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December 02
2013年12月2日

不恥下問、三顧茅廬 ──
細看高教國際化的不足

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談到國際化,有說:大學生要有國際觀。是這樣嗎?為什麼先要求大學生做到國際化?

經常有人問我:你用什麼高薪聘請教授?為什麼台灣缺少國際、外籍學者?貴校國際排名甚佳,是否傑出教授就會因此而自動投靠?該用什麼秘方吸引國際學生?

當然,最常被大家設想的答案必然是跟薪水、資源相關的因素,其次是英語教學、大學的聲望是否容易吸引人才。除了經費充裕、大學排名較佳之外,要促進高教國際化,其實還有其他更根本的問題被忽視了。

也許是由於表面民主給社會帶來的「選舉文化」所致,大學裏及社會上往往把大學裏的各類「人才」當成「候選人」或者「求事者」來看待;甚至有人認為大學高高在上,因此對人才多方為難。這就糟糕了!

大學想招聘的理當是優秀人才,良師不僅出高徒,而且會吸引不斷增長的外來資助。許多優秀的資深人才大多早已有很好的職務,並不那麼希罕「貴單位的高姿態」;而不惜彎腰哈背的求職者,很可能目前並無理想的工作,也因此較不可能是最理想的人才。就算退一步說,即使是正在人力巿場上徘徊流連、待業中的年輕學者,通常也會擇良木而棲,值得好的大學以禮相待。因為無論資深或資淺,大家總是比較願意到尊重自己的單位服務。對應徵者以禮相待,應該是社會上、大學裏最起碼的態度。

台港應徵者最常被當面責問的題目,就是:「你為什麼對本校(本單位)感興趣?」或者,「你為什麼不申請別校(其它單位)?」多麼無聊的問題。難道不應該強調:「本校(本單位)十分優秀,希望你多多考慮,有什麼要求,請不吝指教。」如果能持著這樣的態度,我們一定能了解「本校(本單位)」有哪些地方可以改進。

沒有現代化的做法與心態,怎麼可能找到國際專家(不一定是外國人或外地人);沒有國際觀的專家,又怎麼可能教育出具國際觀的學生,或者要求學生具有國際視野呢?所以無論如何,大學要放低身段,不停地求才。這種海納百川、廣納英才的做法,是美國國力強盛的根本原因。人力資源是國家競爭力的主力;港台的大學如果做不到這一點,高教國際化必然是個奢望。

要求大學生做到國際化,應該先要求大學與教師達到國際標準。「不恥下問、三顧茅廬」是古人標示的理想,禮失求諸野,而今國際化的洋人做到了,我們有待改進。


Ready to inquire about the unknown and knock on doors –
a close look into deficiency in internalisation of higher education

When it comes to internationalisation, one common view is that university students should have an international vision. Is that so? Why do we demand that university students be internationalised?

I have been frequently asked such questions: "What high salaries could you offer to attract professors? Why is there a shortage of international and foreign scholars in Taiwan? If your university ranks high in world university ranking, would renowned professors seek teaching positions in your university of their own accord? What kind of secrets did you use to attract international students?"

Of course, the most likely answers people thought of are closely associated with salaries and resources. The English teaching environment and the reputation of the university come second in attracting talents. But people forget that, in addition to sufficient funds and high rankings, some fundamental issues are often ignored, if we wish to promote the internationalisation of higher education.

Many people in universities, and in society at large, regard all sorts of talented people and geniuses as "candidates" or "job-hunters", which is the result of the seemingly democratic and prevalent "election culture". It will be a pity if people go so far as to think of universities as superior places and exert excessive demands while dealing with talented people and scholars.

It goes without saying that universities should recruit outstanding talent. Teachers of superior-class not only cultivate excellent students, they help to attract ever-increasing funds. Many outstanding senior scholars have long held, well-desired positions and would not feel it a special honour when a "great university assumes a lofty attitude" towards them, while those doing their utmost to seek positions with crooked knees are probably people without decent positions and, most probably, not necessarily the first-class scholars you really want. Even those young scholars who are wandering in the human resources market, looking for suitable positions, will usually choose the right universities, just like good birds perching themselves on the right branches. Scholars, young or senior, are willing to serve a university that is equally willing to respect them. Giving applicants due respect is the basic attitude our society and universities should adopt.

In Taiwan, the most frequently asked questions applicants face are: "Why are you interested in our university?" or "Why don't you apply for a position in other universities?" What idiotic questions! Why can't you emphatically say, "Our university (or department) enjoys a prestigious academic position"; and we hope you would give it serious consideration. Please tell us your requirements and suggestions." If we could adopt such an attitude, I am sure we would be able to learn about areas that require improvement.

Without modern practices and mentality, how could one succeed in recruiting international experts and scholars (not necessarily foreigners or those from other places)? Without experts and scholars with international vision, how could we cultivate and turn out students with international vision or request that they have international views? Anyway, the university should stoop to recruit excellent scholars. Being ever ready to recruit all sorts of talents and embrace novel notions is the main driving force for US prosperity. Human resources are the main force of a nation's competitive edge. If universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan fail to understand this and put it into practice, internationalisation of higher education is nothing but an extravagant wish.

Universities and university teachers should first attain international standards before we require students to strive for internationalisation. Never feeling ashamed to ask and learn from your subordinates and being willing to knock on the doors repeatedly to urge the talented personage to take up a responsible position, are stories demonstrating our ancestor's eagerness to seek talented personages. Such good practices are lost in our own culture but picked up by countries that have attained internationalisation. We should make more effort to catch up.

December 2, 2013

 

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