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The First Class for Undergraduates: UCASS Vice President Zhang Bin Talks on Transition from High School to University


On September 5th, Zhang Bin, the Vice President of UCASS, gave a themed lecture on From High School to University: the Great Transition to all undergraduate students of 2022 cohort. Designed to better facilitate the great transition from high school to university as soon as possible, the lecture was aimed to helping the new entrants understand the academic features of the undergraduate years and prepares them for proper planning throughout their campus life with a solid foundation. The lecture was live streamed via webcast, with an attendance of 1468 students. Well-received by its audience, the lecture had 69,220 likes throughout the entire session.

The lecture unfolded with three inquiries: “Why to change”, “What to change” and “How to change”.

On “why to change”, Zhang started with the function of modern higher education, offering explanations for “what is a university” and “what is a university for”. Building on such lead-in topics, he introduced the goal of talent cultivation of a research-oriented university, by shedding light on the orientation, characteristics, and strategies of UCASS. This session helped the new entrants to better understand the university and the campus life that they are about to embark on.

On “what to change”, Zhang pointed out, “Now that students can take greater initiatives in the university, it requires a higher degree of self-discipline. A change of mentality is therefore highly necessary, so that everyone will be able to embrace the college life by recognizing ‘What is past is prologue’. I hope students can rediscover themselves through self-reflection and translate their curiosity and exploratory passion into pursuit of knowledge and academic innovation.” When it comes to the change of methods and habits, students need to build their own capacity as learners with initiative, with emphasis on combining their strengths with their areas of expertise; they need to develop a science-based approach, as they strive to build structural knowledge in a systemic manner; attention is also needed for interdisciplinary learning, as students sharpen their innovative thinking.

On “how to change”, Zhang emphasized the importance of faith, proposing the need for everyone to firmly stand by the worldview, values, and view of life of Marxism as ardent believers, advocates and practitioners of core socialist values. Besides, healthy life styles, strong learning skills and meaningful social interactions are also of great relevance on campus.

Zhang Bin introduced the topic of "understanding the world" with three key words “reality, technique and Dao”. “Reality” means to understand the times with both national and international perspectives to gain insights into the current realities, in order to make a difference to the country, the nation and human civilization. “Technique” refers to the skills and methods represented by science and technology. “Dao” refers to the knowledge and understanding of the law of nature. He encouraged the students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective with the ability to combine resources as innovators.

To simulate the state of learning, Zhang used a maze model to emphasize the importance of innovative thinking by demonstrating several ways of getting out of the maze. He shared his expectations for the newly enrolled students, urging them to dive into the four core courses of general education, namely Critical Thinking, Research Methods for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academic Writing and Communication, and College Student Development and Mental Health.