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Profile | Pan Jianfeng's law of teaching
Nov 23, 2023
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According to PKU Law Prof. Pan Jianfeng, a recipient of the Peking University Teaching Achievement Award 2023, the first rule of teaching law is to be as simple as possible, PKU News journalist reports.

Peking University, November 23, 2023: Over the years, Pan Jianfeng has seamlessly blended the roles of a nurturing mentor, a steadfast leader, and a visionary academic, leaving an enduring legacy that transcends traditional educational paradigms. 

Recognizing his profound contributions, Pan Jianfeng was honored with the prestigious 2023 Peking University Teaching Achievement Award. His teaching philosophy, characterized by simplicity and substance, has not only left an indelible mark on students but has also inspired fellow educators, establishing him as a luminary in legal academia.

Despite the familiarity that four decades of teaching the "Civil Procedure Law" course brings, Pan Jianfeng conducts each lecture with unfaltering enthusiasm. 

Pan humbly refers to his teaching style as "clumsy." Seemingly unremarkable at first glance, his method penetrates the surface to the core of understanding and comprehension. He holds the belief that education is not just about imparting knowledge; it is about instilling values, shaping world-views, and moulding character. 

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Prof. Pan with students

In his own words, “To cultivate students into builders of national development, drivers of social progress, and guardians of public interests, one must instill in them a sense of patriotism and a willingness to sacrifice.”

Despite the demanding nature of his administrative role, he remains intimately involved in the educational journey of each student. His dedication shines through the meticulous care with which he grades each assignment with, even occasionally embellishing exceptional work with a golden star. 

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Beyond the confines of the classroom, Pan Jianfeng encourages students to engage with him, be it through office hours or a simple phone call. This approachability, combined with his genuine interest in his students’ thoughts and ideas, has dissolved the initial apprehensiveness that students may feel towards the former dean of PKU Law School.

In addition to his teaching achievements, Pan Jianfeng played a pivotal role in fostering a sense of community within the Law School. Drawing from the care and support he received, Pan instilled values of student care, teaching emphasis, and unity, creating a unique atmosphere of “inheritance.”

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A photo shows Pan, then a student at PKU, with his roommates 

He extends his support to young teachers, providing platforms and alleviating their challenges. He believes that facing difficulties, chartering new ground, and attempting novel approaches are responsibilities that Peking University, especially the Law School, should bravely undertake. 

In the realm of institutional leadership, Pan has been an agent of substantial change. In 2011, he oversaw a significant overhaul of the Law School curriculum. Recognizing the need for ongoing innovation, he employed a combination of persuasion and charisma to rally faculty support, which ensured the successful implementation of courses that later earned recognition as national top-tier undergraduate programs. 

Pan Jianfeng’s unwavering commitment to the holistic development of students, coupled with a visionary approach to legal education, cements his place as a transformative figure in the annals of Peking University Law School. As the institution continues to evolve, his enduring legacy serves as a guiding light, inspiring generations to come.

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Written by: Jin Chuchu
Edited by: Yang Ruoxiang
Source: PKU WeChat