Another panorama of Jishou University

Another panorama of Jishou University
JISHOU, HUNAN — This is not the same panorama I posted earlier, but maybe it’s more clear. I found it on the Jishou government website, dated December 2011. It’s new enough to show the new dorm just below my apartment building. The road passing the campus is Renmin Lu 人民路 (People’s Road). Taking it to the left (north) leads to downtown Jishou, ending at the railway station. Taking it to the right (south) leads to the neighboring sister city of Qianzhou, the up-and-coming “new” Jishou. There are orange groves on the mountains above the campus, and nicely paved and well lit footpaths leading to them. From this angle, you see that my building is just about level with the top of the Premier Building (Building 6, the main classroom building), 16 stories tall. That’s my climb at least twice a day, and doesn’t include the fourth-floor walkup to my flat! The Premier Building is named for Zhu Rongji 朱镕基 (1928 – ), a former premier of the People’s Republic of China and a native of Hunan province. Most of the other white buildings clustered around the track and canteen are dormitories and faculty housing. One girls’ dorm sits left of ...

Are most academic theses merely regurgitating others’ work?

JISHOU, HUNAN — This question is addressed in all seriousness to you academics out there, specifically those with more experience reading bachelor’s and master’s theses in Western countries. I ask because most theses that I’ve been reading here just seem to be retreads of the same basic paper, with little or no original thought in them. Students ask me to read over their theses, for grammar and what not. Maybe in all I’ve read a dozen bachelor’s or master’s thesis, which for the most part are absolute drivel. The assignment seems to be a pro forma exercise toward obtaining their degree. Whether the paper makes any contribution to world knowledge seems not so important. Is this strictly a Chinese thing? Or is it because this university is a third-tier institution? Or is it more widespread? In other words, are most American graduation theses also merely summaries of what others have published? Let me explain further. Our Business English majors have to write a 6,000 to 8,000 word graduation paper in English in their senior year. The college has a list of about 50 suitable topics, such as, the difficulties of the translation of contracts, cross-cultural business negotiation strategies, the translation ...

New panorama of Jishou University

New panorama of Jishou University
JISHOU, HUNAN — Here is a new view of the Jishou University campus, from the new high rise apartment complex near the southwest corner of the campus. I didn’t take this photo, and I need to track down a higher resolution image. The old panorama, which a previous foreign teacher took from the top of my apartment building, is at Wikimedia. Since it was taken in 2007, a new dorm and several new buildings outside the university have gone up.

Recruiting students

ZHANGJIAJIE, HUNAN — This week I learned that colleges in China have the same problem as colleges in the USA. They need to pull students in to stay viable. Students in China choose their majors before entering university. So, each college in a uni (we call them “departments” in the States) would like to maximize the chances of getting sufficient enrollment. It’s not feasible to visit all the high schools in western Hunan on recruiting drives, but relatively easy to visit the preparatory college here in Zhangjiajie to attract some candidates. That’s what ten of us teachers and students from Jishou U did. We did two hours of marketing to about 200 students midway between high school and university: first our vice dean, then me (with student interpreter), then a sophomore from our college, then a Q&A. There were also two Powerpoint presentations, one by Vice Dean Song Jie and the other by sophomore Helen Xiao. Our greatest hits: our graduates’ 98% employment rate, the foreign teacher who can speak a little Chinese, the sophomore girl who has broadcast the weather on municipal TV, the dean who has met President Hu Jintao. To be honest, I was surprised and just ...
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