The College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
The foreign language programs at Sichuan University date back to 1896, when the Chengdu School for Chinese and Western Education (out of which the University has grown) was established, with English and French among its earliest topics of study. Since then, its foreign languages department has hosted as well as produced a large number of eminent scholars, translators and academics, including Ba Jin, Zhu Guangqian, Lu Shuxiang, Bian Zhilin, and Wu Mi, who have, in turn, contributed to the expansion of the department into the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures. The college currently consists of seven departments, including those for English, Japanese, Russian, French & German, and Spanish, and two for the foreign language instruction of non-majors. Additionally, the college also has a number of affiliated research centers, including the American, European and Russian Studies Centers (approved and sponsored by China’s Ministry of Education), the Center for American Culture (co-established by SCU and Arizona State), the Latin-American, Canadian, Japanese and French Studies Centers, as well as the Center for Multimedia Teaching and Modern Educational Technologies. The college has more than 240 faculty and staff (including roughly one hundred professors and associated professors), over 60% of whom have or are working towards a Ph.D. The college offers doctoral and master’s degrees in Foreign Language and Literature, with focuses on Western Literary Criticism, British and American Literature, Western Cultural Studies, Translation Studies, English Linguistics, and Russian Literature. In addition, the college also enrolls Masters of Translation and Interpreting (MTI) students, and many of its undergraduate language programs enroll students with both arts and science backgrounds.
The college is well equipped with up-to-date facilities and resources for teaching, learning and research. At present, these include a simultaneous interpretation lab, a computer-aided translation (CAT) lab, a satellite TV system, a radio station for broadcasting foreign language programs, an online self-learning system, and abundant audio-video resources in different foreign languages. In addition to reading rooms for faculty and students, the college has its own library, (with divisions that include the Inukai Kazuo Japanese Annex), and houses more than 70,000 copies of Chinese and foreign language books and academic journals. The college has frequently carried out academic exchanges with many prestigious universities and research institutes at home and abroad, inviting scholars and professors from the U.S., Britain and many other countries to teach and lecture. It has also sent abroad its own teachers and students as visiting scholars and exchange students, ensuring that all of its full-time teachers have overseas research experience. The last five years have been fruitful for academic research, with faculty members winning over fifty research projects sponsored by the National Social Science Fund of China, the Ministry of Education, and the Sichuan provincial government. As a result, nearly one hundred books and more than 300 high-quality research papers have been published. In addition, the college regularly collects and publishes internal compilations of its own research papers (such as Academic Essays of SCU’s College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
, Essays on Foreign Language, Literature and Culture,
and Research Papers on American Studies
The college stresses academic work ethics, advocates scholarly integrity and rigor, and the development of well rounded students. As such, its students have won awards and prizes in various national competitions, including speech contests, English debate competitions, intercollegiate interpretation invitational contests, as well as other international competitive events. In addition, the college encourages students to participate in exchange programs with foreign universities. The English Department, for instance, has sent students to Spain, the United States and South Korea; and majors of Japanese have joined exchanges with a variety of Japanese institutions. The French and German Department has established exchange programs in France. And the Russian and Spanish Departments have engaged in similar exchanges.
In recent years, the college has operated under the principles of “Academics First,” the “Cultivation of Professional Talent,” and having a “Strong Faculty” as it rises up to new challenges and strives for excellence.
Departments and Offices
The English Department
四川大学英语学科源于1896年建立的四川中西学堂， 是四川大学最早的学科专业之一。 在英语学科120周年的发展历史中，许多著名学者和文化名人曾在此任教或就读， 如巴金、吴虞、朱光潜、钟作猷、周煦良、卞之琳、钱歌川、饶孟侃、罗念生、顾绶昌、周汝昌、赵澧、谢文炳、石璞、朱文振、王章树、周考成等，他们为四川大学的英语学科树立了优秀的学术传统和奠定了良好的发展基础。
English Language and Literature, one of the earliest programs at Sichuan University, was first taught in 1896 when the Sichuan Chinese and Western School was founded. During the past 120 years, a large number of eminent scholars and prominent cultural figures have taught or studied in the English Department. These figures include Ba Jin, the famous 20th
century Chinese writer, Zhu Guangqian, the literary critic, Bian Zhilin, the translator, and many others. They have fostered an excellent academic tradition and laid a solid foundation for English instruction.
