Interview with Prof. Chia-Lin Chang – National Chung Hsing University

25.06.2021 von

During the „Study in Europe Days“ on May 12, 2021, at the National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) in Taichung, Claudia Finner, Head of the TU Darmstadt Asia Offices, had the chance to talk to Professor Chia-Lin Chang, Vice-President for International Affairs at NCHU.

Claudia Finner: National Chung Hsing University and TU Darmstadt have been partners since 2015. Last year, our MoU was extended. I learned from your colleagues and students, that there are many cooperation possibilities, beyond student exchange. Could you give us an overview of the research fields of NCHU and tell us which fields you are strong in?

Chia-Lin Chang: NCHU is regarded as one of central Taiwan’s top universities. It has ten colleges: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Science, Life Sciences, Liberal Arts, Law and Politics, Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Veterinary Medicine, Management and International College of Innovation and Industry Liaison.

Since its founding, NCHU has specialized in agriculture, forestry and life sciences. A number of our facilities in these departments are outstanding in Taiwan; for example the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Furthermore, research facilities belonging to the university can not only be found on the Main Campus, but throughout Taiwan, including two farms and four forest stations.

For students from partner universities, we offered two kinds of exchange programs:

One is what we call the “normal” exchange program: PAX (Program for Academic Exchange). Students need to choose a host department; then, they can choose courses from all ten colleges. They are required to take at least two courses with one of which must be located in the host department/ institute/ college.

The other exchange program is the Lab Exchange.

Students need to choose a specific lab in our institution. Then, they mainly do research with a host professor. They could also take courses, if the hosting professors recommends it.

Claudia Finner: I also learned that you are interested in organizing joint workshops with your partner universities. Could you explain how these workshops could be organized, who would participate and which topics are relevant for NCHU?

Chia-Lin Chang: Since the situation of Covid-19 was unpredictable, our departments and intuitions organized a number of virtual seminars, forums and workshops with our partner universities or intuitions.

For example, our International Agriculture Center held a series of online lectures with Texas A&M University. The i-Center for Advanced Science and Technology held the Joint Symposium with partner universities, such as University of California in San Diego (UCSD) and RIKEN in Japan.

Besides workshops, we are also interested in inviting professors to teach short-term courses at NCHU. The College of Engineering usually invites professors from partner universities to provide short-term courses at the Summer School for NCHU students. In that context, professors have the chance to interact with Taiwanese students; but they can also meet Taiwanese colleagues in related fields. Due to Covid-19, many exchanges were stopped or postponed. Once the situation of COVID-19 becomes stable, we will provide further information on these kinds of programs.

Claudia Finner: Could you also give us an overview of your Summer School?

Chia-Lin Chang: Our Colleges, research centers and departments regularly hold short-term programs during the summer term. International students can take courses and also gain cultural experiences in Taiwan. Please refer to the following information of summer program 2021.

1. Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences: Imagining Nature in the Anthropocene (2021)

2. College of Law and Politics: Summer Program for Global Sustainable Governance (2021) (wird in neuem Tab geöffnet)

3. Usually, the College of Engineering also provides summer programs. Due to Covid-19, they might skip the programs in 2021. Once the situation of COVID-19 becomes stable, we will provide further information.

Claudia Finner: For incoming exchange students, which English modules are most popular? Can international students also learn Chinese?

Chia-Lin Chang: Exchange students have two ways to take Chinese Courses.

1. Credited Chinese Courses: Students can choose “Practical Chinese I“, “Practical Chinese II“ or “Practical Chinese III“. The levels vary each semester, but students can always get academic credits.

2. Fee-Paying Chinese Courses: If students would like to take intensive Chinese Courses, they can register for the courses at the Language Center. Students would need to pay for those courses and will not receive academic credits.

NCHU offers five English taught programs. The three most popular programs for exchange students are the following:

1. International Bachelor Program of Agribusiness (IBPA)

2. International Master Program of Agriculture

3. Tricontinental Master Program in Global Studies(Only available in Spring Semester.)

Claudia Finner: Thank you very much for your time and all this information. I believe it will give our professors, faculty and students a deeper insight into NCHU and help to intensify our cooperation.

Chia-Lin Chang: Thank you very much for visiting NCHU and participating in the European Education Fair.