National Tsing Hua University’s Center for General Education（CGE, NTHU）traces its origins to the Common Courses program, which before 1980 was no more than a group of loosely organized academic seminars. In 1985, the Common Courses became an administrative unit on equal standing with academic departments; and after nearly a decade of development, it gradually expanded to include various areas of the University’s general education. Subsequently, in 1989, the University renamed it “Center for General Education”, and it became an administrative unit charged with planning and implementing the general education curriculum. This restructuring was the first of its type in Taiwan. Today, the University’s Center for General Education has been in existence for more than twenty years.
To further advance the University’s general education, the Center enacted a core curriculum in 2001. After four years (2002 to 2005) of planning and one year of experimental implementation, the intermediate objective of establishing a seven-dimension core curriculum was completed. In 2006, this core curriculum was formally instituted. There were a number of tertiary educational institutions followed the University’s lead at the time, marking the University’s pioneering approach to general education in Taiwan.
General education is meant to span ancient wisdom and modern discoveries, bringing knowledge of both nature and civilization to students, and to cultivate them to become responsible citizens. The mission of the Center is to live up to the University’s motto, “To strive for self-discipline constantly, to embrace social responsibilities.” The Center has three central aims:
1. To promote the spirit of Tsing Hua: taking care of both tradition and modern, covering the scholarship from humanities to hard sciences, and encouraging innovative explorations in these fields.
2. To implement the educational ideal of student-centered education: developing courses to nurture students with multiple skills.
3. To face global competition: promoting dialogues between globalization and local cultures, and advancing the understanding of multiculturalism, social care, and civil responsibility.
In keeping up with the aims described above, the Center has designated six dimensions of competence that are to be actualized by the general education curriculum. The six dimensions of competence are: 1. Self-awareness, expressions & communication; 2. Logical reasoning & critical thinking; 3. Scientific thinking & reflection; 4. Aesthetic & humanistic literacy; 5. Information technology & media literacy; 6. Diverse views & social practices.
The Center continues to contribute to general education with an operational focus on the following:
- Implementing the regulation “On the Essential Elements of the General Education Curriculum in the Field of Natural Sciences to be Taught in the Colleges of the National Tsing Hua University,” the Center will continue to invite more professors from departments of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering to open general education courses for students from social sciences and humanities.
- The Center will develop courses with an emphasis on action-oriented learning and problem solving skills, which help students to grow in an era when both global competition and cooperation are vital. The Center also develops programs in artistic creativity and psychological counseling with a professional orientation.
- The Center will utilize a variety of resources, such as the Tsing Hua Residential College, the Arts Studio, campus arts and culture lecture series, and the international volunteer program to enhance the participation of faulty members outside the Center. It is going to broaden students horizons and unleash their potentials.
- The Center will coordinate with the University System of Taiwan（UST）to promote inter-institutional distance learning initiatives in general education.
- General education courses in English will be offered to meet the educational needs of international students.