Newsletter No. 81

CUHK Newsletter 2 No. 81 4th January 1996 Comments form Senior Administration New y e a r M e s s a g e f r o m t h e Vice-Chancellor A new year brings new hopes and new challenges. Despite all the uncertainties generated by Hong Kong's socio-political change in the coming years, we should adopt a constructive attitude and continue to aim at excellence and quality in whatever we do. Hong Kong's past success has been due to its people's determination to strive for the best. Let's assume such an attitude when tackling the important issue of improving language proficiency. Language proficiency is a prerequisite for effective communication; it affects the quality of teaching and learning. Many of us are concerned about the decline in both Chinese and English proficiency of Hong Kong students, in particular those entering the University. How should we go about salvaging such deterioration which may eventually jeopardize Hong Kong's future success? Last month the Education Commission made recommendations on ways to improve language teaching and learning in local schools. Indeed we have to rely on primary and secondary schools to lay solid foundations for our students. This however requires a long-term effort and no quick returns can be expected. In the meantime, at the university level, many new initiatives have been launched to help students improve their language skills. At this university a two-pronged approach has basically been adopted. First, there is a shift from offering basic remedial courses to developing skills- oriented courses to cater to the specific language needs of students from different disciplines. The many new elective language proficiency courses introduced are designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to cope with their academic study. Secondly, an Independent Learning Centre has been set up to implement, through multi-faceted activities in a multimedia environment, a self-initiated and self-paced learning approach to both Chinese and English. The centre is also expected to promote an awareness for continuous improvement after graduation. Such activities have been funded through the UGC's Language Enhancement Grants as well as substantial allocations from the University's block grant. The huge sums spent each year reflect both the gravity of the problem and the University's determination to address it properly. A new thrust was also launched just last September when the four constituent colleges and individual teaching units were asked to design innovative language improvement projects to help their students acquire diverse language skills through practising in informal and more lively situations. The effects of these innovations will be assessed in due course. Concurrently the University is exploring ways to incorporate language enhancement activities into its teaching and learning quality assurance programme. The year 1996 has begun with a Teaching and Learning Quality Process Review visit by the UGC. This gives us an opportunity to assess how we have been doing, and find out which areas will need to be rectified if we want to achieve the kind of quality and excellence we aspire after. So let's all be constructive and may the year ahead be productive. Charles K. Kao Why the Need for a S c i e n c e Park? A t a symposium organized by the University on 14th December 1995, industrialists, government officials and academics gathered to discuss and hear experts' views on the feasibility of setting up a science park in Hong Kong and its possible impact. Following the proposal by the Trade and Industry Panel of the Legislative Council to build a science park, the government's Industry Department has commissioned a Science Park Study (stage 2) to address issues such a project would entail. The consultants' report recommends that a science park be built in the near future, and anticipates it will contribute significantly to Hong Kong's economy. The symposium marks the University's efforts at assisting in public consultation and was supported by the government's Industry Department. Representatives f r om the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the State Science & Technology Commission, and the State Education Commission of China presented their views, while experts from the United States, Australia and Taiwan related their experience in science parks. W H O Tra i ns Fron t l i ne Wo r ke rs to Tackle D r ug Abuse A 10-day training course on the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of drug abuse took place at the University from 11 th to 20th December 1995 in the lecture theatre of Shaw College. Sponsored by the Western Pacific Regional Office o f the World Health Organization (WHO), the course aims at training workers from China, Macau and Hong Kong who are involved in the frontline care of drug abusers. The course is jointly directed by Prof. Chen Char-nie of the Department of Psychiatry and Dr. James M.N. Ch'ien, a project consultant for many UN sub-agencies. Over 30 participants and observers from China, Macau and Hong Kong attended the lectures conducted by experts in the respective fields in Hong Kong. The lectures covered multiple aspects of the drug abuse problem, f r om its epidemiology (world and regional patterns of drug abuse) to its relationship with H IV infection and AIDS. Academic L i nk Renewed wi th Bei j ing Medical University A symposium on 'Innovations in Medical Education' held recently at the University marked a new phase o f collaboration between Beijing Medical University (BMU) and CUHK. Heads of the two institutions signed an agreement on 11th December 1995 to hold annual forums for medical experts in both places to discuss the latest developments in the medical field. At the symposium president of BMU Prof. Wang De-bing delivered a speech entitled T he Challenges and Options of Medical Education in the Twenty-first Century'. Founded in 1912, BMU is the earliest national medical school established in China. After 1949 it has developed into a comprehensive medical university with eight schools, two faculties, 17 research institutes, and 12 research centres. To date it has trained over 23,000 graduates. Academic exchange between BMU and CUHK began in the 1980s and the new agreement will last until 1998. Among the World's Most Outstanding Ten D r Dennis Lam Shun-chiu, lecturer in ophthalmology and visual sciences and head of the Prince of Wales Hospital's Eye Unit, was one of the two candidates from Hong Kong to be selected among thousands of entries as 1995's Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World. The two had been chosen by the International Junior Chamber o f Commerce for their work in helping sufferers of poor vision. Dr. Lam, 36, has been recognized for developing treatment and equipment for the visually impaired and helping them realize their work potential. Dr. Lam was also the first to diagnose and treat patients suffering from amoeba infections to the eyes caused by unclean contact lenses. Serv i ce t o the C ommu n i t y and I n t e r na t i onal Or gan i za t i ons • Dr. Paul P.H. But, senior lecturer in biology, has been appointed by HE the Governor as a member of the Endangered Species Advisory Committee for two years from 1st October 1995. • Dr. Lam Kin-che, senior lecturer in geography, has been appointed by HE the Governor as a member of the Town Planning Appeal Board Panel for two years from 18th November 1995. • Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, dean of medicine, has been reappointed by the Secretary for Health and Welfare as a member of the Hospital Authority for two years from 1 st December 1995 until the end of his deanship. • Dr. Anthony P.C. Yim, lecturer in surgery, has been invited to serve as a member of the congress organizing committee of the International Congress of Thoracic Surgery to be held in Athens in July 1997. Dr. Yim was also elected (1) a member of the New York Academy of Sciences in May 1995; (2) a fellow of the International College of Surgeons (FICS) in October 1995; (3) a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP) in November 1995. • Mr. Hardy S.C. Tsoi, manager of the Sir Run Run Shaw Hall, has been elected by the theatre community to serve as a member of the Advisory Panel on Theatre of the Urban Council for a term until 31st August 1996. (Amendment to CUHK Newsletter No.79) • Dr. Fanny M.C. Cheung, dean of social science, has been appointed as chair of the Advisory Committee on Social Work Training and Manpower Planning for two years from 1st November 1995. (All information in this section is provided by the Information and Public Relations Office. Contributions should be sent direct to that office for registration and verification before pubication.)