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Outlook Weekly interview with Chen Guoqing, president of IMU: Basing itself in the northern border area of China, IMU has been focusing on strengthening its foundation and forging its own core principles to cultivate talents

Recently, Xinhua News Agency interviewed Chen Guoqing, president of IMU. The interview centered around how IMU-the first university established by the P.R.C. in the ethnic minority areas-has been seeking to develop itself into a first-class university. The script, pictures and videos for the interview were published in Outlook Weekly affiliated with Xinhua News Agency and republished by such platforms as Xinhuanet.com, Xinhua News Agency app and Xuexi.cn. The interview has aroused the warm responses.

 

The whole script is as follows.

Outlook Weekly: How has the first university established by the P.R.C. in the ethnic minority areas been seeking to develop itself into a first-class university?

(The script and videos by Wang Jing and Zhang Sheng with Outlook Weekly)

Click to watch the video

 

A brief introduction: In 1957, with the support of the policies of the CPC for the ethnic minorities and that from about a dozen universities like Peking University, the first university established by the P.R.C. in the ethnic minority areas was erected in Inner Mongolia-the northern border area of China, and has been eulogized by people of different ethnic groups there as "a pearl on the grassland".

The establishment of the university started the history of modern cultural and educational cause on the ancient grassland and opened the new chapter of the undertaking of higher education in Inner Mongolia. For 60 years since its establishment, Inner Mongolia University(IMU) has altogether cultivated 170,000 high-quality talents, about one third of which are minority students. Among them are Shorgan, member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Liu Yao, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Zhang Jie, member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhao Jincai, member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jinhai, an excellent CPC member who was eulogizes as Pavel Korchagin on the grassland.

In September, 2017, IMU was selected as a candidate to be developed into a double-first-class university (Double First Class refers to the initiative of the CPC and the Chinese government to build first-class universities and first-class disciplines) and its biology as a candidate to be developed into a double-first-class discipline. As a result, IMU launched its journey to strive for double-first-class construction.
  Chen Guoqing, president of IMU, has been studying and working at IMU for nearly 40 years. What are the characteristics of IMU and what is its dream in his eyes? You will find them out in the following exclusive interview with him by the reporter from Outlook Weekly.

Outlook Weekly(OW) interview with Chen Guoqing(Chen), president of IMU: Basing itself in the northern border area of China, IMU has been focusing on strengthening its foundation and forging its own core principles to cultivate talents

(The script and videos by Wang Jing and Zhang Sheng with Outlook Weekly)

IMU started the systematic research of Mongolian language, literature and history in China, decoded Khitan small script, created the major of grassland ecology, and successfully bred China’s first batch of vitro goats and cows, grasped the cutthroat core technology of innovating and breeding germplasms of goats and cows. IMU has made a series of high-level research achievements in its uniquely advantageous disciplines and fields, which are known at home and abroad.

IMU has followed a development path for constructing a high-level university in the border areas inhabited by ethnic minority groups. It has made great contributions to the development of China and Inner Mongolia, ethnic unity and progress, prosperity and stability of border areas, revitalization of science and technology and modernization of ethnic minority areas.

In 1957, the socialist construction was going on vigorously in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region which had been established 10 years ago. The need to establish a university in Inner Mongolia was becoming increasingly urgent.

With the support of policies of the CPC for the ethnic minorities and that from about a dozen universities like Peking University, the first university established by the P.R.C. in the ethnic minority areas was erected in Inner Mongolia and has been eulogized by people of different ethnic groups there as "a pearl on the grassland".

                                             

Graduates of IMU throw up their trencher caps to celebrate their graduation.

The establishment of the university started the history of modern cultural and educational cause on the ancient grassland and opened the new chapter of the undertaking of higher education in Inner Mongolia. For 60 years since its establishment, Inner Mongolia University has altogether cultivated 170,000 high-quality talents, about one third of which are minority students. Among them are Shorgan, member of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Liu Yao, academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, Zhang Jie, member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhao Jincai, member of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jinhai, an excellent CPC member who was eulogizes as Pavel Korchagin on the grassland.

In September, 2017, IMU was selected as a candidate to be developed into a double-first-class university and its biology as a candidate to be developed into a double-first-class discipline. As a result, IMU launched the journey to strive for  its double-first-class construction.

