A lesson concerning hundreds of thousands of RMB; trial lecture before entry¡ªSEM is serious about the fundamental position of undergraduate education

The year of 2015 witnessed the first annual examination of employment term since School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University(SEM, BJTU) had implemented the ¡°Course A&B ¡± engagement system as one of the national pilot college. In this examination, one associate professor of ¡°Course A¡±, meeting all the other requirements, has missed a salary increase for ¡°Course B¡± associate professors of 400,000 RMB for lacking 32 class hours in undergraduate teaching. Coincidentally, in the second year¡¯s SEM engagement examination, a ¡°Course A¡± professor has also missed a ¡°Course B¡± increase of 600,000 RMB because of similar conditions.

 

An undergraduate lesson concerning hundreds of thousands of RMB seems surprising, while in SEM, BJTU, we insist on the fundamental position of undergraduate education, and that is no joking. SEM is serious about it.

A rule that endure ages

 

For years, SEM, BJTU has been practicing the lecture trial: when there is recruitment, our department organizes an audition inspecting the newcomer¡¯s teaching skill, and that is the threshold for the rest considerations. Even now in a time when scientific researches are commonly given priority to talent introduction, we never break our employing rule.

 

In this regard, Zhang Li, the associate dean of SEM in charge of undergraduate teaching, points out that the root of universities is cultivating well-rounded individuals and teacher's first responsibility is to teach and educate people. If a teacher cannot even teach well, then he cannot be entitled to be a qualified teacher, and we can hardly to expect some academic achievements from him.

 

 

The lecture trial is only the first pass for new teachers. In accordance with the provisions, a beginner must acquire the lecturer qualifications in order to independently set up an undergraduate lesson. And to be qualified, he must accomplish the assistant task of at least 2 complete major lessons in the curriculum, and once again jointly audited by the school supervisor and school experts. If he cannot pass the trial, he has to continue to be a teaching assistant under the condition that merely half the number of hours account for the workload to finish the teaching assessment indicators, and that is not included in the lesson payment system.

 

It not easy even for a teaching assistant. SEM teaching department does check the attendance through the whole course. Once a teaching assistant is absent without reasonable cause, the workload again halves; absent twice, the assistant eligibility is canceled, and all the steps have to be restarted again.

 

In addition to teaching hours, we quantify 12 indicators of textbooks, curriculum, teaching reform, student guidance and other relevant training contents, and all the above is listed in the  engagement assessment. A teacher is qualified only when he meets the corresponding indicators. Such standard is rare among domestic institutions.

 

Of course, strict requirements are just one side of our administration. According to Gao Guilian, director of SEM teaching department, over the years, our school has been enthusiastically helping young teachers to improve their teaching ability by organizing them to watch open class lectured by outstanding teachers, hiring pedagogy facilitators to provide guidance, hosting basic skills contests among and taking many other measures. "To administrate and to help are both for assisting young teachers¡¯ individual perfection as well as the guarantee that the standard of SEM¡¯s undergraduate education maintain at high level.

 

A frontier that allows no retreat

 

At the end of each year, SEM, BJTU holds the "Award for Outstanding Teachers" selection among our staff, commending those who are excellent in teaching from the school level. At the end of 2016, our teaching department, while reviewing the recommended candidates from SEM academic departments, found that one of the listed teacher has just been complained by a student from his class. To respect the department¡¯s suggestion, keeping this teacher who lectures the yearly largest amount of class hours in his department, or to replace him by another candidate: that becomes the question. Our relevant leaders heard about the matter, and he immediately decided to replace him in the first time before a throughout investigation. "The class is our bottom line, we could not afford even a slightest slip." So he said.

 

It is apparent that SEM is utterly strict about the management of the class. For instance, when a teacher needs to suspend a lecture or adjust the schedule, he must get the approval from the associate dean in charge of teaching; and if there is a serious teaching accident, the lecturer qualification of the person concerned will be terminated. In order to grasp the classroom condition in time, on the basis of university supervision, SEM also has set up a special supervision system of school level, arranging our experts to attend the class.

 

On this subject, Bian Wenliang, associate professor of SEM logistics department, has a particularly impressive experience. "That was shortly after I taking this job, and I was lecturing to my students, when an respected professor who had retired for many years came in. I felt very nervous, and also more of an incentive sense. Even for a prominent scholar like him would pay exhaustive attention to our classroom, how could I dare to fool around?

