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The English major of Foreign Languages College of Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) was first established in 1993, which was originally a three-year Economic and Trade English program. We began to offer 4-year English undergraduate programs in 1998, MTI program in 2015, and academic degree of MA in Foreign Languages and Literatures in 2019. In the same year, English major was awarded the first-class major construction site in Hubei Province. The teaching and research section of English major was awarded as the Excellent Basic Teaching Unit of HZAU in 2014, the Outstanding Basic Teaching Section of the University in 2018, and the Prominent Teaching and Research Section of Hubei Province in 2019.
The English department has 30 teachers, who are responsible for courses of undergraduate and graduate program of English major and some courses of business English major as well as liberal arts courses concerning language, literature, and culture for non-English majors. The faculty of the English department have won many awards in various teaching competitions through their industrious effort. Among them, Prof. Fang Hong was awarded the champion of Liberal Arts Group of the first Teaching Competition of Young Teachers in Hubei Province and May 1st Labor Medal of Hubei Province; Prof. Mei Ting the grand prize in Hubei Province and the second prize in the SFLEP Cup National College English Teaching Competition. Lecturer Zhai Huiting was awarded the special prize in Hubei Province of the SFLEP Cup and the second prize in the National English Teachers Competition for Agriculture and Forestry Universities. What’s more, Lecturer Guo Haiyan was awarded the second prize in the SFLEP Cup and Lecturer Shang Wenjun was awarded the first prize in National Final FLTRP Multi-language “Teaching Star”. In the past four years, teachers have published two A&HCI papers and 44 CSSCI papers, including 1 in Journal of Foreign Languages, 1 in Chinese Translators Journal, 1 in Contemporary Foreign Literature.
The English Department has made excellent achievement in talent cultivation and curriculum construction over the past two decades. In 2008, the reform of cultivation mode for English majors was awarded the second prize of university teaching achievements. In 2018, “the Exploration and Practice of the Cultivation Model of the Core Competence of English Majors in the Trinity of Language, Culture and Thinking” was awarded the second prize of Teaching Achievements of Hubei Province. Seven courses of English major were rated as university-level quality courses; Three open online courses have been established, including “Introduction to British Literature”, “Introduction to American Literature” and “Introduction to Foreign Literary Masterpieces”. Among them, “Introduction to British Literature” was awarded one of the first batch of high quality online open courses for undergraduates in Hubei Province in 2019 and the national high quality online open course in 2020. Eight courses have been approved as university-level “ideological and political education-oriented” demonstration courses, which play an active role in building students’ proper world outlook for and telling Chinese stories in English.
The quality of talent cultivation in the Department of English is constantly improving. In 2019, the passing rate of TEM-4 exceeded the national average by 42 percentage points and the excellent rate reached 24%. In the past five years, more than 100 students have been awarded prizes in English speech, reading and writing competitions, including 48 awards at or above the provincial-level. From 2016 to 2020, 68 university-level SRF projects and 26 National College Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Programs were approved, 3 of which were rated as “Top Ten Projects” of the university and 2 the second prize of Excellent Scientific Research Achievements of undergraduates in Hubei Province. From 2016 to 2019, students published 28 academic papers; 12 papers of the class of 2016 to 2019 were rated as provincial Outstanding Thesis of Bachelor’s Degree. A number of outstanding students have been enrolled to graduate school in leading universities at home and abroad without taking entrance examination. The MYCOS quality assessment of undergraduate education in China shows that the employment rate of English major is 100% and the teaching satisfaction is 98%. English major has the highest degree of communication between students and faculty, and the highest degree of satisfaction and recommendation for their university.
Business English Department
Business English major, as an undergraduate discipline cultivating qualified personnel of interdisciplinary knowledge for the country, was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2007 to distinguish from other language-related majors. Accredited in 2011, HZAU had become the first university titled in agriculture and forestry to apply for Business English major, and the College of Foreign Languages then began to offer 4-year Business English undergraduate programs in the same year.
Business English Department provides basic courses and professional courses for Business English majors. Among the 13 teachers of the department, there are 1 professor, 9 associate professors, including 6 teachers who have doctoral degrees or are PhD candidates. Half of the teachers have dual-disciplinary educational backgrounds of both English and Economics, Management, Law, International Trade, Marketing, etc. Business English Department features interdisciplinarity of teachers, which is the guarantee of Business English major and discipline construction. Teachers of the department have published more than 40 papers in SSCI, A&HCI, CSSCI journals, published 3 textbooks and monographs respectively, and presided over or participated in nearly 20 educational reforms and research programs of all levels.
