2021 February

 


 

Publisher: Chung-Ming Kuan
Editorial Consultant: Lin-lin Ku
Editor: Gen-Shuh Wang
Executive Committee: NTU Secretariat

 

Published by National Taiwan University
Tel: 886-2-3366-2577
Address: No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd.,
Taipei 10617, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Website: http://ntuhighlights.ntu.edu.tw/

Professor Zhi-Hao Zhu of the Department of Geography
recording an online course.

Leader's Profile

An Interview with NTU Executive Vice President Shan-Chwen Chang

NTU Executive Vice President Shan-Chwen Chang explaining the developments of the pandemic during a CECC press conference (photo provided by CECC).

Taiwan's swift response to the COVID-19 pandemic has set an exemplary model and led the world in combating the virus. Behind the team that worked on disease prevention stands Shan-Chwen Chang, NTU Executive Vice President and convener of the advisory panel of the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC). Before the pandemic, Chang was known as a professor of the College of Medicine at National Taiwan University and an attending physician at National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH). Due to his expertise in infectious diseases, Chang was invited to participate in CECC’s daily press conferences. Now, he is known to the public for his calm and confident composure, as well as for his detailed explanations concerning the situation of the pandemic.

As a medical school professor, Chang is cautious, meticulous, and rigorous, and he often teaches his students the importance of patient-centered medicine. Medical professionals should not only focus on treating the patient’s illnesses but consider every aspect of their life. Chang has integrated this deeply-rooted belief into his teachings and reorganized the small group discussions of the Department of Pharmacy, School of Nursing, and Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences and Medical Biotechnology into a “problem-based interdisciplinary learning course.” The course allows students to learn more about different medical teams and better cater to the need of patients.


NTU Executive Vice President Shan-Chwen Chang integrates the value of patient-centered care into education.

In the eyes of his students, Chang is a warm and caring mentor who always respects their decisions. Several years ago, he had a student who was a biological male with a female gender identity. The student struggled with gender specific changing rooms and restrooms, raising concerns among faculty and students. Those who wish to undergo sex reassignment surgery must first undergo professional psychological evaluations and have the chance to explore living as the other sex. To assist his student, Chang helped communicate with the parents and also opened the first gender-neutral restroom in NTUH. As Chang recalled his student, he laughed and said: “My student eventually changed gender, and I think it was a good thing.”

In addition to lecturing and mentoring, Chang also has rich experience in academic administration. He served as the Director of the Department of Medical Education for six years and also acted as the Chairman of NTU School of Medicine and Dean of National Taiwan University College of Medicine. He has dedicated in reforming the education system and played a crucial role in launching the “Post-Graduate Year Training” and “The 6-year Medical Curriculum.” Chang proudly affirmed that this native design has helped define the role of medical students and interns while also enhancing the students’ professional proficiency — marking an important milestone in Taiwan’s medical education.

When asked about his most memorable reform work, Chang mentioned the introduction of Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Besides written examinations, OSCE tests every student’s clinical skills and competency in history taking, physical examination, and clinical reasoning in a standardized medical setting. OSCE is now part of Taiwan’s medical licensing examination and helps ensure that all medical practitioners in Taiwan possess the necessary skills and competence, as well as knowledge.

A flickering smile appeared on his face when Chang mentioned his family. He is a diligent person who is always busy with work, yet he tries to plan a family day every week to enjoy a meal or a day trip with his family. “My children used to play badminton with me, but now they have outgrown me and don’t want to play with me anymore. I believe life is like a circle, it can only be full and complete if you balance family and work,” he said with warmth.

Q&A

Q: Any tips for staying awake when you are busy with work?
A: I only sleep five hours at night, so I take a short nap in the afternoon to help me stay awake.

Q: What do you usually do when you want to relax?
A: I like listening to classical music and sometimes I go to musical concerts. When I had time in the past, I also enjoyed exercising.

Q: What kind of sports do you like?
A: Besides badminton, I started playing many different sports in college. I played tennis, table tennis, basketball, and baseball. My baseball
  team won the NTU baseball championship and I also won the bowling competition in our class.

Q: All practical matters aside, where would you like to travel?
A: As long as the pandemic is under control and I am with my family,
  I’m comfortable being anywhere.

Q: Do you have any advice for medical students?
A: Always remember that it is better to be a good doctor than a doctor who pursues fame.
  Don’t believe everything you are taught, be a critical thinker, and passionately pursue
  knowledge and the truth.

