Bachelors of social sciences and humanities: "Stable knowledge - Solid skills - Intensive integration"

Thursday - 01/11/2018 00:00
On the occasion of the university entrance examination in 2018, Assoc. Prof. Dr Hoang Anh Tuan (USSH's Vice Rector) shared his thoughts on the innovations of the University's training to increasingly meet the high demands of labor market. Stable knowledge, solid skills, and intensive integration are the keywords for the University's products in today's context.

Tradition and university brand are USSH's treasures

- Dear professor, today the admission and training of bachelors is facing many challenges; this is not an exception to social sciences and humanities. In the context of rapidly changing sciences and technologies as well as social demands, how does the University find its position?

The industrial revolution 4.0 has been changing scientific and educational thoughts, posing extremely huge challenges to Vietnam's higher education, which is supposed to train the elite that lead the development of our entire educational system. Where we are and going in the coming time is the fundamental question that directs all of the University's activities and strategies.

First of all, USSH is confirmed nationwide a university of long tradition and profound prestige in studying and teaching social sciences and humanities. It is a value system, an asset and also a big competitive advantage that creates its vivid brand in Vietnam. Throughout history, the University has produced generations of leading intellectuals, teachers and scientists, who laid the foundation for many of the country's disciplines. As of now, the rate of professors and associate professors at USSH is 28%, that of doctors is nearly 65% of all lecturers, the highest in Vietnam.

After over 70 years of development, looking at the University's majors, we can see diversity and abundance. These are the basic and fundamental majors of social sciences and humanities that are associated with the University's leading figures in History, Philosophy, Linguistics, Literature and Sino-Nom, etc. It is that foundation that leads to new and attractive majors strongly developing into the University's unique features such as Oriental Studies, Journalism, Public Relations, Tourism and Travel Management, Psychology, Social Work, International Studies, Anthropology, and Office Management. Not many universities specializing in social sciences and humanities have such a diverse, multifold system of programs and such long tradition. This generates an inner strength that helps it go far and steadily into the future.

The conference on the Study of Intellectual Property between students of 4 Vietnam's big universities: National Economics University, Hanoi Law University, Law University (Hue University), Foreign Trade University and USSH (VNU Hanoi) on April 21st, 2018. This is a regular academic activity held by USSH with the participation of representatives from the National Office of Intellectual Property.

-  How else are the University's traditional values reflected in its activities?

I believe that in training affairs, especially social sciences and humanities, a strong tradition is an advantage. When it was still Hanoi General University (1956), the University's training and research activities had formed its own identity, which did not focus only on providing stable basic knowledge but also an integrated, comprehensive and inter-disciplinary thinking, and the ability to analyze and solve many practical problems. Graduates are supposed to be independent and creative in their thinking and actions.

A notable feature of the University's graduates is that they are highly adaptable to different types of jobs. Students majoring Literature can work as researchers, university lecturers, or as journalists, editors and screenwriters. Students majoring History can not only teach at colleges, universities and research institutes but also work at cultural and tourism agencies, social and political organizations, domestic and foreign non-governmental organizations. The types of employment vary. The University's students are thoroughly provided with steady knowledge to adapt to practical realities and go far in their professional and career paths. This is a tradition the University still holds.

35% of students taking internships and field trips overseas

- But does such a traditional and historical university find it difficult to be flexible and adaptive when competing with other young universities?

The University considers its tradition a good value that needs to be maintained and further promoted under new circumstances, but does not allow itself to chiefly lean on the past. Its long tradition becomes a good foundation for its staff and students to assuredly enter the future. Hence, the University has been striving to promote all of its aspects, from creating a development strategy and management orientation to compiling teaching and study materials, curricula, training processes, and accrediting its curricula according to national and international standards.

Students of Faculty of Journalism and Communication practice at a studio with modern equipment on a par with that at a TV station

- Can you share about the University's output criteria that meet the demands of today's job market?

Today's job market is open and not only limited to Vietnam's territory. The reality demands employees to not only have solid knowledge but also good skills and mentality so they can meet new demands in the new context. The University is fully aware of and interested in changing its training methods under this context.

Innovations of the University's training activities take place in many areas, from reforming management methods in a professional and modern way highly supportive of teaching-learning processes, to updating/launching new programs in accordance with academic trends worldwide. Overall, the University's lecturers actively stay up-to-date and adjust their curricula to provide students with new knowledge, especially new approaches that ensure the quality of graduates.

The University is resolutely investing in raising the quality of training, creating graduates that have stable knowledge - solid skills - intensive integration. For example, students majoring Korean studies and Japanese studies are not only good at language skills but also understanding of the historical, cultural, economic, social and anthropological characteristics of Japan and Korea. Similarly, students majoring Tourism are not only equipped with professional skills but also an integrated thinking and firm, broad knowledge, so they can make tourism strategies on a national scale and participate in the international tourism market.

Students at USSH participate in the course on human resources management held by USSH and the Vietnam's Association of Business Administrators (June 18th, 2018)

Regarding skill development, the University is trying to create an active space and training environment for students to develop their specialized skills. The University currently has a diverse system of clubs for specific purposes such as the Media Club, the Photography Club, the Arts Club (dancing, music), the Cultural and Historical Promotion Club, the Young managers Club, and the English Club. By participating in these clubs, students are equipped with both professional knowledge and practical skills. For example, students majoring Journalism help produce reports and media products for the University; students majoring Tourism participate in promoting and developing Hanoi's tourism; students majoring International Studies maintain regular exchanges with international students; students majoring Office Management work at USSH's functional offices to perfect their professional skills. 

