The new four-year higher-education structure presents universities with an opportunity to offer students a more flexible and broad-based education. The College of Business at City University (CityU) is cherishing the chance to expand its curriculum, and has developed some courses and majors that are unique to the Greater China region.
"We want to develop business graduates who are not only interested in business, but also know about social values, and have a comprehensive understanding [of society], and perform at their utmost for it," says Dr Dou Wenyu, associate dean at the college and associate professor with the department of marketing.
For example, in marketing, a new course on community relations will provide students with practical knowledge with a marketing dimension, such as strategies to reduce poverty.
Dou has also developed a general education course on ethics and the application of business skills to solve social problems and protect the environment, such as consumer welfare and micro-finance. "We are the first business school in the Greater China region offering this course."
The college has also developed interdisciplinary courses. For example, e-business lessons will integrate knowledge gained in information technology (IT), managing operations, e-marketing and new finance models.
Unique majors include marketing and information management, and sustainable business. The objectives and methods of teaching have also come a long way. Dou adds that the school's motto - Discover & Innovate
@ CityU - covers its approach to teaching through a discovery-enriched curriculum.
The objective is to teach students to do research on their own, and give them a key to life-long learning. "Whatever we teach is limited. There will always be new problems coming up. [Students] need to have their own problem-solving skills," Dou says.
The new system also emphasises learning English and having an international outlook. "Improving English is a requirement and we highly value students' global orientation. At least 50 per cent will go on overseas exchanges, others will join summer immersion programmes in English-speaking countries or will have overseas internships. About 70 per cent of the students will have the chance to go overseas," says Dou, adding that the college has 150 exchange partners globally.
The college has added 20 credits to the original 100 - including general education courses, trimming core subjects and expanding main courses focusing on the students' majors.
"We can allow double major and double minor degrees, and there will be more time and flexibility to pursue internship exchanges," Dou says.
The college has also benchmarked four-year courses from abroad, and is testing some of the general education courses it is offering for the first time. Hiring has been at high levels over the past two years, and the college is ready in terms of manpower, says Dou.