Biography

Shan-Chwen Chang is the present Executive Vice President and Professor of Internal Medicine at NTU and Chief of Division of Infectious Diseases, NTUH Department of Internal Medicine. He is a recipient of the Ministry of Education’s “Excellent Teacher Award” and NTU’s “Excellence in Teaching Award.”
Chang has served as the Dean of NTU College of Medicine since 2013, driving such reforms as “The 6-year Medical Curriculum” and incorporating
OSCE into the medical licensing examination.
Chang has been on the frontline in the battle
against SARS, H1N1, and COVID-19.
And, he is currently the convener of the advisory
panel of CECC. Chang continues his work in the field
of education and medicine and also participates
in social contribution activities.

 

NTU Executive Vice President Shan-Chwen Chang affirms it is better to be a good doctor than a doctor who pursues fame.

 


Special Report

NTU Students Help Refugee Children Improve Their English Skills with Digital Expertise

How can NTU students work as a team to maximize positive synergy? Yoshin Wang might have the answer. A member of the NTU Leadership Program, this political science major launched Refugee Network Taiwan by pooling expertise and resources both on and off campus. Refugee Network Taiwan is an online English course offered to Syrian refugee children, the goal is to infuse the children with the courage, skills, and confidence to better their lives in an environment with few resources. The program has drawn English teachers from Taiwan and overseas to teach basic English skills to Syrian refugee children, encouraging them with personal concern and support, thereby realizing the ideal of social responsibility.

While attending high school in Japan, Yoshin was inspired by a documentary that was produced by the Red Cross and shown by the school’s international affairs club, as well as by the story of a free clinic at the Zaatari refugee camp operated by Tzu Chi. She pondered how she could contribute to the education of refugee children upon her return to study international relations in Taiwan. Her vision has inspired and attracted Taiwanese students from various universities with different professional training to join Refugee Network Taiwan.

The team had discussions with Syrian students through the online English teaching program.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwanese youth have striven to change the world by using their digital expertise to build connections. Yoshin Wang and her team participated in the Youth Global Action Plan, sponsored by the Youth Development Administration, Ministry of Education in 2020. Their initiative was awarded the first prize in the competition for digital sustainable action plan, garnering NTD130,000 in prize money and the opportunity to build connections abroad. The program encourages young people to reach out to international organizations and implement action plans using digital technology, with themes related to the United Nations’17 Sustainable Development Goals. The 6-month plan was launched in June 2020 as the beginning of a journey in digital action on the international scale. Refugee Network Taiwan has reached out to international organizations based in Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere, inspiring many in the process. Joshin was thrilled that nearly 30 volunteers from Taiwan stepped up to dedicate themselves to the education of refugee children and were eager to partner with the initiative in bridging the gap through the online English teaching program. Her vision of enabling refugee children to be hopeful, continue learning, and keep pursuing their dreams.


Refugee Network Taiwan.

Bea Mae Estur from Syria, a participant in the course, said she hopes to improve her spoken English by taking the online course and interacting with more people. Another student, Mustafa, told the volunteers he hopes to learn about different fields through the course and give back to society in the future. Michel Chu, mentor of the Advanced Leadership Seminar of the Leadership Program, encouraged Joshin’s team to continue this effort and advised them to help the Sfugee children find employment opportunities using online resources. He also offered the precious advice to stay focused in their efforts, in order to overcome various difficulties.

Yoshin said she is pleased with the progress of the course so far and delighted that the team is dedicated to continue running online courses for Syrian refugee children. Even though the children face unimaginable hardships and issues, they always repay the team’s efforts with their warm smiles. Yoshin hopes that more and more people who share same values will join the initiative to leverage ever greater social and international influence together.

The NTU Leadership Program is dedicated to cultivate the students’ leadership qualities, communication and coordination skills, and willingness to support one another. The students in the program are expected to understand and explore their own potential and future while keeping on the lookout for things they can improve in their daily life as well as considering a range of wider issues. The students are taught to pull together in offering services to society in the spirit of humility and altruism, with the goal of understanding the true meaning of leadership. As the motto of the Refugee Network Taiwan team reads,“We can do everything, unafraid of anything, as long as we work with the team!”

For more information,
please visit


Hsueh-Yu Chen (at the center), head of the Youth Development Administration, Ministry of Education, encourages the Refugee Network Taiwan team to persevere along the way to realizing their ideal.

 


Scholarship Ceremony: A Moment for Gratitude and Kindness

The Office of Student Affairs hosted the scholarship ceremony for the first semester of the academic year on December 17, 2020. Presided over by NTU President Chung-Ming Kuan and many advisors, a variety of scholarships were presented to the winners during the ceremony. Besides expressing his gratitude to the generosity of the awarding bodies, President Kuan remarked on NTU’s fine tradition of paying it forward, which expands the university’s room for development. President Kuan observed that the honor means more than the prize money for many winners, and he hoped they would show the same support and kindness when they get the chance in the future.

