ZHONG Li - Educational Formulas of a Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
December 25,2014 10:33:00 readCount:2207
The molecular formula is a chemical term to show its material composition. Prof. ZHONG Li is a professor of chemistry and chemical engineering in SCUT. From his start of learning to subsequent teaching and research, he has always been characterized by his full dedication, broad vision and refined character, which has formed his important formulas of education.
Responsible both as a student and a teacher
In 1982, ZHONG remained to work in his alma mater due to his excellence. Since then, he has been attached to the teaching and research of chemistry and chemical engineering. The more he learned, the more mystery he found in his field, and the more deficiency he found in himself.  ZHONG Li earned his master’s degree and doctorate under the supervision of Prof. TAN Yinke, a representative of the third National People’s Congress. The word and action of his supervisor have a strong impact on him. He engaged in research earnestly. During his PhD’s studies, he has won Guangdong natural science fund. It was due to his great efforts that he finished his doctorate study as a part time student within no more than two and half a year.
As a teacher, ZHONG never boasts about the position. He said, “A teacher, as he is paid, should take the responsibility to teach students well.” He has offered 8 courses including Principles of Chemical Engineering for undergraduates and graduates. It is a major course for students of chemical engineering and other close disciplines, which is difficult but practical. Although he has taught for many years, he still prepares it earnestly and integrates new frontier information, new cases and experience at any moment. He is methodical and practical in improving his teaching and striving for perfection in making PPT, illustrations and experimental animation, which greatly attracted the journalists. While he devoted so much of his time and energy in teaching his students,  his students, in return, love him heart and soul.
ZHONG Li has been paying attention to classroom interaction. For he has realized the difference of students at home and abroad during his studies abroad. He makes up his mind to expand students’ thinking and encourages them to ask more questions like foreign students, hence a way of fixing seats. That is, in the first class, his students are supposed to select his seat and then remain in the same place the whole semester, so that he could remember their names and habits, and could ask shy and daydreaming students purposefully. As students, they will get more pressure and responsibility on a fixed seat. Although Prof. ZHONG doesn’t call the roll, they will go to class on time and listen to the teacher closely. “At first, some students are not used to it, but before long they gradually take to this way of study,” said XIE Danyan honestly, a student of Prof. ZHONG.
Broaden horizon and enrich knowledge
As a scholar, ZHONG found that there are still many fields of chemistry and chemical engineering to be developed, and his research to be enriched. He, therefore, left his wife and children for Mississippi State University to engage in postdoctoral research in department of chemistry.
Although ZHONG was an associate professor, he did not spare any efforts in chasing his dream. He never slacked off at his work and study. “Since I am here to learn, I have to learn something real.” At that time, foreign teachers and students worked six days and a half. Frequently there was filled with strong odor inside and outside the lab. However, ZHONG would live in the laboratory the whole week, doing researches, observing reactions, and recording data. In the 3 years’ study abroad, he accomplished three research projects.
ZHONG Li’s diligence and fruitful research impressed his supervisor, who recommended him to offer Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering and Transport Phenomena for American undergraduates. Facing groups of aggressive students, ZHONG felt great pressure. However, he prepared lessons with combined methodology at home and abroad, so that he achieved good results and was honored as prominent teacher of School of Engineering. His teaching experience abroad has laid a foundation for his later work in improving teaching methods and carrying out bilingual teaching, and instructing in English. Afterwards, he went abroad many times for exchange as a senior visiting scholar and professor, which injected new vitality into his teaching and scientific research.
After he returned from abroad in 1996, he undertook the duty as principal professor of the team of principles of chemical engineering, responsible for the development and reform of chemical engineering teaching. The teaching and research group of principles of chemical engineering was established when the university was formed in 1952. To innovate and perfect the teaching in this field on the basis of the fine tradition and practice of predecessors, ZHONG believes, “only by pondering problems and examining themselves with an international view can catch up with the wise to start anew.” He introduced new contents to his course to keep in line with international frontier, and took the lead in using the original foreign language textbook-Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering for the principles of chemical engineering course in domestic colleges. Through joint efforts with his team, the course has formed its special characteristic and way of development, thus the course has been awarded an excellent course of Guangdong, a national-level excellent course, a national-level bilingual model course, and a national-level essential resource-sharing course.
To develop students’ international view and competitiveness, ZHONG Li shifts his focus to bilingual and English teaching again. He undertakes three full-English teaching courses. He will give a lecture of Experiments of Chemical Engineering the first offered in English in the next semester. In fact, bilingual and full- English teaching not only require the teacher to teach a professional course in English accurately, but also redesign the teaching based on new requirements, prepare English teaching notes and compile English textbook and so on. However, ZHONG believes that it is his duty to do all this as long as it can facilitates his students’ growth. To improve students’ writing and speaking English skills, he takes the trouble to ask students to write English report and talk about study experience and future plans. Then, they are required to make a speech in class to share with each other. Henceforth, students become more initiative and confident rather than shy and timid.
A great doer but a little talker
It is vital for us to help students to live and work in a down-to-earth manner and to pursue their dreams from the present steps. In class, ZHONG often shares his experiences with his students in simple and humorous language. Moreover, he exerts his influence by virtue of his ways of doing things, especially on his graduate students.
Chemical engineering majors require diligence in conducting experiments. To ZHONG, every data must be precise and reliable. It is common to do an experiment again and again to verify an experiment result, thus laboratory has become part of his life. In ZHONG Li’s eyes, each chemical element and compound has its own characters, for example, the oxygen is naughty, and the hydrochloric acid is touchy. Research is full of interests and meanings, in particular when he transforms experiment results into practice. He feels happy in this process just as he sees his own children growing up.
ZHONG works in a earnest, rigorous and concentrated way. He always closely checks the students’ works one by one, never missing a wrong punctuation or a mistake of H2O as H2O. ZHONG said, “We must take each chemical element and compound seriously. For a miss is as good as a mile.
A senior professor as he is, he persists in instructing undergraduates in experiments personally, explaining each procedure and instruction in detail. As chemical labs are full of hazardous reagents, we must be responsible for our students. To improve the experimental effects, he often leads his graduates in guiding undergraduates to do researches, analyze results and answer questions. It is his affinity with students that makes the dull course of chemical experiment cheerful and warm.
Prof. ZHONG spends his prime of life at SCUT. Referring to the present plan, ZHONG answered with a smile, “The most important thing for me is to train more students before retirement.” Alongside with ZHOING, we can see there are many other teachers in SCUT who are teaching students with love and responsibility.
Edited by HU Nanping and DONG Peiyun
From SCUT News Network