Wu Qijun, 10 Years Of Dedication For Support Education

Located in the north part of Jiangsu Province, Suqian City has always been suffering from deficient education. Therefore, the Suqian College cofounded by both the city and the province has initiated since 2002.

The 8 pillars established in front of the college gate memorize dedicated teachers from 8 different universities in Jiangsu Province who contributed to this college. Among them, Wu Qijun from Soochow University had dedicated 10 years here until gastric cancer took his life on 23rd October 2015. He was only 57 years old when he passed.


From "Borrowing" to "Building"

On 31st August 2015, the School of Politics and Law of Suqian College announced its very first opening ceremony. Having been asked to give a 5-minute prep talk, Wu stepped up to the stage and turned it into a half-an-hour speech – at that time he had already been diagnosed to be suffering from advanced stage cancer. Min Tiejun, the president of Suqian College, said that Professor Wu was demonstrating the desire to enhance the unity and spirit of the faculty and the whole team by his own action.

10 years ago, Wu had been assigned by Soochow University to take the position as the head of Social Service Department in Suqian College. Back then, his title was the deputy director of Social Science Department in School of Political Science and Public Administration in Soochow University. At the beginning of his support to Suqian College, this department was severely understaffed. "We had 6 programs in our department including Law and Public Administration with over 2200 students enrolled yet the faculty contains only 1 external professor, 2 assistant professors and 7 graduates and undergraduates who just finished their school," said deputy director Yang Dianchuang.

To solve this problem, Wu Qijun sought help constantly from Soochow University in order to provide Ph.D instructors and professors to give lectures to the students here. According to the office manager Song Jibi, most of the supporting lecturers had classes on both sides, and professor Wu took care of their accommodations and schedule in person. Wu Qijun realized that dependence on the supporting system from other universities would not become a long-term solution. Only by building their own team, could the college thrive. According to the memory of Hong Guoyun, who provided service to this new college together with him, Wu had visited both the northwest and northeast of China.

During his term for 10 years in this college, the department also bore abundant fruits in academic field. In 2013, the faculty earned 2 provincial level projects and 13 municipal projects as well as issued over 10 research papers in core journals; in 2015, 7 out of 30 internal teachers had risen to secondary senior positions and 6 had obtained their doctorate degrees.


A Colonel Who Fears No Challenge

 "I want to be like a colonel who fears no challenge to defeat my disease," Wu said with an optimistic attitude while he had suffered a great deal of weight loss at the moment. By the end of September 2014, Wu had entered into a very fragile physical state yet he still insisted going back to school after the national holidays. "That's our No. 1 COLONEL!" said Gong Yonggang, the General Secretary of the CCP of Law School.

"No. 1 COLONEL" is Wu's nickname given by other faculty members because originally his department is registered as Department One. The name of the department has changed a long time before but people are still used to calling him that nickname. According to Song, Director Wu always encouraged us to overcome the challenge like a solider, even it was just a rope pulling match, in which he would be the first one to cheer the team. Mr. Wang Xiaogang, one of the young faculty members, suffered from his modest performances in class for the lack of experience. Wu encouraged him by challenging him to discover the disadvantages in his teaching and supervised his class by taking careful notes. In order to give specific advice, Wu started to dive into Wang's teaching materials so that he can give Wang hands-on experience. With the help and support of Wu, many young teaching staff have succeeded in teaching and become the pillars of this department.

Besides academic management, Wu also drafted several chapters on research regulations to encourage young teachers to fear less about challenge and work like a solider to build on the development of the department. He promoted "dual lecturers" system where one discipline is lectured by two teachers so that they can make up each other's disadvantages or availability. This experiment has solved many of their previous problems such as the vacancy between teaching staff's self-enhancement programs, doctorate degree pursuit and academic visits. It also promotes learning between faculty members so that they can produce better teaching performance.



Legacy For Both Universities

Since the beginning of Wu's supporting assignment, he rarely went home. In his last 10 years, only one of his birthdays was celebrated at home.

By 2012, his assignment in Suqian College came to an end. However, it was a crucial stage in college expansion. Large scale recruitment of faculty members required a prudent leader who can handle the whole situation. Therefore, Wu decided to stay for another 3 years, according to Yang.


Constant overtime working and food disorder led to the dull pain in Wu's stomach. In April 2014, he was forced by his wife Li Ping to see a doctor, and the dreadful result indicated he was in the advanced stage of gastric cancer. Family and friends were extremely concerned but Wu comforted everyone by promising that he would get better and resume work soon. After 4 months of chemotherapy, he insisted going back to his work despite the resistance from doctors and family.

"If I were given another chance to choose, I would still choose my work in Suqian College without regret. I just wish that I could live 10 more years so that I could make up to my family." With his passion to education and guilt to his family, Wu Qijun passed away.

Wang Zhuojun, the general secretary of the Party in Soochow University said with deep emotions, "professor Wu died too young and we have lost a great leader and a great teacher."