Vice Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Professor Paul Johnson, visited our college on 23rd May, 2013 to deliver a lecture to our students entitled, “Globalization, Competition and University Education”.
Professor Johnson received his doctorate from Oxford University in 1982. He was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Historical Society in 1987, and to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2001. He was Deputy Director of the London School of Economics before moving to Australia, and was Vice-Chancellor of La Trobe University in Victoria before his current appointment as Vice-Chancellor of UWA in Perth.
Before his speech, Professor Johnson was informally welcomed in the Cuiying Honors College Conference Room by students who had formerly visited UWA. With Professor Johnson, were also UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Watt and UWA Assistant Principal Ms. Eva Chye.
After an opening introductory speech by our own college executive dean, Professor Long, Professor Johnson began by introducing us to the city of Perth, and the University of Western Australia. He introduced their “comparative advantages” in the areas of life sciences, medicine, dry-land agriculture, oceanography and radiography. He ended by mentioning the global challenges that UWA faces and the solutions that they have found to those challenges, such as the global partnerships they had established, especially with China. His speech was met with warm applause and Professor Long then handed the floor to the students for questions.
Second-year Biology Student Liu Mengzhu
Second-year Physicist Chen Ziheng
Professor Johnson and President Zhou jointly responded to the questions raised, which covered educational policy, opportunities for scholarships and the qualities needed to be a leader in this global age. Third year Chemistry student, Yu Huangchao, who had just arrived back from studying in Australia at Monash University last semester, asked Prof. Johnson why the study fees in UWA are so high for international students and if the Australian government gives any scholarships to Chinese students. In reply Professor Johnson, with his background in economics, gave a very complete answer, citing the American education system as a model of higher education with a broad spectrum of pricing and choice. He explained the value of a university education in terms of future earning potential, the Australian government’s financial support and subsidizing of Australian education for Australian taxpayers, and other factors in the costs of a university education.
Finally, Professor Zhou drew the proceedings to a close. Afterwards, Professor Johnson wrote enthusiastically in the college guest book, welcoming more top-notch students from our college to visit the University of Western Australia.
Recent cooperation between Lanzhou University and the University of Western Australia enjoys a long history and satisfying achievements, such as the successful cooperation between Professor Siddique’s and Professor Li’s teams. In March 2011, President Zhou led a delegation to visit UWA for furthering our cooperation. Following that last August, Cuiying Honors College sent 20 students to UWA for English language training. This July, we will again send several more students to UWA. The visit of Professor Johnson to our college was the first time that a foreign VIP has visited our college.
As Lanzhou University’s implementation of China’s National Top-notch Undergraduate Training Program, Cuiying Honors College focuses more on international cooperation with overseas outstanding universities such as UWA. For example, this year 70% of Cuiying students will study abroad for up to a year in Australia, the UK, Canada and the USA. Our college provides a platform for the top students with the best faculty and facilities to generate creative ideas and critical thinking. We believe that education is not only about learning certain knowledge and getting a degree, but also about fostering young minds to build great character and profound vision in the face of global challenges.
Professor Johnson’s visit was not only a great opportunity for our students to hear about the University of Western Australia, but also the first time that our university’s president, President Zhou, who is also our college dean, has had the opportunity to address our students.