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Faculty of Humanities expands Undergraduates’ interdisciplinary training Programs

APR . 25 2017
Peking University, April 172017: To implement PKU’s philosophy of focusing on students’ development, depending on academic traditions and teaching resources of Humanities Colleges, the Faculty of Humanities coordinated and organized related departments to broaden undergraduates’ interdisciplinary training programs. It strived to invest the best resources in undergraduate education, promoting the reform of PKU Humanities’ undergraduate fostering system.
Classic Language and Literature Program, one of the PKU basic top-notch talents training programs in the humanities’ domain, aims to cultivate experts and scholars who can later on study and explain ancient classics of China and other countries. It is jointly conducted by Department of Philosophy, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Department of History, School of Foreign Languages, School of Yuanpei, School of Archaeology and Museology, and School of Arts.

Since June, 2010, 135 students
from 7 classes have taken part in the program. During 2012 to 2016, 59 students graduated from this program, and were conferred honorary certificates of “Classic Language and Literature”. Except one who works directly after graduate, others have been all pursuing their further studies in prestigious universities. Currently, there are 3 classes, totally 58 students studying in the program. Linking to curricula and academy, these students set up student magazine “Classic Studies of Peking University”, and established WeChat Subscription “Classic Language and Literature of Peking University”, building up the academic atmosphere of Classic studies on campus. The 8th enrollment work is now in progress.
The research of Humanities must start with classical documents and language characters. Ideological innovation, requiring new materials, methods and problems, can originate from the interpretation and explanation to ancient classics. The Classic Language and Literature Program systematically trains excellent students who are interested in this domain from faculty of Humanities since undergraduate level, in order to cultivate a group of academic talents, who are not only proficient in eastern and western classics and classical languages, but also equipped with consciousness and innovative spirits.

To study and master ancient languages and classics of eastern and western civilization, students should comply with the principles of “adapting ancient forms for present-day use”. Now there are two focuses in the program: Chinese Classics and Western Classics. Recruiting among freshmen of the Faculty of Humanities and the School of Yuanpei, the program admits no more than 30 students annually. After 7-year operation, it has developed 24-credit curriculum module. Under the guidanceof tutors, students can connect these curricula with their majors effectively, which facilitates the mutual embedding of majors and minors in knowledge structure and restructures curricula structure based on students’ own interests.
Learning from the implement of Classical Languages and Literature Program, and through discussions by various departments in the past year, the Faculty of Humanities decided to launch a new program “Thought and Society”, leading by Department of Philosophy and Department of Sociology. Simultaneously decided to join Department of Chinese Language and Literature with Department of Philosophy, School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences and School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science to launch a new interdisciplinary program “Language Cognition”. So far, argumentation and declaration to the teaching plan of “Thought and Society” program has been completed, mainly based on “Western Political and Social Thought” curriculum. With the recruitment plan announced, the 1stgroup of students may take part in the program in September this year. The “Language and Cognition” program, which is now in preparation, is concentrating on establishing a core curriculum “Language, Logic and Computation”, which will later on open to all students from PKU in fall semester this year.
The Discipline “Foreign Language and Foreign History” (DFLFH) is another important interdisciplinary program from Faculty of Humanities. Beginning from 2011, DFLFH was only available to a few students from School of Yuanpei and Department of History. In February, 2012, Ministry of Education(MOE) approved PKU to set up theDiscipline of Foreign Language and Foreign History. It has recruited students from School of Yuanpei, Department of History and School of Foreign Language for 5 years. In the past 5 years, the program has been in a very good progress as a whole, and obtained positive response from teachers and students. From 2016 to March, 2017, through several rounds of discussions and under the support of PKU Office of Education Administration, the Faculty of Humanities decided to add a new field “Foreign Archaeology” to DFLFH. It is aimed to satisfy teaching and researching demands of current “Regional and National Studies”. The work was led by the School of Archaeology and Museology. At present, the core curriculum of the new field is inpreparation and the recruitment is going on in order. Following this pattern, henceforth, Faculty of Humanities will set up other interdisciplinary fields under DFLDH according to the actual teaching demands fromvarious faculties.
Based on excellent teaching from various faculties, Faculty of Humanitiestries to coordinate and establish new interdisciplinary platforms and disciplines. Not only uniting within the faculty, but also further forging interdisciplinary programs between different faculties, it aims at establishing diversified talents fostering system of Humanities Faculties. The diversified system can equip students from Humanities Faculties with complete freedom to choosecurricula, various curricula combination and broad career prospect from their own majors. Students can consider Humanities Subjects as lifelong academic careers or basic attainment for other careers.
Written by: Zhang Jingwen
Edited by: Wang Chengsiou
Source: PKU News (Chinese)