Jing-Yi Shen, a junior at the School of Occupational Therapy and winner of two different scholarships, said in her speech that she used to lament her difficult childhood because of her father’s chronic health condition. She had to go to the hospital often, but that was where she found her calling while working as a volunteer. She aims to offer appropriate care to people in need through the professional training of her major. Her mother also encourages her to exercise the power of gratitude and become someone with the capacity to give. She is thankful for the generosity and kindness of the awarding bodies, which have allowed her to learn and explore to the best of her ability during her university years, as well as encouraging her to face all the hardship and setbacks.

Mattias Daly, a third-year graduate student at the Department of Chinese Literature and the winner of the Financial Assistance Grant for International Students, showed his admiration for the all-embracing culture and high degree of social inclusion in Taiwan. What sets Taiwan apart is that it is the only place in the world where one can learn, conduct research, and debate freely in Chinese. He appreciates that the university grants scholarships to lessen the students’ financial burden without diminishing their sense of responsibility. He will make it his mission to bravely carry on this free academic tradition, while ensuring that great opportunities will be available to future students.

NTU has secured donations from alumni and faculty members to encourage students to maximize their academic potential. These incentives and grants will hopefully help nurture new generations of students who in turn will feed back to society, setting more and more examples of altruism that will make the world a better place.

Many winners want to have their photos taken with President Kuan, to share their joy and glory with family and friends.

 


Honors

NTU Professor Named Editor of Separation and Purification Technology

Kuo-Lun Tung, Professor of NTU Chemical Engineering, has been appointed as the editor of Separation and Purification Technology (S&PT), a prestigious journal published by Elsevier starting from January 1, 2021. Tung began serving as an editorial board member of SCI’s Journal of Membrane Science (JMS) last August and his recent conferment is another acknowledgment of his commitment and expertise.

In 1997, the journals Gas Separation and Purification and Separations Technology were merged and officially titled Separation and Purification Technology (S&PT). S&PT focuses on the field of separation technology, including studies related to separation and purification in chemical and environmental engineering. According to the Journal Citation Report (JCR), S&PT received an impact factor of 5.774 in June last year and an impact factor of over 6.2 in December.

It's also worth mentioning that the founder of Separations Technology, Professor Chi Tien from Syracuse University, happens to be an alumnus of NTU’s Chemical Engineering department; and Tung's new role can be interpreted as Tien passing the baton.


NTU Professor of Chemical Engineering Kuo-Lun Tung (at the center) is appointed as the editor of S&PT starting from 2021.

Tung is a distinguished researcher, recognized for his work in membrane and separation technology; he is also currently Vice-Chair of the International Water Association (IWA) membrane technology specialist group. In 2019, he became a Fellow of IWA. He was also a scientific committee member of the 2020 International Congress on Membranes & Membranes Processes (ICOM) hosted in London. Also, Tung won the chance to serve as Chair and host the International Conference on Inorganic Membrane (ICIM) in Taipei in June 2022. This will be the first time in three decades that Taiwan has had the chance to be the host country.

S&PT's editorial board consists of eight prominent scholars and the current Editor-in-Chief is Bart van der Bruggen, a founding member of the World Association of Membrane Societies and a Professor at KU Leuven. According to Bart, the number of articles related to membrane and separation technology has rapidly increased in recent years. Based on a deliberate assessment, Elsevier and the board confirmed that Tung stood out for his outstanding research and academic influence. With Tung on board, van der Bruggen is confident that the journal's impact factor will continue to rise and could well reach 6.5 in June 2021.

List of Editors
   
2022 ICIM website

Professor Kuo-Lun Tung

 


International Corner

NTU Hosts its First AI Online Program

Every year, NTU’s Office of International Affairs (NTU OIA) offers short-term programs to students from home and abroad. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutions across the globe have turned to online instruction. Last year, the OIA’s Plus Academy hosted its first online program:“2020 AI Development and Application Online Program. ”NTU’s OIA invited six distinguished professors from a variety of departments to explain how AI can be integrated with other academic fields. The program courses offered information and insights into AI applications in engineering, agriculture, medicine, geospatial, human-computer interaction (HCI), and virtual reality.

The AI online program was offered via NTU COOL, an online platform developed by the Digital Learning Center at NTU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Development, where students can access and watch pre-recorded video lectures. The participating professors used NTU COOL’s online quiz feature to measure the students’ learning results. The program was held from November 23 until December 6, 2020. After completing the courses, students were asked to submit a short essay on a topic of their choice to illustrate what they found interesting during the program.

