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 Chapter 550: The Youngest Associate Professor in the Country!

In the morning.

The other elective class teachers left the Chinese Department's Teachers' Office.

The teachers of the Chinese Department started chatting again once they had gone. After the winter break, they definitely had a lot to catch up on, but most of the focus was still on Zhang Ye. This was because, in just a short winter break period, Zhang Ye had caused so many incidents, such as taking part in the Spring Festival Gala, beating up someone, joining the crosstalk competition, getting banned, solving a mathematical conjecture, getting unbanned, being voted as Weibo's most unpopular celebrity, etc. This was why everyone was so curious about all that had happened

Teacher Wang smiled and said, "Little Zhang, you are really something."

Teacher Li said, "When did you begin your research into math? Haha, you've really garnered face for the Chinese Department. Just a few days ago, Dean Chang even joked about how our Chinese Department had hidden talents that could take over the jobs of those at the Math Department."

Zhang Ye waved it off. "You're too generous with your praise."

A teacher asked, "Has Dale's Conjecture really been proven?"

"That's for sure." Su Na smiled and said, "Mathematicians from all over the world are here in Beijing to do the verification work now. Although they have not concluded the verification of the proof yet, it seems that there are generally no problems with it. They're just doing some final validations on the details." Having said that, she looked over to Zhang Ye. "Teacher Zhang, don't forget to give treat us to a meal when the proof is accepted."

Zhang Ye nearly cried. "I don't even have any money left in this pocket of mine."

Su Na rolled her eyes. "Don't try that. I know that you've already sold the copyrights to Legend of Wukong. Although I don't know how much you got for it, it has to be at least upwards of a million."

Professor Zeng, who had a very good relationship with Zhang Ye, had just walked into the office and heard their conversation. He laughed as he said, "In my opinion, Teacher Zhang getting an associate professor title this year is definitely on the books!"

Su Na nodded. "Yes, there's a really good chance of that."

Zhang Ye chuckled. "Come on, I don't have the qualifications to become an associate professor." Actually, he really hoped to get it as well, even though the title of professor did not matter in the entertainment industry. It still sounded nice and would be considered a good qualification anyhow. So if he had the chance, Zhang Ye definitely would like to become one.

The Chinese Department's colleagues continued bantering about the matter. Zhang Ye's proving of the global mathematical conjecture had not only become a topic of conversation for them at the Chinese Department, but was also the topic of conversation throughout Peking University.

After about 10 minutes.

The Chinese Department was about to begin their meeting and all the teachers had gathered into the conference room.

Secretary Zhen did not attend the meeting. The Chinese Department Dean, Chang Kaige, who was chairing the meeting, did not start until the last person, Professor Yan, who had arrived late, walked into the room.

Chang Kaige raised a tea cup and took a sip of tea before putting it down again. He smiled as he looked at everyone, and then said, "School has started and it's a new semester again. After such a long break, I hope that every one of us can hit the ground running as classes will begin tomorrow. Let's not be too relaxed anymore. Alright, enough with the cliché speech for now. For today's meeting, I would like to touch on the welcome ceremony that will be held this afternoon. As all of you should know by now, we are hosting a delegation of Japanese university principals, expert academics, and students at our Peking University today to discuss key exchange and cooperation projects. It is very important. There will be staff from the television stations and reporters present as well. The welcome ceremony will be held at the Centennial Hall, so if our teachers don't have anything important scheduled today, they must attend the event. This was instructed by the chancellor, so unless you have something so important that you can't attend this ceremony, please seek leave approval from either me or Secretary Zhen. Is that understood?"

"Understood."

"We'll definitely be there."

"No problem."

Quite a number of teachers and professors were nodding at this.

Chang Kaige said, "As for the students, get some volunteers. Otherwise, if that's not enough to fill the seats, I will need every one of you to select some students and then consolidate their names into a list. Remember to remind them to follow the rules, to not boo or create any trouble. They're already university students. Students these days all have a mind of their own, especially when it involves a sensitive issue like the Sino-Japanese relationship. We must ensure that the welcome ceremony finishes without a hitch. Yes, but of course, since our Peking University students are all of the highest standards, this is just something that you all need to remind them about."

Professor Zeng said, "In such a setting, I'm sure the students know their limits."

Chang Kaige nodded. "Hur hur. Finally, there's one more issue to discuss. The chancellor has given us, the Chinese Department, the task of giving a speech at the welcome ceremony. Since we're in the profession of the Chinese language, this task is naturally ours to carry out."

Speech?

Another speech?

