The Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan yesterday publicized the result of college evaluations for the second half of last year’s academic year, putting 30 academic departments and graduate schools on the observation list.
Roger Chen (陳振遠), president of the council, told a press conference that 93.4 percent of the 266 academic departments and graduate schools at the eight universities that participated in the evaluation passed the assessment.
Departments and institutes at Soochow University, Ming Chuan University, Feng Chia University and Kaohsiung Medical University generally performed well on the evaluation because the schools had given priority to teaching, Chen said.
However, 30 academic departments and graduate schools, the majority of which were graduate institutes, were placed on the observation list and needed further assessment, Chen said.
Most of these departments or institutes were affiliated with National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and National Central University (NCU), both of which prioritize research, Chen said.
Chen said evaluators found that some universities put too much emphasis on the output of research while failing to stress teaching.
“The result of the evaluation also reflects the general lack of adequate teaching staff in public universities,” Chen said.
Vice Minister of Education Lin Tsung-ming (林聰明) said at a separate setting that universities should never prioritize academic research to the point of ignoring the importance of teaching.
Lai Ming-chiao (賴明詔), president of NCKU — which had 13 departments and institutes on the observation list — defended the quality of the school’s teachers and their teaching performance.
Lai said the school had established 23 new departments and institutes over the years in a bid to meet the needs of the government, but the Ministry of Education had refused to allow the school to employ more teachers.
This made it difficult for the school to provide adequate teaching staff for the new departments or institutes, Lai said.
Liu Gin-rong (劉振榮), vice president of NCU, criticized the evaluation, saying the school spends about NT$120 million (US$3.6 million) of its funding every year on boosting its teaching performance.