To prepare a spirit of integration for students, the University provides opportunities for them to take internships and field trips at international sites before graduation. Apart from stabilizing the number of students receiving scholarships to join short-term or long-term overseas courses every year, in recent years, the University has taken advantage of its extended international relations to hold low-cost extra-terrestrial internships and field trips. In 2017, the number of students studying and doing internships abroad nearly reached 450 (along with 1,000 foreign students studying and doing internship at the University, creating a dynamic international academic atmosphere). Students doing internships overseas are not only able to gain knowledge, but also extend their worldviews and spirit of integration, providing them with confidence to engage the cross-border labor market. In particular, after finishing their internships many students receive master's scholarships from our partners. The University's next goal is to strengthen students' international internships, so that 35% of its students will engage in them before graduation and getting employed. 

USSH's students and international students

- International integration is a current criterion of higher education, so how is it reflected in the University's training activities?

The crucial issue of International integration is foreign language, especially the English language proficiency. What is easily noticeable is USSH's students' foreign language capability has dramatically increased thanks to an extended international environment. Apart from the mentioned international internships and field trips, the University currently tries to establish an immediate international academic environment involving many international conferences, on-site exchanges, and foreign language clubs. 

In two recent years, every semester, the University regularly holds classes taught in English by its own lecturers and international visiting lecturers so students can make their choices. The Master's Tea Club was established in 2017 and is drawing more and more students. Especially, to cultivate internationally-standardized foreign language capability for USSH's students, since the beginning of 2018, the University has cooperated with international non-governmental organizations to hold free foreign language classes taught by international voluntary teachers. In over half a year, it held nearly 20 classes with around 300 registered students. These classes last for 7-10 weeks, follow international standards of foreign language teaching (IELTS) and are completely free. Having their foreign language capability upgraded, more and more USSH's students (and master's candidates) have written their theses in English. These will be advantageous to their career and personal development.

A meeting held by FIS English Club, Faculty of International Studies (May, 2018)

25% of students graduate early

- How does the University take care of career orientation for students?

Last June, the University held a job festival right after granting degrees for students with the participation of 30 professional agencies, companies and enterprises, bringing 500 job opportunities for the new bachelors. After the degree-granting ceremony, students engaged in interviews, and many were employed right on that day. Four months before that, in an early degree-granting event in 2018, more than 250 students also welcomed 22 recruitment units that provided them with nearly 300 job opportunities.

In fact, the University-Employer linkage is regularly established througout any academic years and not just when students graduate. For example, external experts participate in developing the University's curricula right from the beginning. Researchers and businessmen help develop curricula, teach and instruct students, participate in thesis evaluation councils, and select students to employ into their personnel. For example, Dr. Ta Bich Loan (Head of the Production Department of VTV3, Vietnam National Television and Head of Division of Broadcasting at Faculty of Journalism and Communication) is directly responsible for developing and renovating the Faculty's curricula, teaching and instructing its students. This movement has been resolutely and determinedly pursued and will be further promoted by the University in the coming time.   

The recruitment festival right after the degree granting ceremony participated by representatives from over 30 businesses in different sectors (June 2018)

- Students and their parents are interested in training duration and the ratio of students finding jobs after graduation, so how is the situation at USSH?

In recent years, the University has innovated its training procedures according to a credit-based system. Accordingly, students can actively decide their study processes and schedules. The faculties and the Office for Academic Affairs regularly advise students on how to best organize their study. Therefore, since 2017, the number of students graduating early has increased. Among over 1,000 students receiving bachelor's degrees in the first half of 2018, over 250 graduated 6 months earlier. Now, the number of students graduating on time is 95%, around 25% of students graduate 6 months earlier from the standard program, and some graduate in only 3 years. 

Students can actively choose to graduate early or not. For example, by taking on irregular classes during summer, students are totally able to graduate in just 3.5 years; if students take on summer classes, complete extra credits in each semester and are exempt from foreign language classes (for having international foreign language certificates) they can finish their undergraduate program in 3 years. This is in accordance with other credit-based systems in the world and the innovative spirit set by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the end of 2016.  

USSH's new bachelors express their cheerfulness after receiving their degrees in June 2018

The encouraging sign is the increasing trend of early graduation does not mean training quality is reduced or students cannot find stable jobs. In the 10 recent years, the University has conducted surveys on the employment rates of graduates. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the average employment rates of graduates in 6-12 months were usually 90%-93%. With some majors such as Oriental Studies, Tourism and Travel Management, Hotel Management and Journalism, the employment rates of graduates were 100%, and some graduates were immediately employed during their internships. Some Japanese, South Korean, and Chinese international corporations often question why the University does not increase the number of Oriental Studies students each year so they can employ them. Not only with highly applied majors but also basic majors, the employment rates of graduates are stable thanks to the ensurance of training quality in accordance with the number of admitted students. For example, students majoring Archaeology regularly receive employment announcements from provincial organizations (museums, culture departments, historical site management committees, etc.). 

- Thank you for your answers.

Author: Thanh Ha

Total notes of this article: 0 in 0 rating

Click on stars to rate this article

  Reader Comments

Newer articles

Older articles

You did not use the site, Click here to remain logged. Timeout: 60 second