In 1978, the English Department was approved (by the State Council Academic Degree Commission) to offer master's degrees in English Language and Literature, thereby hosting one of China’s earliest postgraduate programs, and the first postgraduate program in Southwest China. In 2003, the department was granted the right to offer a doctoral program in English Language and Literature, again the first of its kind in Western China. In 2010, Foreign Language and Literature became the first field authorized to confer doctorate degrees. At present, the English Department enrolls doctorate candidates in two sub-disciplines, English Language & Literature and Foreign Linguistics & Applied Linguistics, that together cover a wide range of research orientations that include Western Literary Criticism, British and American Literature, Western Culture Studies, Translation Studies and English Linguistics.
The English Department also offers master’s programs in all of the aforementioned sub-disciplines as well as the Master of Translation and Interpreting (MTI) programs. As for its undergraduate program, the department enrolls students with both arts and science backgrounds, who can, after having achieved English proficiency, go on to focus in any of the sub-areas of English Literature, English Culture, English Linguistics or English-Chinese Translation. The department also offers courses to non-English majors who are willing to choose English Language and Literature as their second undergraduate program. In light of its continuous efforts throughout its long history, the department has been fruitful in promoting academic discipline, cultivating professional talent and building a strong faculty. Today, Sichuan Province recognizes Foreign Language and Literature as a key academic discipline, while greater China acknowledges English Language and Literature as a national level priority. The department now has forty full-time teachers, including twelve professors and twenty-three associate professors.
The English Department has always encouraged its faculty to engage in academic research in addition to fulfilling their teaching responsibilities. Thus far the faculty has completed dozens of research projects sponsored by organizations including the National Social Sciences Fund, the Ministry of Education, the China-Europe Higher Education Program Fund, and the Social Sciences Fund of Sichuan. As such, their research results have in many cases been published in books and journals, with some winning awards from the Ministry of Education or Sichuan Provincial government.
With regular publication of the College’s internal compilations of its own research papers, the research of the English Department faculty has begun to exert an increasing influence on the regional studies academic community.
As for undergraduate education, the department first and foremost emphasizes students’ language competency, making great efforts to develop its students’ abilities in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The department offers a wide range of literature and culture courses that raise its students’ comprehensive knowledge of the humanities, and it takes measures to encourage innovative course planning. At present, SCU’s English-Chinese Interpretation curriculum ranks highly at the national level, its Introduction to Foreign Languages and Cultures course ranks highly provincially, and its English Composition course is well regarded within the university community.
The efforts of the department in producing well-rounded students have paid off, with its students having won awards in various national competitions, including speech contests, English debate competitions, intercollegiate interpretation invitational contests, as well as other international competitive events. Meanwhile, its undergraduate and graduate students are encouraged to participate in international exchange programs such as those at Newcastle University in the U.K., and Arizona State University in the U.S.
The department frequently invites renowned scholars and professors from home and abroad to lead public lectures. Since 2012 when the University Immersion Program was first initiated, the department has invited professors from Stanford University, Ohio State University and Kristianstad University to lead week-long summer courses; and students from Ghent University in Belgium and the University of Goerringen in Germany have come to summer camps organized by the department. Within China, the department has invited eminent professors from Beijing Foreign Studies University, Shanghai International Studies University, Beijing Normal University, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Shandong University to teach undergraduate courses.
The Japanese Department
The Department of Japanese was officially established in 1973 and therefore offered one of the earliest undergraduate Japanese Language and Literature programs in China. In 1999 the department was approved to enroll graduate students, with Japanese Language and Literature becoming an independent postgraduate program in 2003. In recent years, The Department of Japanese has made rapid achievements in its academic instruction and scientific research. It targets the cultivation of highly-qualified interdisciplinary talent that can face the twenty-first century while using Japanese as a tool to conduct solid, comprehensive research on issues that include language, literature, culture, society and economics.
Faced with the development of personalized education, a higher educational system undergoing reform, and the increasing independence and variety of today’s students, the Department of Japanese has still made significant progress in adapting its teaching efforts to the changing academic environment. In recent years, nearly 100% of undergraduates have been able to find work after graduation, and the demand for postgraduates is even higher. Despite the fierce competition, our graduates have successfully gone on to pursue masters or doctoral degrees at the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies, Tokyo University, Waseda University, Tokyo University of the Arts, Hosei University and the University of Tsukuba.
