Recently, the 3rd "Top-notch Talent Cultivation International Forum" and the 7th National University Honors Education Summit were held at Zhiyuan College, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The theme of the conference is "to achieve excellence in terms of talent-cultivation".
Professor Ding Kuiling, the President of SJTU; Professor Xu Xuemin, Vice President of SJTU and Dean of Zhiyuan College; Professor Zhang Zhaoguo, Vice President of SJTU, together with more than 300 faculty members and student representatives from nearly 70 universities such as Peking University, Renmin University of China, Tsinghua University, University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Fudan University, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, University of Science and Technology of China, Shandong University, Wuhan University, Xi'an Jiaotong University, attended the forum.
Professor Ding firstly delivered a welcoming speech and extended warm welcome to the guests from all over the country and expressed his heartfelt thanks to the experts and friends who have supported the talent-cultivation cause of SJTU. He pointed out that in order to "carry on the past and open up in the future", we as educators shall have the confidence to cultivate top-notch talents through the Chinese education system, fully absorb the experience and foundation accumulated over the years in China's higher education, and continuously "carry on the past", and explore the innovative education reform. He also mentioned that it is necessary to open the boundaries of schools and even countries, exchange and learn from top domestic and international universities, research institutes, and science and technology enterprises, combine the domestic reality and school characteristics, update educational concepts, innovate cultivation models, to develop the "opening up" attitude, and strive to explore a new path of independent cultivation of top-notch talents with Chinese characteristics. He hopes that the participants could work together and continue to strive for the cultivation of top-notch talents for the future, and inject more wisdom and strength into the construction of a strong education and science and technology country.
Professor Mark Wrighton, President emeritus of Washington University in St. Louis and member of the International Advisory Council of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, delivered a keynote speech on the topic of "Preparing Undergraduates for Global Leadership". He said that leadership is of utmost importance in scientific research work. As a leader, you must be passionate, knowledgeable, creative, dedicated, pragmatic, honest and upright. He pointed out that research universities can develop students' global leadership by offering high-quality courses, supporting diverse extracurricular activities, encouraging innovative research projects, building internship platforms, and introducing students to top talent in various fields. He stressed that the climate, economy, aging population, health, food and other issues facing all mankind today can never be solved by a single country, and he called on the government, universities and enterprises to actively participate in the university partnership alliance, and jointly contribute to improving people's literacy, creating new knowledge and enhancing mutual understanding.
Professor John Hopcroft, a Turing Award winner and Foreign Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who has been deeply involved in the field of higher education in China for over a decade, gave a keynote speech titled "Behind the Scenes of University Education.". He pointed out that currently, Chinese universities bear a dual mission, which is to cultivate a new generation of talents while also assisting the government and enterprises in applied researches. He emphasized that the true mission of universities should be to help students have a better life. Universities should not only teach students knowledge, but more importantly, cultivate their abilities to analyze, solve, make rational decisions, predict results, and make critical judgments. He mentioned that after talking to many Nobel laureates and Turing Prize winners, he found that the success of these top scientists does not have a so-called "template". They are more interested in discovering their own fields and persisting in them for a long time. He stated that in order to effectively improve the quality of undergraduate education in China, it is necessary to change the evaluation methods. For example, when evaluating teachers, one should not consider the papers they have published or the funding they have received, but should consider whether they care about the success of students, whether they teach seriously, and how experts in their field evaluate their professional reputation. In the report, he also introduced the relevant situation of the National 101 Plan, especially the course materials that will promote continuous exposure of Chinese universities to the forefront of computer science.
