On August 24th, Wenzhou Medical University (WMU) and the University of Alberta (UoA) held the second joint management committee meeting of the Alberta Institute of Wenzhou Medical University (AIWMU) online. The two parties mapped out the following curriculum reform, faculty training, and scientific cooperation, developing strategies to creating a Sino-Canadian medical education cooperation model.
Members of the AIWMU joint management committee attended the meeting, including Academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and President Li Xiaokun, Vice President Jin Shengwei, Academic Vice President, Academician of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and Dean of Alberta Institute Song Weihong, Member of WMU Party Committee and Director of Teaching Affairs Zhu Xuebo, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry of UoA Brenda Hemmelgarn, Vice Deans Dennis Kunimoto, Xin-min Li, Gregory Funk, Foreign Executive Director of AIWMU Tracey Hillier.
Academician and President Li Xiaokun pointed out that the establishment of AIWMU is one of the major monuments to WMU’s internationalization. During the past year, both universities in China and Canada have made every effort to overcome the impacts of the pandemic and differences in management, given top priority to the construction of AIWMU by pooling resources of both sides and providing students with various opportunities and platforms, and achieved remarkable results. He hoped that both parties would continue to integrate basic curriculum, explore the reform of clinical medicine education vigorously, cultivate medical talents with an international outlook, enhance cooperation in wider fields, establish more advanced research and academic platforms, and become the model of international collaboration in global health and medical education.
Professor Brenda Hemmelgarn, foreign dean of AIWMU, stated that this cooperation between China and Canada in medical education is of great significance. The two parties share the same objectives in school-running cooperation. In the past year, the two parties have sought common ground while reserving existing differences, learned from each other, explored and promoted the new pattern of Sino-Canadian cooperative school-running in clinical medicine, and established a smooth communication channel and deep friendship. UoA would continue to take the cultivation of medical leaders with global competence as its mission, integrate the features of medical education from both sides, and improve the quality of medical education. UoA would work together with WMU to set an example for Sino-Canadian cooperation in school-running and promote Sino-Canadian people-to-people exchange and scientific cooperation.
Academician Song Hongwei reviewed the work of AIWMU in 2020 and introduced innovative measures and results in curriculum reform, intensive English teaching, tutor system, academic activities, student innovation and entrepreneurship, and enrollments in detail. During the past year, AIWMU has adopted the North American concept of organ system integrated course to accelerate the integration of basic medical courses, and improved the quality of teaching through bilingual lessons, workshops, and formative assessments. The IELTS course reform, in particular, has helped 75% of students to obtain a score of 6.5 or higher. AIWMU has developed a tutor system to match each student with two tutors of “basic and clinical” research from the highest level scientific research teams at WMU to cultivate students’ scientific mindset. AIWMU won a special award in the 17th Challenge Cup National University Student Extracurricular Academic Work Science and Technology Competition Red Special Competition and two training programs of National University Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Plan got approved. The admission scores for the undergraduate program of AIWMU have ranked the top among Sino-foreign cooperative school-running programs in Zhejiang for the past two years.
Foreign Executive Director of AIWMU Tracey Hillier reported the progress of the foreign side and the ongoing work. She stated that UoA has elaborated and improved the lessons and faculty arrangements of the cooperative clinical medicine program to make it meet the Canadian clinical education standards and fit in the Chinese medical system and environment. Besides, she emphasized the importance of faculty cooperation and urged to boost the cooperation between teachers of both sides according to the curriculum to guarantee high standard and high-quality lessons.
Vice Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry of UoA Dennis Kunimoto said that, despite the pandemic, the two universities managed to carry forward the establishment of Alberta Institute and created a sound international learning atmosphere for students. As the Class of 2021 will be joining the campus soon, both sides shall do their utmost to support one another and work together to offer world-leading elite clinical medicine education for students.
During the meeting, the Chinese and Canadian sides exchanged details in course matching, faculty training, and working mechanism of the committee, and discussed further cooperation in master’s and doctoral degrees.
Alberta Institute of Wenzhou Medical University was founded officially in April last year as the first Sino-foreign school running institute focusing on clinical medicine. Leaders of all levels attach high importance to the development of the institute. Secretary of Zhejiang’s Party Committee Yuan Jiajun, the then Governor of the province, made a special instruction of "Be brave in innovation, strive for distinction, contribute more achievements, and cultivate more talents". Leaders of the Ministry of Education, Provincial Department of Education, Wenzhou Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government, and Canadian leaders in Shanghai visited many times to guide its construction. Domestic universities such as Huazhong University of Science and Technology and Nanchang University came to inspect and exchange experience. WMU has devoted great attention to the development of AIWMU. The university invited Academician of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Song Weihong as the dean, and appointed 17 academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, such as Academician Wang Chen, Academician Chen Guoqiang, Academician Shi Yigong, and Academician Zhao Yupei, as members of the advisory board. UoA Professor Michael Houghton, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with other well-known professors, was invited to give lectures to students.