The department of Japanese boasts an experienced faculty strong in research and that include two professors, two associate professors and four lecturers. Three of our teachers have doctoral degrees, and five have master’s degrees. All of them have furthered their education in Japan over the course of multiple stays. Each year the Japan Yamanashi Education Commission sends Japanese experts to teach undergraduates and graduates in SCU’s Japanese Department. In addition, our department sends undergraduates to study in at Japanese universities that include Waseda University, National Kanazawa University, Hokkaido University of Education and Osaka International University. Meanwhile, the Ito Shane Consortium and Mitsubishi Corporation provide our undergraduates with scholarships. The department focus on the teaching and research of Japanese languages, literature and culture, and has developed its own unique methodologies.
The Department of Japanese at SCU is a standing member of the Japanese Education Association in China, and it is a Council Member of China’s Japanese Literature Research Association. Its strong teaching staff has displayed competence both in teaching and research. They have managed to be engaged in programs such as the Japan-Asia Foreign Relations Research Program (supported by the Sumitomo Group) and others sponsored by the Japan Research Foundation, the China State Foundation for Studying Abroad, the Excellent Young Teachers Program of the Ministry of Education, and the Sichuan Provincial government. The teachers in the department have published many papers in prominent publications at both home and abroad, some of which have been reported by the Japan Daily News
and YBS Daily News
. In addition, the faculty has published a number of influential works that include textbooks and translations.
The Russian Department
The Russian Department was established in 1959 and welcomed its first undergraduate students in the same year. The Russian language is recognized as a high priority major by Sichuan Province. Currently, we have nine members in the teaching staff, two of whom hold postdoctoral degrees and seven of whom hold doctoral degrees. One is a doctoral supervisor, two are professors, and four are associate professors. In addition, the department has three research institutions, namely, the Center for Russian Studies authorized by the Ministry of Education, the Center for Sino-Russia Comparative Cultural Studies jointly established by SCU and the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Russian Center founded by the Russkiy Mir Foundation. Our faculty currently supervises several projects, including one major and two general programs under the National Social Science Foundation, one China Postdoctoral Foundation program, and several provincial and ministerial level projects. The faculty has also published a number of works that include academic textbooks and over one hundred academic papers. On top of this, they have won over a dozen prizes for their teaching achievements.
As an important think-tank for Russian studies, the Russian Department has on many occasions written special reports and provided policy consultation services to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Sichuan Provincial government and its Department of Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs, thus earning the government’s high regard.
The department has always advocated the advancement of teaching via scientific research, and it has achieved fruitful results in this regard. In particular, it has valued the building of a scientific research group in which postgraduates, through their participation, have been able to improve their practical research abilities. In 2015, this group was honored as an “Excellent Scientific Research Team” for its scientific and cultural contributions, a first for any scientific group at Sichuan University. Meanwhile, undergraduates in the Russian Department have made remarkable achievements in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation training program, with each student undertaking an individual project, many of which have won state or provincial level awards. Finally, both postgraduate and undergraduate students have volunteered in various Sino-Russian exchange activities and have received favorable ratings.
The Russian Department highly values international exchange and collaboration. At present, we have signed collaboration agreements and carried out a substantial degree of cooperation with prestigious universities in Russia, including Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod and the Ural Federal University. Each year, many postgraduates and undergraduates are sent to Russian universities for short-term exchanges or postgraduate study, some of which are funded by the China Scholarship Council. The students in our department have repeatedly engaged in various collegiate exchange activities at the invitation of Russian universities such as Moscow University, Ural Federal University, Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Krasnodar Industrial University and Lobachevsky University. Each year since 2012, the department has invited teachers and students from a Russian university to come to SCU and attend international exchange camps. Some successfully invited universities include Ural Federal University, Moscow University, Lobachevsky University and Saint Petersburg University. Through all forms of international exchange, the international awareness and knowledge level of our students have been greatly improved, and the Russian Department has gained international prominence.
The French & German Department
The Department of French & German was founded in 2000, and since 2007 it has offered postgraduate programs for students of French Literature and Culture. In order to give its students a professional level of preparation and cultivate their talents, the department has stepped outside the traditional methods of foreign language instruction. It does this by fostering a strong foundation in French and the humanities, while also developing its students professional skills. The department provides students with a light core curriculum that gives them more leeway to pursue electives. Students are also encouraged to apply for inter-disciplinary courses offered by other colleges and departments and to minor in other subjects. Abundant resources are provided to help students broaden their horizons and increase their knowledge.
