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The College of Foreign Languags(CFL) has a long history. It dates back to 1900 when many Japanese and American teachers were firstly employed and eminent scholars like Wang Guowei and Fan Bingqing were invited to serve as teachers and interpreters for Hubei Agricultural School, HZAU’s predecessor. In 1952, the Foreign language Teaching and Research Section was established after the adjustment of the colleges and departments. In 1979, Teaching and Research Sections of the Foreign Language and the Mathematics merged as the Division of Basic Courses. In 1983, the Center for Foreign Language Training of HZAU was established by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Water Resources and Electric Power, and the China Meteorological Administration, financed by the World Bank’s Agricultural Education and Research loan. The center’s focus was English training for personnel from the key official departments, including agriculture, forestry and water conservancy and had since then helped over 1,500 people go abroad for international communication. CFL’s predecessor has made great contribution to China’s international exchange by raising the English proficiency of the experts from the official departments and training a large number of teachers, students, staff with global vision.
Foreign Language Teaching and Research Section under the Division of Basic Courses and the Center for Foreign Language Training were combined into the Department of Foreign Languages in July 1993 in order to meet the demands of cultivating more and better foreign language professionals in the new era. In February 2008, CFL was established, consisting of English Department, Business English Department, College English Section, Graduate English Section, MTI Center(for Master of Translation and Interpreting education), Center for Foreign Language Experimental Teaching. In recent years, the College English Teaching Section has been awarded as a Prominent Teaching and Research Section of the University, and the English Department as a Prominent Teaching and Research Section of Hubei Province.
The college currently has 111 faculty and staff members, including 92 full-time teachers and 19 administrative and technical staff. Among the teachers, there are 4 professors, 40 associate professors, 44 lecturers, and 4 teaching assistants. Teachers with senior professional titles account for 47.8% of the faculty in the college. Also,20 teachers have doctoral degrees, making up 21.7% of the total. Ten teachers have been selected into the “Shishan Shuoyan Talent Program” of HZAU. Two foreign teachers have been hired annually. Most of the teachers have the experience of studying abroad.
Teachers in the college have participated in various teaching contests. On-the-job teachers have won 77 awards at the university level or above, among which 53 are university awards, 16 are provincial awards, and 8 are national awards.
In the past decade, due to teachers’ notable educational reforms, they have won 3 provincial education achievement awards on the college English teaching, graduate English teaching, and the talent cultivation of the English majors. The awards include the second prize once and third prize twice. Besides, eight online open courses have been established, including three excellent online courses at provincial level and one at national level.
Three teachers hold positions in international organizations or journals and fifteen teachers in domestic ones.
The college has two undergraduate majors---English and Business English. We boast one first-level master discipline---Foreign Language and Literature and one professional master degree program---Master of Translation and Interpreting (MTI). We are vigorously developing the education of professional translation and conducting the BA program in English with a minor in other languages or disciplines, bachelor’s and master’s degree combined program to cultivate top-notch innovative talents. The English major has been approved as the first-class undergraduate major in Hubei Province.
The college began to offer 3-year Foreign-related English programs in 1993, 4-year English undergraduate programs in 1998, and Business English undergraduate programs in 2011. MTI program starts from 2015, and academic degree of MA in Foreign Languages and Literatures from 2019. It has graduated 127 junior college students of Foreign-related English major and 2,803 undergraduates, of whom 1,980 are English majors, 524 are Business English majors and 224 are English majors (concentration in Business English). 76 postgraduates have been admitted, and 750 undergraduates and 62 postgraduates are currently enrolled.
The College upholds the education concept of “taking undergraduate education as foundation, student-centered, all-embracing development, thinking and practicing earnestly”. We attach importance to combining English major with other disciplines and majors in our university such as bioscience, economic management, marketing, international trade. Our aim is to cultivate high-caliber talents with high social responsibility, intercultural communication competence, critical thinking skills, and autonomous learning ability. The experimental teaching center of the College boasts experimental/practice platforms such as the cloud platform, simultaneous interpreting Lab, POCIB (Practice for Operational Competence in International Business) platform, computer-assisted translation (CAT) Lab, recording studio, and English radio. The English radio regularly broadcasts news from home and abroad, concerning campus life, English learning, and other aspects to enrich students’ knowledge of English culture and expand their visions. New media platforms crop up such as the College WeChat official account “the Voice of the College of Foreign Languages”, and other WeChat accounts of different courses. Students have a wide choice of extracurricular activities like the drama club, cultural festival, President Cup English debate contest and other various competitions of all levels for college students, and independent innovation and voluntary service platform. The College enables students to find a new world with infinite possibilities.