Chen Guoqing, president of IMU, has been studying and working at IMU for nearly 40 years. In the exclusive interview by the reporters from Outlook Weekly, Chen said that IMU will cling to the university motto of "seek truth and keep practical" , carry forward the IMU spirit of "admire truth and seek excellence",  base itself in the border area of China, focus on the high-level higher education of China and the world, improve the university with its unique advantages, accelerate IMU's "double-first-class" building and "co-building of the university by the Ministry of P.R.C. and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region". Chen also said that IMU will solidify its existing strengths, follow the proper way for its further development, reform itself and open itself to the outside world and outdo itself constantly to develop itself into a university with its own unique characteristics and make greater contributions to the high-quality social and economic development of Inner Mongolia and China.  

Basing itself in the northern border area to boost higher education and development in Inner Mongolia

Research Team of IMU Led by Prof. Li Guangpeng

OW: How do you understand the mission IMU shoulders and the responsibility it takes?

Chen: IMU is the first university established by the CPC and the country in the ethnic minority areas, and it plays an important role and has a special regional position in the overall arrangement of the higher education of China. For 60 years since its establishment, with the support of the CPC's policies for ethnic minority groups and under the leadership and care of the CPC, IMU has been adhering to its original aspiration of "cultivate talents for the CPC and the country", voluntarily taking the responsibility of "base itself in the northern border area of China to boost the higher education and development in Inner Mongolia" and making progress in strengthening the unity, progress and education of ethnic groups in Inner Mongolia, building the advantageous disciplines with its own unique characteristics and serving the development of Inner Mongolia and the whole country.

In China, IMU has started the systematic research of Mongolian language, literature and history, deciphered the Khitan small script, created the major of grassland ecology in China, successfully bred the first vitro goat and cow in China, grasped the bottle-neck core technology of innovation and breeding of goat and cow germplasms. IMU has made high-quality achievements in the disciplines and areas that the university takes lead in and that are unique to the university. These achievements are well-known at home and abroad.

IMU has developed from an ordinary university successively into a national key university, a university under "Project 211", a university under the Province-Ministry Co-Construction Program (in which both provincial government and the Education of Ministry provide support for the university while the former provides more than the latter.), a university included in the Program for the Improvement of the Comprehensive Capacity of Universities in Central and Western China, a candidate university under "Double-First-Class Initiative" and a university under the Ministry-Autonomous Region Co-Construction Program (in which both the Ministry of Education and regional government provide support for the university while the former provides more than the latter.). IMU has found a path to build a high-level university in ethnic minority-inhabited border areas and made great contributions to the economic and social development of the whole country and the autonomous region, ethnic solidarity and progress, prosperity and stability of border areas, revitalization of education and science and technology and modernization of ethnic minority areas.

OW: What roles has IMU played in serving the development strategies of the country and the autonomous region?
Chen: Inner Mongolia is located in the northern border area of China and has a very important strategic position. The CPC Central Committee has set down the following strategic goal for Inner Mongolia: Inner Mongolia should unswervingly follow the new development path of high quality which prioritizes ecological protection and be green-development-oriented. It should forge a strong shield both for north China's ecological security and for security and stability of northern border area of China, build a base for important energy and strategic resources of China, construct a base for producing key agricultural and animal husbandry products of China and build an important fort where the country opens to its northern neighbors.
  Since its double-first-class construction started, IMU has been focusing on the demands of the above-mentioned strategic goal and corresponding action plans for its disciplines, science and technologies and talent training, strengthening the top-level design for the coordinated development of its disciplines and promoting the integrated development of IMU's disciplines and economic, social and cultural development of Inner Mongolia.

Concentrating on building the ecological grassland animal husbandry, ecological security shield and bases for vital energy and strategic resources and putting building biology into the first-class discipline at core, IMU has adjusted and optimized the arrangement of its disciplines, poured more energy into constructing its uniquely-characterized leading discipline group of "utility of grassland resources and ecological security of northern China" and coordinated such disciplines and fields as ecology, environmentology, chemistry, big data and artificial intelligence for their fast development.