When everyone heard this, their instinct was to look over at Zhang Ye. They couldn't help it since, previously, at the National Primary and Secondary School New Year Gala, Zhang Ye's closing remarks had left everyone in shock. The "Ode to Young China" was even published in the People's Daily the next day and was considered to be a sensation. Compared to Professor Yan's speech, it brought about a much more refreshing view and was considered to be far more outstanding. As such, at the mention of a speech that was to be given later at the welcome ceremony, the first person who came to mind was Zhang Ye.

Although Zhang Ye was the youngest teacher in the Chinese Department, had the least qualifications, and did not even come through as part of the academia system itself since he had only become a teacher through his work in the professional industry, when it came to the quality of giving speeches, none of them in the Chinese Department dared to claim that they were better than Zhang Ye at giving one. Even if "Ode to Young China" was not mentioned, there was still the example of "The Last Speech" that Zhang Ye had given at the Shanghai SARFT's press conference. It was an irrefutable fact that none of them had or were even near his standard in giving speeches.

With one Zhang Ye sacrificed!

Thousands and thousands of Zhang Ye will stand up!

Just thinking of each and every word from that speech would leave a person's blood boiling with passion!

However, Zhang Ye looked reluctant to partake in this ceremony, or rather, unwilling to do so. For a speech that carried political undertones, he knew they would definitely require him to speak along the lines of promoting good Sino-Japanese relationship. Yet for a nationalist like him, it would already be a good thing if he did not go looking for trouble with these foreigners. How could they expect him to praise the friendship between China and Japan? That was basically impossible, so whoever wanted to do it could instead of him!

Chang Kaige, who seemingly had expected that Zhang Ye would not want to do it, said, "I'd already given this task to Professor Yan a few days ago. Old Yan, is the script ready?"

Professor Yan said expressionlessly, "Yes."

Chang Kaige looked very reassured and did not ask for the script to check it.

The previous time, even though it could be said that Zhang Ye's speech had made Professor Yan lose quite a lot of face, everyone knew that it wasn't because Professor Yan's speech was lacking. As the theme had already been set beforehand, even if it were someone else giving the speech, they would have encountered the same problem. The main issue at that time was due to Zhang Ye not following the routine. That left Professor Yan in a passive and embarrassing situation. However, since the speech this time was imbued with a political undertone, Chang Kaige tasked Professor Yan to handle it, knowing that it was in much safer hands compared to Zhang Ye's.

The meeting went on for a little while more.

Finally, Chang Kaige said, "Alright then, actually there is one more issue to bring up." He looked at Zhang Ye and said, "It regards our department's Teacher Zhang Ye and his promotion to the rank of associate professor. Ever since Teacher Little Zhang took over the elective class for 'Appreciation of the Classics,' the results he had shown can be seen by all. He has received lots of attention from society and attracted many good reviews from the the academic world. At the same time, he has also helped our Chinese Department gain back the top spot in the national university rankings. Though I understand this was down to the hard work of everyone, but the final 'shot at goal' is to Teacher Zhang Ye's credit."

Before he could finish, Professor Yan, who was already frowning, immediately interrupted and said, "Dean Chang, I don't agree with that. Zhang Ye is too young. How can a young man in his early twenties be an associate professor? Let's not talk about Peking University alone, you won't even find this anywhere else in the country! Besides, Zhang Ye's academic research is still considered to be controversial within the industry."

Zhang Ye looked impassive, as though the matter did not concern him. He did not say a word.

Professor Zeng frowned and said, "Why are you always harping about age? We are in the field of education and academics, so shouldn't we be looking at results instead? Shouldn't we be looking at the standards of teaching instead? If we were to base this on age, then we shouldn't be looking at any other things during the title selection every year. You're thirty? No way! You're forty? Wait a little longer! Oh, you're fifty? Alright, you shall receive the title! It would be over if we just base this on age. What's the point in that?"

Professor Yan said, "Old Zeng, don't take this out of context. Besides, we have no more positions for the title of associate professor to be awarded anymore this year. The allocations are all used up!"

Professor Zeng said, "If there's an outstanding teacher, I'm sure we could make an exception."

Professor Yan smiled coldly. "Zhang Ye's academic research can be considered an outstanding contribution?"

Professor Yan and Professor Zeng squabbled over the matter for a while.

Chang Kaige came in to smooth the situation out by saying, "Alright, how this matter will be decided is not up to you all. It is not even up to me. I have already discussed this with Secretary Zhen and we have nominated Little Zhang and sent in his application. Whether or not it will be approved is all up to the chancellor's decision." He had only submitted the application but the determination of the appointment was still subject to many other procedures.

Professor Yan was still highly against it. In the past, Zhang Ye was invited by President Wu and had her backing. But now, since Wu Zeqing had been promoted and transferred to another institution, Zhang Ye no longer had anyone to back him. Being the more qualified and experienced professor of the department, Professor Yan had become much more direct in the way he spoke, "This nomination does not follow the procedures. Dean Chang, I still disagree with it. The title of associate professor should not be given out so easily. Besides the allocations have already been used up, so nominating him will only bring more inconveniences to the school lea-"

At this time, a middle-aged man suddenly walked into the conference room. As the conference room was located in a much bigger suite, the doors were not closed.

