Beijing Normal University
|Latin: Universitas Normalis Pechinum|
Motto in English
|Learn, so as to instruct others; Act, to serve as a model for all.|
|President||Dong Qi (董奇)|
|Location||Beijing, People's Republic of China|
|Campus||Urban, 738,779 m2 (7,952,150 sq ft)|
Beijing Normal University (BNU, simplified Chinese: 北京师范大学; traditional Chinese: 北京師範大學; pinyin: Běijīng Shīfàn Dàxué), colloquially known as 北师大 or Beishida, is a public research university located in Beijing, China, with a strong emphasis on basic disciplines of the humanities and sciences. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China.
The term "normal school" refers to an institution that aimed to train schoolteachers in the early twentieth century. This terminology is preserved in the official names of such institutions in China even after these schools gained university status and expanded to offer courses beyond education-related fields. This term reflects BNU's heritage as a former unit of the Imperial University of Peking dedicated to training schoolteachers.
Professor Qi Dong (董奇), a well-known scholar in Developmental Psychology, has served as the President since July, 2012.
The University grew out of the Faculty of Education at the Imperial University of Peking which was established as China's first modern university, on the initiative of the emperor of the Qing Dynasty after the Hundred Days' Reform in 1898. In 1908 the Faculty of Education was named the "Imperial Capital School of Supreme Teacher Training" and was separated from the Imperial University of Peking, which subsequently became Peking University, another prestigious university in China.
After the Republic of China was established, the Imperial Capital School of Supreme Teacher Training was renamed Peking Normal College in 1912. The college established its first graduate programs in 1920 and began to recruit female students in 1921. In 1923 it was renamed again to Peking Normal University, thus becoming the first normal university in modern Chinese history. The Peking Women’s College of Education merged into Peking Normal University in 1931.
When communist forces established the People's Republic of China in 1949, the capital of Peking was renamed Beijing and the university was consequently renamed Beijing Normal University. During a national initiative of university rearrangement in 1952, Fu Jen Catholic University merged with Beijing Normal University. In 1954, BNU moved from its Hepingmen campus to a newly established campus at Beitaipingzhuang and has remained there since.
Historically, students at Beijing Normal University have played a significant role in patriotic and social movements, particularly in the May Fourth Movement in 1919, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The New York Times once described it as "one of the most progressive institutions" in China.
Beijing Normal University was selected to be a Project 211 institution in 1996. In 2002, BNU signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Beijing municipal government to become the 10th university participating in Project 985, through which it receives special support from the Chinese government aimed at elevating its reputation to the level of a "world-class" university.
During its centennial celebration in 2002, an asteroid discovered in 1996 was named after the university as 8050 Beishida.
After a special visit from Premier Wen Jiabao to the university on May 4, 2006, the Chinese government implemented a Fee-Waiver Policy for teacher training programs in six normal universities that are supervised by the Ministry of Education, including Beijing Normal University.
The university also has a distinct emphasis on increasing educational equity. Its 2009 demographic composition data shows that 40% of its enrolled students are from western China, almost one third are from rural areas, and a quarter are from low-income families. Ethnic minorities comprise more than 10% of students.
In total, the university has 55 undergraduate degree programs, 162 master programs, and 100 doctoral programs. Sixteen of them are honored as "national key disciplines", including 5 general disciplines and 11 specialized disciplines, and are recognized as among the top ranked programs in China:
|Marxist Philosophy||Physical Chemistry|
|Ancient Chinese History||Systems Science|
|Theory of History||Theoretical Physics|
|Ecology||Educational Economics and Management|
Beijing Normal University possesses 74 research laboratories, including 4 National Key Labs, 7 Key Labs of the Ministry of Education, and 5 Key Labs of the Beijing Municipality. Key research centers and facilities include 7 key research facilities in humanities and social sciences of the Ministry of Education, 2 research centers of Engineering & Technology of the Beijing Municipality, 3 research centers jointly established with the Beijing Municipality, and more than 40 other research centers. Additionally, the university has an institute dedicated to Proteomics, the only one established in a university by the Ministry of Education. The university has also established a Science Park comprising 6 hectares.