After many education reforms, the English department has established a three-in-one talent cultivation module that takes the language skills as the foundation, the intercultural communication as the orientation, and the high-order thinking as the purport. Such reform was awarded the second prize of Teaching Achievements of Hubei Province. The Business English department adheres to the concept of “enhancing the foundation, highlighting the characteristics and emphasizing the application”. It also has constructed the interdisciplinary talent cultivation module, which takes “business as the core, English as the foundation, competence as the priority, professional skill practice as the key” (BECP).
The passing rates of TEM-4 and TEM-8 tests are respectively 40%, 30% higher than the national average rate. Those of BET-4 and BET-8 tests exceed the national average rates by 40% and 35% respectively. Students have won prizes in various academic competitions and professional skill competitions. The excellence rate of POCIB has reached 85%. In 2019 and 2020, more than 40 students won the first prize of the National Contest for Business English Knowledge. Our college ranked the third among all universities in the Third (2019) National Contest for College Business English Comprehensive Competence, and won the award of College of Excellence. 20 students won the first prizes, accounting for 51% of all the first prizes, 10 times higher than the average rate of colleges and universities across the country. In 2018, the college won the special award in the First “Yixue Cup” Business English Practical Skill Contest of colleges and universities in Hubei Province. The graduate of 2020, Gong Qi, has been successfully admitted to all the 7 world-renowned universities she applied for.
33% of the undergraduate of the College between 2016 and 2020 have successfully been admitted to graduate program at home and abroad. A number of outstanding graduates have been enrolled to graduate school without examination or admitted to leading universities. Among them, there are domestic universities, for instance, Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai International Studies University and other top domestic universities. Our students have also got admission to top overseas universities including University College London, Nanyang Technological University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Edinburgh, Australian National University, University of Toronto, Chinese University of Hong Kong and so on.
A group of outstanding graduates are employed in influential enterprises and institutions, like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Gree, New Oriental, Huawei, Bank of China, China Telecom, China Construction, CCTV, Zhejiang University, Central South University etc. There are many outstanding talents in various fields of international affairs, such as Zhao Yuheng, Li Mengyuan, Ou Lili, Zheng Chuang, Li Kongqing, Li Na, Zhou Ming, Wang Fengzhu, Wei Dandan, Yan Jing, Liu Xue, Zhang Yubin, Pang Yaping, Chen Xi, Li Qi, Chen Cheng, Ouyang Cuiqin, Liu Changsheng, Wang Di, Zhao Man, Yin Ruixuan.
According to MyCOS 2018 quality assessment of undergraduate education in China, the employment rate of English majors in 2017 is 100% one year after graduation, and the education satisfaction is as high as 98%. In our university, English is rated as the major with the highest degree of communication between students and teachers and of satisfaction and recommendation. When we paid a return visit to the employers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and other places, they highly appreciated the down-to-earth and diligent, aspiring quality and team spirit of our graduates.
V. Academic Research
Our college highly values academic research, with two university-level research institutes---the Institute of Foreign Language Education and the Agricultural Academic English Research Center, as well as three college-level interdisciplinary research centers on linguistics, literature and translation. We aim to set up the International and Regional and Research Center on World Agricultural Culture.
The college encourages teachers to actively participate in various academic conferences. Many eminent scholars at home and abroad have also been invited to deliver lectures in our college. From 2011 to 2019, 7 projects of the National Social Sciences Foundation and 62 research projects at provincial or ministerial level or above had been approved. From 2011 to 2019, CFL teachers published 262 academic papers in domestic journals, including 89 CSSCI papers and published more than 10 SSCI and A&HCI papers, as well as 12 undergraduate textbooks and monographs, and 4 textbooks for graduate students.
Every year, CFL invites a dozen of domestic and foreign scholars in foreign language education and research for academic exchange, building up an academic exchange mechanism by the research centers on regular and long-term basis.
Ⅵ. International Communication
The college has built steady cooperation with several foreign universities, which would allow teachers and students to visit or study abroad each year. The college has hosted international conferences and international summer seminars and invited well-known foreign scholars for academic communication. The college, together with the Undergraduate School, jointly invites 20 American college teachers to offer the intensive oral English course for about 600 undergraduate students every summer vacation, which provides them with dynamic immersion program.
The college has always recommended students to serve as volunteers, interpreters, or translators in international conferences and events. We hold Central China Model United Nations（MUN）conferences in each spring semester and HZAU MUN conferences in each autumn semester.
Dr. Qin Jianghua, Dr. Xu Beibei work as peer reviewers in international academic organizations or journals.
The college has conducted 3+1 or 2+2 joint program with foreign universities. Besides, the college dedicates to the cultivation of high-end talent in the international organizations through recommending outstanding students to pursue internship in those organizations.