Early in 1975, the discipline of environmental protection was established in Nankai University, and later it was renamed as Environmental Chemistry. Based on this, the Department of Environmental Science was founded in 1983, which was the earliest among all of the comprehensive universities in China. Professor Shugui Dai, a well-known environmental chemist, served as the Department Head. In 1998, the College of Environmental Science and Engineering was founded with professor Mr. Tan Zhu, a member of the National Environmental Advisory Council, as the first Dean. In 2000, the college was authorized to offer postgraduate, including master and doctoral, programs in Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering, and also set-up a postdoctoral research station. The current Dean, Professor Qixing Zhou is a recipient of both “Changjiang Scholar” and “National Science Fund for Outstanding Young Scientists”.
The college remains at the educational forefront through previous national academic assessments, especially for the Environmental Science program. It was approved by the Ministry of Education as a national key discipline in 2001, one of a total of four in China, and the program won the honor again in 2007. Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering was identified as first level key discipline by Tianjin in 2006 and 2012, respectively. The College of Environmental Science and Engineering has been playing an important role in the establishment and development of environmental science in China. Until now, the college has continuously served as appraisal committee conveners or members in the academic committee of the State Council, deputy directors or members in the guidance committee of the Ministry of Education, as well as directors or vice directors of environmental science in the teaching guidance committee.
Leading by the environmental science national key discipline, significant development has been made on several brand new inter-disciplines and emerging subjects. The college became one of the few colleges to offer a Ph.D degree. majoring in Environmental Management and Economy in 2005. In 2011, the discipline of Ecology in the college also started to offer doctoral degree. The postdoc station in Ecology was approved by the Ministry of Education in 2012. In the same year, the Ecology major was listed as one of the key disciplines in Tianjin. The college plays a leading role in the establishment and development of a Resource Recycling Science and Engineering program. Since 2011, the college began to recruit undergraduate students. In addition, the college can offer a Master’s degree in Safety Science and Engineering.
The college pays special attention to the platform construction for key disciplines. A number of research laboratories and institutes have been established, such as the Tianjin Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Pollution Control; the National Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Air Pollution Control; Recycling Economy and Social Studies Innovative Base (Ministry of Education); the Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria (Ministry of Education); Tianjin Solid Waste Recycling Center; and the National Engineering Laboratory of Recycling Economy.
At present, there are eight research centers/institutes affiliated to the college, namely the Environmental Science Research Center; the Environmental and Social Development Research Center of Nankai University; the Environmental Evaluation and Planning Research Institute of Nankai University; the TEDA Membrane Separation Technology Development Center of Nankai University; the Urban Public Safety Research Center of Nankai University; the Strategic Environmental Assessment Center of Nankai University; the Cleaner Production Research Center of Nankai University; and the Recycling Economy Research Center of Nankai University. In addition, there are more than ten research platforms in the college, including environmental criteria and standards; ecological civilization; low carbon technology; water resource protection and water pollution control; sustainable energy and environmental engineering technology; water and sludge treatment and disposal technology; drinking water protection and safety engineering laboratory; petroleum-contaminated site remediation; innovative contaminated sites remediation and industry technology international alliance; and innovative remediation technology of comprehensively contaminated sites.
The college offers on-campus programs at the undergraduate, graduate and professional levels. Undergraduate students can choose from three programs: Environmental Science; Environmental Engineering; and Resource Recycling Science and Management. The annual enrollment is approximately 100 students. At the graduate level, students can specialize in the following areas: Environmental Science; Environmental Engineering; Environmental Management and Economy; Ecology; and Safety Science and Engineering. The annual enrollment for Master and Ph.D. students is around 120 and 40, respectively. To date, more than one thousand undergraduates, masters and doctoral students have graduated from the college. They take research, teaching, consulting and management positions in environmental protection throughout China, and have played an active and important roles in the field.
The college has made great efforts in recruiting talents and has brought together a group of capable young faculties with advanced degrees who have proven their dedication to teaching and academic research. The college has an academic faculty that includes three part-time academicians, two Changjiang scholars (full-time professor), one distinguished professor, five recipients of the “National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars” (including overseas), one recipient of “1000 Talent”, one recipient of “1000 Talent for the Youth”, nine recipients of “New Century Excellent Talents of Ministry of Education”, and more than ten recipients of Tianjin City talent plan.