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A short history

The predecessor of the School of Foreign Languages of China Normal University (ECNU) is the Department of Foreign Languages, founded in 1951 by combining the English Departments of both Great China University and the School of Liberal Arts of Kwang Hua University. Professor Zhou Xuliang served as the first dean (1951-1956) of the Department. It first offered two programs, respectively of English and Russian. In 1954, as instructed by the Ministry of Higher Education which called for learning from the Soviet Union’s model in education in a comprehensive and systematic way, ECNU cancelled the English program, and renamed the department as the Department of the Russian Language. In 1956, the English program was reinstituted and in September 1972 began to offer Refreshing Programs for Teachers of German, Japanese and French. By then, programs involving five foreign languages in all were in place. In November 1993, the Department of Foreign Languages was officially upgraded and renamed the School of Foreign Languages as it is. It consisted of the Foreign Language Department I (English Language and Literature), the Foreign Languages Department II (German Language and Literature, Russian Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, and Japanese Language and Literature), and the Department of College English. Professor Zhang Minlun was designated as the first dean of the School, which also set up the Foreign Languages Training and Testing Center, the Applied Linguistics Research Institute as well as the editorial office of Foreign Language Teaching Abroad. In 1999, the Foreign Language Department I was renamed the Department of English, and the Foreign Languages Department II was restructured and divided into the Department of Japanese and the Department of European Languages, which compromised 3 teaching and research offices (of German, French and Russian respectively). In May 2006, the Department of European Languages split into the Departments of German, French and Russian. In 2008, the academic journal Foreign Language Teaching Abroad was renamed as Foreign Language Learning Theory and Practice, and the Department of Further Education was founded in the December of the same year. The Department of Translation and the Spanish program were started in 2011 and 2013 respectively.