As the key normal university of Yunnan Province and with a long history and splendid tradition, Yunnan Normal University (henceforth YNNU) is a higher institution co-funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Yunnan Provincial Government and one of the 100 universities funded by the National Key Project for the Quality Enhancement of the Higher Institutions in Central and West China..
When the Anti-Japanese War broke out in 1937, Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University moved to Kunming and merged into the National Southwest Associated University, which consisted of School of Arts, School of Science, School of Engineering, School of Business and Law, and Teachers School. After the war ended, the three component universities moved back to their original campuses in the north, whereas the Teachers School, now renamed National Kunming Normal College, remained in Kunming as an independent institution. It adopted the name of Kunming Normal College in 1950 and was renamed Yunnan Normal University in 1984. Up to now, it has produced d more than 200,000 graduates of different kinds and is rightfully known as the Cradle of Qualified Teachers on the Lateritic Plateau.
Covering a total area of 3,330 mu (about 555 acres), YNNU consists of 24 schools, two independent schools, and over 40 research institutes. Currently it has over 33,000 full-time students pursuing different degrees, from bachelor to PhD, and more than 18,000 students participating in the program of adult continuing education. Equipped with over 3.2 million books, the library of YNNU is a provincial data resources center of China Academic Library and Information System (CALIS), and the campus is covered by a new digitalized service system. The Journal of Yunnan Normal University (Social Science Edition), included in the highly selective CSSCI (Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index) list, ranks among the top 30 of its kind, while the Natural Science Edition is a nationally acclaimed core journal. In addition, the Teaching and Research on Chinese as a Foreign Language Edition, a pioneer in this field, ranks among the top 30 journals of its kind in China in terms of impact factor.
YNNU offers 10 disciplines: literature, history, philosophy, law, education, management, science, engineering, economics, and arts, which are well coordinated in their development. In an assessment conducted in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, 22 of YNNU’s sub-disciplines are ranked among the top 20 in the whole country while 3 of them are among the top 10. YNNU offers 90 bachelor’s programs, 2 postdoctoral research programs, 1 doctoral program in a first-class discipline, 7 doctoral programs in second-class disciplines, 26 master’s programs in first-class disciplines, 130 master’s programs in second-class disciplines, and 13 professional master’s programs, such as MBA and M.Ed. It is one of the first 24 universities in China that offer the Master’s Program for Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages.
Through reforms and innovations in teacher education, talent development, teaching content and methodology, curriculum and credit system, YNNU has transformed itself from a traditional teacher-training university to a teaching-research university, with teacher education as its typical trait. It has won 12 state-level teaching awards, one first prize and two second prizes in 2014. It has a number of state-level teaching teams, innovative training programs, special majors, brilliant teachers, excellent courses and experimental teaching bases that rank among the best in China in their respective fields. It has won several national excellent teaching awards. It is carrying out state-funded projects in such areas as reforms in education system, bilingual teaching and teaching innovation and faculty development. It has 76 state-level Quality Projects under construction. It is one of the national college-student innovation training bases. YNNU’s Teaching Affairs Department, the Enrollment & Employment Department and the Adult Education Department have won state-level honors for their respective contribution. Its undergraduate teaching is rated “Excellence” in the teaching-quality assessment conducted by the Ministry of Education.
The university has built 2 state-level research platforms, the National Solar-heater Quality Testing Center, the Sino-Laos Joint Lab for Recyclable Energy Resources, 33 research bases or platforms, including the Ministry of Education’s Key Lab, Engineering Research Center, Key Lab of Yunnan Province, Yunnan Engineering Center, and Philosophy and Social Science Research Base, etc., and 13 innovation teams at the provincial and ministerial level, including Educational Innovation Team, Science and Technological Innovation Team of Yunnan Province, etc. The university also set up two provincial Collaborative Innovation Centers, the Collaborative Innovation Center for Geopolitical Environment of Southwest China and Borderland Development, and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Research and Development of Recyclable Energy Resources in Southwest China. In addition, it is equipped with two new think tanks, one for educational policy-making of Yunnan and the other for researches on geopolitical environment of Southwest China and implementation of “One Belt, One Road” program. In the past three years, YNNU has undertaken 1, 779 different research projects, its research funds totaling over 557 million Yuan, among which 159 projects are newly approved and initiated from National Natural Science Foundation, 65 funded by National Social Science Foundation, and 15 National Prestigious Key Projects, such as the National Sci-tech Support Plan, Technological Benefiting Project of National Ministry of Science and Technology, a Major Bidding Project of National Social Science Foundation and a Special Commission Project of the National Social Science Foundation of China. The faculty has published 428 academic books, 104 of them by publishers of the top class. And 834 out of the 8774 published journal papers have been listed by SCI, EI, and ISTP, and 733 by CSSCI. The university has won 122 awards for academic achievements, including 2 National Universities’ Academic Research Awards, 99 Yunnan Philosophy and Social Science Research Awards, and 9 Yunnan Science and Technology Awards. YNNU also has had 74 patents authorized, 116 software copyright registered, and three National Standard Projects approved and initiated by the Standardization Administration of the People's Republic of China (SAC).
