Since the Tenth Party Congress, the cultivation of graduates in our university has been guided by the university’s Twelfth Five-Year Plan. It closely focuses on the developmental orientation and goals of the university. Based on the Strengthening Morality, the university comprehensively deepens the reform of graduate education, and promotes the connotation of graduate education. The quality of graduate cultivation has been steadily improved, and the core competitiveness of graduate has been significantly enhanced.
1. Perfect the rules and regulations; make the best Top-Level Design; deepen the comprehensive reform of graduate education
Firmly establishing the central position of talents-training, our university consciously takes the service of social needs and improvement of training quality of talents as starting point and aim of educational reform of graduate students, and comprehensively promote the reform of graduate education.
In 2012, the Graduate School (Graduate Work Department) was established and perfected university’s high-level personnel training system. The Graduate Education Conference was held in 2015 and successively released over 20 regulations, such as, Graduate Education Reform of Shaanxi Normal University (Shaanxi Normal University  No. 102), Reform and Implementation of the Cultivation Mechanism for Graduate Students of Shaanxi Normal University (Shaanxi Normal University  No. 73) and so on, which perfects the management mechanism of graduate education.
In 2017, the university summarized the achievements and experiences gained from graduate education reform in recent years. Our university launched quality assessment of graduate courses, training of new graduate supervisors, and released Shaanxi Normal University Academic Graduate Cultivation Quality Report to effectively guarantee the quality of graduate education.
Actively responding to General Secretary Xi Jinping's speech at the National Conference on Ideological and Political Work in Colleges and Universities, graduate ideological and political work conference was organized and held in our university. In the conference, the university formulated a series of documents such as, Suggestions for Further Improvements and Implementation of Graduate Ideological and Political Education of Shaanxi Normal University. We earnestly implemented the requirements for cultivating students in an all-round way, and carried out ideological and political education throughout the process of teaching and education. We continued to improve the reform of cultivation mechanism for academic graduates and professional master candidates, and to improve the graduate education in university to a new level.
2. Adhere to Strengthening Morality; innovate work ideas; build a new pattern of “Great Thinking” for graduate students
In 2012, the Party Committee of Graduate Department was set up. It specializes in graduate ideological and political work and education management; strengthens the contingent building of ideological and political work; provides full-time counselors for graduates which make the management of ideological and political stronger. Furthermore, it releases a series of documents to promote the normalization and scientificness of graduate ideological, political, and educational management work, such as, Implementing Regulations for Graduate Ideological and Political Work of Shaanxi Normal University, Opinions for Implementation of Graduate Counselors’ Team Construction of Shaanxi Normal University, Ideological and Political Education Responsibility for Graduate Supervisor of Shaanxi Normal University, Implementation Measures of Three-assistance Allowance and Counsellor System for Graduates of Shaanxi Normal University, and Assessment Method for Graduate Ideological and Political Work of Shaanxi Normal University.
Our university pushes forward the graduate ideological and political education activities and further strengthens graduate ideological and political education and guiding of core values through actively carrying out ideological education, patriotic education, safety education, academic moral education and entrance education of freshman. Moreover, the university innovates the ways of ideological and political education publicity; demonstrates achievements of graduate education reform through new media, such as Wechat, Weibo; and improves the vividness and efficiency of ideological education. Furthermore, we construct good academic atmosphere and enrich graduate cultural life through carrying out activities, such as, graduate study style construction and academic innovation activities, graduate commendation conference, month of study style construction for graduate and so on. We also continuously improve the graduate tastes of campus cultural; demonstrate the function of “cultivating people with culture”; and create excellent cultural activities on campus. Besides, we give full play of the exemplary vanguard role of graduate student cadres; guide graduate union and graduate student association; establish graduate backbone training courses; improve theoretical attainment and professional ability of graduate backbones. In all, the university builds popular platform for graduates to study and practice; actively guides the full play of graduate subjective initiative; combines professional research with social practice and promotes graduate comprehensive qualities.
