A Milestone in NTU's Organizational Restructuring
The Establishment of the School of Dentistry and the School of Veterinary Science from Academic Year 2008
In order to promote academic development, to comply with the developing trend of the world and society at large, and to improve the efficiency of school management and operation, the first general assembly of the University Council passed a resolution on March 15th, 2007, in which the major requirements relating to setting up professional colleges within the NTU organizational structure were spelled out in full.
In accordance with the stipulations of this resolution, the second general assembly of the University Council held in the 2nd semester of 2007 further passed a resolution to set up The School of Dentistry and the School of Veterinary Science within the University structure. We hereby offer an explanation with regard to the rationale for setting up these two new schools and their prospects: The establishment of the School of Dentistry and its prospects for the future: The predecessor of the Department of Dentistry was a dental classroom belonging to the affiliated hospital of the Taihoku Imperial University during the Japanese occupation of Taiwan.
In 1953, the Department of Dentistry was established, headed by Professor Shui Kuo, and admission of students started in 1954. In the early years, although there were suggestions to establish an "independent dental college," but, due to the lack of sufficient faculty, that idea was postponed till now. As a result, NTU missed the opportunity to become the first university in Taiwan with an independent dental college. Later on, the master's program and the doctoral program of the Graduate Institute of Dentistry were established in 1988 and 1991 respectively, and the name of the Institute was changed to "Institute of Clinical Dentistry" in 1996. The Institute of Oral Biology, on the other hand, was established in 1997. These developments show that even since its founding, the Department of Dentistry has made significant progress in teaching, service, and research, but the idea of forming an independent college on its own has not been fulfilled despite repeated efforts.
Ever since 1840, dental education based on college scale to train professional dentists has been adopted by most of the developed or developing countries in the world. This practice not only exists in Europe, United States, and Japan, but in neighboring countries such as Korea, Singapore, Philippines, and Thailand, dental colleges are quite common. Even in China, dental colleges exist in the form of School of Stomatology. In Taiwan, where there are seven schools providing dental education, only four universities have dental colleges or college of oral medicine. These four universities are: Kaohsiung Medical University (private), Taipei Medical University (private), Yang Ming University, and Chung-shan Medical University (private). These four medical schools had dental colleges established in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2001 respectively. The dental education at NTU is being implemented in the form of a department and a graduate institute. Although NTU's dental education excels both in quantity and quality in terms of academic and clinical performance, and occupies a leading position in Taiwan's academic institutions, but, in the area of globalization and international convergence, due to the lack of a corresponding organization and structure, oftentimes the desired results can not be achieved in international cooperation.
Moreover, in terms of application of existing resources, we find it difficult to achieve the greatest efficiency. With the strong support from the University administration, the strenuous efforts of the faculty and staff, and the high degree of confirmation and identification from the members of the University Council, we were able to obtain a resolution from the University Council general assembly held on June 14th, 2008, which approved the conversion of NTU's department and graduate institute of Dentistry to a "School of Dentistry," effective from academic year 2008 (August 1st, 2008). As far as the Department and the Graduate Institute of Dentistry are concerned, this restructuring is conducive to the promotion of international exchange, the integration of resources for teaching and research, the pro-active seeking of outside funding and the overall heightening of our competitiveness. With the establishment of the nation's first professional school, we shall be able to obtain an upper-hand in the tide of post-baccalaureate dental education. And, insofar as NTU is concerned, the establishment of a dental school promotes the sound development of professional education, while at the same time helps the university to conform to international standards, when NTU is striding into the ranks of the top universities of the world.
As the world's economy is entering a new age in which technology and knowledge form the cores of the so-called "knowledge economy," the focus of development for the newly formed "School of Dentistry" lies in the integration of the teaching resources of the various departments within the School, expansion of key research projects and topics related to clinical medicine, and actively developing research areas in which we enjoy distinct advantages and special characteristics. By developing a cross-disciplinary, and inter-departmental model of cooperation, we should be able to lay a firm foundation for the teaching and research of bio-medical related technologies. Furthermore, through the establishment of a mechanism for academic/industrial cooperation, we shall be able to provide technical guidance and informational service to the industry by taking advantage of the resources available at the "Yen Tjing Ling Industrial Research Institute" (where the research facilities can be shared by industrial members), thus greatly enhancing the opportunities for technological transfer, and the chances of financial compensation. As for the tenets of medical service, we shall integrate our health care resources, emphasize team work, and uphold a "patient-centered" philosophy, providing high quality and humanized dental therapies. In our goal to become "first in Asia, and top in the world," the key to success hinges not only upon the cultivation of strength in our profession, but also upon our pace of globalization and our international outlook. In addition to planning all kinds of research program to attract foreign doctors and researchers to come to NTU, we will also devote ourselves to the development of clinical medicine, in order to strengthen our reputation as a professional institution of dental education and create an international image of our excellence in teaching quality and quantity.
The establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Its Future Prospects
It is now a global trend to implement veterinary science education based on a professional school system. In European countries and also in the United States, one of the features of their vet education is that the training of professional students is subsumed under a school or college, coupled with a complete teaching hospital and other auxiliary teaching resources. Vet education relying upon a department or a graduate institute as the training unit is hard to achieve international convergence in the tidal wave of globalization.
Despite our outstanding academic and clinical performance, we find that our structural deficiency has been relentlessly exposed in the international arena, and that it has become increasingly difficult for us to contend with European, American, and Japanese dental education which are based on a professional school system. Moreover, when our students graduate from school, they often have to face doubts from international accreditation agencies, or accept unequal treatment when they attend international seminars. These circumstances make it hard for them to exert their influence. When most Asian countries and China are revamping their university structure to set up vet science colleges to comply with the world's developing trend, Taiwan naturally cannot afford to sit at the sidelines and just watch. This is why the National Chung Hsing University established Taiwan's first Vet School in 1999.
The predecessor of National Taiwan University was the Taihoku Imperial University. Established in 1928 during the Japanese occupation, the University had a College of Science and Agriculture, under which there was a program on animal husbandry.
In August of 1959 the vet section of the Animal Husbandry Department became an independent department of Vet Science, and the school term was for five years. Students earned a bachelor's degree in Vet Science upon graduation. After sixty years and countless unfailing efforts on the part of alumni and faculty, the University Council finally passed a resolution on June 14th , 2008, which approved the motion to set up a "School of Veterinary Medicine," to be effective from August 1st, 2008.
There are four major goals relating to this restructuring: 1) to achieve synchronous convergence with global professional education; 2) to coordinate with the nation's vet education reform and NTU's strategic academic development plan; 3) to take into account basic education and clinical training in the implementation of medical-related professional programs; 4) to secure more outside funding. The focus of future development will be laid upon the reform of vet education and convergence with global vet education, with a view toward the prevention and monitoring of global infectious diseases that are common both to men and animals, ensuring the safety and hygiene of livestock products, and cultivating professionals in the area of animal science experiments. We need to develop speedy and diversified disease diagnostic technologies, promote the training of professional vet doctors and continue our education system to care for animals' welfare and protect animals.
In order to comply with the world trends and to facilitate NTU to become one of the top 100 universities in the world, the importance of the establishment of a "School of Veterinary Science" goes without saying. Furthermore, with the structure of an independent school, it is easier to integrate resources that are related to agriculture and bio-medicine, to promote the R & D of animal science and technology, to maintain our leading position in academia, and to influence Asia's, and even the world's professional vet education, research, and service bodies.