Dean's Dialogue with Prof. Chen Weiying – Laying the groundwork to maximize global efficiency

Editor's Note

Dr. Chen Weiying, PhD, associate professor, is the Dean for International Affairs. Since her assumption of the post in January 2022, she has been focused on international issues of strategic, long-term importance to the school and the hospital (ZJU4H). Internationalization is a trend in the education of health professionals. It is also a significant focus to benchmark our programs to global standards and provide rich resources for students. In today’s interview, Dr. Chen will share our global strategy and how to create a vibrant international ecosystem through brand-building activities.

Q1: Professor Chen, could you share with us the global strategy?

A: Internationalization is one of the many significant features of ZJU-ISM. We have formulated the “6i” strategic goals and achieved fruitful results in the following six directions: international concepts, international cooperation, international standards, international services, international ecosystem, and international reputation. Today, I will mainly focus on how we elaborate the international concepts and create an international ecosystem.

To better guide our international endeavors, we have put forward our working principles as “Openness, Inclusion, and Altruism”. Although the global environment is constantly changing, openness is an eternal theme of human society. Inclusion is an attitude we adopt to address the diversity of our undergraduate student body, who come from over 40 countries all over the world. As the University Anthem says, “We embrace the world and welcome different cultures.” Being altruistic, we can achieve synergy in our coordination with other departments and units. Altruism is indeed the professionalism we need to cultivate in the new generation of doctors we are training for the future health system. The goal of our office is to serve the international needs of students and faculty, and help our departments and disciplines achieve a more global presence and reputation.

In order to create an international ecosystem, we have launched a variety of signature programs. Our LEAD Lecture Series, for instance, aims to promote collaboration in medical research and innovation. Additionally, we have developed the International Aptitude Training (IAT) program, which is tailored to the needs of clinical and administrative staff, with the goal of improving their cross-cultural communication skills. This program has already yielded positive results, as evidenced by the high praise given by over 20 senior MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) students currently interning at our hospital. Our hope is that ZJU-ISM will become a preferred destination for international medical students, where they can feel at home.

By virtue of internationalization, we would like to construct a world-class academic medical center with Chinese characteristics.

Q2: Professor Chen, how do you organize the signature programs?

A: Under the guidance of the “6i” strategy, we have launched more than 20 events over the last year. Take Happy Hour as an example. Every Friday afternoon, the Happy Hour get-together provides an opportunity for clinicians and scientists to spark a spirited discussion, such as solving difficult clinical problems, and developing new therapeutics which can translate from bench to bedside. During my 3-year stay at Stanford University, I often visited the Nexus, a cafe in the proximity of the medical school, hospital and the school of engineering. It offers a convenient venue where professors from different schools meet to have free discussions on interdisciplinary topics. In the same light, our Happy Hour has now become a favorite occasion for conversations and exchanges among people of different backgrounds.

Our IAT program has been equally successful in supporting staff development, including their English language proficiency. We were delighted to invite Dr. Geda, the coordinator of the English for Foreign Students Program at Stanford University, to our program. Dr. Geda’s expertise has enabled our staff to enhance their English skills in various contexts, including bedside teaching, classroom teaching, and academic presentations. This training will prove invaluable as our staff engage with multinational students and participate in international activities.

The success of our LEAD Lecture Series in collaboration with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been another highlight of the past year. This series, which is held every two months, has facilitated greater cooperation in medical research and innovation.

As we look to the future, we plan to develop more signature programs to cultivate an international mindset, broaden our international vision, and better serve our growing medical center.Q3: Professor Chen, what are the significant benefits of having an international ecosystem?Q3: Professor Chen, what are the significant benefits of having an international ecosystem?

Q3: Professor Chen, what are the significant benefits of having an international ecosystem?

A: An international ecosystem can not only facilitate the acculturation of international teachers and students into our environment, but also enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our global efforts.

Currently, we have nearly 30 international interns and around 10 international faculty members. We are expecting a new cohort of 100 MBBS students in September. Thus, it is important for our faculty to further improve their international communication abilities. To achieve this, we are discussing faculty training programs with esteemed institutions like the National University of Singapore and the International Medical University of Malaysia.

Recently, we also invited Dr. Xu Xiaoming from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands to deliver a lecture on “Creating a Conducive Learning Environment in International Higher Education” to assist us in creating a favorable internationalized learning environment for our students. After attending the lecture, clinical directors felt that, in addition to imparting knowledge and motivating students, they should also establish a positive relationship with students and provide support to meet their individualized needs.

What’s more, earlier this year, we invited Dr. Danish Salim, an emergency doctor from India, to give an online lecture on FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduates Examination, India) and Career Planning for our Indian MBBS students. The lecture helped them prepare for the exam and provided guidance on their career planning. Our commitment to supporting and empowering our students was evident in the positive feedback we received. They found the lecture very helpful, and they were no longer confused about the future.

Thus, I believe that clarifying the international concepts and creating an international ecosystem are the cornerstones of the “6i” strategy. By laying a solid foundation, we can move forward and further in our global outreach and initiatives.

Written by Han Qiqi

Edited by Chen Weiying