 

Actually, it is a consistent tradition of SEM that importance figures attach their concentration on the class. As to our current teaching team, for example, Professor Rong Chaohe, the National Reputed Teacher and meanwhile a leading authority in China¡¯s transportation economics,  through decades has always been giving priority to the class and by now over threescore he still delivers his lectures to undergraduates. Professor Ma Zhong, the Beijing Reputed Teacher, accomplishes an annual average of more than 400 class hours of different teaching workload, and his compelling expressions on class has been pictured into online stickers, together with his provoking remarks has been collected into ¡°Quotations of Ma Zhong¡±, enjoying pervasive popularity among successive students. And Professor Liu Yisheng, the University Reputed Teacher, retaining a profound influence in the field of engineering management, through the years has been conscientious on our teaching frontier, and his rigorous scholarship has won naturally credits from students and the teachers.

 

It is such a group of reputed teachers and backbone figures, with their faith in the classroom, that influences and leads our whole teaching team to dedicate themselves into the class, corporately guarding the platform before students, the frontier of class.

 

An trust that can never be failed

 

Beijing Railway Management Training Institute, the predecessor of BJTU, proclaimed the first institution of higher education cultivating management talents in the history of China, has been endowed with a transport-featured spirit and mission of serving the country and revitalizing the nation. Since the very establishment of the university, our business education has provided a large number of informed intellectuals and management elites, playing a salient role in the development of China¡¯s modern education for business.

 

 

 

¡°As a member of the ¡®National Team¡¯ among business schools, we are enrolling the top 5%, or even 3% of students across the country. Knowing the parents are entrusting such outstanding children to us, if we fail to give them a sound education, that would be really a shame.¡± Says Zhang Li.

 

For an active exploration of more efficient training system for those top innovative talents, since 2015, SEM has started selecting the best of best freshmen to form ¡°Siyuan Class" for cultivating top talents. In this whole course of tutorial system, every student would have a professor as a his academic tutor. 100% of the students can get the chance to go abroad for study and exchange and they can make independent decision on the choosing of major, just based on their interests and ambition.... Due to various costumed policies, "Siyuan Class" is dubbed by some teachers and students as the "Whampoa Military Academy" of business schools.

 

While such saying is not entirely an overstatement. Just take the exit mechanism for example, once a student fails one subject, he has to quit the class. One can imagine how strict the management of our ¡°Syuan Class¡± is. In 2015, SEM has elaborately selected 30 students out of approximately 200 applicants. And three semesters after, there are already 10 people left for failing subjects and 3 students quit of their own accord: the elimination ratio has nearly reached 50%.

 

In BJTU, when it is time for students to apply changing their major on campus, among them there would be a prevailing saying, ¡°if you love someone, sent him to SEM; and if you hate someone, sent him to SEM¡±. Our school is alleged with the toughest attendance check and off-class academic administration. Every year, there are more than one hundred students disqualified from exams, and the main reasons usually involves absence on class, nonfulfillment of homework, absence for monthly test and so on.

 

However, if you are studious enough and tenacious enough, then SEM is definitely a paradise for dreamers like you. Our training program for undergraduates, invariably adhere to the "student-centered" orientation, is designed on the basement of advanced OBE concepts and AOL system. Our first-rate teaching team includes members of Chinese Academy of Engineering as well as Discipline Review Group of State Council, National Reputed Teachers, leading figures of "Ten Thousand Talents Plan", constructing a series of national and provincial leveled textbooks, courses, and pilot centers. Our "Tutor Program for Undergraduates¡¯ Research", participated by more than one hundred professors and associate professors, has already led 136 students into our research training platform as early as in 2016. And during that year, the accumulative number of SEM students who have won awards in ranks of subject contests has reached beyond 600, and among these awards 12 are at national level. The year also has witnessed the establishment of as many as 55 cooperative projects between SEM and more than 30 world-renowned institutions. In the past five years, nearly 600 students have taken part in our international exchange programs.

 

The market is the best touchstone. In recent years, the employment rate of SEM, BJTU graduates has remained higher than 98.6%. The average rate for students who pursue advanced study is higher than 50%, and the rate of those who go abroad for further learning is as high as 25%. A survey of market supply and demand and alumni development, a research conducted by the employment department of our school, shows that the alumni interviewees¡¯ satisfaction and basic satisfaction rate are above 90%, and our university is ranked top 5 among the best and excellent universities to financial enterprises in Beijing area. These gorgeous data is undoubtedly the greatest praise and honor for our effort in the continuous emphasis on the fundamental position of undergraduate teaching and the commitment to cultivate top innovative talents. Whatsmore, the achievement also become the solid ballast for us to sail forward to the construction goal of "Double First-class".