Professor Lin Jianhua, the Director of the Future Education Management Research Center of Peking University and Former President of Peking University, pointed out in his article "Implicit Knowledge - The Lost Education Link" that cultivating top-notch innovative talents is the responsibility of higher education institutions. However, human growth has its own regularity, and promoting seedling growth can only backfire. In order to create a better environment for the growth of top innovative talents, we should reflect and even redefine what "education" is. He emphasized that unlike the knowledge monopoly stage of the previous industrial era, in the intelligent era of knowledge openness, education shall no longer be limited to the transmission of explicit professional knowledge, but shall focus on implicit knowledge and abilities instead. Education should be an internalized, implicit, personalized concept and conceptualized ability. He vividly explained that students should be placed in an environment similar to the sea, given a certain degree of freedom, and guided by navigational aids; Instead of putting them on a single track, they can only lead to the established development path. He pointed out that "the goal of education should be creative thinking and action ability" and "all activities that are conducive to the growth and maturity of students are education", which triggered deep thinking of the attending teachers and students.
Professor Tong Shijun, President of New York University in Shanghai and Professor of Philosophy at East China Normal University, titled "Promoting the Special Advantages of Sino-foreign Cooperative Universities in Cultivating Top-notch Talents", shared the views of ancient and modern Chinese and foreign thinkers, philosophers, and scientists on talent-ultivation by citing "The Great Learning," "The Analects," "Mencius," "Laozi," Plato, Aristotle, Einstein, Liang Shuming, Rousseau, Goethe, and others. He pointed out that in order to cultivate top-notch talents while dealing with the relationship between the "cultivation" and "selection" functions of education, it is necessary to combine the "curiosity" tradition of seeking knowledge with the "worry" tradition, combine the "rationality" training of teaching with the "rationality" training, and combine the "teaching with words" and "teaching without words" in schools. He shared some unique advantages of Sino-foreign cooperative universities, represented by Shanghai New York University, in achieving these combinations.
Professor Rao Zihe, an Academician of the CAS Member, professor of Tsinghua University and Former President of Nankai University, introduced his team's long history of research on the three-dimensional structure of pathogens of new and recurrent infectious diseases and innovative drug research with the title of "Thirty Years of Pathogen Research", and sorted out coronaviruses such as influenza virus, SARS and COVID-19, AIDS virus, hepatitis A virus, hand foot mouth virus, herpes virus Mechanism research on important pathogens such as African swine fever virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Starting from this, he discussed his views on the cultivation of scientific research talents in the field of biomedical science. He pointed out that cultivating scientific research talents should have clear goals, adhere to long-term research, integrate multidisciplinary research teams, cultivate a well-structured talent pool, open up domestic and international cooperation, provide an inclusive environment for young people's innovation and trial and error, and encourage attending teachers and students to "persevere, there will be gains".
Four sub-forums titled "Integrated Education of Top Talents Cultivation", "Integration of Science and Education, Integration of Undergraduate and Doctoral Education", "Whole person Education of Academies from a Student’s Perspective", and "Academic Community Construction Based on Online Academies" were held simultaneously. The forums were hosted by Professor Yu Zhen, Dean of Hongyi School of Wuhan University; Professor Yang Sen, Executive Vice Dean of Qian Xuesen College of Xi'an Jiao Tong University; Ms. Wu Xiaoling, Deputy Secretary of the Party Branch of Zhiyuan College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Professor Tong Yuerong, Deputy Director of the Academic Affairs Office of Shanghai Jiao Tong University respectively, and 23 education administrators, students, and education industry participants from Sichuan University, Beijing University of Technology, Tsinghua University, Tianjin University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, Tencent, Alibaba Cloud, Bilibili shared their own perspectives.
Since 2019, under the guidance of the Higher Education Department of the Ministry of Education, Zhiyuan College has held an international forum for cultivating top-notch talents every two years, inviting renowned education experts, university presidents, and academicians from home and abroad to share their perspectives and experiences in cultivating top-notch talents at home and abroad. They have also published two selected report compilations on the "International Forum for Cultivating Top-notch Talents", namely "Innovating and Bringing Forward the Future" and "Cultivating Top-notch Talents Leading the Future". To build a platform for participants and managers at home and abroad to learn cutting-edge concepts and share practical experience in cultivating top-notch innovative talents, and to make positive contributions to strengthening communication and mutual learning, enhancing cooperation and exchange, and jointly exploring China's solutions for cultivating top-notch innovative talents.