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Professor Zhou Lizhu: To dive straight into the Western Regions of China

In 2007, the Department of Computer Technology and Application at Qinghai University was established. In spite of being over his sixtieth, Professor Zhou Lizhu took the position as the dean of this new department at Qinghai University, who once served as the dean of the Department of Computer Science and Technology at Tsinghua University.

 "At the beginning of the establishment, the biggest problem that we’ve faced is about the quality of the teaching team,” said Professor Zhou. In order to solve this problem, he organized Tsinghua teachers to take charge of training at Qinghai so that the overall teaching ability at Qinghai could be drastically improved; meanwhile, he asked Tsinghua teachers to personally teach important courses and not only guide but also help with the preparation of the courses alongside Qinghai teachers. Through watching and learning, Qinghai teachers became the backbone of such courses and fully take charge in the future alongside Tsinghua teachers who will continue to provide remote support.

 Just as this problem was solved, lagging teaching conditions posed another challenge. After several requests, Professor Zhou successfully secured donations from Tsinghua to Qinghai in facilities such as computer equipment. This will allow a large-scale computer lab and positive learning environment be installed at Qinghai. Such favorable learning conditions for students help to boost quality as well as provide technical support for subjects such as meteorology and other research work. Subsequently, Qinghai University also established the “Information Technology and Engineering Research Center” for Qinghai Province, “Qinghai University Source Data Analysis Center” and many other research institutions which are used to support the economic development of information technology services in Qinghai Province.

 Even after left his office, Professor Zhou was still busy running around for the computer education in the western region. In the Centennial Anniversary of Tsinghua back in 2011, Google began a partnership in the field of education with Tsinghua’s Computer Science and Technology Department. Professor Zhou seized the opportunity and formed a “Tsinghua and Google supported education project”. Led by Tsinghua, the project helps to provide resources and funding for Qinghai University, Xinjiang University, Ningxia University, Yunnan University and Guizhou University. It helps to promote the teaching exchanges, course work and development of undergraduate trainings amongst these five universities. He often tells students that “it is worth working in the area that has great potential. There will be sacrifices but there will also be fruitful results and a sense of tremendous achievement.”

 Note: This article was adapted from Jiang Weifeng and Liu Dan’s article titled “Zhou Lizhu: To persist with the original goals” published in the newspaper “Tsinghua News” on September 21, 2016.