Nurturing Excellence of Both Heart and Mind
CUHK is a cradle for future global leaders who are imbued with strong moral character, emotional resilience, entrepreneurial mindset, innovative spirit and competencies to make lifelong contributions to society
Nurturing our students to become responsible global citizens and leaders is deeply embedded in the vision of the University.
In the 2019—20 academic year, some 4,300 young men and women in the freshmen cohort were welcomed into a caring and culturally diverse campus. Undergraduate student enrolment stood at 17,611 in 2019, of which 2,477 were non-local students, representing about 14.1% of the undergraduate population. Among the non-local students, the majority (1,504 or 60.7%) came from the mainland, while the remaining (39.3%) hailed from overseas─50 countries, regions or cities, to be exact. The ratio of non-local students in the postgraduate sector is considerably higher. Out of a total of 13,183 postgraduate students in 2019, 6,065 (46.0%) were non-local students, most of whom from the mainland. In all, in 2019, CUHK was home to 30,794 students, of whom 8,542 (27.7%) were non-local students.
Exchange students further add to the international mix of the student population. With 282 exchange partners from 36 countries and regions, CUHK has grown into a global university.
Global and Local: A Fusion of Horizons
In promoting internationalization, the University does not lose sight of the students’ understanding of the nation and local society. Global competence and local knowledge are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they are mutually reinforcing. A widened intellectual horizon and sound knowledge of one’s own culture enable students to avoid the pitfalls of parochialism and equip them with the ability to comprehend and critically appraise global issues. This is the kind of ‘glocal’ learning experience we provide for both local and non-local students on campus.
Currently, a variety of courses and activities are on offer to enhance the learning experience of both the local and non-local students. Many of these focus on China and Hong Kong society, including its history, culture, language, as well as contemporary development and challenges. Courses on foreign languages and cultures are also available, and they are generally well subscribed. In addition, to facilitate student integration, the Colleges and various service units have been working together to promote inter-cultural understanding and mutual respect through non-formal learning and cultural activities, including celebrations of major festivals of different cultures, and student-led interest classes such as handicraft and cooking with an international flavour.
While such initiatives generally receive very positive feedback from the participants, there is room to expand their reach. The need to redouble our effort in creating a vibrant and harmonious campus is heightened by the social unrest in Hong Kong in the second half of 2019 and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the University responded in exemplary fashion to maintain its educational programmes through e-learning, the disruptions to campus life have taken a heavy toll on the mental well-being of many students.
The University has devoted much effort and resources over the past few years to improving student mental wellness through credit-bearing positive psychology courses, enhanced services at the Wellness and Counselling Centre of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), and the revitalization of Sunshine@CUHK (originally a campaign to raise student awareness of the importance of mental wellness). Nevertheless, given the difficult circumstances, it is necessary to do even more to foster student well-being and strengthen their resilience so that they can better cope with adversity.
Acrimony on campus arising from political disputes in the larger society is another issue that requires the urgent attention of the University. Efforts in promoting diversity and inclusiveness with a view to building a harmonious campus are in place and will form a key component of ‘CUHK 2025’.
Equally important, the University will ensure that students with special educational needs (SEN) are given all the necessary help and support. While the majority of the students are adept at online learning, SEN students will not be left behind, as the University prepares for teaching and learning under the New Normal.
A Fourfold Plan
In this context, with continued uncertainty and challenging conditions, the University will adopt a fourfold strategy in the next five years, to provide a rewarding student experience that nurtures excellence with purpose and responsibility. The four-pronged approach encompasses the intra-personal, inter-personal and personal-societal dimensions of student experience. They are:
A Road Map
The four-pronged approach described above combines into a road map that will prepare our students well for their life journey, from the initial point of engagement to the destination of a flourishing life. The road map takes into consideration the intra-personal, inter-personal and personal-societal levels of student experience.
Depending on the character, strengths, orientations and readiness of individual students, they can embark on this process from any entry point.