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NTNU’s Visit to Australia: Cultivating Academic Exchange, Benchmarking, and Alumni Relations

With the goal of strengthening and advancing academic cooperation and exchange with institutions of higher learning in Australia as well as learning more about administrative benchmarking already underway in the management and planning of university campuses, President Cheng-Chi Wu of National Taiwan Normal University led a seven-member delegation to visit Queensland, Australia on April 3-9, 2023. The delegation included Vice President for International Affairs Yi-De Liu, Vice President for General Affairs Horng-Sheng Mii, University Head Librarian Shyue-Cherng Liaw, College of Liberal Arts Dean Chiou-Lan Chern, Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation Director Daniel Hu, and Graduate Institute of Taiwan History Professor Su-Bing Chang. In a span of seven days, they visited the University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane as well as Griffith University in the Gold Coast.

On April 4, the NTNU delegation visited the University of Queensland, one of the oldest and largest universities in Australia and the best-ranked university in Queensland. The St Lucia campus has the most complete facilities, including the largest library and fully-equipped space for sports and recreation. While NTNU is already a partner of the University of Queensland’s Enabling Partner Scheme (EPS), this visit motivated the University of Queensland to enter into discussion with the College of Liberal Arts at NTNU regarding a 3+2 dual bachelor’s with master's degrees program and with the NTNU Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpretation regarding a 1+1+1 dual master's degree program.

In view of UQ's stellar reputation in digital humanities, a meeting was held with representatives from Digital Cultures and Societies to exchange perspectives on this subject. The NTNU delegates also met with the Dean of the College of Science at UQ to commence discussion regarding a 3+2 dual math, science, or interdisciplinary bachelor’s with master’s degrees program. The two universities ultimately reached a consensus on the following four directions for academic cooperation: (1) signing a university-level memorandum of understanding; (2) continuing to work towards a mutual agreement between the two institutions’ College of Liberal Arts and College of Science; (3) promoting short-term study abroad at NTNU for UQ students under the New Colombo Plan; and (4) building on the Taiwan Ministry of Education's initiative for Bilingual 2030 (short-term overseas study and transnational professional development for teachers), overseen by the College of Liberal Arts Dean Chiou-Lan Chern, to deepen cooperation and exchange between UQ and NTNU.

NTNU is a sister school of Queensland University of Technology, which prioritizes connection between academia and industry, is known for graduates who are high-performing workers, and has an outstanding business school. On the second day of the delegation’s visit, QUT’s Vice President for International Affairs detailed its strategies for internationalization and student recruitment as well as held a training session for administrative benchmarking before the delegates toured the library of QUT’s Gardens Point campus and the student residence of its Kelvin Grove campus.

A special representative from QUT presented the school’s campus resource planning strategy, noting the importance of sustainable campus development and emphasizing the need to consider four elements in campus development planning: adaptability to future climate change, sustainable development, investment efficiency and self-liquidation, and participation by students and faculty.

Accordingly, campus development requires long-term planning; the construction of a new building must factor in economic recovery so that new buildings can be completed or old buildings renovated in a continuous fashion in order to maintain the vitality of structures on campus. In addition, QUT’s library is open 24 hours a day. Besides being accessible at all times, it is fully integrated with relevant university operations to facilitate important services for the entire faculty and student body. For example, situated by the library entrance is the Learning Hub which provides counseling for studying and employment.

The NTNU delegation met with Griffith University on the third day. Griffith University has five campuses across three cities; therefore, it has a great deal of experience in cross-campus governance and possesses state-of-the-art campus facilities as well as an excellent business school. NTNU delegates toured Griffith University’s English Language Institute, library, student residence halls, and other tangible and intangible infrastructures on its Gold Coast campus. Mentors Study Support, located within Griffith University’s library, assists students with every kind of reading and study inquiries. With highly skilled upperclassmen leading this service, students can receive counseling either online or in-person. Students may also conduct group discussions in numerous spaces within the library specifically created for that purpose.

On the fourth day of the Australia visit, which coincided with the Easter holiday, the NTNU delegates met with five alumni whose academic backgrounds were in Music, History, or Graphic Arts and Communications. These graduates are currently employed in various sectors such as banking, technology, and study abroad services and are all doing well in their professions. During the dinner gathering, President Wu shared about the current state and goals of NTNU’s development, especially in cultivating greater internationalization. At the same time, he expressed the hope that the members of Brisbane’s NTNU Alumni Association can forge even more connections and exchanges with each other.