Exclusive interview with the new level 1 director – director Kao-cheng Wang of the EMI Center
"(I) feel very serious about it, but I also have a high degree of enthusiasm for the promotion of this important work." This is the feeling of Professor Kao-cheng Wang, the Vice President for International Affairs at Tamkang University, who has just taken up the post of director at the EMI Center. Tamkang's internationalization has always been recognized by various industries and sectors, and in response to as well as in support of the government's bilingual education policy, the University is participating Ministry of Education’s bilingual learning program for college students. Specific to this purpose, the English as a medium for instruction Center (EMI Center) was established in December, 2021, which will primarily be involved in the development of EMI courses in the School of International Affairs.
Professor Wang indicates that Tamkang emphasizes internationalization and student’s foreign language abilities, with 10 EMI courses having been set up, and will continue to encourage EMI teaching. It is also the national policy to create a bilingual country, and to do so would require all citizens to have the language ability. “Thus it is rather meaningful to step into this new position, but this also requires effort from the university’s faculties and students alike.” In EMI courses, English is used for 70% of the time, and Professor Wang points out that “This will be promoted to the faculties and students in all colleges of the University, particularly the technology and financial sectors. Even the entire country is becoming internationalized, and hopefully all Tamkang students can benefit from this.”
Regarding the implementation of the EMI program, Director Wag explains, “The establishment of the EMI Center has been listed in the Higher Education SPROUT Project and as a university level project, with each college setting up an EMI Center to promote this endeavor together. In terms of teaching, an EMI teacher community will be set up to enhance the abilities and professionalism of teachers when it comes to EMI teaching; colleges are also encouraged to open up EMI courses, and in the future, Students’ graduation certificate will indicate the EMI courses they took, while teaching assistants will be nurtured to provide assistance in these courses.”
With respect to faculty members who are used to teaching in Chinese in the past, director Wang hopes that these teachers can understand that Taiwan is currently promoting EMI teaching. Tamkang has held teacher training sessions, including cooperating with the Queensland Institute in Australia on training camps; the EMI consultation room has been set up, which is assisted and guided by faculties who were trained by the Queensland Institute. There are also incentive mechanisms in place to provide subsidies to the teaching staff. The official website for the EMI Center has now online, and students can visit the pages to find out related information; links to the information will also be placed on social media platforms to promote them.
Director Wang point out that the program is mainly to cultivate Taiwanese students to raise their English abilities. Taiwan must head towards internationalization and bilingualism, with the citizens needing to raise their ability for international communication, absorbing international information and new knowledge. In the future, requirements on bilingual abilities will also rise in the job market, so Tamkang hope to actively promote EMI teaching and learning, and also hope that an EMI learning environment can attract more foreign students to attend the University.
In terms of student support, Professor Wang says that English I and II courses plays an incredibly important role in the promotion of EMI teaching and learning. From the 2022 academic year, English I classes will be divided into levels, where lecturers can teaching based on the level of the class, which will be of help with the lecturers’ teaching and students’ learning processes. At the same time, English enhancement classes will also be set up, where teaching in a small class setting can help raise students’ English abilities. The University library website will provide English learning websites as well, allowing students to self-study and improve themselves. Through the combination of the main courses plus assistive classes, the English learning environment for students can be further elevated, students can hopefully really put their mind to learning in the English classes.
Director Wang has three hopes for the EMI program: the first is the hope that student’s general and professional English abilities can be raised, which will help with their future development, whether it is in academic or in their careers; second, to raise Tamkang’s overall English teaching and faculties’ teaching capabilities through the program; and third, to establish Tamkang University as a top quality bilingual teaching university. Additionally, he hopes to continue to expand on the number of EMI courses, with at least one additional EMI course being offered each academic year, in order to achieve the goal of 10% of all courses being EMI. This would even include general education courses, so that students would have more options when it comes to EMI courses.