In recent years, there have been numerous reports about the difficulty of finding employment for college graduates. Especially since the beginning of this year, the news that college students will lose their jobs after graduation has flooded the online media. Liberal arts students, in particular, have a harder time finding suitable jobs than science and engineering graduates.
University of Science and Technology of China is a well-known science and engineering institution at home and abroad, and the mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, electronics, computer and other majors of the University of Science and Technology of China are very famous. However, what is less known is that the University of Science and Technology of China also has a liberal arts major and was founded very early. Compared with science and engineering, the problem of employment difficulties for liberal arts students has been realized by the University of Science and Technology of China many years ago.
So, has the University of Science and Technology of China found any good solutions to the employment problem of liberal arts students? Not to mention, the school really found a secret recipe for employment that is quite characteristic of the University of Science and Technology of China.
University of Science and Technology of China campus
What is this employment secret recipe, the matter should start with those liberal arts majors in the history of the University of Science and Technology of China.
In 1958, the University of Science and Technology of China was established in Beijing. In 1959, the University of Science and Technology of China merged with the China University of Science and Information to establish the Department of Science and Technology Information. The Department of Science and Technology Information is the first liberal arts department at USTC. However, a year later, in 1960, the Department of Science and Technology Information was abolished, and students were merged into physics, chemistry, biology and other majors.
University of Science and Technology of China in the sixties of the last century
In 1969, the University of Science and Technology of China moved to Hefei and began a hard second entrepreneurship. After experiencing a phoenix nirvana, in the late seventies of last century, the University of Science and Technology of China ushered in the spring of science in Hefei.
In this scientific spring, the University of Science and Technology of China has done a lot of things and achieved a lot of achievements. One of the small things that seemed trivial at the time was that the University of Science and Technology of China established the Department of Foreign Languages, and a few years later, it set up a technical English major and began to recruit undergraduates. As a result, the University of Science and Technology of China has once again had a liberal arts major.
The Department of Foreign Languages of USTC originated from the Department of Foreign Languages, and used to be mainly responsible for the foreign language teaching tasks of all undergraduate and graduate students of the university. The reason why the science and technology English major is set up at this time and the undergraduate students are recruited is also to meet the needs of the times.
At that time, China was in the era of opening up to the outside world, and all walks of life urgently needed foreign language professionals. Especially in the field of science and technology, the need for foreign exchanges is particularly urgent. Students trained by traditional English majors are often unfamiliar with professional vocabulary in science and technology, and often do not understand the meaning of the words when translated.
It is in response to the needs of scientific and technological foreign language translation that the University of Science and Technology of China has opened a major in scientific and technological English. The students trained are mainly engaged in foreign language teaching, professional translation of science and technology, editing of foreign language science and technology magazines, etc.
Although the University of Science and Technology of China is a famous science and engineering school, the faculty of the Department of Foreign Languages is not bad, which can be described as a gathering of famous teachers. For example, Professor Gong Li, who served as the head of the Department of Foreign Languages, is a descendant of the Gong family of the "Gong Zhang Li Duan" of the Hefei Wang clan, not only proficient in English, but also has a deep foundation in old learning and writes good poetry. Another example is Professor Zhang Guangqian, known as the soul of the Department of Foreign Languages of the University of Science and Technology of China, who was born in the United States and returned to China with his father, Academician Zhang Zhiyi, in the fifties of the last century. Professor Zhang Guangqian was the first Chinese scholar to translate Peony Pavilion into English. Professor Zhang not only has a high professional level, but also has a wide network of contacts, and once brought more than a dozen graduates of the Department of Foreign Languages to CCTV for internship.
At that time, even students who graduated from universities majoring in foreign languages were in short supply. What's more, an ace institution like the University of Science and Technology of China, the school's golden signboard plus the teachings of famous teachers, there is no need to consider any employment issues.
However, in the 80s, when the employment situation was very good, the leaders and teachers of the University of Science and Technology of China detected the hidden employment worries of foreign language graduates.
This dark cloud was brought by Mr. Run Run Shaw, a famous patriot in Hong Kong. In the 80s of last century, Mr. Run Run Shaw, the representative of Run Run Shaw Charitable Foundation, approached the University of Science and Technology of China and proposed a charitable donation.
According to tradition, this donation will build a teaching building or library named after Mr. Run Run Shaw at the University of Science and Technology of China. However, according to the needs of the school's teaching and scientific research work, the university hopes to use this donation to purchase advanced general information processing equipment, that is, computers. Mr. Run Run Shaw respected the choice of USTC and eventually donated HK$5 million to purchase computing equipment and promote the development of the Department of Information Science and Technology of USTC.
