To cultivate bilingual talents, NSYSU has recently established the Center for EMI (English Medium Instruction) Teaching Excellence at Si Wan College and the EMI General Education Honors Program to enhance knowledge of cross-disciplinary issues and research methods of the students of the first to third year, improve their English proficiency in reading, writing, science, analysis, critical thinking and communication, and give them opportunities to practice the language, broaden their horizons, gain practical experience before stepping into work life, and establish international networking to see the world from NSYSU.
On August 6, 2021, the newly established Center for EMI (English Medium Instruction) Teaching Excellence at Si Wan College celebrated its unveiling ceremony. The University’s faculty, students, and foreign government officials attended the ceremony in person and online.
In March this year, the Ministry of Education announced the establishment of the first Bilingual Education and Training Base in Taiwan at NSYSU. University President Ying-Yao Cheng pointed out that NSYSU has been uninterruptedly dedicated to responding to the trend of globalization and the Bilingual Nation Policy. He said that the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence is under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Virginia Shen, Professor and Associate Dean of Si Wan College, a senior language professional with extensive teaching and administrative experiences in the U.S. Dr. Shen emphasized that the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence incorporated the structure and functions of the former Center of English Teaching to review and develop an effective freshman English program to strengthen students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in line with CEFR (Common European Framework Reference for Languages) standards, a global language assessment framework. In addition, the Center is also responsible for EMI instruction enhancement planning, EMI curriculum development, and promotion of ESP (English for Special Purposes) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes) courses to systematically develop students’ English proficiency and equip them with skills needed to transition to EMI courses.
Dr. Shen said that the EMI General Education Honors Program, which is a rich, interdisciplinary general education curriculum comprised of 16 credit hours specially designed for students from all-English degree programs (currently 3 departments – Electrical Engineering, Mechanical and Electro-Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry) and students (including transferred students) from other colleges with intermediate or higher English proficiency who aim for rigorous academic preparation and fulfilling curriculum. In the program students are introduced to major themes, issues, and methods of inquiry across disciplines through which students develop and sharpen their reading, writing, scientific, analytical, critical thinking, and communication skills. The Honors Colloquia will be organized each semester for Honors students to share research and learning outcomes, and enhance their presentation skills. The Honors Service-learning provides students with opportunities to put English communication skills into practice, develop global views, and establish professional network as well as skills for future career.
The inauguration ceremony was witnessed by NSYSU President Ying-Yao Cheng, Vice President for International Affairs Chih-Wen Kuo, Vice President for Academic Affairs Po-Chiao Lin, Dean of Si Wan College Hong-Zen Wang, Associate Dean Shiau-Yun Lu, Director Kai-yang Lo, and Director I-liang Wang. The event was also attended online by former Dean of Si Wan College Dun-Hou Tsai, Director Jeng-Kuan Jian, faculty and students, as well as foreign government officials who were invited as guest speakers at the International Corner English Lecture Series at Si Wan College in the past academic year: Nick Bayly, Executive Director of Australian Office in Taipei; Martin Torres, Head of Mexican Trade Services, Documentation and Cultural Office; Julius Tsai, Public Affairs Officer of the American Institute in Taiwan – Kaohsiung Branch Office, and Dr. Evelyne Delgado-Norris of Chicago State University, Keynote Speaker at the upcoming International Academic Forum on Bilingual Education in Taiwan to be co-sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence on September 29. Participating officials of the Kaohsiung City Government included Deputy Director-General Chi-Liang Yen of Youth Bureau and Senior Specialist Jin-Wen Liu of Education Bureau. The Ceremony was hosted by Assistant Professor Koching Chao from Si Wan College.
The International Salon, established in spring 2020 under the coordination of Assistant Professor Koching Chao, has become a well-attended platform for students to enhance their English communication skills. International Salon offers an array of activities including: English Table, International Corner English Lecture Series, Olympic Board Games, holiday celebrations, career workshops for students to practice language skills, build social network, and acquire tips for career preparation. International Salon has also made international exchange a part of campus life, a fresh departure from the exam-oriented approach to learning English in a real life context. During the second semester of the academic year 2020-2021, regular English Table thematic discussion sessions held from Monday to Thursday from 12:00 to 13:00 led by international students from Colombia, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Vietnam, and the U.S. were integrated into four all-English courses for students to further reflect and deliberate on a variety of themes discussed in class. English Table combines innovative teaching methods with a thematic resource platform to foster a bilingual learning environment that not only promotes courses taught fully in English, but also provides Taiwanese and international students with a platform for language and cultural exchange. In the new semester, English Table will continue to hold sessions four times a week from 12:00-13:00 on the 10th floor of the Library. These one-hour events will continue to serve as exchange platform for students to discuss a great variety of themes ranging from everyday topics to global pressing issues. All students are invited to participate in this student-centered learning and social networking program.
Another resource of the Center is the English Plaza, a self-learning salon in the L Dormitory. With a brand new remodeled space and administrative system, English Plaza will continue to make language learning tools available and provide individual tutoring service and test-related consultation and language practice in small groups. Online service consultation for English standardized test is also available. Furthermore, to assess students’ learning outcomes, the Center for EMI Teaching Excellence will sponsor a campus-wide speaking contest for students to present their hometowns using media creatively. Foreign government officials and community representatives will be invited to serve as judges. In the second semester, the Center will coordinate an English writing contest for different language proficiency levels.