The man in his fifties looked quite imposing. As he came into the conference room, he immediately said, "There are no more allocations in the Chinese Department? No problem then. We still have a spot in the School of Mathematical Sciences!"

Chang Kaige was taken aback. "Dean Pan."

"Dean Pan?" The other teachers were also taken aback.

The person who had walked in was the Dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, Pan Yang!

Dean Pan was a rank higher than Chang Kaige, therefore the way he spoke to him was less restrained. "The doors were open and I simply overheard what you were discussing when I stepped in. Old Chang, don't worry about Little Zhang's associate professor title. We will do an application over at our School of Mathematical Sciences since we still have an allocation for one more associate professor nomination. And it won't need to be scrutinized. I'd already signed the documents this morning to nominate Little Zhang, but we will need him to be transferred to our Math Department!"

Professor Yan was shocked.

Chang Kaige also could not react in time. "Math Department? That won't do, Dean Pan. Little Zhang is the backbone of the Chinese department...."

Pan Yang said, "Little Zhang can still continue teaching in the Chinese Department. I don't care about that. What I want is for him to listed as a teacher for our school. After he joins our Math Department, we can decide at a later time again whether or not he needs to lecture on any of the main courses. However, as long as the Math Department holds any symposiums or open seminars, we will need Little Zhang to attend as a member of our faculty. We can discuss how to work this out again at some later time since I am just letting you all know in advance.

Zhang Ye blinked a few times.

Su Na and the other Chinese Department teachers also looked at each other curiously.

The School of Mathematical Sciences was here to steal one of their personnel? F**k, Zhang Ye was really highly sought after!

Chang Kaige shook his head and said, "Holding the duties of being a teacher under two departments, there are prior examples. But to do so under the Chinese and Math Departments? That is unheard of! Dean Pan, I cannot agree to that!" He was treading carefully on this subject. Although this was being proposed as a concurrent post, if they went along with it, the Math department might just snatch Zhang Ye away from under their noses and make him theirs.

Besides, who had ever concurrently held the duties of a teacher in both the Chinese and Math Departments? These two disciplines were poles apart! If he really went ahead and held a concurrent post like this, not only would the appointment seem strange, it would be seen as a wonder of wonders!

Dean Pan said, "The procedures are already being handled as we speak. I have already discussed this with the chancellor and even though this has never happened before, we also know that there has never been a case of any Chinese Department teacher proving a global mathematical conjecture before. Since it's just the holding of another title in another school, it shouldn't be a big matter! In any case, we will definitely be taking Little Zhang into our School of Mathematical Sciences. Such a young and world-class mathematician like him must not waste his talents in the Chinese Department!"

Chang Kaige was almost left speechless by this. "What do you mean by wasting his talents? Teacher Little Zhang's literary standards were meant for the field of Chinese language. This is where he is most suited to be."

Dean Pan looked at him and said, "I didn't say that Little Zhang has to quit his work over here. I've always stressed that this would be a concurrent posting."

Finally, Secretary Zhen, who had been working on the application, had also made his way back due to this issue. In the end, the matter was escalated all the way up to the chancellor's office.

The School of Mathematical Sciences insisted on having Zhang Ye transfer to their school.

The Chinese Department did not want to let go of Zhang Ye no matter what.

After much wrangling, one of the chancellors finally made the decision based on Zhang Ye's talent in both mathematics and literature, as well as the strong wishes of the School of Mathematical Sciences of wanting him. They approved Zhang Ye's concurrent position in both the Math and Chinese Departments. They also agreed to the exception of making Zhang Ye associate professor under the School of Mathematical Sciences. Even though there were still some formalities to be completed, the title of associate professor was as good as sealed!

The news got out.

Peking University, which had just restarted its school term, was getting lively again!

"Associate professor? Really?"

"Is that for real? Teacher Zhang is going to become an associate professor?"

"He's too young! Not only will he be the youngest in Peking University, he's going to become the youngest associate professor in the whole country! How old is Teacher Zhang? 24?"

"The key here is that he is going to become an associate professor in the Math Department! Teacher Zhang has been grabbed by the School of Mathematical Sciences! He is going to teach both literature and mathematics!"

"Wau, Zhang Ye is going to teach in our Math Department?"

"That's great! I wonder which years he will be teaching!"

Not only were the students of Peking University fervently discussing this issue, even the teachers of the various schools started talking about this with great interest. Having been teachers for so many years, this was still the first time they had heard of such a case like this!

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