South China Normal University is an institution of higher education with a long history and a rich legacy. Originally known as Guangdong Provincial Xiangqin Normal College, South China Normal University (SCNU) was founded in 1933. In 1996, it became a member of “Project 211”, a national project aiming to establish 100 well-acknowledged key universities and colleges in China. 2015 saw the co-construction of SCNU by the Guangdong Provincial Government and Ministry of Education as well as its entry into the Guangdong High-Level University Sponsoring Project. In 2017, SCNU became a member of the National Sponsoring Project for World-Class Disciplines Construction. SCNU now boasts three campuses, namely Shipai Campus, University Town Campus and Nanhai Campus, with a total school area of over two hundred hectares and a total floor space of over one million square meters, housing a collection of over 3.7 million books.
The discipline of Physics at SCNU has entered the national project of “World-class Disciplines Development”. SCNU also boasts four state-level key disciplines: Educational Technology, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Optoelectronics, and Sports Humanities and Sociology; nine key disciplines as defined under “Project 211”, and twenty-three key disciplines for Guangdong Province. In the fourth round of discipline evaluation organized by the Ministry of Education, four disciplines at SCNU, namely Psychology, Physical Education, Education and Marxist theory, ranked among the top 10% Chinese disciplines. Five disciplines, Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics, Plant & Animal Science and Materials Science ranked top 1% in the World ESI. SCNU now has 87 undergraduate programs, 33 master's programs for the first-grade disciplines, over 200 master's programs, 18 master's programs for professionals, 19 doctoral programs for the first-grade disciplines, over 100 doctoral programs, 1 doctoral program for professionals and 17 postdoctoral research centers.
SCNU began to enroll students from the whole country in the 1950s. There are currently 24,835 full-time undergraduates, 8,212 postgraduates, 909 doctoral candidates, 131 researchers at the postdoctoral research centers and 1,181 overseas students from over 20 countries and areas, forming a complete talent-training system of bachelor, master, doctoral and postdoctoral degrees.
SCNU has persistently adhered to the goal of developing into a teaching oriented research university. It has a good team of experts and scholars who are famous at home and abroad. There are 2,030 teachers, of which 1,152 hold professor or associate professor titles, 1,227 master and doctoral supervisors, 1,812 holders of master and doctoral degrees. Besides, SCNU boasts a number of strong research institutes and labs, including the National Center for International Research on Green Optoelectronics, the MOE Key Laboratory of Laser Life Science, the Key Laboratory of Theoretical Chemistry of Environment, the MOE Engineering Research Center of Materials and Technology for Electrochemical Energy Storage, the MOE International Laboratory of Optical Information Technology, the MOE Internet Application and Innovation Development Demonstration Base, the MOE Jointly Established Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base with the provincial department (Center for Applied Research in Psychology), the Key Research Base of the State General Administration of Sports (Sports and Social Science Research Base). Besides, there are seven Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratories, one Guangdong Provincial Engineering Laboratory, twenty-nine Guangdong Engineering Technology Research Centers, one Guangdong Public Emergency Technology Research Center, one Guangdong International Cooperation Base, and six Guangdong Provincial Key Research Laboratories belonging to various universities, three Guangdong University Engineering Technology Research Centers, seven Guangdong Provincial Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Bases at different universities, and two Guangdong Provincial key laboratories for Philosophy and Social Sciences attached to universities. Moreover, the university also has one national science base for scientific research and teaching talents, four national experimental teaching demonstration centers, nineteen Guangdong Experimental Teaching Demonstration Centers, three national-level off-campus practice and education bases for university students, and thirty-seven Guangdong provincial-level off-campus practice and education bases for university students In addition, the Guangdong Teachers' Training Center for Institutions of Higher Learning, Education Research Institute of Guangdong Province, and the Guangdong network library are located at SCNU as well.
SCNU is active in international cultural and academic exchange, with its advantage of being close to Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and its strength in teacher education. Links have been established with over 160 higher education institutions and scientific and research organizations at home and abroad. Substantial progress has been made in a wide range of cooperation projects involving talent introduction, quality teaching resources, talent training, academic research, joint education, international conferences, the teaching of Chinese as a foreign language, etc.. Among others, the“International Joint Laboratory for Optical Information Technologies” was co-established with Eindhoven University of Technology, the University of Twente and Lund University, Sweden, marking a new stage in the internationalization of science and technology at SCNU. So far SCNU has established three Confucius Institutes in the city of Coquitlam in British Columbia Canada, and at the University of Reunion in France, and the University of Latvia in the Republic of Latvia.
SCNU gives full play to its advantages of being at the forefront of reform and opening up and adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao, and strives to build a first-class teacher cultivation and training base, a research and policy consulting think tank, and a lifelong learning and resource sharing platform for teachers. As the “working machine”of all stages of education in Guangdong, the University has been responsible for the task of training and continuing education for the maximum number of teachers in colleges and universities nationwide. It is also known as the“Demonstration Base for Continuing Education of Colleges and Universities”by the Ministry of Education, and the distance teacher training organization of the “National Training Program”of the Ministry of Education. The Execution Office of the Overseas Training Program of the National Training Program of the Ministry of Education, the Training and Study Base for University Counselors of the Ministry of Education, the Teacher Social Practice Training Base of the National College Ideological and Political Theory Course of the Ministry of Education, Guangdong Provincial Higher Education Teacher Training Center and the Guangdong Primary and Secondary School Teacher Development Center have been successively established at SCNU, providing educational services across the country. Besides, SCNU took the lead in launching two-way exchange activities with Sino-British and Sino-American principals and headmasters, initially forming a multi-level and all-round training system for teachers. With its disciplinary advantages in education and psychology, SCNU works to strengthen education and research, create a high-end southern education think tank, and establish a number of educational development institutes (centers) in the Pearl River Delta and the North and West of Guangdong. Moreover, the University has been serving the comprehensive reform of education in Guangdong Province, and signed comprehensive strategic cooperation agreements with a number of local governments, with its quality affiliated school resources radiating out to different places. It's worth noting that SCNU has a sound historical foundation and first-mover advantage in serving educational development in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. As the first mainland university to promote cooperative education in Hong Kong and Macao, SCNU has been regarded as one of the three major forces of Macao teachers.
During the past 80 years, the university has changed its name and location several times, yet its good tradition has been kept well and passed down from generation to generation. Imbued with Lingnan’s pioneering and pragmatic spirits, SCNU has developed a tradition of elegant simplicity and fostered a strong learning environment. Under the guidance of CPC and following a socialist educational strategy, the University strives to serve Guangdong, influence Hong Kong and Macao and open to the outside world. In its efforts to cultivate outstanding teachers, promote regional education development, lead teacher education in Southern China and provide talent support, intellectual support and cultural services for regional and national economic and social development, SCNU endeavors to establish itself as a comprehensive normal university with domestic fame and world popularity.