Business English Department adheres to the concept of “enhancing the foundation, highlighting the characteristics and emphasizing the application”. It has also constructed the interdisciplinary talent cultivation model, which takes “business as the core, English as the foundation, competence as the priority, professional skill practice as the key” (BECP), stressing the central place of multi-disciplines and practice cultivation methods. Meanwhile, great importance has also been attached to the development of students’ language application skills and true ability in business practice. The passing rates of TBEM-4 and TBEM-8 tests are respectively 40% and 35%, higher than that of the national average rates. Those of TEM-4 and TEM-8 tests exceed the national average rates by 40% and 30% respectively. Students have won prizes in various business professional competitions. In 2019 and 2020, more than 40 students won the first prize of the National Contest for Business English Knowledge, placing our college at the third place among all universities in the Third National Contest for College Business English Comprehensive Competence in 2019, and we won the award of College of Excellence. 20 students have won the first prize, attaining a remarkably first prize winning rate 51%, 10 times of the average rate of colleges and universities across the country. In 2018, the college won the grand award in the First “Yixue Cup” Business English Practical Skill Contest of colleges and universities in Hubei Province.
Department of College English Teaching
Huazhong Agricultural University has a long history of college English teaching. It dates back to 1900 when several Japanese and American teachers were firstly employed and eminent scholars including Wang Guowei and Fan Bingqing were invited to serve as teachers and interpreters for Hubei Agricultural School, HZAU’s predecessor. In September 2020, driven by the concept of integrated foreign language teaching for “undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctoral students”, the Department of College English Teaching was founded out of the original College English Division and Graduate English Division, which now comprises three Teaching and Research Divisions, specifically of General English, General Academic English/Competency Courses and Academic English. The department currently has 51 full-time teachers, including 2 professors, and 18 associate professors, who commit themselves to rigorous college English teaching for nearly 10,000 undergraduates and over 4,000 graduate students.
The Department of College English Teaching actively responds to the demands of national higher education development and the university’s talent cultivation goals, fulfills the “student-centered” concept, and deepens the teaching reform. We have formed a level-based, personalized and diversified college English teaching system, and established high-quality curriculums, with distinctive advantage in agricultural academic English teaching. Professor Liu Ping published the textbook Academic Writing of Agricultural Papers in English and built the HZAU CQPweb Corpus. The department also possesses advantages in general English teaching. We have launched four MOOC courses: College English Integrated Course (Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced) and IELTS Writing. The statistics on China University MOOC platform show that over 120,000 learners took our MOOC courses nationwide. College English Integrated Course (Elementary) is rated as the excellent online course at provincial level. Intercultural Communication and A Glimpse of Chinese Culture are rated as university-level morality cultivation model courses．Some relevant textbooks were published, such as Intercultural Communication. Understanding the UK．Besides， teachers are dedicated to college English teaching reforms and won some prizes, namely the Research and Practice of College English Teaching Model in Agricultural Universities under the Network-based Autonomous Learning Environment won the third prize of Teaching Achievements of Hubei Province. Research and Practice of “One Lead, Three Assists” College English Teaching Model won the second prize of Teaching Achievements of HZAU.
The faculty of the Department of College English Teaching are devoted to education and research, and have achieved prominent results in many major teaching contests. Associate Professors Wang Fei and Wang Yingzhen were awarded the second prize in Liberal Arts Group of the Teaching Competition of Young Teachers in Hubei Province. Associate Professors Wang Yingzhen and Liu Liya, and Lecturers Shu Chang and Gao Liping were awarded the first prize in the Provincial Final of SFLEP Cup National College English Teaching Competition. Chen Xiaotong and Du Lei won the grand prize and second prize in the National English Teachers Competition for Agricultural and Forestry Universities. Lecturer Liu Xiao was awarded the third prize in National College Teacher Teaching Innovation Competition. Associate Professor Wang Fei and Lecturer Liu Xiao were awarded the first prize in the Foreign Language Micro-Course Competition in Hubei Province. Lecturer Du Lei was awarded the third prize in Foreign Language Group of the Teaching Competition of Young Teachers in Hubei Province. Two teachers were awarded the first prize of HZAU Teaching Competition of Young Teachers, two were awarded the second prize, and several teachers won the first prize of HZAU Teaching Quality Award. Five teachers as outstanding practioners have entered the “Shishan Shuoyan Talent Program” of HZAU. In the past three years, teachers have published over 40 research papers, including 21 papers in core journals such as Chinese Translator Journal and Foreign Literature Studies and 2 A&HCI papers. And the list goes on.
The department helps create a pleasant English learning environment for students, enriched by a web-based foreign language autonomous learning center, campus English radio station, English corner, President Cup and other English competitions. Students are encouraged to participate in various off-campus competitions, such as National English Competition for College Students, Five-Minute Research Presentation Competition, Translation Contest of Hubei Province, all witnessing the growth of the students. We are also committed to impacting the HZAU community with our capacity in English, helping teachers and students to improve their English research papers, promoting MOOC courses in other disciplines with English subtitling, developing English website of the university and expanding the global reach of HZAU.
The Department of College English Teaching values innovation and diversity. In the new era, we will continue to deepen the reforms, optimize the curriculum system, update the teaching methods, strengthen morality cultivation, and innovate the assessment system. We will further enhance the quality of college English teaching, and consolidate the fundamental and irreplaceable role of college English teaching in empowering individuals.