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Incoming President Pan-Chyr Yang Takes up the Post in NTU’s Handover Ceremony

Dr. Pan-Chyr Yang was appointed president of National Taiwan University at a handover ceremony on June 21.

At the helm of NTU, he hopes to guide the university to become a major force behind Taiwan's sustainable development and contribute to enhancing the welfare of humankind.

The handover ceremony of NTU's president took place at 3 p.m., Friday, June 21 of 2013 at NTU's administration building. Huang Pi-Twan, the Political deputy minister of ministry of education, oversaw the ceremony and handed the letter of appointment and the university's seal to President Pan-Chyr Yang.

In her remarks at the ceremony, Vice Minister Huang noted that Dr. Yang has been a renowned physician in Taiwan, but he gave up his fame and prestige in the medical field and pledged to lead the NTU to make further progress and greater achievements, based on the foundation of his predecessor. Meanwhile, President Lee expressed his thanks to the faculty and students for working together with him over the past eight years. With the remarkable achievements made during the period, he wished NTU can keep moving ahead.

After receiving the university seal, President Yang outlined various objectives on what he hopes to achieve academically. He also expressed the wish to make NTU the top educational institution not only in the Greater China area but in the world under the joint efforts of the faculty, students and administrative staff. The goal is for NTU to become a major force behind Taiwan's sustainable development and contribute to enhancing the welfare of humankind.

President Pan-Chyr Yang's address:

Vice Minister Huang, President Lee, Madam Lee, guests of honor and colleagues, good afternoon.

I wish to thank you all for participating in this ceremony.

NTU has made outstanding achievements in both teaching and academic researches under the joint efforts of President Lee, the previous presidents and all our colleagues. It's a great honor for me to take the helm over from President Lee, but with the honor has also come the responsibility.

During the farewell party for him yesterday, President Lee expressed the wish for NTU to move on and create even more miracles in the future. I first felt rather uneasy in my heart at hearing this. But then I thought, building on the fine foundation laid down by President Lee and all other colleagues, it should be an achievable goal.

Taiwan is an island with few natural resources. We count mainly on our superior talents for Taiwan's sustainable development. Talent will be our most important niche when we cope with intense competition from abroad.

National Taiwan University has the most superior faculty and students, and has received immense resources from the society. Hence, the society has various expectations for us. In return, we must make greater progress in academic researches and nourish more talents that can meet various demands in the society. It is our ultimate responsibility, our mission, to educate students who are well-trained in humanities, who have grander vision, and who can interact adequately and compete with other foreign talents.

Over the years, because of the efforts of President Lee and other faculty members and students, we have installed many facilities, both in software and hardware, particularly for teaching. What more can we do in order to nourish more and better talent?

NTU has the very best students. We hope when they depart, they will be regarded as the best graduates who are good and dedicated citizens. Therefore, we should strive to improve their core capability. As an integral part of the globe, our students must be able to maintain a competitive edge internationally. To achieve this, we need to adjust certain curricula so the students can learn to take more initiative and be more aggressive. They must have better language capability so they can communicate with foreigners better, and have more confidence in doing so. We also want them to be well prepared for the external world. When they encounter challenges, they can face up to them and seek solutions to their problems.

Universities care very much about their academic rankings. Equally important may be their rankings in social responsibility. NTU should let our students understand that as they take from the society, they should also give as much to the society in return. As we have received the most resources from the society, I hope our students can build up a sense of responsibility and be ready to help others. After graduation, they should do something for the society, big or small, and together help the society to move on the right track.

In the aspect of curricula, we are fully aware of the importance of being able to interact adequately with the world. But it would be too late if a student learns the language and necessary skills only after he or she goes abroad for post-graduate studies. What we can do is to incorporate into our curricula lectures by world renowned teachers, and encourage the participation of our students. We can also include in our curricula online courses, such as those open courses provided by MIT or Harvard, and encourage students to sit in and listen to the top masters' lectures. I am sure this is the right direction to take, and something we can try to do better.

Equally important is the creative courses that we have already started to promote. When I was an adviser with the Education Ministry during 2002 and 2005, I worked on designing creative courses with other colleagues, some of whom are now here with me in this room. I have long noticed that although many of our students have a high caliber, they fail to show their creativity in the environs of Taiwan. They do much better in this regard after they study or work abroad. Therefore, we can conclude that the students do have the genes for creativity in their DNA. But their creativity has been compromised by our educational system. This is not a good phenomenon. But we indeed can find solutions for this problem. When I was head of the Education Ministry's office of advisers, I worked with many of you in designing curricula and activities to stimulate creativity.

I truly hope that we can do better with our creative courses in all fields within the next few years. Let our students be more creative. We should encourage them to team up to discover problems together and find solutions. Let them know that they in fact have the potential.

Many NTU students will enter the academic fields, but many others will work with private companies. We have long hoped that we can provide our students with the skills that they can put to use when they enter the society or business sector. On the other hand, we can also introduce concepts of private business into our curricula so those students can learn at an early stage and be familiar with business thinking and their ways of handling problems. In this way, our graduates can adapt to their business sector as soon as they start working.

In the area of academic research, we are fully aware of the need to take a good scrutiny of our researches and find out what our advantages are. No doubt our competitive edge lies in Chinese or regional cross-discipline studies. These are the studies to which we should devote ourselves. The studies can be conducted through the many top-notch cross-border research centers we now have. I am sure we have good chances of elevating many of our studies to higher levels so they can be among the most advanced in the world.

Another important area are academic cooperation with foreign institutions. These researches should not be alienated from the society. The results of the research should be able to help our society improve in certain ways. Particularly in studies related to East Asian or Chinese cultures, President Lee has introduced "classes of a hundred masters," and we also have research centers of East Asian civilization and other areas. It is our hope that we can have international programs with unique characteristics. Related courses have already been pushed forward. We hope that people all over the world will come to NTU when they want to have a better understanding of Chinese culture, Chinese way of thinking, economics, politics and even Confucius thoughts.

Like the open courses by Harvard and MIT, the courses we offer ought to be placed online so people all over the world can have access to them. When people want to learn more about Chinese culture, Taiwan or NTU can serve as a platform for the knowledge. Through this channel, they get to learn more about Chinese culture and from where they can move further into the realm of Greater East Asian studies. They shall no longer be denied access to such resourceful sources of learning.

After the committee made its choice on the new president on March 11, the student board came to me and tossed this question at me: “Put yourself in our position, can you please name the three things you might do that would advance students' interests and benefits?” Without second thought, I told them this: It doesn't matter whether I'm an NTU student or one of its staff, I will hope that any NTU student shall be able to learn whatever she or he wants to learn, be happy either at work or during their studies, make a great deal of friends, and be proud of NTU at graduation. I will forever consider myself a member of NTU.

NTU has had its excellent traditions, with ideals and values that we all hold onto. I truly hope that I can work together with the entire faculty and students and staffers. Let's strive to make NTU the top university among the Chinese and in the world, and make NTU a crucial power behind Taiwan's sustainable development that makes contributions to the humankind.

I wish you all health and happiness.

Chinese version