Beijing Normal University's annual research budget in the sciences exceeds RMB 100 million. In 2010, 150 projects were funded by the National Natural Science Foundation, with a record high amount of RMB 62 million (compared with 44.7 million in 2009 and 37 million in 2007).
Funding for research in the humanities and social sciences has increased rapidly in the last five years to RMB 150 million, the third largest budget nationally. Since 2002, the annual increase in budget has been over RMB 30 million, equating to RMB 40,000 per capita. This increase in funding reflects BNU's institutional commitment to basic theory and research in the humanities and social sciences.
Beijing Normal University was also among the first Chinese institutions to recruit international students. It is particularly popular for its Mandarin Chinese study programs. Among its most prestigious programs is Princeton in Beijing, a collaboration with Princeton University in the United States.
Regarding international co-operation, the Beijing Normal University is part of a university consortium (together with the Danube University Krems, the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück and the University of Tampere) which offers a Erasmus+ joint master's degree, a Master in Research and Innovation in Higher Education.
Schools and Departments
- Faculty of Education
- School of Chinese Language and Literature
- School of Law
- School of Economy and Business Administration
- School of Foreign Language & Culture
- School of Life Science
- School of Chemistry
- School of Resources
- School of Geography
- Department of Astronomy
- School of Mathematics
- School of History
- School of Philosophy
- Department of Physics
- School of Systems Science
- School of Psychology
- School of Social Development and Public Policy
- School of Arts and Mass Media
- School of Environment
- School of Sociology
Beijing Normal University also has many other areas of study not mentioned above.
The original campus was near Hepingmen and Liulichang in the center of Beijing during the Republic of China period, and after Fu Jen University merged into BNU, the Fu Jen's campus near Shichahai and Prince Kung's Mansion became the Northern Campus of BNU.
Beijing Normal University's current campus was built in 1954. It is located in northwest downtown Beijing in Haidian district, between the second and third ring roads, and is the closest of all Haidian universities to Tiananmen Square, site of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests during which several BNU students were involved as student leaders.
- Mo Yan, writer, 2012 Nobel Literature Prize laureate
- Liu Xiaobo, writer and human right activist, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate
- Chai Ling, dissident, student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests
- Wu'erkaixi, dissident, student leader of the 1989 Tiananmen protests
- Yuan Guiren, professor of philosophy, and the current Minister of Education of the People's Republic of China
- Xu Jialu, professor of Chinese, politician, and former vice chairman of the National People's Congress
- Yu Dan, professor well known for her popular and controversial lectures about the Analects broadcast on China Central Television
- Ye Ding, psychologist
- Su Tong, novelist
- Xie Jun, chess grandmaster
- Lang Ping, gold medalist in 1984 Summer Olympics women's volleyball, and former head coach of the U.S. women's national volleyball team
- Chen Yibing, gymnast, 2008 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Olympics gold medalist
- Wang Xiaodong, biochemist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, fellow of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and currently Director and Investigator at the National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS, Beijing)
- Timothy Geithner, 75th United States Secretary of the Treasury. He attended as a language student studying Mandarin in 1982 as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College.
- Weidong Li, professor of astronomy, the first Chinese astronomer to discover a supernovae since 1054 A.D.
- Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator from New York. She attended as an undergraduate in Dartmouth College's FSP program.
- Min Weifang, former CPC Secretary of Peking University, serving from 2002 to 2011. He is a graduate of the Education Department, subsequently earning his Ph.D. from Stanford University in the United States
- QS World University Ranking: 252nd, 7th in China 
- Academic Ranking of World Universities: 201-300th, 7th-12th in China
- Humanities and Social Sciences overall ranking in China: 3rd 
Affiliated high schools
- Experimental High School Attached to Beijing Normal University
- The High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University
- The Second High School Attached to Beijing Normal University
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