History



On January 10, 1902, the Qing government issued the command on the resumption of Peking Imperial University. Minister of Teaching Affairs Zhang Baixi (in the right picture) was responsible for the redevelopment. The location of the university was in Mashen temple in Di’an Gate and the former residence for Princess Jia---Mashen Temple in Jingshandong (in the left picture). In the absence of qualified students but with a great and urgent need of talent, Peking Imperial University decided to start a preparatory school and an accelerated school which consisted of an Official Class and a Faculty of Education. On December 17, the Peking Imperial University officially opened.

In 1904, Peking Imperial University provided four categories of courses: Chinese language, mathematics, physics and chemistry, history as well as natural science. The natural science program was composed of courses in animals, plants, physiology, health, agriculture, minerals and so on. After the Faculty of Education became the Supreme Teacher Training Division of the Peking Imperial University, a common course was provided in the first year and the four categories of courses stated above were studied in the second year.

In 1908, the Supreme Teacher Training Division of Peking Imperial University was renamed Peking Imperial School of Supreme Teacher Training, which was officially opened on November 14, 1908. In the following year, the School moved to Wucheng School in Changdian, which is currently the Nanxinhua Street outside of Heping Gate, with Chen Wenxian as the supervisor. This was the beginning of the development of the High Normal School. Four years of schooling was adopted, with the first year for common courses and the following three years for complementary courses which were similar to the courses mentioned above. In 1911, the Xinhai Revolution broke out, and the Peking Imperial School of Supreme Teacher Training closed down.

In 1912, the Republic of China was established, and the educational system was changed. The Peking Imperial School of Supreme Teacher Training was renamed National Peking Normal College which opened the Chinese Division, English Division, History and Geography Division, Division of Physics and Chemistry, Mathematics Division and Natural Science Division. The College carried out reforms in courses and discipline systems, expanded majors, increased enrollment, adopted research subjects, and employed renowned teachers, laying the groundwork for further development. Firmly believing that education could rejuvenate the country, teachers and students abided by the College’s motto, became concerned with state affairs, studied and worked hard, and paid attention to character, leaving a good reputation for the whole society. Additionally, the College began to set up an affiliated middle school and an affiliated primary school for educational practice.

Peng Shifang was appointed as Dean of Academic Affairs in Natural Science Division from 1912 to 1916. He graduated from the Tokyo Higher Normal School in Japan, and taught Plant and Japanese courses during his tenure. Chen Yinghuang was the Dean of Academic Affairs from 1917 to1919. In the winter of 1919, the first president of the College Chen Baoquan went to Europe and America for education investigation, so Chen Yinghuang held the position of Acting President. Chen Yinghuang graduated from the Natural Science Department of Tokyo Higher Normal School, and during his tenure he was responsible for the humans, animals, physiology, and Japanese courses and so on. There was no record about a Dean of Academic Affairs in Natural Science Division from 1920 to 1921, but some information about the assistants of the Division Wei Chongjun, Yong Kechang, Zhang Qihuan. From 1921 to 1923, Wang Lie, who graduated from Department of Geology in 勿兰堡 University in Germany, acted as the Dean of Natural Science Division. Lu Feizhi was in charge of the teaching affairs in biological courses of the Department.

On July 1, 1923, the National Peking Normal College was renamed as the National Peking Normal University, which was the first normal university in Chinese history, and marked a major event in the history of the education system. After that, the mission of the University was to foster teachers and educational administrators for normal and secondary schools and to conduct specialized academic research. The change of the University played an active role in the improvement of Chinese teachers and the quality of the national educational system.

The schooling system was changed to two years for the preparatory courses and four years for undergraduate courses. Meanwhile, the Division was changed to the Department and the credit system was adopted. The Department of Biology was independent from the Natural Science Department and became one of the earliest Departments of Biology in China. From 1924 to 1931, Li Shunqing a botany doctor who graduated from the University of Chicago was the Dean of the Department of Biology.

