As a year of great change and improvement draws to a close, it is time to anticipate the dawning of a new year where further amelioration and, ultimately, perfection can be striven for.
Reflecting on this happy and peaceful holiday season, we would like, on behalf of Tongji University, to extend our New Year's greetings to all our teachers and students (both current and retired); to our alumni at home and abroad; to all those who care about and support the development of Tongji University; and to all friends in China and overseas.
Over the past year, we have promoted Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; advanced the spirit of the 19th National Congress of CPC and of the Second, Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 19th National Congress; pursued the socialist direction in running the University and advocated the fundamental role of morality education. We also promoted the overarching principle of “remaining true to our original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in our mind”, organized a series of activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, and made progress in strengthening the development of a world-class university with Chinese characteristics.
Tongji University has traditionally been compared to a sailing boat, onboard which all members of the University navigate hard towards the same goal. We have ridden the mighty wind of the new era, and sailed thousands of miles, with full sail ahead to the future!
In the previous year, we have made great efforts to build up a community of “demonstration for the improvement of CPC”, and a new model of “three Ps in the nurturing of talent”. Our Marxist College was approved as a key national college, and the University was selected as a pioneering “steering university” in conducting ideological and moral education reform among universities in Shanghai. Various reform initiatives were realized with fruitful results. We passed the mid-term assessment for the “Double First-class” advancement; and our successful application for the Shanghai peak discipline of “Intelligent Science and Technology” will now empower our traditional disciplines through the development of artificial intelligence. The overall ranking of the University climbed steadily in various types of university rankings. In the QS World University Rankings in 2020, the University was the 9th among universities in China’s mainland, and the 1st in Art & Design among universities in Asia. In Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019, our Civil Engineering retained its 1st place among universities in the world for the third consecutive year.
To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society; as such moral education should be imbedded in the impartment of knowledge. In the past year, we promoted the new pilot model of “three Ps in the nurturing of talent ” can balance intellectual, moral and physical development. Eight freshmen halls made their debut at the Freshmen College where students were recruited and taught broad subject areas. A freshmen supervision system has been practiced by which both the academic college and the Freshmen College provide supervision for both study and life skills to the new recruits. An interdisciplinary and integrated undergraduate-graduate model has been created for the nurturing of talent. A group of intelligent classrooms was equipped to further improve teaching quality. Tongji students won a large number of awards in science and technology competitions, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as in sports in 2019 and hundreds of students continued to work as volunteers for the China International Import Expo.
In construction, a strong foundation supports the raising of formidable pillars. The past year witnessed tremendous achievements in the team building of the University. Professors LV Xilin and XU Zuxin were elected as members of the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Professor LOU Yongqi was elected a fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences; Professor Pol D. Spanos, a chair professor of Tongji, was elected an international member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and our alumni ZHAO Yangsheng, MA Jun and ZHANG Xigang were elected members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences or the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Academician ZHENG Shiling won the title of “the Most Charismatic Teacher” in China, one of ten in the country; Academician CHANG Qing won the title of “National Outstanding Teacher”; and the Space Mapping and Remote Sensing for Planetary Exploration Research Team won the title of “National Outstanding Advanced Team in Education”. Meanwhile, Mr. LI Rui was awarded the title of “the Most Appealing Student Tutor” in China, one of ten in the country; Professor LIU Zhongmin won the “Science and Technology Progress Award” funded by the Ho Leung Ho Lee Foundation. Eight scholars were honored as distinguished professors and Young Scholars on the Changjiang Scholars Program of China. In addition, five teachers received funding from the National Natural Science Foundation for Outstanding Young Scientists; twelve teachers from the Outstanding Young Scientists Fund, both reaching a record high. A total of 33 teachers were in the List of China’s Most Cited Scholars 2018, ranking 8th in the country.
When action is guided by knowledge, it is all-embracing and complete. In the past year, Tongji teachers and students made remarkable achievements in research in both addressing major national needs and exploring issues of international importance. Here at Tongji, we successfully applied for 491 projects funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China, and 16 projects from the national major research and development program. Meanwhile, 7 research results won the National Science and Technology Awards 2018, taking the lead among universities in China. We successfully applied for five major projects funded by the National Social Science Fund and major key breakthrough projects funded by the Ministry of Education, the best record in history. The total amount secured from the humanities project fund exceeded CYNY100 million, a great progress for humanities in Tongji. The construction of the China National Seafloor Scientific Observatory, a major national science infrastructure project headed by Tongji University, was initiated and the Shanghai Research Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems was making steady progress. In addition, we established the National Resource Bank for Stem Cell Translation, the China Intelligent Urban Planning Co-Creation Center for Urban Agglomeration in the Yangtze River Delta, and the Shanghai Clinical Medicine Research Center for Infectious Diseases (Tuberculosis). Tongji teachers and students continued our tradition of “writing academic papers on our motherland” by providing intellectual support for the Xiong’an New Area, Beijing Daxing Airport, the Integrated Yangtze River Delta Development, obstacle detection and avoidance in navigation for the first soft landing on the dark side of the moon by Chang'e-4, and the rural revitalization of China.
When people work together to pursue their ambitions in different parts of the world, a neighborly kinship prevails. In the past year, the University forged its international partnerships with first-class universities and academic institutions throughout the world while advancing its strategic agenda for international exchange and cooperation, which brought about increasing international academic influence. Professor LI Rongxing was elected a member of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences; and Professor YOU Jianxin a member of the International Academy for Quality. Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former prime minister of France, and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) and the Acting Director-General of UNON (the United Nations Office at Nairobi), and other government and inter-governmental officials visited Tongji, raising its international profile and reputation. The Sino-German Institute completed its transformation successfully, and four new Sino-German research centers were set up, embodying the University’s new phase of cooperation with Germany. In addition, we saw a significant improvement in the quality of international teachers. Professor Bernard Debre, an advisory professor of Tongji, won a National Friendship Award; and Professor Polichronis-Thomas Spanos was awarded a medal for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Increasing numbers of students were registered on interregional/international exchange programs, among which the number of undergraduate and graduate students reached 1,536 and 2,500 respectively.
In 2019, the Tongji-Yangpu Basic Education Group was established and low-rent public housing and apartments for talented young teachers were put in place. More faculty and other staff had better health checks, with first-class hospitals affiliated to Tongji. They also enjoyed higher quality service for their paid holidays for rest or recuperation. The activity center for faculty and staff was opened at Jiading Campus; and the activity center for senior faculty and other staff was renovated at Tongji Village. As a result of such socially responsible initiatives encompassing schooling of children, housing, health care, and rest and recuperation, members of Tongji University felt a greater sense of ownership and enjoyed a happier life.
All great achievements are the result of strenuous efforts, and all great things result from a continuation between the past and the future. In the face of new challenges, we cannot feel complacent because of our partial victory; we cannot slow down because of our previous achievements; and we cannot retreat because of difficulties. At such a new historic starting point, Tongji people will keep to being committed to become true pillars of the country. We will remain true to our initial aspiration, keep our mission firmly in mind, and continue to work hard together for a brighter future.
We wish our motherland prosperity, and the people of our country happiness! We wish all members of Tongji University a very happy New Year to be filled with health, happiness and good luck!
Secretary of CPC Tongji University Committee
President of Tongji University
The “three Ps in the nurturing of talent” refers to “all people, faculty, family, society and students included, participate in the nurturing of talent from different perspectives”, an initiative advocated by the central government for the purpose of educating the whole person at the university in late 2018.
Members of both Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering are better known as academicians in China, which represent the highest level of scholarship in academia, hence the title of academician, as in the case of Academician ZHENG.