Prof Xu Jie, associate dean of the University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Arts and Humanities, has been elected the only Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professor in the field of linguistics and applied linguistics for the year 2016. Prof Xu is the first Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professor in humanities and social sciences from Macao. He joined the competition for the title under the Chang Jiang Scholars Programme organised by the Chinese Ministry of Education.
In mainland China, the Chang Jiang Scholars Programme is widely viewed as a prestigious national academic honour, especially in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. Competition for the title has always been intense. As publicly announced in the election criteria by the Ministry of Education (MOE) of the People’s Republic of China, a successful candidate for the Chang Jiang Scholar Professorship is expected to be affiliated with a high quality overseas university at the rank of full professor or above, currently working actively in teaching and research, academically advanced with highly influential research achievements internationally recognised in his or her field, as well as academically faithful, rigorous, dedicated, and committed to scientific pursuit.
The selection and election process consists of six stringent steps: nomination by experts, recommendation by a university, anonymous online evaluation and election by experts with a high rejection rate, voting by experts at meetings organised by the MOE, public announcement of preliminary candidates for comments and feedback, and confirmation by the Chang Jiang Scholars Programme Election Committee. For the year 2016, 53 international scholars have been elected Chang Jiang Scholar Chair Professors out of hundreds of nominees. Prof Xu’s being elected to the position is a reflection not only of his own outstanding academic achievements and influence, but also of the recognition by the Chinese government and the academic community of UM’s academic quality and standards.
Prof Xu earned his doctoral degree in linguistics from the University of Maryland at College Park in 1993. Before joining UM in 2008, Prof Xu taught for 13 years at the National University of Singapore. His fields of expertise include theoretical linguistics, grammatical theory, language education, and language planning. He has a strong record of influential research and publications, and his works are widely cited and enjoy a good reputation in his fields. At UM, Prof Xu has served in various administrative positions, including department head and associate dean for many years, as well as member of the University Council for two terms from 2011 to 2015.
The implementation of the ‘Chang Jiang Scholars Programme’ has been highly praised by the academic and high education sectors, as well as the general public. Prof Chen-Ning Franklin Yang, a Nobel laureate in physics and an honorary doctor of UM, says that the programme is a crucial step and an amazing feat that the Chinese government has achieved in its attempt to develop the country through science, technology, and education.