3. Promote enrollment reform and improve the quality of graduate students pool
Focusing on improving quality of graduate students pool, we will actively try out new enrollment models of comprehensive evaluation. Based on the demand and capability, we carry out dynamic management of allocation of enrollment index and promote the initiative of enrollment in every cultivation unit. Through carrying out “1023 Project”, “One Belt One Road Project” and other Special Plan, the university displays interdisciplinary advantage and special advantage; strengthens “Excellent Students Pool” system and bachelor-mater-doctor combined program; comprehensively broadens channel of graduate student pool. At the same time, the university implements optimization plan for graduate student pool; co-establishes excellent graduate student’s enrollment base; sets up outstanding graduate student’s scholarship; establishes effective channels for development of outstanding innovative talents. Through a series of enrollment reforms, the quality and structure of graduate students pool have been significantly improved and optimized: among the academic master candidates enrolled in 2016, the proportion of students who are from “Project 211” accounted for 30%, and students who are form Key Provincial University accounted for 53.6%; in 2017, 333 exam-exempted graduates were enrolled with the growth rate of 27%, and the proportion of full-time academic master candidates who are from high-level universities, such as, “Project 211” and “Project 985” increased to 54.7% which both made a historical breakthrough.
4. Innovate cultivation mode; raise the level of internationalization; comprehensively improve the quality of graduate education
The university optimizes curriculum design; build provincial and university-level graduate top-quality courses; strengthens research on graduate education and teaching reform; sets up graduate education and teaching reform program; implements diversified and interdisciplinary training program; promotes pilot projects of interdisciplinary graduate training; establishes platforms such as “Academic Research Innovation Platform” and “Application Research Innovation Platform”; explores new methods for development of research-oriented, application-oriented and compound talents; pays attention to the connotation development; promotes innovation of classified training system and mechanism. We always focus on the quality of talent cultivation and cultivation mode reform to lay a solid foundation for improvement of graduate education quality.
Through “going out”, “taking in” and multi-channel funding, we vigorously promote the internationalization of graduate education. Since 2012, 94 graduates have participated in international exchange programs of 47 universities and scientific research institutions from over 12 countries and regions; 67 graduates won the support of National constructed high-level university-sponsored graduate programs; 78 graduates have participated in international academic conference. We also have launched the graduate international summer program and invited international renowned experts to give lectures; held international forums for graduate education; held international academic conference modeling contest. Our university strives to broaden the graduate international cooperation and exchange platform; creates high-level talent cultivation environment for graduate students to actively participate in global competition; and continuously broadens the international academic vision of graduate students.
5. Strengthen quality awareness; strengthen link monitoring; and improve graduate quality assessment system
Our university also takes a series of measures to lay a solid foundation for the quality of graduate dissertations, such as, formulates documents like Measures for Preventing the Dispute of Dissertations of Shaanxi Normal University, Regulations for Examination of Graduate Dissertations of Shaanxi Normal University; strengthens academic misconduct literature detection before dissertation defense and inspection of dissertations after degree conferring; fully implement blind review of dissertations. The university carries out scientific ethics education and study style construction activities; improves academic integrity and quality awareness of the training units, supervisors and graduates in an all-round manner; gives full play of the Graduate Education Steering Committee in the quality assurance of graduate students; seriously deals with the academic misconduct; establishes a benchmark for graduate cultivation quality and standard for academic misconduct.
The university formulates and improves Graduate Supervisor Management Methods of Shaanxi Normal University; changes the existing graduate student supervisor assessment methods; promotes the transition from “status” to “post”; breaks the lifelong tenure of the supervisor. The graduate supervisor team has achieved remarkable results. At present, there are 1,123 graduate supervisors in which 890 with a doctoral degree, 146 with master degree and 87 with bachelor’s degree and below in our university. Furthermore, there are 438 supervisors with a senior professional title, 626 supervisors with an associate senior professional title and 59 supervisors with an intermediate title. Among all the supervisors, there are 363 doctoral supervisors, 760 master supervisors and 242 part-time professional degree supervisors. Quality of supervisors and coaching ability are significantly increased through strengthening the responsibility of graduate supervisors in the whole process of graduate cultivation, increasing graduate supervisors’ right to speak in graduate enrollment and cultivation and improving pre-job training and post management of graduate supervisors.