In 1924, Women's Normal School was renamed as the National Beijing Women's Normal University and then it merged with Beijing Normal University in 1931, named as National Peking Normal University. During 1931 to 1934, Liu Chongle, a biology doctor specialized in agriculture and entomology and graduated from Cornell University, worked as the Dean of Department of Biology. In 1934, Guo Yubin who graduated from American Grinnell College became the executive Dean of Department of Biology. He was the Dean from 1935 to 1950, during which he hired leading scholars as full-time or part-time teachers, vigorously increased equipment, and sent young teachers to go abroad for further education, setting a good basis for the future development of the Department of Biology.

On January 31, 1949, Peking won a peaceful liberation. In May, with the approval of the University Council, the Natural Science Department was changed to Department of Biology (in the westward period), with Guo Yubin as the Dean. At that time, there were the first-class professor Wu Zhaofa, second-class professor Wang Kunren and third-class professor Gu Yubin in the department.

From 1950 to 1952, Professor Zhang Chunlin was the Dean. In 1952, the Department conducted some adjustments according to the decision of the Government Administration Council and Ministry of Education. The Department of Biology of Beijing Fu Jen Catholic University merged with that of Beijing Normal University. The merged department had four professors, one associate professor, three lecturers and thirteen teaching assistants. Professor Wang Kunren was the Dean at that time. In order to enhance the teaching strength and open new courses based on the teaching plan, Dong Yuede was transferred from the Department of Biology, Peking University and upgraded to an associate professor in the department, and Qiao Zengjian from the Tsinghua University as the lecturer. The new teaching was conducted in the original Department of Biology, Fu Jen Catholic University, with laboratories in invertebrates, vertebrate, bacteria, human physiology, biochemistry, histology and embryology, plant morphology, plant taxonomy, slice technology, as well as animal and plant specimen rooms. Instruments and specimens were all increased, including a considerable number of microscopes and large-scale centrifuges, a large number of ore samples and animal and plant specimens, and human anatomy models.

After the adjustment, the teaching program accepted some revisions. According to a comprehensive study principle of the Soviet Union at that time, the teaching was largely conducted based on the teaching program of the Soil Biology Department of the Soviet Union. The period system was adopted instead of credit system, and Russian courses instead of English courses. Michurin biology and human anatomy were added, while comparative anatomy was cancelled. Plant classification and plant morphology became Botany (I) and Botany (II), the invertebrate and vertebrate zoology changed to Zoology (I) and Zoology (II) and histology and embryology into Embryology. Meanwhile, plant physiology and microbiology biological approaches and human and animal physiology courses were started. Field practice was added into the teaching program instead of animal and plant specimens collecting. The freshmen went to the seaside for invertebrates and lower plants practice, and the sophomore went to the mountains for the spine animal and higher plant practice. The position of part-time counselor became student management.

During this period, the experts Jinna, Dubo Luoweina and Xie Kong were hired from the Soviet Union as full-time professors and Wang Bin, Sun Ruyong, Jiang Zaijie and Dong Tichen were sent to study in the Soviet Union. Under the guidance of Xie Kong, a biological park was built outside of the city (currently the location of the Department and the park) as the teaching and research base for the Department of Biology, based on the model of departments of Biology in the Soviet Union. More than 100 Mu (6.67 hectre) land was procured for the further construction of greenhouses in Biological Park. Animal postgraduate courses and Physiology research courses began. Entomologists Zhu Hongfu and Deng Guochang, electricity physiologist, Canadian Hodder, and pharmacologist Lei Haipeng taught as part-time professors in the department. Presided over by the Ministry of Education and edited by our university, three syllabuses of courses were completed, including Biochemistry (edited by professor Lu Baozhong), Basic Knowledge of Agriculture (edited by Xie Kong) and Physiology (edited by Wang Kunren). In 1958, the Department was moved to Biological Park, with offices on the third floor of the service building, animal laboratory in the mathematics building, and physical laboratory in the biological garden cottage.




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