The teaching efforts of the French Department have paid off; its undergraduate students, for instance, perform extremely well in the national French proficiency test, with a pass rate of over 90% for TFS-4 and over 80% for TFS-8. The employment rate of graduate students has similarly remained at a high level, and more than 30% of our undergraduates have gone on to pursue a master’s degree in prestigious universities that include Beijing Foreign Studies University, China Foreign Affairs University, Renmin University of China, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Wuhan University, Nanjing University, and Sichuan University. In addition, many students have engaged in entrepreneurship activities and participated in internships. They have performed well in the Maple Leaf Cup Speech Contest of English and French in Southwest China held by the Canadian Embassy, the French Dictation Contest held by the French Embassy and the National French Speech Contest for College Students. Additionally, French majors have proactively participated in cultural activities such as the Foreign Language Drama Festival as well as poetry readings in Chinese and French.
The French & German Department has taken full advantage of its friendly relationships with many French universities such as Paris West University (Nanterre La Défense), ENS Paris, and others, in order to engage in various exchange programs. Many of our qualified undergraduates have had opportunities for studying abroad during time in the department.
Our department is a management-level member of both the French Teaching & Research Association of China and the Sichuan Provincial Foreign Language Teaching & Research Association of Institutions of Higher Learning. At present, the program has six serving teachers, including two full professors, one associate professor and three lecturers; two of the faculty have PhD’s and three of them are PhD candidates.
Besides teaching, professors in our department have made achievements in scientific research. Our department has published many works, including translations, textbooks and articles (appearing in journals indexed by CSSCI), and it has conducted research and planning projects on philosophy and social science sponsored by the Sichuan Provincial government. This research work has had a positive impact on the academic strength of the faculty and its teaching.
The Spanish Department
Established in 2010, the Department of Spanish is the youngest department in the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures. To meet the intellectual and professional demands of our developing society, the department has focused on teaching both Spanish and English, with a secondary focus on the humanities. In this way, the department produces well-rounded students equipped with both a humanities background and bilingual ability. The department gives students considerable leeway in selecting elective courses, and it encourages students to choose inter-departmental or inter-disciplinary courses in order to broaden their horizons.
Two sessions of students have graduated from the Department of Spanish with an employment rate of 100%, and in both years some of them were recruited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The department has also witnessed high pass rates in the Test for Spanish Majors (Grades Four and Eight), especially in Grade Four where pass rates rated as “excellent” have exceeded 35% for two consecutive years. Furthermore, all of our students take an active part in entrepreneurship activities and internships. So far, three sessions have participated in the National Spanish Composition Contest held by Ecuadorian Embassy in China and have won two second-place prizes. At our Drama Festival, students from the Spanish department have been awarded the first prize for three years in a row.
Seizing opportunities for cooperation with the University of Barcelona, the University of Granada, and the University of Salamanca, the Spanish Department has engaged in various faculty and student exchange projects as well as joint education programs that allow qualified undergraduates to study abroad. In 2016, our students also gained the chance to study in Peru and Colombia funded by the China Scholarship Council.
The department of Spanish is a council member of both China’s Spanish Teaching Research Association and the Foreign Language Teaching Research Association for universities in Sichuan Province. Our department currently has a faculty consisting of two doctoral degree holders and five master degree holders; in addition, the department has two foreign experts.
While fulfilling teaching work, our faculty has actively conducted research at our Institute of Latin American Studies and has successfully hosted the First Seminar on Sino-Latin Cultural Exchange.
The Spanish Department, still young and full of vigor, cultivates a rigorous academic atmosphere and serves as a platform for the interaction of hard-working students and earnest teachers. Likewise, its future is bright and promising.
First Branch of Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office
Currently, the First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office has 53 teachers, including one professor, sixteen associate professors and thirty-six lecturers, among which five hold doctoral degrees and twelve are working towards their doctorates. Most of them have visited foreign universities and studied abroad. At present, the major task of this department is to teach general English for all undergraduates, postgraduates and doctoral students. The current lessons include college English (levels 1 to 4 for undergraduates), English Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking for postgraduates and doctoral students, as well as over twenty public elective courses open to all SCU students, such as Spoken English, Audio Visual English, Practical English Writing, Business English Writing, Canadian Culture, the Profound Mystery of Language, TV and Film Appreciation, Translation, Advanced Oral English, Advanced English Reading, Advanced English Listening, British and American Culture.
The faculty members of the First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office take an active part in building and revising the college English curriculum. Many teachers have either set up or concluded their projects within the Sichuan University New Century Teaching Reform Program. In recent years, dozens of teachers have received both the Young Key Teacher Award and the Excellent Teaching Award of Sichuan University. In the first Sichuan University Young Teachers’ English Teaching Contest, many of the department’s staff received first, second and third place prizes.
