National Changhua University of Education
Dual-degree Programs: Drawing on International Connections to Expand the Opportunities for Students
- NCUE's international resources help fulfill student's academic dreams
In response to the Ministry of Education’s focus on promoting the international development of Taiwanese colleges and universities and enhancing international competitiveness, the National Changhua University of Education (NCUE) has set internationalization as a key focus of its medium-term and long-term plans and listed “establishing dual-degree programs with partner universities overseas” as a critical objective for international development. The 8th and 9th President of NCUE, Yen-Kuang Kuo, stated that in order to achieve internationalization, NCUE is actively seeking to form partnerships with top universities around the world and continues to collaborate with the partners in the United States, Europe, and Asia to launch student exchange and dual-degree programs. NCUE also subsidizes a selected number of students to study abroad, strengthening the operation of teacher and student exchange, and cooperative programs with its partner universities. In addition, NCUE encourages the Graduate Institute of Education, Department of Guidance and Counseling, Department of Fine Arts, and Graduate Institute of Science Education to continue organizing overseas Master’s degree programs in Malaysia, thereby fueling the output of higher education and strengthening international cooperation. All the efforts NCUE put into have a great impact on broadening the worldview and enhancing the competitiveness of teachers and students, and improving the international visibility and rank of NCUE.
According to the 2020 University Impact Rankings formulated by Times Higher Education (THE) based on the SDGs of the United Nations, NCUE is ranked 66th worldwide and second in Taiwan. In addition, 36 Taiwanese universities were listed on the 2020 World University Rankings proposed by THE. Among the Taiwanese universities listed, NCUE ranked 19th, and NCUE and National Taiwan Normal University were only two normal universities. NCUE was ranked worldwide by subject in the 251-300 band for Education and in the top 800 for Natural Science, and Engineering and Technology. According to the university affairs information released by the Ministry of Education in 2019, the overall enrollment rate of NCUE was 96%, ranking 19th nationally. The 2019 QS Asian University Rankings ranked NCUE in the 301st-350th range. Thirty-six Taiwanese universities were on the list, and NCUE was ranked 28th. In the 2017-2018 Ranking of Taiwan’s Top Universities published in Global Views Monthly, NCUE was in the top 30 overall and 15th in the “liberal arts, law, and business” category. Among nearly 170 universities in Taiwan, NCUE ranks steadily in the top 30. In the fields of engineering and management, NCUE outperforms conventional normal universities and colleges. It also outperforms general universities in teacher training. These achievements show that NCUE’s self-positioning as “education-oriented cultivation of experts in humanities; research and development innovation and technology and business management refinement” is recognized by the world.
The dual-degree cooperation that NCUE has been promoting with partner universities in recent years is one of the main goals of NCUE’s international development policy. NCUE has achieved some marvelous results with it, benefiting the students greatly and helping them create more opportunities for the future.
Constructing an International Education Platform and Expanding the Possibilities of Student Development
NCUE became a partner university of Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) in 2010 and launched the first dual-degree program with the Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering of SPSU in 2012. Although SPSU merged with Kennesaw State University (KSU) in 2015, the dual-degree programs between NCUE and KSU continued.
Los Angeles, California, is a significant economic and academic hub. NCUE realizes the importance of this region in international development. Therefore, President Kuo Yen-Kuang led a delegation to California State University (CSU), Fresno, in 2012, to sign four MOUs and open channels of exchange between the universities’ several schools and departments. The MOUs lead to the launch of dual-degree programs in Guidance and Counseling, Physics, Business Management, Finance, Computer Science and Information Engineering, etc. The two universities have jointly created a shared General Education curriculum framework, which enables teachers to visit the other party to give lectures. They have also actively created the opportunities for graduate and PhD students to take visits to and do research at each other’s research institutes and laboratories. These exchanges contribute to NCUE’s medium-term and long-term international development strategies.
In addition to KSU and CSU, Fresno, NCUE’s Department and of Business Management signed an MOU to launch Bachelor’s and Master’s dual-degree programs with CSU, Sacramento, in 2017. The two parties expressed their interest in expanding their partnership with the Department of English, among others. There have been seven NCUE’s departments establishing dual-degree programs with three universities in the United States. As of 2019, 42 NCUE students have enrolled in the programs. Of which, 23 have obtained a dual degree. NCUE continues to promote dual-degree collaboration with universities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Japan, hoping to expand students’ opportunities to study abroad.
Turning Life Around and Entering the World Stage
NCUE student in Physics, Hsiao-Ching Li, expressed that enrolling in a dual-degree program provided her with the opportunity for international development. She had hoped to study abroad and become a physicist since she was a student at National Taichung Girls Senior High School. However, her grades and English proficiency were not competitive, and her family did not have the financial means to support her abroad. She could not help but temporarily give up her dream. The dual-degree program between NCUE and USC, Fresno, helped fulfill her dream. She was able to attain her degrees in two and a half years. Li said that she took advantage of the opportunities of the program to “Refining her language skills by traveling abroad”. Now, she can speak English fluently and is often mistaken for a girl growing up in the United States.
Hsiao-Ching Li met her mentor, Dr. Gregory Kriehn, at USC, Fresno, who trained her to become an outstanding researcher and became her emotional advisor. Dr. Kriehn taught her the value of life and how to interact with others. In the United States, Li had many more opportunities to realize her dreams than in Taiwan. She was later accepted to join a research team at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). After graduation, she became an admitted PhD student at the University of Colorado, Boulder – one of the top universities in Physics, fostering several Nobel laureates. Several of her Taiwanese classmates were graduates of National Taiwan University and National Tsing Hua University. She asserted that she would never have had such success if it were not for the dual-degree program, which allowed her to travel to the United States to attain her degree, make research contributions, and receive professional training and referral. Li also mentioned that the dual-degree program offered her a different channel for studying abroad rather than constraining her to conventional test-based education and academic progression. She was able to maximize her potential and be appreciated for being different.