Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University welcomed approximately 4,000 new students at its official opening ceremony on 27 August 2017.
More than 8,000 students, their parents, relatives and friends joined XJTLU staff at the Dushu Lake Stadium near the University.
Professor Youmin Xi, executive president of XJTLU delivered the welcome speech entitled 'Let research-led education help you to achieve growth and wisdom'. He stated that if students want to grow robustly at XJTLU then they will need to 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,” said Professor Xi.
Professor Xi added: “Here we of course do not mean ‘research’ in the sense of scientific research alone, but rather an attitude or mind-set focused on understanding and solving problems. 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.”
Towards the end of his speech, Professor Xi extended his wishes to the new students, saying: “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,” said Professor Xi.
Diya Feng, a new undergraduate student, delivered a speech on behalf of all the new undergraduate students. She shared her understanding of the XJTLU spirit as a new member of the University.
Diya said: “From now on, exam papers will no longer be the sole path through which we prove ourselves. The power of deliberation, innovation and execution will now become our wings. And now, it is self-evident that the platform and opportunity, decisiveness and execution are quite important. They are exactly what XJTLU has to offer us.”
Chengxiang Gao, who had two-year’s of work experience before joining XJTLU and currently a postgraduate student studying in the department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at XJTLU shared his experiences of the University with the new students.
He said: “During your studies, you will encounter great teachers and friends. Having a group of friends with independent minds will help us become people with independent minds too.”
Professor Adam Mcllwaine, dean of the School of Film and Television Arts at XJTLU, addressed the audience on behalf of University staff, saying: “At XJTLU we champion the idea of the autonomous student who is able to articulate their individual practice on graduation.”
“It demands that you are a self-determined learner and while you are constantly challenged, it is up to you to grasp this opportunity and make the most of your time with us.”
Xinyuan Shi, who graduated from BEng Electrical Engineering programme at XJTLU in 2011 and is currently engaged in postdoctoral research at the department of Physics, Imperial College, London, suggested to new students that they strengthen their self-regulated learning and encouraged them to actively participate in extracurricular activities. “The extracurricular practice and out-of-school internships will provide another new world for self-growth,” she said.
Professor Wenquan Tao, president of XJTLU, warmly welcomed all the new students and introduced highlights of the past 11 years of XJTLU’s development and achievements.
He also advised new students to be aware of the differences between learning at high school and at XJTLU. “When you abandon the traditional spoon-feed model of education, and spontaneously pursue truth and creativity, you will experience the infinite joy of active inquiry,” he said.
Following a unique tradition of the XJTLU opening ceremony, Professor Xi together with the University’s senior management team then fielded questions raised by new students and their parents for almost two hours.
(translator: Shuqi Li, editors: Guojuan Wang and Jacqueline Bánki)
(Photos by Xiaoxi Zhao, Yu Gong and Minqian Liang)