XJTLU celebrates its past by embarking on the future

21 May 2021

To mark its 15th anniversary, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is launching new academies and opening its innovative lifelong-learning platform, the XJTLU Learning Mall, to the public.

Just fifteen years ago, XJTLU started with one building and 164 students.

Today, with 18,000 students from around the globe, XJTLU is the largest joint-venture university in China. It boasts more than 1,000 staff from approximately 50 countries and regions. The University’s alumni study at global top universities and work at world-leading companies.

XJTLU’s teaching, laboratory, research and support facilities have won architectural awards and rival the best worldwide. The University's location in “the Silicon Valley of China” provides opportunities for cooperation, internships and graduate employment.

Key to its success is its unique blend of educational styles, enabling students to become internationally-minded global citizens.

“XJTLU took reference from the flexibility offered by the American education system, the emphasis on a robust quality control system from the British system, and the focus on building fundamentals commonly seen in the Chinese system,” says Professor Youmin Xi, Executive President of XJTLU.

With the arrival of an era driven by digital, artificial intelligence and robotics-enabled innovations, XJTLU added focus on educating future international experts to lead those fields, and on industry-focused academic programmes. It’s recently added emphasis on connecting education with society at large.

“It is our mission to explore the future and impact education,” says Professor Xi.

As an institution constantly looking forward, it’s fitting that XJLTU is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of new academies and plans to expand outside its home province.

Education innovation for the future

On Saturday, 22 May, the University will launch its Academy of Future Education, encompassing research and education activities, training for educators in and outside of the University, support for students’ educational growth, and a platform for online and onsite lifelong learning around the globe.

“The future of education is not focused on teachers imparting knowledge to students, but instead on how educational institutions will support lifelong learning,” says Dr Xiaojun Zhang, Executive Dean of the Academy.

The rise of the internet and artificial intelligence has changed how people obtain information, he says, opening pathways to learn outside the traditional classroom.

“Now, learners want the university to prepare them for roles as innovators in society,” says Dr Zhang. “With today’s speed of information delivery, that means fostering ‘learning how to learn’ and providing the best tools worldwide for that purpose.”

According to Professor Xi, the Academy will help XJTLU lead the development and spread of new education models.

“The Academy of Future Education will create a platform and an ecosystem to expand our sphere of influence both within China and internationally.”

Platform for lifelong learning

To provide tools for all learners, XJTLU and the Academy of Future Education will open the XJTLU Learning Mall to the public on Saturday, one year after its launch to University staff and students. Available offerings continue to grow, with partners including Adobe, Microsoft, McGraw-Hill Group, Alibaba Cloud and Digital China providing educational content, training and online certification tests.

Cultural and creative industry leaders

XJTLU’s Academy of Film and Creative Technology also will launch Saturday. This Academy combines XJTLU’s School of Film and TV Arts in Suzhou and its School of Cultural Technology at the XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang). In the Academy’s second phase, the XJTLU-Enlight Film School in Yangzhou will be added.

“Partnering with media and creative industries will enable us to meet industry needs and train students and professionals to be cultural and creative industry leaders,” says Professor Stuart Perrin, Associate Principal of XJTLU Entrepreneur College (Taicang).

Cross-disciplinary industry leaders

In April, also as part of XJTLU's 15th-anniversary celebration, the University and Jiangsu Industrial Technology Research Institute jointly established the XJTLU-JITRI Academy of Industrial Technology, offering masters and PhD programmes to develop professionals with industry and innovation skills who can lead across disciplines.

The JITRI Academy’s masters and doctoral programmes are entirely demand-driven, says Dr Fei Ma, Executive Dean of the Academy.

“JITRI and its cooperative companies put forward their need for talent cultivation first, and then our Academy considers whether to make a corresponding enrolment plan,” he says.

Developing education-societal ecosystems

XJTLU’s plans include additional exploration of online-onsite educational models and expansion to other sites like China’s Greater Bay Area (Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau), where the University plans to establish the XIPU Innovation and Education College (GBA).

“In the future, XJTLU will redefine its social functions, acting as the catalyst and connector between the school and society,” says Professor Xi. “It will leverage the vast resources available to create a new educational ecosystem that promotes lifelong learning, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

By Tamara Kaup

21 May 2021


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