Centering around the demands of building the shield of security and stability of northern China and key region for China's opening to its northern neighbors, IMU has reinforced the construction of such discipline groups as Marxist theories, ethnicity, Chinese language and literature and Chinese history and coordinated the fast development of such disciplines as economics, law and administration. IMU has also furthered its study, understanding, elaboration and publicity of the sense of the community of the Chinese nation politically, economically, socially, historically, culturally and ecologically to strengthen the ethnic unity and promote the creative transformation and innovative development of the excellent Chinese traditional culture.
  IMU has strengthened its intelligent support in theoretical study, practical analysis and decision-making consultancy for "One Belt and One Road Initiative" and building of the economic corridor between China, Mongolia and Russia. The university has trained the specialized talents who are familiar with the political situation, economy, law, culture, customs and geographical conditions of Mongolia and Russia to promote close people-to-people ties, educational and cultural exchanges and industrial cooperation among the countries concerned.

High-quality development driven by "double-first- class" building

OW: What has IMU planned since its discipline of biology was selected as the candidate to be built into a first-class discipline?

Chen: As the discipline to be first-class, IMU's biology has been focusing on the latest academic developments of the world, finding and launching new innovation orientation in regard to such strategic demands as the national security of animal husbandry germplasms, modern green grassland animal husbandry and construction of ecological security shield. It has also been pouring energy into building high-level research platforms, organizing high-quality research teams and carrying out important projects while concentrating on the key innovation researches. Based on the autonomous-region-and-Ministry-of-Education co-built State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Regulation &Breeding of Grassland Livestock, and led and driven by its biology development, IMU has optimized the layout of its disciplines, strengthened inter-discipline integration and coordinated the disciplines and fields for their fast development.

Driven by the new philosophy for discipline construction, the number of IMU's disciplines that rank among the top 30% in the country have increased from 2 to 4 and that of its disciplines which rank among top 40% in the country has risen from 6 to 9 which is half of the total disciplines of Inner Mongolia that rank among the top 40% in the country.

Besides, the discipline group of biology has made a series of achievements in supporting the autonomous region in such aspects of industrial transformation and upgrading, environmental protection, effective and clean utility of natural resources, serving high-quality social and economic development of the autonomous region and promotion of the income increase of farmers and herdsmen in the region. It has produced prominent economic, social and ecological benefits

As for beef cattle industry, IMU has pushed ahead the technological innovation of modern biological breeding and successfully developed new breeds of beef cattle, which is evaluated as leading in the similar research of the world as a whole and being of mile-stone significance. Starting from scratch, IMU has supported and led the eastern part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to set up the largest breeding base for high-quality Simmental cattle and build a standardized production base for 10,000 beef cattle.

Regarding sheep industry, IMU has supported to produce a new milk sheep breed, the number of whose core population reaches nearly 10,000 that adapt themselves to the local climate and can produce both meat and milk. The university has also helped to form a one-million population of improved hybrid Mongolian goats on the Ulanqab grassland-a largest one in China, and succeeded in breeding Arbas cashmere goats whose cashmere production increases 15%.

Concerning dairy industry, IMU has selected and bred world-class cows and bulls for leading dairy companies in China, and innovated the technology for sex-control of cows, which has been industrialized and popularized on a large scale.

In addition, IMU has set up the Center for Grassland Health in Inner Mongolia, created the big data for mineral nutrition of grassland, put forward the proposal for the restoration of the degraded ecological conditions of rivers and lakes in the northern part of China, innovated the key technologies for upgrading potato industry and created modern Mongolian medicines.

OW: What challenges and opportunities has double-first-class construction brought to IMU?
  Chen: As a university in ethnic minority area in the western border area of China, IMU has been facing the problem that the university has to solve, i.e. how to address the bottleneck problem of weak foundation for its further development, weak capability to cultivate talents and attract high-level talents from outside the region, relative shortage of high-level talents, relatively insufficient funds invested in it and relatively few high-quality research achievements and the way to find space for further development.