In addition to teaching, professors from the First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office are actively engaged in scientific research as well as improving their professional skills. In recent years, they have received funding for two projects from the National Social Science Fund and more than ten provincial and school-level social science projects. Hundreds of papers have been published in various academic journals, among which dozens appear in CSSIC. Professor Zhao Aidong has successively received funding for multiple projects, including a project in 2014 supported by the National Social Science Fund, titled “The Study on Social Changes in the Batang border region of Sichuan and Tibet Within the Context of Chinese and Western Cultural Interaction in the First Half of the 20th Century.” Associate professor Zhao Yi received funding for the comprehensive research program, “The History and Status of Tibet,” supported by the National Social Science Fund. Similarly, associate professors Guo Xia and Wang Qian have received funding for similar programs.
Professors in the First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office have published a number of influential academic works and dozens of CSSCI papers. They have also participated in writing government approved textbooks. The department has consecutively held the University Foreign Language Teaching Forum for three years, which offers a great platform for Chinese universities to exchange and discuss the latest developments of the reform in foreign language teaching, to deepen the faculty’s understanding of foreign language teaching, and to enhance their teaching skills. Each year, many teachers participate in international academic conferences and teaching seminars at home and abroad. The First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office regularly organizes teachers to take part in all kinds of foreign language research and teaching training to improve their scientific research and teaching abilities.
To arouse our students’ enthusiasm for learning foreign languages and advance their overall quality and competitiveness, the First Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office actively organizes and guides students to compete in various English events, such as the FLTRP Cup English Speech Competition, the Writing Competition and Reading Competition, and the SCU English Language Skill Competition. The system of instruction created by the office offers students an excellent learning platform rich with resources.
Second Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office
The Second Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office has recruited 53 outstanding teachers, including one professor, fifteen associate professors, eight teachers with doctoral degrees, and sixteen PhD candidates. Faculty members in the department undertake annual teaching activities for all of the non-English majors at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. At present, the courses on offer include College English (levels 1-4), more than twenty public electives, and classes on English reading, writing, listening and speaking.
Teachers of our department actively participate in building and revising the College English curriculum. Many teachers have established or concluded their projects within the “Sichuan University Educational Reform for a New Century Program.” Dozens of teachers have won both the Sichuan University Young Outstanding Teachers Award and the Award for Teaching Excellence. Associate professor Zhang Lulu, for instance, won second-place at Sichuan University’s first session of the “Spark Alumni Faculty Fellowship” in 2015, and she won first place in the Fifth Undergraduate Award for Teaching Excellence. Meanwhile, in addition to winning multiple awards for teaching, lecturer Hu Minxia instructed and led participants of Sichuan University to win championships in various national and international contests, such as the “FLTRP Cup,” National English Speech and Debating Contest, the “CTPC Cup,” China Interpreting Contest and the 2013 “Asian English Debating Contest.”
Since 2006, dozens of young teachers have traveled to Arizona State University, the University of Edinburgh and Oxford University to attend short-term summer English teaching and cultural training courses. Annually, at least two teachers receive funding by the China Scholarship Council to pursue further studies at foreign universities for one year. The department has also held the “Teaching Forum for College English” for three consecutive years, providing a platform to keep up with the latest news about English teaching reforms at other Chinese universities, strengthening the academic reputation of the department’s faculty, and further improving the faculty’s teaching ability. Finally, the department’s teachers are regularly sent to participate in a variety of international and domestic training programs to improve their teaching and research abilities.
To bolster the atmosphere of foreign language learning and help students to comprehend and apply English, various English events have been organized in which students were invited participate. During the 2015 National English Competition for College Students (NECCS), for example, students from our school were a huge success. Twenty-one students earned the National Prize for Band C (non-English majors), accounting for 75% of the total winners from Sichuan, an increase of 14% over 2014.
During the “FLTRP Cup” challenge of 2015 (a collection of English public speaking, reading and writing contests), the department’s students ranked first in Sichuan by winning five out of nine Grand Prizes in the quarter-finals. Meanwhile, with over four thousand students actively participating, the English Language Skills Contests for College Students, jointly organized by the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures and the Academic Affairs Office, has been held five times, serving as an impetus for improving students’ interest and ability in acquiring English language skills.
In addition to teaching, our faculty are honing their skills through their engagement with academic research. The past several years have been witness to the publication of over ten CSSCI periodicals and 6 academic texts. On top of this, the Second Branch of the Foreign Language Teaching & Research Office has gained the approval for a number of educational programs with multiple levels of government support.