2023 USR University Citizenship Survey - NCKU Tops the List: Outstanding Results in Environmental Sustainability and Commitment
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In the 2023 USR University Citizenship Survey, NCKU topped the list of large public universities (over 6,000 students). "In recent years, USR has become a core element in the promotion and development of NCKU's university affairs, with SDGs as the main focus to develop the social awareness and practice of all students and faculty, and this has also become a key contributor to the sustainable development of the university and society," said NCKU President Meng-Ru Shen, "In fact, since the time of former President Huey-Jen Su , social influence has been a key element of NCKU's governance, and the energy of sustainability will only become more and more eye-catching. The energy of sustainability will only become more and more eye-catching.
This year's "USR University Citizenship" survey was sent to 145 universities, and 116 schools responded to the survey. The survey includes four major components: environmental sustainability, social engagement, university governance, and teaching commitment, making it the most complete and weighty report card on university civic responsibility in Taiwan.
According to a report in Common Wealth Magazine, in addition to its outstanding performance in carbon reduction, the social involvement and conservation efforts of NCKU should not be underestimated. With a history of more than 20 years, NCKU's Cetacean Rescue Team is the most important cetacean rescue team in southern Taiwan and a symbol of the university's commitment to biodiversity. It is also a symbol of NCKU's efforts to protect biodiversity. The university's active performance in the USR is based on the cetacean rescue team's ability to make use of the department's characteristics and work with the local environment and community.
According to an analysis of the report, NCKU has returned to the top spot in the public category of the "USR University Citizenship Survey" this year after winning it in 2019. The reason for this is that in addition to topping the list in environmental sustainability and commitment to teaching, NCKU has also done well in social engagement. In the latest edition of the MOE's USR program released in late April, NCKU received four grants.
This year, four projects designed by NCKU have been approved by the Ministry of Education under the third phase (112-113) of the USR program. The projects were "Together 2026: Mutual Mainstreaming, Mutual Benefit, and Reinvention of the Foundation" (International Cooperation in Sustainable Development), conducted by Professor Yuk-Ying Tung of the Institute of Education; "400 Years of Tainan: From theDao-feng Inland Sea to the Upgrading of Traditional Industries in the 東原山林溪北: Revitalization and Rebirth" (Sustainable Development with Special Characteristics), conducted by Professor Tzen-Yuh Chiang of the Department of Life Sciences; The "Collaboration of Badlands 2.0: H.E.A.R.T. Linking Learning, Doing, and Feeling Together in the Heart of the Shallow Mountains" (deep cultivation with university characteristics), conducted by Associate Professor Hsiu-Tzu Chang, Department of Urban Planning ; and the project "The Breeze under the Chang Duan Shu: The Construction of Environmental Healing Sites" (University Characteristic Emerging Type), conducted by ProfessorHeng Zhang of the Department of Architecture.
In implementing the MOE's USR program, NCKU covers five social practice themes, including "Knowledge and Technology Translation," "Cultural Heritage Reinvention," "Social Sustainability Think Tank," "New Talents for Intergeneration," and "Inclusive and Friendly Environment. These five themes are the core spirit of the USR program at NCKU, and propose solutions to the challenges faced by Taiwan society, and are based on a deep understanding of the characteristics of industries and life in Southern Taiwan, and the sustainable development of harmonious coexistence with the region.
President Meng-Ru Shen said that NCKU is taking the lead in education to deepen the width of its contribution to society, with the cultivation of talents and the creation of knowledge as the foundation of the university's mission. NCKU has systematically and continuously established the core concept of social responsibility for its students, promoting the connection between the University and society, cultivating the practical spirit of talents, and achieving the goal of caring for society through academic action. NCKU also actively builds international connections and collaborations with universities around the world to develop international issues of global sustainable development.
Vice President Yuh-Neu Chen, convenor of the USR Resource Center for Social Innovation at NCKU, said that the cross-disciplinary collaboration program started by President Huey-Jen Su in 2016 has launched the core curriculum for inter-institutional liberal arts education, thus opening the opportunity to participate in promoting the practice of USR at NCKU.
Now, the scope of the "Exploring Tainan" course has expanded even wider. From the university side to the city side, the nine colleges have to go beyond their campuses to match with local literary and historical practitioners and cultural institutions in the city, and have to cooperate in many areas.
According to Vice President Yuh-Neu Chen, USR requires in-depth research to provide deeper education or substantive research perspectives for the government and various organizations to follow in implementing policies, while cross-discipline requires professional core values to know what they need. Therefore, the USR practice will slowly strengthen the teachers' own teaching and research connotations in the process of cross-disciplinary cooperation and integration.
In addition, "the cultivation of talents requires social practice to understand how to apply what they have learned." Vice President Yuh-Neu Chen said that the cultivation of human resources at NCKU emphasizes the integration with reality, and through USR practice NCKU hopes to cultivate students with citizenship, so that students can graft with the world, connect with society, and truly implement USR. Therefore, "students must have humanistic care, that is, they must have the ability to communicate, they must have empathy, and they must be able to feel the development process and the difficulties of the place before they will want to serve it and enhance it."