Since online courses are flexible, convenient, and not limited by class times, classrooms, or bad weather, student enrollment in the 2020 program was 78, higher than the previous years’ enrollment. The online AI program attracted students from around the world, for example from the University of Texas, Stony Brook University, The University of Auckland, and The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. High school recruits from Japan, Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan also participated in the program. To offer the international students a vivid impression of the NTU campus, the OIA uploaded videos of international students sharing their experiences and thoughts of studying at NTU and living in Taiwan.

Keeping pace with the next-generation AI technology, NTU envisions expanding the world’s pool of AI talent by sharing Taiwan’s cutting-edge AI knowledge and achievements with students worldwide. The online program not only showcases NTU’s expertise in AI but may foster new international collaborations. The school anticipates that the program will attract global attention and encourage more international students to study at NTU.


Students making introductory videos to share online.

Professor Zhi-Hao Zhu of the Department of Geography recording an online course.

 


NTU and KU hosts Symposium on AI & Smart Medicine

The NTU-KU Joint Symposium on Digital Health, co-hosted by National Taiwan University (NTU) and Kyoto University (KU), was held on December 16, 2020. Accommodating both face-to-face and virtual participation, the Symposium explored issues in “AI & Smart Medicine for Digital Health.” The event was co-organized by National Taiwan University-Industry Liaison Office, Medical and Health Care, NTU SPARK, and sponsored by Quanta Computer.

The Symposium included keynote lectures and sessions held by NTU and KU professors as well as experts from industry and academia. Besides physical posters, e-posters with recordings were accessible online for viewers who were not present. This feature allowed the virtual platform to be more interactive and engaging. It also facilitated discussion between industry and university partners.

NTU President Chung-Ming Kuan welcomed the Symposium participants with his opening remarks. He commended the friendship between NTU and KU, affirming that the two universities had signed over 30 cooperation agreements, co-organized countless academic projects and exchanges, and explored opportunities for research collaboration in 14 fields. He also noted the official signing of an MOU on strategic partnership in August 2010, which strengthened the relationship between NTU and KU. President Kuan expressed the hope that the symposium would spark discussions on AI technology and smart healthcare as well as promote friendship between the two universities. KU President Nagahiro Minato addressed the Symposium via video stream. He stressed the value of the strategic partnership between NTU and KU and expressed his conviction that, by joining hands, universities can increase their international contributions.

In his speech, Vice President for Research and Development & ILO, Pai-Chi Li, stated that the Internet had revolutionized healthcare, adding that the greatest challenge in future healthcare and AI would be how to manage data and build open platforms to serve different users.


NTU President Kuan (fourth from left), Barry Lam, Chairman of Quanta Computer (fifth from left) and guests from both sides in group photo.

Research teams showcasing and demonstrating their research results.

Barry Lam, Chairman of Quanta Computer, asserted that, as 4G had become a mature form of connectivity, the future trend would be 5G and 6G. 5G connectivity would foster the development of IoT in daily life, while the realization of 6G would facilitate smart connectivity and allow AI to perform operations in hospitals. In concluding, he stressed that, as the healthcare industry integrates automation and data analytics with AI computing, humankind would move one step closer to digital and smart healthcare.

During the Symposium, experts exchanged information and views on how digitalization could impact clinical practice, the healthcare system, assisted diagnosis, psychological diseases, occupational hazards, and an aging population. The research team of the Global Industry Platform of NTU System also presented their research results at the event.

 


NTU and KYUTECH hosts Online International Study Group

NTU’s Center for Teaching and Learning Development met the challenges of COVID-19 to co-host the “International Study Group Project” with Kyushu Institute of Technology (KYUTECH). The project was developed to improve the students' understanding of different cultures, deepen their learning, and expand their knowledge by peer exchanges and communication. The project was aimed to help students from different places learn from each other and develop communication and leadership skills by engaging in friendly and fruitful activities together.


Group photo of NTU and KYUTECH students.

In September 2020, the participating students started getting to know each other online. After several conversations and online icebreaker activities, they participated in a virtual end-of-semester gathering on December 12, 2020. The activity included a human library, virtual tours around the two campuses, and discussions on how COVID-19 had affected life on campus and the world.