Currently YNNU has a staff of 2373, many of whom are experts with honors awarded by the Central Government, specialists winning the State Council Special Allowance, members from the “100 Talents Program” of Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS) or the state-level “Ten Million Talents Project”, winners of the state-level “Outstanding Teacher” and “Teachers as Role Models of the Country”, and of “Young Faculty Award” granted by the Ministry of Education, candidates for the “New-century Talents Development Program” by the Ministry of Education, and for “West Light” talents development project by CAS, and important experts of the national research project of Marxist Theory. Some teachers have also won the national awards of “Model Workers and Advanced Workers”. In addition, YNNU has invited about 100 well-known experts from 40 countries and regions as its Honorary Professors, Guest Professors or Adjunct Professors, including Professor Chen-Ning Franklin Yang, Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1957, Professor Yang Le, Professor Guo Bailing, Professor Dai Ruwei, and Professor Ouyang Ziyuan, CAS academicians, Professor Gehan Amaratunga from Cambridge University, academician of the Royal Academy of Engineering, U.K., Professor Christopher A. Pissarides, fellow of British Academy and winner of Nobel Prize in economics sciences in 2010, Professor Seymour Topping, former Administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, and former managing editor of the New York Times, the world-famous futurologist Dr. John Naisbitt, and Wu Jinlian, renowned economist.
Boasting of international visions and modern ideas, YNNU has been designated by the Ministry of Education and the Hanban as one of the ten key universities supporting Chinese teaching in neighboring countries. It is the Cross-Strait Exchange Center at the site of Southwest Associated University sponsored by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Chinese Language and Culture Education Base by Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (OCAOSC), Teacher Training Base for the International Promotion of Chinese Language, and the TCFL Teacher Training Base for Southeast Asian Countries by the Hanban, one of the first Chinese universities approved by the Chinese government to establish Confucius Institute abroad and provide scholarship awarded by the Chinese Government and Confucius Institute Headquarters to overseas students, one of the first National Demonstration Bases for International Education, and Education Training and Research Center for Overseas Studies by the MOE, the HSK and CFL Test Centers and authorized to enroll students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan area. Up till now, it has set up one Confucius Institute, three Confucius Classrooms, and six Chinese Culture Centers abroad. YNNU has established collaborative ties with over 160 overseas universities and research institutes from more than 60 countries, such as Great Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other regions of China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. It has enrolled more than 16,000 overseas students from 81 countries in the past, and currently 1,725 international students are studying here, the greatest number in Yunnan universities.
YNNU has been granted awards by the State Council, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), the Ministry of Education, and Yunnan Province for its contributions to the national unity and progress, for its achievements in education, well-organized running of the university in accordance with the law, experienced guidance for graduates in job-hunting, training of teachers from elementary and middle schools, conservation-oriented operation, excellent campus culture and landscaping, and advanced grass-roots Party organizations. Students have also made remarkable achievements in the Mathematical Contest in Modelling, the “Challenge Cup” Extracurricular Academic Science and Technology Works Competition for University Students, the Speech Contest for University Students, the National English Competition for College Students, and the National Teaching Skill Competition for Normal University Students. And some students and classes and associations have won awards for their excellent performance, scientific and technological innovations and praiseworthy actions for helping those in need. YNNU’s students have won medals in the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games held in Beijing, Athens and London.
In the new stage of development, YNNU will make unremitting efforts to become a high-quality university with its unique features by implementing the strategy of “integrating strengths from all sides while sticking to unique local features” and developing a campus culture of “inclusiveness, harmony and politeness”.