Xiangtan University, located in Xiangtan City, the home town of Mao Zedong, is a comprehensive university operating under the joint support of the Hunan Provincial Government and the Ministry of Education. It is one of China’s first educational institutes authorized to award master’s degrees and is also among the earliest schools approved to enroll overseas students and students of national defense. In an evaluation conducted by the Ministry of Education, the university’s bachelor degree education was rated as excellent.
The university was established in 1958 as a result of Chairman Mao’s proposal. On September 10 of the same year, Chairman Mao himself wrote the name of the school and enjoined the authorities to work hard to make a success of it. Thanks to the concern and care by Deng Xiaoping, Hua Guofeng, Li Xiannian and other government leaders, the university kept growing and was thus approved by the State Council as a key state university in 1978. In 1998, on the fortieth anniversary of the school’s founding, ex-President Jiang Zemin wrote: “Work for a better Xiangtan University, train competent graduates and make more contribution.” On December 17, 2005, the Ministry of Education and the Hunan Provincial Government signed a treaty agreeing to provide joint financial support to the university.
The university has 20 faculties and teaching divisions, 72 bachelor degree specialties, 19 first-level disciplines for master’s degree, 115 master’s degree programs, 4 master specialty degree programs, 17 doctor’s degree programs, 5 postdoctoral stations, 2 state key disciplines, and 13 provincial key disciplines; in these 2 years the university has been granted for 7 disciplines of national excellent lessons, 10 national characteristic specialties (including 1 national 2-class characteristic specialty), 4 national teaching awards, 8 kinds of teaching materials being approved as the planned materials for national 11th Five-Year Plan; moreover, the university has 1 key research base for humanities and social sciences of the Ministry of Education, 2 engineering research centers of the Ministry of Education, 2 key laboratories of the Ministry of Education, 1 campus card standardization institute of the Ministry of Education, 5 arts key research bases of Hunan Province, and 4 key laboratories of Hunan Province; 1 innovation experimental area of national talents culture mode, 1 culture quality education base for national undergraduates, 1 training and studying base for assistant of colleges of the Ministry of Education, 9 laboratories supported by central and local governments, and 12 laboratories of special-advantage disciplines supported by central and local governments. The disciplines of university cover 9 varieties and form a series of professional groups with peculiar characters and obvious advantages. The main disciplines include Computing Mathematics, General and Fundamental Mechanics, Chinese Philosophy, Procedural Law, Political Economy, Comparative Literature, Administration, Polymer Chemistry and Physics, Chemistry Engineering, Condensed Mater Physics, and Rheological Mechanics, and the like. Of all the disciplines, Rheological Mechanics and Consumption Economics were initiated by the scholars of the university, and then they found their ways to other schools across the country.
It has a staff of 1475, among whom there are 3 inter-university academicians,1 Changjiang Scholarship holder (a program jointly financed by the tycoon Li Ka-shing and the Ministry of Education), 2 national outstanding young science foundation holders, 1 teaching state-level group, 2 famous state-level teachers, 6 excellent state-level teachers, 1 model state-level teacher, 42 outstanding teachers entitled to special subsidies from the State Council, 10 distinguished professors of Hunan “Furong Scholar Program”, 2 excellent social science experts of Hunan Province, and 1 sci-tech leading talent of Hunan Province. The staff holding title above the deputy advanced is 628, and there are 312 person-time being granted as: the 3rd group of “4 in 1 group” talent in the national publicity & culture system, the national selected person for “New Century Hundred-Thousand-Myriad Talents Engineering”, the selected person of the Ministry of Education of “New Century Excellent Talents Support Program”, the selected person of the Ministry of Education of “Subsidy Program for Excellent Teachers in University”, the selected person of Hunan Province of “New Century 121 Talents Engineering”, and the culturing selected persons for Hunan provincial inter-century leader of science and technology. The school covers an area of 2600 mu and a floor space of 870,000 square meters. Xiangtan University Press has been established. The Journal of Xiantan University (consisting of social science and natural science volumes) is rated as “Double-Benefit Periodicals” and “Double-Houndred Periodicals”, among it, the volume of social science is rated as CSSCI journal, core journal of Chinese humanities and social sciences, and 100-top journals in China. In addition, other journals like Xiaofei Jingji ( Consumption Economics), Mao Zedong Yanjiu (Mao Zedong Studies), Zhongguo Yunwen Xuekan (Journal of the Chinese Verses), Xiangjiang Falv Pinglun ( The Xiangjiang Review of Laws), Zeng Guofan Yanjiu (Zeng Guofan Studies) and Xiang Xue (Hunan Studies) exert profound influence on Chinese academic circles. The library has a collection of 2,426,000 books and 2,846 periodicals in Chinese and foreign languages.