In September 1988, with the donation of Mr. Run Run Shaw, the University of Science and Technology of China also raised 1.2 million yuan to purchase the VAX 8700, a very advanced minicomputer system from the United States (Digital Equipment Corporation) at that time. Based on this, the Information Processing Center of China University of Science and Technology was established to provide professional services such as computing, consulting, cooperative research and information processing both inside and outside the university.
Academician Gu Chaohao, President of USTC, and Mr. Run Run Shaw represented Dr. Ma Lin in the newly built Information Processing Center of USTC
At present, the performance of the VAX 8700 is not as good as that of a smartphone for a few hundred dollars. But at that time, this computer really solved the urgent need for teaching and scientific research of the University of Science and Technology of China. Using this computer, USTC has carried out a lot of forward-looking research work in the fields of information science, software technology, material science, energy science, and biological science. For example, the great achievements made by the University of Science and Technology of China in the field of artificial intelligence were planted on this VAX 8700.
However, it is precisely because of the arrival of this computer that the University of Science and Technology of China has become worried about the future career of foreign language students. When you translate, you rely on memory. And the memory ability of computers is far better than that of humans. At that time, school leaders and teachers, although it was impossible to accurately foresee that with the rapid development of artificial intelligence technology, machine translation would soon replace human translation; But it can still be seen that computers will replace some human jobs in the future, especially translation work.
The college years are the period when people have the strongest learning ability in their lives. The students who can be admitted to the University of Science and Technology of China are all the proud sons of the dragon and phoenix level among people. Such talents, college has only memorized words in recent years, which is really a pity. Schools are responsible for their students' lives; What is taught to students cannot only be taken care of for a few years or more than ten years, but must ensure that students have food for the rest of their lives.
Moreover, many students of USTC will choose to study and work abroad after graduation. When foreign language majors go abroad, what do they rely on to gain a foothold?
The whole of USTC quickly reached a consensus that foreign language students should not only learn foreign languages, but also learn other things. But what exactly is taught so that students will not be abandoned by the times for decades after graduation? Decades from now, who can know the prophecy.
Since the future cannot be predicted, it is better to lay a good foundation for foreign language students. No matter how technology develops in the future, students can keep up with the times.
So, what can you learn to lay a solid foundation? Everyone focused on mathematics, the traditional dominant discipline of the University of Science and Technology of China. Mathematics is the foundation of all subjects, and it is certainly right to learn mathematics well.
As a result, in addition to learning English to memorize words, mathematics has also become a compulsory course for students of the Department of Foreign Languages of the University of Science and Technology of China!
At that time, mathematics courses for foreign language students included calculus, linear algebra, probability theory, and complex functions. Such a move is estimated to be the only one in China at that time! At that time, the mathematics courses offered by the University of Science and Technology of China for non-mathematics students were divided into three levels: A, B and C according to their difficulty. Mathematics in the Department of Foreign Languages is the most difficult A!
At the same time, the school has also introduced other supporting measures, foreign language students, can freely choose courses in the whole school, and choose a science and engineering major as a minor major. Some alumni of the Department of Foreign Languages recall that some of their classmates even took the recognized sinkhole course quantum mechanics.
So, will these measures implemented by USTC for the Department of Foreign Languages, especially the students of the Department of Foreign Languages learn such difficult mathematics courses, help their future?
Group photo of alumni of the Department of Foreign Languages of USTC
Since 2006, the Department of Foreign Languages of USTC has stopped admitting undergraduates. The Department of Foreign Languages of USTC has enrolled more than 20 sessions and trained 300 or 400 students. So how are these graduates doing now?
These graduates of the Department of Foreign Languages of USTC are scattered in all corners of the world like stars. According to alumni feedback, some of them continue to work in their professional directions, teaching English, working as translators, and working as diplomats. But more people have moved to a new track, engaged in marketing, finance, IT, investment, and entrepreneurs, pharmaceuticals, wine, and clothes. The largest crossover should be an alumnus of the class of 01, who later went to Princeton University in the United States to become a history teacher.
It was the solid foundation laid by the University of Science and Technology that gave them cross-border capabilities.
Wen Xin, Assistant Professor of East Asian and History at Princeton University, and alumnus of the Department of Foreign Languages of USTC of China Class 01