Peking University started International Peer Review

Author: | published date:2013-12-12

The review work of College of Environmental Science and Engineering, the first college to get reviewed, has completed successfully

Peking University started international peer review for science departments and colleges in 2013. As the first college to be reviewed, college of Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE for short) held the international peer review on December 6th and 7th, 2013. Seven peer reviewers were Professor Yannis Yortsos from University of Southern California, member in the US National Academy of Engineering, Professor Kirk Smith from University of California, Berkeley, member in the US National Academy of Sciences, Professor Daniel P Loucks from Cornell University, member in the US National Academy of Engineering, Professor Armistead G Russell from Georgia Institute of Technology, Professor Timothy Swanson from The Graduate Institute Geneva, Professor Dongxiao Zhang from Peking University, specially-appointed expert in the “Thousand-talent program” and Professor Zhongxiang Zhang from Fudan University. The review included history and development of the college, faculty, scientific research, teaching program, social service, future development and planning, aiming at evaluating the strength and weakness of this college as well as pointing out the opportunities and challenges.

On December 6th, the dean of CESE, Professor Tong Zhu made a general introduction of the college to peer reviewers first. Embodied the tradition of research and education in environmental area of Peking University in the past four decades, CESE has served the society by providing sound policy suggestions based on excellent fundamental research, provided a batch of talents to the country and played a leading role in the forefront of environmental protection in China, especially in the field of regional air pollution, sustainable river basin management and compliance with international environmental treaties. Through SWOT analysis, Dean Zhu pointed out that long tradition of conducting solid fundamental research, highly competitive faculty and top students all over the country, philosophy of serving the society and sustainable development and world-wide corporation were all obvious advantages. With more concern about environmental problem from the public, fast growing governmental investment in environmental protection also provides great opportunities for development. However, in the meantime, weakness like lack of space for both office and laboratory, relative small number of international students and postdocs, low salary for faculty, lack of optimization for the curriculum also prevents the college from further developing. Opportunities and challenges always coexist. Professor Zhu claimed that in the future our college would make more efforts in regional air resources management and joint lab with industry for water treatment. Efforts will also be made to raise funds for the Green Building to provide solid guarantee for education and research. Through significant projects like AIRS and BASE, CESE will be present in the first-class level of international peers. 

In the section of class-visiting, seven reviewers visited the class of Environmental Problems, where students were doing group presentations organized by Professor Yuanhang Zhang. Environmental Problems was initiated and set by Professor Xiaoyan Tang, an academician of China Engineering Academy, aiming at providing an early access to environmental issues for freshmen to help them cultivate interests and motivate themselves in scientific research. After the class reviewers had talks with undergraduates and graduates. 

On December 7th, reviewers visited environmental engineering laboratory (CMA) and State  Key  Joint  Laboratory  of  Environmental  Simulation  and  Pollution  Control, and then had a discussion with faculty and alumni. 

After the two-day review, reviewers fully recognized the strength of CESE in disciplinary development, education and research, college management, and provided deep and pertinent suggestions for weakness. As the reviewers have pointed out, environmental problems are great challenges for human beings. At present, China is developing by leaps and bounds with serious environmental pollution, which is actually a great strategic opportunity for the college. We need to seize this opportunity and the responsibility of finding creative solutions to social environment and development based on excellent fundamental research.

After the review, reviewers gave a summary of this international peer review of CESE to Professor Shanlu Zhu, Party committee secretary of Peking Unversity, Professor Song Gao, vice president of Peking University, Professor Shiyi Chen, vice president of Peking University and Academician Chuhua Yan, routine vice president of Graduate School.