The activity commenced with a human library: every student took part in the living library by sharing their personal stories and ideas. Students from NTU and KYUTECH were divided into groups to listen to different stories, and create dialogues. NTU student Wen-Yi Lin shared a memorable story about her internship experience in Malawi and KYUTECH student Jugo Mizota spoke about animation and nuclear energy. He sparked a heated debate in his group when he asked the others about their views on the legality of nuclear weapons. In response to COVID-19, the students hosted online campus tours and navigated their peers around their respective campuses. The NTU students walked around their campus, strolling along the broad Royal Palm Boulevard and Mahogany Boulevard, viewing the majestic Main Library, and circling the glimmering Drunken Moon Lake. On the other side of the screen, the KYUTECH students introduced their campus buildings using slides and then stepped outside the room to show the beautiful blooming flowers on their campus. By chance, a cosplay activity was held on NTU campus just when the virtual tour was underway. In contrast to the empty KYUTECH campus, NTU campus was filled with passionate, exquisitely dressed cosplayers.


Students discussing issues via video-chat.

Students concluded the event by discussing the theme “2020, A Year of Change.” Some students discussed the impact and challenges of COVID-19, others addressed the rising suicide rate and suggested preventive measures, while others talked about mental health issues, such as depression. Finally, the students held a vote for the best storyteller and presenter, and the winners received awards from the Center for Teaching and Learning and Development.

 


Research Achievements

Unraveling the Mystery of Genetic Diversity

Genetic diversity is the basis of evolutionary change. In the transmission of genes, chromosomes from two sides pair to exchange genetic material and create genetic diversity. DMC1 protein is the key enzyme catalyzing this DNA exchange reaction. Interestingly, although the father and mother's chromosomal DNA sequences are similar, they are not identical. How can DMC1 such tolerate imperfection and what is the mechanism behind such a process? A team of researchers from NTU and Academia Sinica conducted biochemical and biophysical experiments utilizing a cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopy facility, in order to examine how the unique structure of DMC1 proteins accommodate imperfect pairing. Their research results were published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications in January 2021.

To examine the molecular mechanism of DMC1’s mismatch tolerability, the research team purified high-quality DMC1 protein and observed the DMC1-DNA complex with cryo-electron microscopy. After “seeing” the molecular details of the interaction between DMC1 and DNA, the team hypothesized that DMC1 creates larger spaces to accommodate mismatch DNA pairing. By narrowing the space via site-direct mutagenesis and observing with cryoEM and MD simulation, the team demonstrated that the size of the space is highly correlated with the tolerance of DNA mismatching.

The “accurate” execution of enzymes is key to the continuation of life; however, it is the “inaccurate” exchange of DNA sequence that leads to genetic diversity. The team’s discovery perfectly demonstrated how enzymes control “accuracy” via their molecular structure and how DMC1 mutation may be reason behind the infertility and disease caused by uneven chromosome segregation.

NTU has long been dedicated to the study of genome integrity. This research collaboration with Academia Sinica not only deepened the research on this topic but also caught the attention of the international community. The team’s remarkable speed of solving five protein-DNA complexes in one year was largely due to the powerful tool, CryoEM, made available by the Academia Sinica CryoEM Facility.


A schematic model showing how “a loose gate and a tight backbone support” structure contribute to the mismatch tolerance of DMC1, whereas“a tight gate and a loose backbone support” structure contribute to the high fidelity of RAD51.

The co-authors of the research article were Shih-Chi Luo of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Biological Chemistry and Hsin-Yi Yeh of NTU’s Institute of Biochemical Sciences. The research team included Ming-Daw Tsai and Meng-Chiao Ho of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Biological Chemistry; Hung-Wen Li of NTU’s Department of Chemistry; and Peter Chi of NTU’s Institute of Biochemical Sciences. The research was supported by NTU, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Academia Sinica, and the Taiwan Protein Project.

Scan the QR code
to read the journal article.

 


Teaching and Learning

It was the Age of COVID-19. It was the Age of Blending Learning

Student at the hybrid-workshop combining live and online discussions.

In the fight against the outbreak of COVID-19, institutions of higher education across the globe have been replacing traditional face-to-face education with distance education—an unprecedented experience for both students and teachers. After the sudden and unsteady implementation of remote learning, teachers quickly learned to adapt and adjust to this new form of education, even gaining new inspirations and ideas for teaching.

To help faculty members better respond to the challenges of distance education, National Taiwan University’s Center for Teaching and Learning Development Digital Learning Center hosted a workshop and invited faculty to share their remote learning experiences, advice, and tips for educators. The speakers included Wei Jeng , Assistant Professor of Department of Library and Information Science; Jason Kuo, Assistant Professor of Department of Political Science; and Wei-Cheng Liu, Adjunct Lecturer of Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. All three speakers have rich experience in blending learning and they shared their strategies for course design, encouraging fellow staff members to accumulate digital experience during the pandemic.

