System Introduction/系統介紹

About UST

National Central University, National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University and National Yang-Ming University are all outstanding educational and research institutions in Taiwan. Each of the four schools is unique, and each offers an exceptional record. In comparison with world-class schools, the four universities may seem a bit small in scale or lack certain disciplines. In the face of fierce international competition in the future, the schools recognized the need to strengthen the integration of various disciplinary areas in each institution. They also saw the advantage of establishing a university system which would combine the energy of the four universities in teaching and research, integrating their resources and playing up complementary strengths to enhance the quality of education in each of the four universities. The aim was simple: academic excellence and the creation of a true world-class university. Thus the four universities and the Ministry of Education announced an "Integrated plan to promote a research university" as the University System of Taiwan (UST) on October 8, 2003. Following rounds of applications and revisions, on January 24, 2008, the plan was finally approved by the Ministry of Education and UST was formally established.
In the eight years since then, UST has gradually achieved goal after goal in its drive to develop and integrate its complementary resources, finding that this has been extremely helpful in expanding the capacity of the four universities in teaching and research. For example, in 2002 the four universities in UST published a total of 2,855 research papers and articles, a figure which doubled to 5,724 papers and articles in 2010. National Tsing Hua University jumped from 223 in 2010 to 196 last year in the UK's QS World University Rankings, while National Yang-ming University from from 306 to 290 and National Chiao Tuong University climbed from 389 to 327 and National Central University rose from a 400-plus ranking to 398. In another survey, the 2010 ARWU World University rankings compiled by Shanghai Jiaotong University, a total of seven Taiwanese universities made their way into the top 500 – including all four of the UST schools. These results show that the Ministry of Education's efforts to promote its plans for integrating research universities (2002-2005) and to develop world-class universities and top research centers (2006-2010) have been a part of encouraging development in these four schools' academic programs. The four universities' timely decision in 2002 to integrate their resources and take advantage of complementary strength has led to remarkable growth at all four schools. The four universities will continue to work together to upgrade the quality of education and to pursue academic excellence as they seek their goal of becoming a world-class university. A summary of results so far in this integration follows.

1. Integrating educational resources
Common courses and inter-campus selection of classes, and sharing of distinctive courses:

The four schools began their cooperation by sharing classes, offering mutual recognition of credits, and opening up inter-campus selection of classes and curriculum. As of the 2010 academic year the four universities had 5,333 persons enrolled in elective courses (of which 3,853 people were enrolled in r elective long-distance learning and Internet courses). The four universities are now jointly promoting an e-teaching system and building open courseware (OCW) in a total of 124 departments, and by 2011 had broken through the 3 million mark for total students. The four universities set up general education courses beginning in 2009 to promote ‘Cultural Studies’ and ‘Technology and Society’, two courses which integrate aspects of both the humanities and research in social sciences research. The 2008 academic year saw ‘Sociological Imagination’, ‘Network Information Behavior’, and ‘Medicine, Health and Life’. The four universities also introduced liberal roving courses, with National Yang-Ming University offering ‘Medicine, Health and Life’ and continuing to hold it every year now. During the 2010 academic year five liberal distance learning lecture courses – ‘Brain and Learning’, ‘Introduction to Advertising’, ‘United States Poliics,’ ‘Marketing Management’ and ‘Culture and Music: Listening to Romeo and Juliet’ – were introduced. This was followed in 2011 with promotion of ‘Advancing into the Future: the Technology and Society Classic Series of Lectures’ featuring distance teaching which involved having teachers from each campus participate in discussions. These were followed in turn by ‘Water Resources: Technology and Life,’ a political course, as well as courses themed ‘Energy and Sustainable Development, ‘Controversy’ and ‘Health’.

Promoting conversion of student status so that students can attend classes at all four schools:

The four universities now promote inter-institution courses and inter-campus transfers between departments for those pursuing a doctorate in order to provide students with better quality and a wide range of course choices. This enables students in the system to apply for student status transfers and to learn at any of the four schools as easily as studying in one school.

Joint recruitment and admission to attract more outstanding new students:

Students in Master’s and Bachelor programs are also allowed to take inter-campus courses by enrolling in any one of the four schools and passing the entrance exam.. In the 2012 academic year 3,010 students were signed up (including 408), and 2,440 signed up for the joint enrollment through the undergraduate transfer test. This ongoing expansion in applications for UST’s Master and Bachelor courses encourages the schools to provide more places for enrollment and enhances cooperation in admitting students. At the same time, it offers greater economies of scale and better competitiveness in seeking joint admission students.

Exchange of teachers helps development of teaching and research in all four schools

The inter-university program offers mutual recognition of qualifications for teachers within the system; inter-institution courses; inter-institution joint appointment of approved teachers; inclusion of part-time inter-institution teaching in teachers’ teaching hours; schools seconded from prescribed limitations on back-to-school teaching; and inter-institution collaborative research and guidance. In the long run, it is hoped that career teachers in the system will move easily between campuses as if they were teaching in one place.

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