The university continues to promote the “Program for Graduate Outstanding Dissertations”. At present, there are 4 National Excellent Doctoral Dissertations, 7 National Excellent Doctoral Nomination Dissertations, 61 Shaanxi Excellent Doctoral Dissertations, 12 National Excellent Dissertations for Master of Education in Shaanxi Normal University. In the past five years, the number of graduate students who participated in supervisors’ projects for humanities and social sciences has been increasing year by year. Besides, the number of scientific research papers published by graduate students in high-level academic journals has increased significantly. The ability of graduates for scientific research and innovation has been significantly enhanced, and the contribution rate of graduate students in scientific research has further increased.
6. Promote pilot projects and improve professional degree education system
The university strengthens the institutional construction of professional degree education; focuses on establishing a cultivation model and management system that conforms to characteristics of professional degree education; and further improves the professional degree education system. Moreover, we optimize the framework of the curriculum system. Based on the platform of online courses, we build 77 network courses; complete 240 excellent demonstration courses and provide high quality education resources for masters of education. The course—Teacher's Professional Capability Development, was set up to create a professional ability training model for masters of education, and implement a certification system for the professional ability of teachers.
7. Forge ahead with determination, develop and bring forth new ideas; and continuously improve management, service and information construction
According to requirements of “Implementation plan of ‘party building studies’ for all the Party Members”, The Party Branch of the Graduate School (Graduate Work Department) has studied the Party constitution, Party regulations, and General Secretary Xi Jinping's major policy addresses by taking collective learning and self-study as the basic form and relying on the implementation of the party members’ daily education and management system. The Party Branch of the Graduate School learns and understands the requirements of qualified party members; conducts in-depth study and education activities of “party building studies”; and actively promotes the normalization of these studies. Through learning, consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment of all party members and cadres have been significantly improved.
The university plans work for overall development of graduate education, and earnestly establishes a strict awareness, strict rules, and a strict culture. Besides, it strengthens discipline education and responsibility education; eliminates political laziness; encourages entrepreneurial entrepreneurship. Our university emphasizes clear work discipline, carefulness, cautiousness and responsibility, and insists on the unity of principle and flexibility in work. The university also emphasizes the theoretical study of all staff; improves their professional knowledge and political theory; establishes ideology of service for students and teachers. In all, the university always insists on strict requirements and pays attention to style construction.
The university builds scholarship-allowance system which is compatible with cultivation mechanism reform; establishes graduate award system such as, National Scholarship, intramural scholarship, social scholarship. The university further improves graduate scholarship and allowance management measures; standardizes the construction of graduate students’ finical assistance system through state student loan, three-assistance allowance, difficulty-solving subsidy. At the same time, we will increase the funding for graduate students with financial difficulties by reduction of tuition fees, difficulty-solving subsidy and student loans.
The university has basically achieved Office Automation system from graduate cultivation, day-to-day management, degree, and graduation in order to promote the practical application of graduate information management system. It has shortened the work flow, saved time, and improved efficiency. The university launches new official website of the Graduate Student (Graduate Work Department); further improves the management level and work efficiency; strengthens and improves construction and supervision of new media platforms such as WeChat and Weibo; displays and publicizes the achievements of graduate education in our university. Through the efforts and practice in recent years, the graduate student education information service system has been basically completed.
8. Main ideas for the development of graduate education in the next five years
In the future, the university will deeply implement the document of the national education reforms for graduate students; conscientiously implement the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan for graduate education of the Ministry of Education and relevant requirements of the university; adhere to the principle of Strengthening Morality, and improve the institutional mechanisms with service orientation; strengthen graduate ideological and political education; further improve the quality of graduate students pool and cultivation; strengthen the construction of graduate courses; accelerate the international development; further enhance the mentoring ability of supervisors; strengthen the construction of a quality assurance system to comprehensively promote the development of the connotative development of graduate education; accelerate the realization of strategic transformation and advance the construction of “Double first-rate” universities.