Blending learning is an approach to education that combines face-to-face classroom teaching and distance education. With blending learning, students have the flexibility to learn at their own pace. Generally speaking, blending learning refers to the integration of diverse teaching strategies, methods, media, and technology. In other words, it is a model of education that combines synchronous and asynchronous learning.

To help participants fully understand the benefits of blending learning, the three speakers first uploaded a 20 minute-pre-recorded video to NTU COOL, the school’s new-generation digital teaching platform. Before attending the physical workshop, participants watched the video on NTU COOL and then left their comments, questions, or feedback. Speakers then began their sessions by answering the comments they had received. This small demonstration showcased how blending learning enables students to learn online and then engage in in-depth discussions in classrooms.

According to Jeng, lecturers must include learning activities, such as content-related assignments and discussions to motivate and enhance student participation. She noticed that students are far less likely to finish watching course videos if there are no other incentives to engage them. She suggests lecturers leverage online interactive tools such as Google meet, NTU Discussion Board, or bulletin board to balance content with connection. The more interactive courses are, the more likely students are to stay attentive and motivated.

Liu began using digital teaching tools to make learning easy and fun for students. It was also his way to explore different teaching approaches. In his speech, he shared his analysis of the different teaching phases and the respective methods that helped deliver content. For example, most students start yawning and getting bored when listening to content related to knowledge. To keep students enticed, he recorded his lectures into videos so students can preview the material before class. Thus, students can direct their energy to discussions and exams during their time in class. After-class assignments are then given to students to solidify the learned information. Liu introduced the different digital teaching tools that may be applied during each phase, such as using NTU COOLS’ “symphony” feature for guided reading or Kahoot for quizzes and group discussions. Liu believes, most important of all, that learning activities should help students enhance their engagement and learning outcomes.

For teaching large classes of over 100 people, Kuo recommends uploading the content and related materials to NTU’s digital teaching platform—CEIBA. Compared to pre-recorded lectures, Kuo believes online live streaming courses can increase interaction and help lecturers capture student’s real-time responses. He also discovered that digital learning facilitated student engagement since those who are too shy to speak or raise questions in a physical classroom can connect with others via text-based chat.

Though the pandemic has pushed faculty members to embrace digital and distance education, this shift in a new education approach has encouraged educators to strive and enrich the students’ learning experience. Undoubtedly, this has been a challenge and an opportunity for school. Importantly, these valuable experiences can still serve future face-to-face classes. As lecturers familiarize themselves with blending learning and master different digital tools, they will also greatly enhance the value and diversity of education, creating more space for innovation.


Students holding group discussions.

 


More Than “Highly Trained Professionals”: Department of Life Science Hosts Long-running Seminar Series

The Department of Life Science launched its celebrated Seminar Series on September 24, 2015. Ever since, the Seminar Series has been a regular bi-weekly event held during the lunch hour every other Friday, with professors and experts sharing their latest research achievements and updates from industry. Over 80 leading professionals in life science fields have been invited to contribute to the series so far. With the enthusiastic participation of faculty and students of the Department of Life Science, the series is an established campus fixture.

The Seminar Series was the brainchild of Prof. Chii-Shen Yang. Prof. Yang reports that he got the idea of a seminar series when he was a graduate student in the United States. At American universities, many departments organize seminar and lecture series for the students and faculty, but this was not a popular trend at NTU when Prof. Yang started teaching there. Consequently, Prof. Yang brainstormed with several colleagues in July 2014, and the idea came to fruition a year later. Prof. Yang jokes that besides becoming “highly trained professionals,” he wanted life science students to stay creative by opening themselves up to the wider academic circle as well as industry.

The College of Life Science is known for research that has both academic and application value, and the Seminar Series is designed accordingly. Not only can series help the students keep abreast of the latest developments in industry as well as academia, department faculty are encouraged to collaborate with their counterparts in other fields. Prof. Yang himself was inspired by a professor from the Department of Electrical Engineering who attened the seminar series; they began a collaboration and eventually published a paper in an academic journal. Over the past 6 years, series presentations have covered a wide range of topics, for example drug development, protein structure, cryogenic electron microscopy, bacterial information transmission, medical imaging, biomedical patent regulations, among a host of others.


The Seminar Series organized by the Department of Biochemical Science and Technology.

Each series presentation attracts 50 to 60 participants. Since it is now a regular campus event, participation has become part of university life. Fancy posters are prepared to introduce the series presenters, with detailed information about their academic background and research achievements. The poster give even those who cannot attend a chance to know something about the presenters. Besides positive feedback from series participants, tangible support from the deans and administration has helped make the Seminar Series a great success. After all, it takes a village to continue passing on a great tradition.

