In the summer of 2002, the National Writing Project at University of California, Berkeley, was commissioned by the Li Ka Shing Foundation to determine the feasibility of establishing English as the medium of instruction at Shantou University, within the stated five-year goal, and to make recommendations regarding the accomplishment of this goal and the strengthening of teaching and learning in the English language. There is much on which to build a high-quality program, and five years is a good timeline for implementing significant change in the English program at Shantou University.
The evaluation team identified four broad themes as focal points for innovation and reform: 1) academic design and instruction, 2) examination structure, 3) organizational capacity and development, and 4) facilities and support structures. In answer to these recommendations, one of the major initiatives on campus was the establishment, in the fall of 2002, of the English Enhancement Program, under the leadership of Vice Chancellor, Julia Hsiao.
Over the past few years, Shantou University has distinguished itself from other universities in China under the auspices of the English Enhancement Program, which gave rise to the English Language Center (ELC), founded in August 2003. While inheriting the faculty from the former English Teaching Unit, the ELC has recruited half of its faculty from abroad, and has taken on the responsibilities of English teaching for the entire campus community (about 7000 students), including English-major students and graduate students, within the newly designed curriculum of the university’s credit-bearing system.