Ankang University (AKU) is a comprehensive four-year undergraduate state university administered by the Shaanxi Provincial Government. The origin of AKU can be traced back to the Ankang University of 1958, which was suspended in 1963 because of national economic difficulties. In 1978 it was reopened as a branch school of Shaanxi Normal University, and in 1984 it was renamed “Ankang Teacher’s College” with the approval of the Shaanxi Provincial Government. In 2004, the incorporation of Ankang Education Institute and Ankang Agricultural School into Ankang Teacher's College officially formed AKU. In February 2006, with the authorization of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), it was approved as an undergraduate university.
AKU is located in Ankang City of Shaanxi Province, sometimes called “the back-garden of Xi’an”; the city boasts an extraordinary ecological and geographical environment, including the nearby Tsinling Mountains, Mt. Bashan and the Hanjiang River. AKU covers an area about 600,000 square meters. Its buildings have floor space of about 242,716 square meters, and are equipped with a wide variety of the latest teaching equipment valued at nearly 50,000,000 RMB. The library houses 953,700 books, 2078 GB of electronic books, and 1300 different journals. The Gigabit campus network offers easy access to the China Journal Net Database, Wanfang Database and the Internet, which together provide a ready platform for teaching and scientific research for students and faculty.
The present AKU consists of twelve departments encompassing 52 majors grouped under the heading of Mathematics, Electronic and Information Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chinese, Foreign Languages, Politics and History, Education and Science, Arts, Economics and Management, Physical Education, Agriculture and Life Sciences and Adult Education. The university has been focusing on developing research projects related to such aspects of the local environment as the cultural study of the Hanjiang River Valley, the protection and management of natural resources in the Tsinling Mountains and Mt Bashan, and local Seri cultural research and development. It features one provincial-level key discipline, four provincial-level quality courses, one national level feature major, two provincial vocational key majors, two provincial excellent pilot majors, one provincial experiment teaching demonstration centre, and one provincial talent training innovation experimental plot. The university enrolls students from twenty-three provinces across the country. The number of full-time students is 9435; among those the number of undergraduate students is 6176, accounting for 65.46 percent of the total number of students. The permanent university structure, primarily focused on undergraduate education, has been formed.
AKU has a professional teaching staff with proficient teaching skills and research capabilities. Of the 738 staff members, 549 are full-time teachers, 189 hold the title of professor or associate professor; 299 have Doctor’s or Master’s degrees; and one is a famous contemporary Chinese writer. Two excellent teaching groups are recognized throughout the province, and five teachers are well known and admired throughout the province. Over sixty teachers in the university have been awarded prizes and government allowances for a wide range of achievements. These include the State Council’s, National Outstanding Teacher Award, the National Award for Outstanding Educators, the Zeng Xianzi Award, the Outstanding Teaching Achievements Prize and the Outstanding Teaching Materials Award. The university engages more than eighty-two senior scholars, including academics that are considered experts in their fields within China, as the university's emeritus professors.
Insisting on the guiding thought of ‘making teaching and academic research promote each other’, AKU makes many efforts to improve its teaching level, and also its academic research standard. Since being upgraded to the level of a comprehensive university of undergraduate education, teachers of AKU have undertaken approximately 507 research projects in different levels and different categories, including projects of the National Social Science Fund Project, humanities and social science research of the Ministry of Education, and the‘13115’ major science research project of the People’s Government of Shaanxi Province. In addition, the teachers in AKU have published about 2,000 academic theses in domestic or foreign academic publications and seventy-four works or teaching materials (as the chief editor or participant). Moreover, AKU has established six provincial research platforms, and twelve municipal and scholastic research platforms. AKU also has established technology-cooperation relationship with such universities as the Southwest University, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, and Shaanxi Normal University; signed overall technology-cooperation agreements with the county governments in Shiquan, Hanyin, and Langao; and signed school-enterprise cooperation agreement with the Yangchen Animal Husbandry Technology Company. In such ways AKU’s economic and social service functions are being constantly improved.
Upholding the motto “Sincere in learning, initiative in action, tenacious in pursuing, and progressive in innovation”, AKU believes that molding students into competent citizens is its primary task. This approach contributes to an excellent campus culture and scholastic atmosphere. To improve students’ abilities in a comprehensive way, AKU makes great efforts to organize diversified on-campus activities, community services and social activities. Since 2006 students of AKU have won more than 200 awards in different national competitions: the National Mathematical Modeling Contest, the Higher Mathematics Competition, the National "CCTV Cup" College Students' English Speech Contest, the National University Students' Language Fundamentals Contest, the Chinese Teachers Contest, the National "Challenge Cup" Entrepreneurship Competition and the Extra-Curricular Academic Works Contest. The university has steadily exploited the employment market and actively implements the national college students` employment policy project. In 2011 the employment rate of our undergraduate graduates averaged to 90.52 percent, and that of our junior college students to 87.42 percent; the comprehensive employment rate for all graduates in China is about 88.5 percent.
We also attach importance to education exchanges, including cooperation with other universities, enterprises and organizations. AKU has established partnerships and cooperative relationships with Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the Communications University of China, Shanghai Ocean University, Shaanxi Normal University, and some other highly regarded universities that offer regular assistance to AKU. International education initiatives are also in progress. We employ foreign teachers from the USA, the UK, Japan and several other countries throughout each academic year. AKU has signed cooperative education agreements with the University of Ballarat (Australia), Whitireia Community Polytechnic (New Zealand), Eastern New Mexico University(America), Rockford College (America), Lawrence Technological University (America) and Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science (Taiwan) to provide a good platform for teachers and students to study abroad.
We at AKU view the new century as an opportunity for development. China is vigorously promoting its national higher education programs and implementing the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education. We are seizing this great opportunity to promote AKU as a regional centre of scientific research and higher education in southern Shaanxi Province. AKU intends to contribute a great deal to the future development of the Chinese higher education system and the building of a harmonious China.