Red ribbon finally cut at Glasgow College Hainan, UESTC!

Published: 4 October 2023

The latest addition to Glasgow College, UESTC - a campus in tropical Hainan - is now fully up and running for its newest student cohort. A fusion of traditions and ambitions was on display, befitting an international team.

The new first year students of Glasgow College Hainan, UESTC were privileged to take part in its first ever 'opening ceremony', held on August 8th in the main gymnasium, in what proved to be a rich, sincere and culturally diverse display of talent and ambition. Our pioneering campus, based within Hainan's 'Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone', opened its doors unofficially earlier this year. However, previous students who flew out there from Chengdu were housed in temporary spaces, awaiting the completion of its state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.

These have proved worth the wait.

Hong Zhu, Vice President of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Linping Wang, Deputy Director of Hainan Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone Administration, representatives of various functional departments of the school, college leaders, teacher representatives and representatives of sister colleges and universities were present for the ceremony, alongside the 120 new students of the College, their parents, and supporters. Vice President Zhu, Aiying Di (Head of Adminstration of Glasgow College Chengdu) and Yinghua Wang (Deputy Head of Administration and Vice Dean of Glasgow College Hainan) also gave warm welcomes and outlined a strong future vision for Glasgow College, both in Hainan and at Chengdu, encouraging the students to study hard and constantly consolidate their foundational knowledge.

Hainan students on stage 2

Above are pictured the student representatives and tutor representatives of each class who, having written aspirational letters for themselves and their cohort - "A Letter to Ourselves in Four Years" - then sealed them safely into boxes acting as time capsules. The performance was a symbolic planting of dreams and hopes; an expression of the wish that, after four years, the 'seeds' (as surrogates for our students) will emerge tall and mighty, blooming with life.

In his speech, Dean Guanghui Liu urged the students not only to change their learning styles, but also to change their living habits so as to complete the transition from middle school to college as soon as possible. He emphasised the need to gain professional knowledge and master professional skills, to lay a solid foundation for future development. At the same time, he also hoped that students would pay attention to cultivating global outlooks, achieving all-round personal development and eventually becoming innovative leaders with "Chinese feelings and international vision".

This may seem unusual to those more accustomed to Western traditions; but that is partly the point - a fusing as much as an exchange of conventions and ideas. The ceremony featured Scottish traditional dancing and music in acknowledgement of visitors from the University of Glasgow, among whom was Senior Lecturer Dr Julien Le Kernec.

Julien Le Kernec addressing the audience at the first Hainan opening ceremony for Glasgow, College Hainan students

Dr Le Kernec teaches courses on the Information Engineering pathway at both Chengdu and Hainan as a member of the 'Fly In Fly Out' teaching team. His opening speech was delivered on behalf of the Principal of University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Deputy Vice Chancellor for External Engagement, Rachel Sandison, Dean for Transnational Education in Engineering, Professor Muhammad Imran, and newly appointed Executive Dean for Glasgow College UESTC Hainan, Dr Robert Partridge. In it, he reminded students that "as "founding members of Glasgow College Hainan, UESTC, you have a responsibility to help set the standards for those who follow in your footsteps." Further, while "University education should be intellectually and practically demanding, it should also be a great adventure and we hope you will enjoy your time here in Hainan."

He also emphasised that Glasgow College degree programmes "integrate rigorous foundations in mathematics and engineering with opportunities for creativity in group and individual projects. In this way, we are confident you will become an exceptional engineer, equipped with the capability to lead and influence others in your future career. In Hainan, we are pleased to be working with the campus bureau and with other joint institutions allying the best of East and West, to provide a truly unique learning environment.  Whilst we are committed to the same high standards we observe in Chengdu, the experience here will rightly be different, taking full advantage of our campus setting and the local resources." Demonstrating his linguistic abilities, Dr Le Kernec's parting words were in Chinese: 欢迎来到海南电子科技大学格拉斯哥学院. 谢谢你们!(Welcome to Glasgow College Hainan, UESTC. Thank you!)

Also present at the ceremony were representatives from the leadership teams of several other universities settled in the Lingshui Li'an International Education Innovation Pilot Zone, showcasing its international, cooperative nature. These included the Communication University of China, Queen Mary University of London, Minzu University of China and Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (Germany).

First published: 4 October 2023