Newsletter No. 157

2 No. 157 4th January 2000 CUHK Newsletter Experts Gather to Discuss Language in Education T he University hosted the International Language in Education Conference 99 from 17th to 19th December. That was the 15th annual conference in the same series and the first to be held on CUHK campus. The theme of the conference was 'Language, Curriculum, and Assessment: Research, Practice, and Management'. Attending the conference were scholars in the English language field including Prof. Charles Alderson f r om the University of Lancaster, Dr. John L. Clark, Director of Educational Services, Utahloy Company, Prof. David Mendelsohn from York University, and Prof. Amy B.M. Tsui from the University of Hong Kong, who were joined by academics from the Chinese language field, such as Prof. Chow Tse-tsung from the University o f Wisconsin, Prof. Cheung Hung-nin from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Prof. Leong Weng-kee from Nanyang Technological University. The conference provided an opportunity for interaction and exchange between academics and professional educators from different backgrounds. Hosting the opening ceremony was Prof. Arthur K.C. Li, vice-chancellor of the University. Mr. Anthony Tong, deputy director of education of the HKSAR Education Department, was the guest-of-honour. Pioneering Treatment for Parkinson'sDisease P arkinson's disease is the most common form of movement disorder, occurring in 200 out of every 100,000 people. Victims suffer from tremors, rigidity in the limbs, and slowness of movement. At present there is no cure for Parkinson's disease. Wh i le the majority o f patients respond to drug therapy, a significant proportion may not or may suffer from severe side- effects. This latter group may benefit from surgical treatment, which includes destruction of deep brain nuclei by radiosurgery, the implantation of foetal or genetically-engineered neuronal cells into the deep brain nuclei, or deep brain stimulation of the thalamic and subthalamic nuclei. The Faculty o f Med i c i ne of the Un i ve r s i ty has been developing the first deep brain stimulation programme in Asia since 1996-97, and to date, has implanted the deep brain stimulation system in five patients with good results. Deep brain stimulation has the advantage of not destroying the deep brain nuclei, and a v o i d i ng the ethical issues over foetal cell transplantation. In deep brain stimulation, an electrode connected to a pulse generator is placed inside the brain to stimulate the thalamus and the subthalamus in order to treat tremors, rigidity of limbs, and slowness of movements. Deep Brain Stimulation System New Department Heads Series More Than Hotel Managers Director of School of Hotel Management Describes the End Product of Their Training T he University's new School of Hotel Management recruited its first batch of 50 undergraduate students last September. Curriculum The school's new director Prof. Ko Wang said, 'Our aim is to nurture business- oriented managers who are well versed in the h o s p i t a l i ty i n d u s t ry — f r om understanding the operational aspects of managing a hotel to general business knowledge. This training will expand their career prospects beyond the hospitality industry.' Prof. Wang foresees that some of the graduates will find jobs in investment banking, financial analysis, and the like. 'We are not training technical staff for hotels but managers with solid business training who see the hotel as a living laboratory in which they apply their business knowledge,' he said. In the first year of study, the students receive basic business training. Eight of the nine courses on the curriculum are required courses for all Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) students. In the second and third years, the curriculum consists of more hotel- related courses offered by the school. There is also a practicum in the summer following the end of each academic year. Three Major Plans Though the school is at present well equipped to handle its more immediate duties such as student training, some of its less urgent plans are in the process of being finalized. These include two plans which he anticipates should be in place no later than the end of this year. The first is the mentor programme wherein each student is paired up for training with an expert from industry, who could be a general manager in a hotel, or the president of the regional office of an international chain store. The second one is the establishment of an advisory committee for the programme consisting of representatives from local industries. Another project which Prof. Wang hopes to see brought to fruition by June 2000 is to set up a recruiting pool by assembling a group of companies who are committed to hiring the graduates of the school. He is also engaged in working out the details of the summer practicum, the first of which won't be until the summer of 2000. Instead of sending students to hotels to do labour-oriented training in the vein of traditional practica, he hopes the emphasis will be on management training and project consultancy. Academic Exchange The school has concluded a formal student exchange agreement with the Cornell University Hotel School, an internationally recognized top hotel school. Under the arrangement, four students f r om the University will go to Cornell for one year, or eight students for one semester, and vice versa. The two schools w i l l also j o i n hands in organizing a conference in January 2001 which will take place in Hong Kong. Some 15 to 20 faculty members of Cornell will participate in the conference but other details have yet to be wo r k ed out. Preliminary negotiations have also been going on about starting a programme for staff exchange. While both sides agree that it is the right direction to take, the details w i ll need to be ironed out. Prof. Wang pointed out that while the school is interested in establishing links with other hotel management schools, it is not in a rush to do so. 'There is a huge difference between the best and the second best schools for hotel. I think in the meantime we would just concentrate on developing our relationship with Cornell,' he said. Academic links with institutions in mainland China will probably begin in the 2000-2001 academic year. There are currently many universities on the mainland with programmes or concentrations related to hotel management. These include some of the top universities such as Peking University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 'We understand the importance of having links w i th schools on the mainland. We haven't done it yet but we will do it ,' said Prof. Wang. Postgraduate Programmes The school's Ph.D. and M.Phil, programmes will begin recruiting students also in the 2000-2001 academic year. Plans to establish an executive training programme jointly with another hotel school are yet uncertain. Currently the school is recruiting teaching staff. A l l full-time staff w i ll be hired on the basis of good scholarly research and sound academic training, said Prof. Wang. I f al goes well, the school's graduates, adroit in both hotel management and business, will begin physically supporting the government's initiatives to revive tourism as well as the economy in Hong Kong in a few years' time. Piera Chen Born in Taiwan, Prof. Ko Wang obtained his Ph.D. in finance and real estate from the University of Texas at Austin in the US. He then taught at UT Austin as assistant professor for a year, after which he went to teach at California State University at Fullerton, becoming full professor in 1992. He joined the Department of Finance of The Chinese University in 1995, and in August 1999, was appointed director of the new School of Hotel Management. Currently Prof. Wang is editor of the Journal of Real EstateResearch, the academic real estate journal with the largest circulation, and is founding co-executive editor of the International RealEstate Review.