In order to adapt itself to its further development and in combination with the existing conditions of the university, IMU has reflected on and explored the path for its double-first-class construction and finally reached a consensus that the universitys double-first-class building is to focus on the latest academic developments of the world, base itself in the northern border area of China, highlight demand orientation to realize its double-first-class goals in its innovations and contributions made to serve the strategy of the development of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the whole country.
 To this end, IMU has launched six strategies, i.e. development of high-level talents, building of first-class disciplines, improvement of the ability for scientific research and innovation, training of high-quality and innovative talents, supporting and leading the innovation-driven development of the autonomous region and improvement of its internationalization. It has also deepened the reform in following six aspects: system for personnel management, system for academic management, mechanism and institution for scientific research, pattern for talent training, system for democratic management and mechanism for social cooperation.

For example, with careful study, IMU has launched competitive, coordinated and feasible supporting measures to cultivate, introduce and encourage academic talents, such as “Steed Plan”, which have effectively accelerated the fast growth of young talents who have begun to show their potential in the academic circle. Now 75.9% of its teaching staff have PhD degrees. Besides, the university has introduced the world-class scientists and top scholars of liberal arts and social sciences at home to lead the development of its disciplines concerned.

It can be said that double-first-class building has created great opportunities for the development of IMU and made the university progress greatly in its development. For example, IMU has supported and bred some new discipline developments, i.e. IMU has 6 more first-level disciplines that have right to confer doctor’s degrees, which makes the number of IMU’s first-level disciplines that have right to confer doctor’s degrees increase to 13. IMU also has its first key state laboratory. The university has 10 more national and ministerial-level research platforms which makes IMU’s research platforms at national level reach 15 ones and those at the level of autonomous region 43 ones. Besides, IMU has 30 more projects appraised as nationally key natural science projects and key and major social science projects. The number of IMU’s projects supported by the National Social Science Fund of China and that supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, have reached a record high.

Since September, 2020, IMUs disciplines of environment and ecology, chemistry and engineering have successively entered top 1% of ESI of the world.

The research team of IMU led by Prof. Hu Wei

Forging the sense of the Community of the Chinese Nation going through the management and administration of IMU

OW: In training high-quality talents of different ethnic groups, what has IMU done?

Chen: To build a first-class university, training talents through moral education is a key. IMU has fully implemented the principles of the CPC for education, adhered to the socialist nature of the university and focused on training the leading and backbone talents who admire the truth and pursue excellence, who have firm belief, noble character, sound personality, strong buildup, solid basis of knowledge and capability of innovation, who are fully- developed and have their own charm, outlook on the world and sense of responsibility and who can promote the regional development and play a role in advancing the times.

IMU has energetically adapted itself to the demands of the times and continuously boosted the reform of education and teaching. It has put into practice the new pattern for training innovative talents. The university has explored and carried out the reform on the pattern for training innovative undergraduates, which is students-centered and supported by study plus teaching plus innovative practice and experience" and the reform on the pattern for training graduates in different ways, which is science-education integrated and university-enterprise integrated. Besides, IMU has been successively selected as one of the first batch of morally advanced campuses at national level, one of the first batch of demonstration universities which deepen the reform on the innovation and entrepreneurship education and one of top-50 universities which are experienced in innovation and entrepreneurship.

OW: This year is the first year of the 14th Five-Year Plan period. In a new development stage, how will IMU make its efforts?
  Chen: Regarding the 14th Five-Year Plan, IMU will fully implement the CPCs lines for education, improve the mechanism to put into effect the principle of training talents through moral education, integrate forging the sense of community of the Chinese nation into the different aspects of the universitys government and management, and boost the universitys connotative development, high-quality development and development with its unique characteristics. Centering round the strategic demands of Inner Mongolia and the whole country, IMU will concentrate on supporting the sustainable development of Inner Mongolias economy, society and culture. It will also strengthen, under the existing conditions, the new research institutions and scientific arrangement in such fields as ecological civilization, new energy, new materials, carbon peaking, carbon neutrality and artificial intelligence and enhance and deepen the building of basic disciplines.

IMU will carry out 9 Action Plans in the following aspects-training virtuous talents, boosting first-class disciplines, attracting and breeding excellent teachers, training the first-class undergraduates, training excellent graduates, improving the innovative capability of scientific research, expanding the capability of internationalization, bettering the efficiency of the university government, building modernized campus-to try to build IMU into an important base for training high-quality talents, using the high-quality achievements of high-level scientific research, high-level decision-making and consultancy and cultural inheritance and innovation, and make new contributions to building a beautiful Inner Mongolia and realizing the China dream together .

 


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