Hefei University (HFU), previously known as Hefei Union University, is an undergraduate university founded in 1980. It was “born in the era of reform and opening-up, and develops in the period of innovation”. During its early years, the university putforward a school-running mode that features “appropriate tuition, self-job-finding, discipline inlinewith practical needs, and logistics outsourcing”, which aroused great interest of the society and was covered by mainstream media like People’s Daily and Guangming Daily. The university was once honored as a forerunner in China’s Higher Education Reform.
In March 2002, approved by the Ministry of Education, Hefei University was set up based on the previous Hefei Union University, Hefei Institute of Education and Hefei Normal School. Since then, the university has persisted in its guideline of “serving the local, training students into applied talent and strengthening cooperation with foreign higher-learning institutions”. It has made good use of the experience of the universities of applied sciences in Germany(Fachhochschule) and created a distinctive application-oriented cultivation system with the focus on key factors to improve the ability and skills of students. Thanks to the system reform and implementation thereof, the university has succeeded in producing a great many high-caliber professionals for local development. Since 2009, the students of HFU have won 246 prizes in national sci-tech innovation contests, among which 47 are first prizes and special prizes, and some are even the only one or the first time rewarded to a university in Anhui Province. Moreover, the students have won 118 gold medals, 72 silvers and 68 bronzes in sports events. HFU was awarded a national second teaching achievement prize with the project “Research, Innovation and Practice based on Experience from Applied Talent Training System in German Undergraduate Universities” in 2009, and then a first prize in 2014, which is the top prize to a provincial university of Anhui.
Hefei University is now in China a demonstration base for Sino-German education cooperation, one of the 63 pilot bachelor degree granting universities to offer master courses and degrees for some national special needs, and one of the 61 universities to offer advanced engineer programs. In addition, it is a vice-chairman (university) of the National Special Committee of the Postgraduate Universities of Applied Sciences, chairman of the League of the National Postgraduate Universities of Applied Sciences in the Yangtze River Delta region, permanent chairman of the League of the Anhui Postgraduate Universities of Applied Sciences and a participating university in upgrading Anhui postgraduate universities of applied sciences.
The university has four campuses now, covering a total area of 1,391 mu with 510,000 square meters under roof (with a floor area of 510,000 square meters). The teaching instruments and equipment it possesses value at 281million yuan, and the books it has in its libraries add up to 1,147,300 and the e-books 919,300. In the university, there are fourteen departments offering courses under 55 undergraduate specialties, including 5 specialties unique to China, 4 for engineer training, and one for the pilot project of the national undergraduate education system reform. In addition, the university owns three off-campus practice training bases.
The university has a total employment of 979 including 903 faculty members. Among the teachers, there are 87 with high professional titles, 228 with associate professional titles. In addition, 4 have been honored as national excellent teachers, 12 provincial outstanding teachers and one National Labor Medal winner. Usually, HFU has 20 foreign teachers, 4 of whom being “National Friendship Award” winners and 10 provincial “Huangshan Friendship Award” winners.
Anhui Province and Lower Saxony, Germany came to an agreement in 1985 to cooperatively develop Hefei Union University. The university became one of the two model universities of applied sciences in China assisted by German counterpart. So far, the university has established cooperation relations with 60 universities in such countries as Germany, Korea, Japan, the United States, Italy, Spain, Australia and Britain, as well as in Taiwan. The university offers three MOE-approved Sino-foreign cooperative education programs and ten joint training courses to both Chinese and international students. Up to now, the local students who studied abroad have totaled over 3,300 and foreign students who studied or came for internship here totaled over 1,100, mainly from Germany and Korea. HFU is an important platform for Anhui, particularly for Hefei to carry out educational and cultural exchanges, and economic cooperation with foreign countries. It has set up an Anhui-German Center and an Anhui-Korea Center for that purpose. The university played a catalytic role in the twinning between Hefei and Osnabrück, Rostock (both in Germany), Seosan, South Korea, and between Huangshan and Stralsund, Germany. It also facilitated greatly the process of investment of Continental Group and Sievert Company in Hefei. (The Continental project is so far the largest German investment in Hefei.)On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the university in 2010, Mr. Christian Wulff, the then German president, sent a congratulatory letter to us. On Aug 30, 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the opening ceremony of the Confucius Institute co-established by Hefei University and German Stralsund University of Applied Sciences.
In the past few years, more than 570 universities came to learn experience from us. The development of the university has been reported over 60 times by such major domestic media as People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, China Education Daily, China Youth Daily, Xinhua Daily Telegraph, and Xinhua News Agency. In 2015, the experience of the university in building itself into a high quality application-oriented university was recommended by the Ministry of Education in its 63rd newsletter and by the CPC Anhui Provincial Committee in its 30th Newsletter on Deepening Reform. With the headline of “Breaking through in Transformation of a Local University”, China Education Daily made the experience of the university a front-paged story on April 16, 2014, introducing how Hefei University becomes an applied science university in its ten-year development.
On Oct 30, 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Hefei University together. Premier Li Keqiang praised the tangible development of Hefei University as a good example of Sino-German pragmatic cooperation, and compared it to a man in his prime at 30, and a deep-rooted huge tree bearing remarkable fruit. The premier also expressed his hope to see another 30 years of glory in the collaborative construction of the university in the context of the cooperation between China and Germany. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also spoke highly of Hefei University, saying it is a role model of cooperation between Germany and China in 30 years. The two leaders announced together that a demonstration base for Sino-German education cooperation and a fund for the same purpose would be set up at Hefei University for further cooperation.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period(2016-2020), the university will follow the instructions of Premier Li Keqiang to construct the demonstration base and double its efforts to improve the quality of this Hefei-based applied science university.