 


Campus

NTU Men’s Softball Team Marches on, Brave and Proud

The NTU Men’s Softball Team won the runner up at the 2020 Intercollegiate Athletic Games.

Known for its high motivation and persistence, the NTU Men’s Softball Team has made many great achievements in its history. Even though the team took second place instead of being crowned champion at the Intercollegiate Athletic Games in 2020, the team has resolved to stay motivated and work harder to be the best in 2021.


The NTU Men’s Softball Team is known for its high motivation and steely persistence.

Founded in 1992, NTU Men’s Softball Team began by recruiting fast pitch softball enthusiasts from the departments of Civil Engineering, Law, and Economics. The team took second place at the Intercollegiate Athletic Games the same year. The victory kick-started nearly three decades of glorious history by inspiring more players to sign up, and getting a volunteer coach, Juei-Wan Shen, who had played on the national team. Since then, many team members have joined as freshmen and played on the team during their entire time at NTU, including their graduate and even PhD studies, continuing the team’s outstanding tradition as well as offering each other unwavering support.

Most players start playing fast pitch softball at college, honing their skills with the help of the coach as well as the veteran players. Many alumni help out during the team practice, making the team members feel they belong to an extended family. The team was crowned champion after its tenth appearance at the Intercollegiate Athletic Games in 2019. However, most of the players on the winning lineup graduated since then. The 2020 lineup consisted of mostly sophomores and juniors. After several tough battles against powerful opponents, such as the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, NTU faced National Cheng Kung University in the final and ended up as the runner-up.


Most players start playing softball at college, honing their skills with the help of the coach as well as veteran players.


The new players’ experience at the Intercollegiate Athletic Games has made them realize they need to sharpen their skills and get more experience. So, they are resolved to train harder. The coach expects the team to do better next year as every player is striving to surpass himself and make progress. Placing second at the 2020 Games taught the team a valuable lesson, and they will engage in rigorous softball and weight training in hopes of winning every game and being crowned as the champion later this year.

 


Professor Wenzel's Love of Research and Hiking in Taiwan

Christian Helmut Wenzel is Professor at NTU’s Department of Philosophy. Originally from Germany, he studied mathematics and philosophy in Germany and the United States. In high school, he spent time building model airplanes, doing mathematics, and thinking about philosophical problems, such as whether human beings have free will and the nature of thought. While working on his doctorate in pure mathematics (algebraic geometry) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, he studied Chinese and French. He found research in mathematics to be challenging and enjoyable. After completing his doctorate, he seized the opportunity to work at a research institute in Madras, now Chennai. The director was a famous mathematician and a lover of classical Indian music. Prof. Wentzel worked there during 1990-91 but then received an offer from Germany and, while pondering a return to philosophy, he took a job in the mathematics department at the University of Wuppertal. He taught there for seven years. During this period, he was also a visiting professor at L'École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and earned a PhD in philosophy at the University of Wuppertal. He wrote a doctoral dissertation on Das Problem der Subjektiven Allgemeingültigkeit des Geschmacksurteils bei Kant (The Problem of Subjective Universality of the Judgment of Taste in Kant). The dissertation was published the following year as a book by De Gruyter. He next had the good fortune to receive an Alexander von Humboldt scholarship to visit Harvard University and Duke University from 1999 until 2001. While there, he studied Anglo-American philosophy. Later in 2001 he was hired by National Chi Nan University in Puli, Taiwan. At the time, he also received an offer from the National University of Singapore. But he preferred to teach in Puli, loving the beauty of the natural environment there. At Chi Nan, he wrote another book on Kant, this time in English. It was published by Blackwell in 2005 and was well received by Kant scholars around the world. He worked intensively on that book while enjoying the tranquility and beauty of Puli’s environs, especially the clean air and the charming views of Hehuanshan and Sun Moon Lake. He often took morning swims in Sun Moon Lake with some local people whilst the police looked the other way. In 2009, he moved from Chi Nan to National Taiwan University in 2009. Although Prof. Wenzel is not an urbanite, he enjoys NTU’s beautiful campus and appreciates the nearby mountains and coast.

