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President of South China University of Technology Gets Briefing on Undergraduate Research InitiativePresident Liu Huanbin hears report from undergraduate research specialist Reed Wilson

President of South China University of Technology Gets Briefing on Undergraduate Research Initiative

Leading Guangzhou institution sends top officials to look at potential for involving undergraduates in direct research.

By Gohar Grigorian

It's hard enough to get undergraduates to write a paper, much less to ask them to work with faculty to do serious research. UCLA started a low key effort to change that back in 1985, when it created the Student Research Program (SRP), which teams undergraduates up with faculty to assist faculty research projects. Beginning with 90 students and 150 faculty eighteen years ago, the program has grown over the years, so that more than 10,000 students have now participated in it, 80% in south campus in the School of Medicine and the Life and Physical Sciences and 20% in the social sciences and humanities. On October 10 a top-level delegation from one of China's major universities, the South China University of Technology (SCUT), visited UCLA specifically to study undergraduate research programs.

The delegation was headed by SCUT President, Dr. Liu Huanbin, and included Dr. Wu Yechun, director of the Campus Affairs Office; Dr. Zeng Zhixin, dean of  Teaching Affairs; and Dr. Ding Yuehua, chair of the Computer Science Research Institute. The South China University of Technology was founded in 1952 through a merger of nine other universities or teaching departments in five provinces in mid and south China. It is now ranked as one of China's 43 key universities. The university's website describes the campus:

"SCUT is situated on the edge of busy downtown of Guangzhou, and boasts a beautiful campus of 184 hectares. It has rippling lakes, wooded hills and fragrant flowers that bloom all the year round. The many teaching, research, and residential buildings present a pleasing mixture of modern and traditional Chinese architectural styles. International Students in our university do have a good study and living environment."

While at UCLA the SCUT administrators met with Reed Wilson, Ph.D., director of the Undergraduate Research Center for research in the Social Sciences & Humanities. This is one of the university's two undergraduate research centers. The other is in the Life and Physical Sciences. Wilson said that the  Student Research Program enables UCLA undergraduates to obtain research skills, define academic interests and objectives, and become part of the larger university research community. It gives undergraduates a chance to take part in research or engage in scholarly efforts early in their academic careers under the direction of a faculty mentor.

The Chinese visitors also met Assistant Vice Provost Lucy Blackmar, Undergraduate Education Initiatives.

UCLA International Institute