Executive president's opening ceremony speech 2017

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'Let research-led education help you to achieve growth and wisdom.'

Dear students, parents, members of the faculty, colleagues and friends,

In this scorching summer, we all share the same identity as XJTLU-ers, despite our differences in backgrounds, characteristics and occupations. We have come from across the country or even the world to open a new chapter in our lives at XJTLU.

This is a time for celebration. My colleagues and I hereby congratulate all of you for succeeding in the highly competitive Gaokao or graduate school applications and officially becoming a XJTLU-er!

As you enter into XJTLU, a completely different environment, you will probably have feelings of anxiety, curiosity and even longing. I am sure that from your acceptance letters you have become familiar with XJTLU’s vision of ‘Exploring the future of education by integrating the essence and best practices of East and West,’ with our student-centered education and five-star education models.

You will no doubt also be familiar with our efforts to help our students grow from children, to young adults, to global citizens, to transform their study patterns from passive to active learning and then to research-led learning, and shift their focus from aimless study to interest-driven learning, and then to future life planning.

You may also have heard from friends or on the internet about XJTLU’s strict academic quality assurance system, and high rate of exam resits. You must also know that XJTLU has the longest holidays among all universities in China and is lovingly referred to as a ‘Holiday University’. However most of XJTLU students do know the “Holiday” is another kind of colorful learning season rather than holiday.

Also, you must have noticed how different XJTLU is during your first few days of enrolment. These differences, shocks and feelings may become stronger in the future. I hope that as XJTLU-ers - students and parents alike - you will be able to address these challenges with a positive attitude.

Since its inception, XJTLU has been trying hard to transform itself from merely delivering knowledge to helping students to grow healthily. We respect each student, take interest in his or her personal growth and development, and provide each student with freedom of choice within reasonable boundaries.

At XJTLU, we encourage students to challenge teachers in the classroom and express their viewpoints boldly and confidently. We encourage students to fully understand themselves and to discover their own life paths based on their interests. We ask students to take seriously each choice they make and respect the rules and systems, but we appreciate and celebrate creativity and innovation: as long as you dare to think outside of the box, you will have our support.

We understand fully that the test-driven approach in China’s basic education may have affected students’ capacity to ask questions and innovate; it may also have restrained their motivation to pursue their own interests and be who they truly are. This is an historical problem that we are trying to address in all spheres of life.

However, you are members of a new era when China is becoming stronger in a globalized world, and I am sure you are prepared for the change, and for the opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with international students. On the other hand, international students at XJTLU may be able to learn diligence and devotion from Chinese students.

Wherever you are from, as XJTLU-ers you should embrace multiculturalism, improve your ability to adapt to new environments, be willing to innovate and break the mould, and have the courage to fail sometimes.

I look forward to watching you grow robustly at this University, one which emphasizes individual growth and innovation. I also look forward to the contribution you can make to the development of XJTLU!

To achieve this, you must cultivate a ‘habit of exploration’, a curiosity for the world and an interest in getting to the bottom of things. You must become experts at both researching and solving problems. In this digital age, we are constantly bombarded with information. Knowledge is at our fingertips. As such, research-led study and work are highly valuable. Therefore, XJTLU advocates for research-led education.

Research-led education is, as the name suggests, focused primarily on research. Here we of course do not mean ‘research’ in the sense of scientific research alone, but rather an attitude or mindset focused on understanding and solving problems.

Specifically, over the course of research-led education, teachers and students should start from the phenomena to be understood and the problems to be solved in each subject. Teachers should kindle their students’ curiosity, encourage their motivation and potential, nourish their critical thinking skills, make way for their creativeness, equip them with a complexity mindset to face an ever-changing world, and finally help students to become lifelong learners.

In this sense, education is not merely about knowledge provision but also about guiding students toward exploration. It is no longer focused on knowledge itself, but rather the real challenges, problems and phenomena we face and the growth of each and every student.

Through research-led education you will gain not only knowledge but also an awareness of how to face problems. You will know how to acquire knowledge, analyses knowledge, solve problems, research, cooperate, express yourselves and communicate. More importantly, through the process of solving problems you will build character and gain wisdom, capabilities, and accolades.

When you arrive at XJTLU you should seek both growth and wisdom. The degree certificates you will work to receive will be nothing less than records of growth and wisdom gained!

Let us work together, open our minds and embrace this complex and uncertain world. Let us be positive and active, and build a capacity for research-led education. Let us look far ahead, and build a global vision and competitiveness on an international stage.

In so doing, you will grow from ‘test takers’ to Global Players capable of researching and solving problems and full of knowledge, capacity, character and wisdom. Your teachers will transform from ‘knowledge givers’ to scholars who are skilled at giving comprehensive guidance on research-led study, and who are academically excellent and globally influential. In so doing, our University will transcend the scenario of conventional education to become an education leader of the future.
Don’t stay stuck where you are, XJTLU-ers! Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps, and get ready for battle! We can only embrace the future when we are more than ready for change!

Thank you!

Professor Youmin Xi
Executive President, XJTLU

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