During Prof. Wentzel’s twenty-year sojourn in Taiwan, with the exception of 2020, he has spent several months of every year in the US and Europe, for example at Palo Alto (home of Stanford University), Berlin, Munich, and Oxford. These visits have allowed him to keep in close contact with eminent scholars in those places. He much enjoys engaging in friendly, direct, and to-the-point discussions. If one holds different views on the points at issue, it will be even better, more challenging, and great fun. In particular, Prof. Wenzel works on Kant, Wittgenstein, aesthetics, philosophy of language and mind, continental philosophy, philosophy of mathematics, and some Chinese philosophy, such as Zhuangzi and Confucius. His research work is available on his personal homepage, which can easily be found on the Internet under his full name “Christian Helmut Wenzel” or by clicking the link under his picture at the NTU philosophy homepage. Feel free to ask him if you want to know more about him and his interests! His email address is: wenzelchristian@yahoo.com.


Prof. Wenzel with his mother in Germany and an airplane he built more than forty years ago.

Prof. Wenzel's bike on the road from Lishan to Hehuanshan.


Prof. Wenzel hiking in Wufen.

Prof. Wenzel is currently interested in philosophy of mind. He is working on two problems: whether we have “free will” and the nature of “thought.” What do we mean by “free will”? If the world is deterministic and everything we think and do was already determined by the laws of nature and the state of the world in the past, how can we be said to have free will? We do not know what is going on in our brains, and our feeling of freedom might just be an illusion. Spinoza already argued for this position. Kant developed his transcendental philosophy to save the idea of free will. If on the other hand, if the world is not entirely deterministic as quantum physics suggests, how can free will be meaningfully based on probabilistic quantum events? It seems there is no place for free will. We still do not have a solution to this problem. But, if there is no free will, how can we be held responsible for our actions? Whatever we do, it seems we could never have done otherwise. We say we think, imagine, and have beliefs. But, we do not really know what is going on when we think. We do not know what is going on in our brains and we do not really know what thought is. It is such questions as these that enticed Prof. Wenzel into philosophy during his high school days, and now, after forty years of intellectual epicycles, he has returned to them. He believes it is good to be introduced to philosophy as a high school student. He hopes he has made some intellectual progress during the last forty-plus years. So, he wishes to write two books, one in response to each question. He plans to go through the history of philosophy from Ancient Greece, through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Rationalism, Empiricism, Enlightenment, all the way to latest discussions in neuroscience, computer science, and artificial intelligence. He also plans to look into Buddhism and Chinese philosophy. This will keep him occupied and happy for years to come.

Besides doing philosophy, Christian Wenzel also enjoys reading literature and playing the piano, mainly Beethoven, Schubert, and now Bach. He enjoys riding out of Taipei at least once a week on his motorcycle, now a 1000 cc Kawasaki. He likes to ride into the mountains and along the coast, and he enjoys hiking. There are three recent pictures attached. On one you see him together with his mother in Germany and an airplane he built more than forty years ago. The other shows his bike on the way from Lishan to Hehuanshan. The third was taken during a hike in Wufen. Hiking can be like doing research. You never know where you will end up, and that gives you new ideas and is a great experience.

 


Back Cover

European Dream and Reluctant Integration in the 21st Century

To avoid repeating the nightmare of nationalism, a common European Dream emerged in the wake of WWII. This dream has since developed into several essential doctrines of European integration, inspiring the institutionalist context which framed intergovernmental bargaining, sectoral spillovers and transnational cooperation in European integration. The powerful European Dream has even nudged Europeans towards closer integration, though they were, quite often, reluctant to go further. This dream-driven approach and reluctant runner’s model have highlighted some fundamental realities of European integration, inspiring not only for the future of the EU but also for the ongoing Asian regionalism.

European Dream and Reluctant Integration in the 21st Century: Lessons for Ongoing Asian Regionalism has three parts divided into thirteen chapters. The three parts examine the topics How to Advance Reluctant Integration, the EU in the Global Governance, and the EU and Asian Integration, respectively, to offer an explanation of European integration, the EU’s role in global governance, and its impact on Asian regionalism, with the help of the European Dream approach and reluctant runner’s model. Factors such as Trump’s unilateralism, rising tensions between the US and the PRC, and the COVID-19 pandemic may all be turning points for world politics. The pace of both globalization and global governance has slowed down as a consequence, giving space to regionalism and inter-regionalism. This book hopes to contribute to the rising debate over European integration, Asian regionalism, and EU-Asian inter-regionalism.

The author Hungdah Su is professor and Jean Monnet Chair of the Department of Political Science at National Taiwan University, Director-General of the European Union Centre in Taiwan, and President of European Community Studies Association Taiwan (ECSA Taiwan). He served as President of the European Union Studies Association Asia-Pacific during 2017-2018. He has been a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts since 2015.


This book aims to explain European integration, the EU’s role in global governance, and the EU’s impact upon Asian regionalism.