The university actively performs the “Three-High” sci-tech development strategy of applying high-class project, attaining high-level achievements, and building high-level platform, sticks to the idea of “Serving for Support, Contributing for Development”, and aims at being the “Think Bank, Talent Bank, Sci-Tech Bank”, resulting in the significant scientific and sci-tech developmental achievement. Since the Ninth Five-Year Plan, the university has taken 175 items of state-level scientific projects, including “973”, “863”, national outstanding young science foundation, national social science foundation, key project of national natural science foundation, national climbing program, national military engineering program and key project of national R & D program, and also taken 609 items of provincial scientific projects. In recent 5 years, the university has achieved 42 items of national social science foundation project, 65 items of natural science foundation project and 363 items of provincial and ministry project, and has taken 791 items of vertical scientific project with various levels. The university has been granted for more than 100 high-level awards, including the 2nd-class of National Sci-Tech Development Award, the 1st-class of Natural Science Award in Universities of the Ministry of Education, the Excellent Achievement Award of Humanities & Social Science Research in Chinese Universities, Feng Kang Prize of Scientific Computing, Russia Government Award, and Sun Yefang Prize of Economics. The university has published more than 13,000 pieces of articles on domestic and foreign academic journals and academic conferences, and more than 1000 pieces of monographs. The rank of article number in SCI, EI and international citation in universities of China is about the 70th. In recent 5 years, the university has assigned 211 items of transversal sci-tech development project and 106 patents, with the conversion of scientific achievements being 13-22%. The conversion keeps the leading place in Hunan provincial universities, which obtains the excellent economic and social benefits supplying the powerful intelligent and technical support for the economic construction and social development of local area.
The teaching pattern is focusing on the undergraduate education, with the stable development of graduate education. There are 19,083 full-time undergraduate students and 3,727 graduate students for master’s or doctor’s degrees. In the last five years, its students won 531 state-level awards in the CCTV Cup All-China English-speaking Contest, the Aus-Asia College English Debating Championship, the Challenge Cup Competition for Scientific and Technological Works, the Mathematical Models Contest, the Electric Design Contest, the Young Incubation Program Contest, and Undergraduates Arts Exhibition Contest. In the 2005 Challenge Cup Competition, the university won three competitions for first, second and third places. In addition, several students brought special honor to Xiangtan University as well as themselves. Wen Huazhi, the winner of the title of China Top 10 Outstanding Youngsters, the title of China Moral Model of Honesty & Credit, the title of China Women Red-Flag Guidon, and the 11th NPC deputy; Yang Huaibao, the winner of the title of China Moral Model of Filial Piety & Love Heart, the example of China Undergraduate Self-Renewal Star, the title of 2007 China’s Top Ten People in China Undergraduates, and the deputy of 16th Communist Youth League Congress; and Xia Xingyi, the hero sacrificing himself for fire fighting, the CPC member admitted posthumously by Hunan provincial committee of the CPC and the martyr admitted posthumously by Hunan provincial people’s government.
The employment rate for alumni remains above 95 per cent. After leaving school, many students choose to pursue postgraduate studies. In some classes of certain faculties, more than 45 percent of candidates were admitted into postgraduate studies. Among the alumni, many have come into prominence on the world stage: Ou Jinping, an academician of Chinese Engineering Academy, the winner of the first Feng Kang Prize of Scientific Computing; Yuan Yaxiang, the winner of the title of 1995 China’s Top Ten Outstanding Young Scientist, and the title of 1998 China’s Top Ten Outstanding Youth; Xu Jinchao, director of the Calculation Center of America's University of Pennsylvania, a world-famous mathematician, the winner of the first Feng Kang Prize of Scientific Computing; Xu Xiaoshu, the winner of the title of the World’s Top 100 Scientist for his Outstanding Contribution in Applied Science; and Wang Luxiang, a well-known TV planner for Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.
In the past decades, the school has been expanding its exchange and cooperation with over thirty universities in more than twenty countries, including France, Spain, Japan, Russia, USA, Britain, and Australia. In China, the university is the only non-military institute training reserve army officers. It has been chosen by Guangzhou Military Command as a base for the selecting and training of reserve officers, and by the Army 61046 under the PLA General Staff as a base for the training of postgraduates. Training officers and soldiers suited for both military and civilian jobs is a feature of training talent in Xiangtan University. Every year many graduates leave the school to work for Guangzhou Military Command, South China Sea Fleet, Chengdu Military Command, Beijing Military Command, and the other army units.