In the graduation season this year, Dr Li Xiujun’s eyes were filled with moving tears as her graduates took a deep bow to express their gratitude to her. Winning the title of “The Most Beloved Teacher” of USST for three consecutive years, Dr Li sows the seeds of love, care and encouragement among her students and reaps the gratitude of the students, respect from her colleagues and happiness of her teaching career.
Dr Li, the Vice Dean of the Department of Civil Engineering in our university, has hosted more than 20 science research programs and published over 40 research articles in the past years. Under consideration of environmental protection and resources reuse, she invented a road maintenance technology that can be used to repair the road surface by using waste generated by road wear. Moreover, the invention of her “foamed asphalt” solves the problem of environmental pollution and the damage to human health caused by asphalt heating by maintaining the flow state of asphalt at a normal temperature. Her scientific research achievements won the third prize of Henan Science and Technology Progress Award, the second prize and the third prize of China Highway Society Science and Technology Progress Award.
While conducting scientific research on her own, Dr Li also paid great attention to the cultivation of students' enthusiasm and interest in research as well. She established the “Hujiang Construction Society” to hold academic or skill-based competitions, such as measuring contests, sketching contests, and so on. By participating in such competitions, students can be exposed to practical operations apart from textbook knowledge, thereby increasing their interest in learning. In addition, Dr Li also provides students with opportunities to participate in her research projects, even for freshmen who have just entered the school. “It is very important to cultivate students' enthusiasm and create certain incentive mechanisms. This will help them to master professional knowledge and establish their goals as soon as possible，" said Dr Li.
In addition to caring for the students' learning, Dr Li is more like a mother, taking care of her students’ daily life. During the Mid-Autumn Festival this year, when most people had a reunion dinner at home and spent some quality time with their families, Dr Li specially bought some moon cakes after dinner to visit the students in the dormitory. She said: “The freshmen just came to the school and their lives were changing a lot. Upon the arrival of the Mid-Autumn Festival, most of them must miss their families. I want to bring them some mooncakes and chat with them to ease their nostalgia”. And on New Year's Day last year, to let the students feel the atmosphere of the festival and the warmth of the family, she invited the whole class to make dumplings at her house. Making dumplings and chatting with each other bounded them together. She was much devoted to the students because she believed that teachers must be responsible and caring to understand them and communicate with them. Dr Li showed us her student roster. Next to each student, she recorded the student's hometown, hobbies and other information. When the student came to her, she could always call out the names of everyone immediately and talked to them patiently and warm-heartedly.
Dr Li has been working in our school for 17 years. With excellent teaching experience and research capability, as well as the care of the students, she was given the lifelong award “Golden Teaching Stick”. “Each student is not only an independent individual but also carries the hope of a family. Therefore, as a teacher, I must help them so that their university life is meaningful and they may achieve goals and embrace a future.” Seeing the students as her own, she has some expectations for the students who come to study at our university. First, students should master their professional knowledge and set their own long-term goals and short-term goals. Second, she hopes that students will develop self-management skills. Students must learn to manage their own time and strive for their goals. Finally, she also hopes that students will be able to meet friends, participate in group activities, enrich their experience, and lay the foundation for the future.