Shenzhen MSU-BIT University (SMBU) held a ceremony to open its inaugural semester Sept. 13, 2017, to the solemn music of the national anthems of both China and Russia. The leaders of the Chinese and Russian governments read out messages from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin respectively, marking the birth of a new Sino-foreign cooperative university. Four years have passed since then. The first batch of undergraduate students graduated from SMBU this summer. The past four years have witnessed SMBU's significant progress.
A bird's-eye view of the campus of Shenzhen MSU-BIT University in Longgang District. Photo by Liu Xudong
Over the past four years, SMBU has kept in mind the expectations of the Chinese and Russian presidents, firmly sticking to the goal of "building a high-level university and cultivating high-quality talents," and shouldering the responsibility of "deepening Sino-Russian education cooperation and enhancing the friendship of the two peoples."
Upholding Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, SMBU aims to serve the strategic cooperation between China and Russia and the economic development of the Belt and Road regions. It has made full use of the advantages of its prestigious co-founders, Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) and Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), and has established itself as a unique Sino-foreign cooperative university rooted in China that is favored by students, society, and the founders of the school.
Over the past four years, SMBU has followed the design of becoming a first-class university of strong characteristics and through bold explorations accomplished much in practice. It has gradually formed a comprehensive education concept that values morality building, cultural and academic education and the role of practice; set goals to cultivate innovation-oriented talents who respect morality and reason and who are diligent, friendly, innovative, cooperative, responsible, familiar with Chinese and Russian cultures, multilingual and proficient in their own specialties; as well as created a teaching system underscoring cultural education, scientific education, and innovative practices. All these efforts have ensured SMBU a scientific, systematic and target-oriented talent training system.
Over the past four years, SMBU has accelerated the construction of disciplines and majors, by actively introducing Lomonosov Moscow State University's highly developed subjects such as Russian, mathematics and biology, and making full use of Beijing Institute of Technology’s strength in applied engineering. At the same time, SMBU has created cross-discipline majors by taking into account the industrial characteristics of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the needs of Sino-Russian cooperation.
In its first year, SMBU enrolled students from around the world for four Bachelor's degree programs and two Master's degree programs. This year, the university expanded its Bachelor's degree programs to cover seven majors (mathematics, materials science, biology, economics, Russian, electricity, and international trade), and its Master's degree programs to six (mathematics, materials science, biology, economics, Russian, and geography), along with another two Ph.D. degree programs (biology and Russian).
Moreover, SMBU this year has applied for approval of two more undergraduate majors and three more postgraduate majors. Thus far, SMBU has expanded its disciplines and majors to cover six fields, including science, engineering, economics, management, literature, and law, making a steady step to achieve its goal of establishing an academic discipline system that integrates arts and sciences and equally emphasizes research and learning.
Over the past four years, SMBU has focused on cultivating top innovation-oriented talents and specialized talents with international competitiveness, adhering to the principle of equal emphasis on theoretical study and hands-on practice. SMBU encourages students to participate in various discipline competitions and requires them to study Russian to train them into trilingual talents with solid professional knowledge. Classes are conducted in small sizes in SMBU, with seminar-based teaching method to encourage students to participate in scientific research.
SMBU has been approved for six teaching research and reform projects at the provincial level, one at the municipal level, and 11 at school level, with a total investment amounting to 2.45 million yuan. At present, SMBU has one undergraduate major selected into Guangdong Province’s first-class discipline development project, one major recognized as a Guangdong special major program, and has won one second prize of the Guangdong Higher Education Teaching Achievement Award.
Over the past four years, SMBU has attached great importance to the quality of talent training, and has strived to build a dual-cycle system involving both quality monitoring and feedback to ensure the school’s plans, concepts, and goals take root and bear fruit. Both the level and proportion of students’ awards in various discipline competitions, and the quality of the first batch of graduates are evidence of the school’s quality talent training.
Students from SMBU have achieved great results in national and international competitions, including China’s Contemporary Undergraduate Mathematical Contest in Modeling, the Chinese Mathematics Competitions (Guangdong session), Mathematical Contest in Modeling and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM), the Lanqiao Cup National Software and Information Competition. In addition, a total of six students from the Faculty of Materials Science and the Faculty of Biology published six papers in international high-level academic journals.
Over the past four years, SMBU has borne in mind the mission to build the NO.1 platform for Sino-Russian science and education cooperation and cultural exchange, a window to showcase excellent Chinese and Russian cultures, and a school to cultivate global professionals for the Belt and Road Initiative, by means of giving full play to the school’s role as an important platform for Sino-Russian exchange and cooperation, and rich resources of the first Sino-Russian cooperative university.
SMBU has established, opened and applied for the setting up of think tank-type research institutions and courses targeting Sino-Russian cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative. These include the Sino-Russian Jurisprudential Comparative Research Center and Eurasian Research Center, and majors like international economics and trade, Chinese language (Business Orientation), international economics (business) law and national audit (financial regulation and supervision). SMBU is also planning to provide Chinese language training for teachers at Russian middle schools.
Biding a farewell to its first batch of graduates, SMBU embarks on a new journey to further improve its governance system and related construction so as to write a new chapter and become a model and benchmark for Sino-Russian cultural exchanges as well as a world-class comprehensive research university with unique characteristics.