and believed that they would become leaders in their respective fields in time.

Executive Director of the Society and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Zhou Yongming provided the historical context for the concept behind SUSTech’s Society of Fellows. The first Society of Fellows was organized at Harvard University in 1933, which was under the terms of a gift from A. Lawrence Lowell, then President Emeritus of Harvard. It recruits young scholars from the humanities and social sciences who are about to graduate or have just graduated from Ph.D. programs. The Society provides these young scholars with generous life and academic support at the beginning of their academic career so that they can develop their academic interests and improve academic research capabilities in a relaxed environment. Many prestigious universities around the world followed Harvard’s lead, including Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, University of Chicago, University of Southern California, University of Sydney, and the University of Hong Kong. The establishment of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech is the first of its kind on the Chinese mainland.

The Society of Fellows has hired more than 20 well-known experts and scholars from both mainland China and across the world. Both Ye Lang, a senior professor of philosophy and social sciences at Peking University, and Wang Wei, a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, chairman of the Chinese Society of Archaeology, have been asked to serve as academic advisors and Junior Fellows tutor.

Huang Shumin, academician of the “Academia Sinica” of Taiwan, and director of the Institute of Anthropology of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan spoke as a representative of academic advisors. He put forward pertinent suggestions for the career planning of the young fellows. “I hope that the new generation of scholars can grow up as soon as possible and shoulder heavy burdens. They should also try their best to help young fellows grow in research and teaching.”

Jing Zhichun, a professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada, spoke as a representative of the Junior Fellows. By comparing the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech to those at North American universities, he pointed out that the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech has its own unique position and broad development prospects. He quoted John F. Kennedy’s famous saying: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” He reminded the young fellows that in addition to hard work and courage, they must have a clear purpose and direction.

The Junior Fellow representatives, Amir Hampel and Wang Lili, spoke and talked about joining the the Society to give them a strong sense of belonging and honor. They said that they would live up to expectations and return to SUSTech with fruitful research results. Both said that they hoped that the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech could attract even more talents to SUSTech.

During the two-year terms, Junior Fellows of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts at SUSTech will offer three general education courses and complete the research projects submitted by individuals. The arrival of these young fellows will inject fresh vitality into the development of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department of SUSTech.

SUSTech will further learn from and draw on the experience of the development of first-class universities at home and abroad. On this basis, it will innovate and develop, cultivate outstanding talents with both literary and scientific qualities, and constantly expand the achievements and influence of the construction of liberal arts.

2018, 10-15
By Wei Jingjing

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