Hunan University (HNU) is situated at the foot of the picturesque Yuelu Mountain and on the west bank of the rippling Xiangjiang River in the historically and culturally renowned City of Changsha, capital of Hunan Province. It enjoys the title of an "Ancient Millenarian Academy, Famous Centennial University". As one of the key and most comprehensive universities affiliated with the Ministry of Education, it has been included in the state's "Project 211" and "Project 985" for priority investment and construction, and the project of building world-class universities.
The university, an extension of one of the four famous Academies of the Song Dynasty, dates back to the period of the founding of Yuelu Academy in 976 AD. It has maintained the glorious culture and education standards inherited from the historical institute in the process of the numerous changes faced with during the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. It was reconstructed into Hunan Institute of Higher Learning in 1903, renamed Hunan University in 1926, and subordinated to the Republic of China's Ministry of Education as one of 16 state universities in 1937. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Central People's Government appointed Li Da, delegate to the first CPC National Congress and a well-known educator, as the first President of Hunan University. Chairman Mao Zedong inscribed the name of the University. In 2000, Hunan University and Hunan Institute of Finance and Economics merged to give shape to a new wide-ranging Hunan University.
Carrying forward the celebrated traditions of quality education and personnel cultivation, HNU continues to focus on the essence of its motto "Seeking Truth from Facts; Daring to be Pioneers" and the style of "Be Profound, Intelligent, Diligent and Dedicated in the Pursuit of Knowledge". It has adopted distinctive teaching style featuring "solid foundation, active thinking, strong adaptability, and good comprehensive quality". The university has fostered numerous senior professionals. Many of its graduates have become academic experts, entrepreneurs and high ranking officials in government organs and private sectors, while 39 faculty and alumni members have been elected as members of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and academicians of the Chinese Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
HNU has Graduate School and 25 colleges and departments. Professional disciplines involve 11 subject categories, namely philosophy, economics, law, education, literature, history, science, engineering, management, medicine, and arts, which offer 28 first-order disciplines authorized to confer Ph.D. degrees; three professional doctorate degree authorization; 35 first-order disciplines authorized to confer Master's degree; 26 professional master’s degree authorizations; and, and 62 undergraduate disciplines. It has 2 key first-order disciplines and 14 key second-order disciplines at the national level, and 28 post-doctoral research programs. Nine disciplines – chemistry, engineering science, materials science, physics, biology and biochemistry, environmental ecology, computer science, mathematics, and social science general – rank among top 1% on the ESI rankings, among which engineering science and chemistry rank among top 1‰. Seven characteristic disciplines are designated as national defense ones. Chemistry and mechanical engineering are listed as “world-class disciplines” of the Ministry of Education.
The full-time student body totals more than 37,000, of which over 20,000 are undergraduates and 15,000 are graduates. It has a staff of more than 4,000, of which 2,250 are full-time teachers. It has 12 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering; 5 members of the Academic Degree Commission under the State Council; 56 candidates of the state's talents programs; 24 winners of the National Science Foundation for Distinguished Young Scholars; 20 winners of the National Science Foundation for Excellent Young Scholars; 6 winners of national outstanding teacher awards; 14 young and middle-aged leading talents in the Innovative Talent Promotion Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology; and, 134 candidates of the New Century Excellent Talents Supporting Program of the Ministry of Education. There are 4 innovative research groups supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), 8 innovative teams of the Ministry of Education, and one innovative team of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.
HNU has established 5 national personnel training bases; 4 national experiment and teaching demonstration centers; and, one national virtual simulation experimental teaching center. It has 8 national-level teaching teams, and 6 personnel training innovative experimental programs. It is listed as one of the first national demonstration universities in enhancing innovation and entrepreneurship training reform, a national model university in innovation and entrepreneurship, and a national base for practice-oriented innovation and entrepreneurship. During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), it gained one first and two second prizes of the National Teaching Achievement Award. Twenty undergraduate majors were approved as national-level first-class majors; 31 open online and video courses were selected as national-level quality courses for resource sharing; and, 37 undergraduate courses were included in the first batch of national first-class undergraduate courses. HNU students won 19 gold and silver awards in the “Internet+”, and the “Challenge Cup” and its upgrading version “Chuang Qing Chun” China College Students’ Entrepreneurship Competition.
HNU has 2 state key laboratories, 2 national engineering technology research centers, 3 national-level international cooperation bases, one state engineering laboratory, one key discipline laboratory of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, 4 key laboratories of the Ministry of Education, 5 engineering research centers of the Ministry of Education, and 5 discipline innovation and talent introduction bases of higher learning institutions under the Ministry of Education. It has participated in establishing three national “2011 Collaborative Innovation Centers”. During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), HNU was included on the China highly cited researchers list for 19 times, and the global highly cited researchers list for 14 times. It has 16 research projects winning the national science and technology awards, and played a leading role in 11 of them. Nine projects were granted with the humanities and social sciences awards of the Ministry of Education.
HNU’s National Science and Technology Park and the “Two Mountains and One Lake” (Yuelu and Tianma Mountains, and Taizihu Lake) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Base have established production-education-research cooperation ties with 32 provincial, municipal, and autonomous region governments, and thousands of enterprises. It has founded a research finding transformation center (intellectual property center). The National Supercomputing Center in Changsha, the third one of its kind in China, is under the management and operation of HNU. The center provides nearly 2,000 institution users with innovative services featuring integration of scientific research, technological innovation, public service, and talent cultivation.
HNU has established cooperation and exchange relationships with over 160 universities and research institutes across the world. Nearly 1,000 international students from over 87 countries and regions study in the university. Over the past five years, more than 2,000 HNU students went to partner universities around the world for study tours and joint educational programs. Confucius Institutes have been established in the U.S.A, Canada, and South Korea.
The University occupies a total area of 2,397,760 square meters, with its school buildings covering 1,446,350 square meters. As of Dec. 31, 2020, the university library had a total collection of nearly 7.57 million books and 113 Chinese and foreign language data bases. IPV6-based next-generation internet is available. Core campus network bandwidth reaches 40Gbps, with its wired and wireless service accessible in all teaching buildings, office buildings, and students' apartments. Multi-channel information-based teaching, management, and service are achieved based on big data, cloud computing, and mobile internet technologies.
Millennial HNU will firmly follow Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, stay rooted in China, and strive to fulfill its missions at the historical stage. With the goal of building a “world-class” university, and making “first-class” performance, HNU has been making all-out efforts to build itself a world-class university with Chinese characteristics and profound historical and cultural inheritance, and contribute to realizing the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation.
(Update: March, 2021)