Newsletter No. 333

No. 333, 4.3.2009 1 你在大学念物理,为何后来转研经济学和教育学? 科学和教育学的训练对你的管理工作有甚麽帮助? You majored in physics at university. Why did you change to economics and education in graduate school? Does your science training help you with managerial work? 我在美国念大学时,越战方酣,许多学生被征召入伍,社会 很动荡。当时的美国学生开始关注自己所学与社会何干的 问题,我也思考学什么才最有益于社会。这种时代背景是 促使我转而钻研教育和经济学的原因,因为觉得这两门学 科对人民生活、国家发展较贴近一些。 涉猎过不同范畴的学科,对我的管理工作很有帮助。比如 我虽然最终投身社会科学,但念过物理,所以也明白理学 院同事看事物的角度。 I went to college in the US at the height of the Vietnam War. Many students were drafted and society was in turmoil. The American students questioned the relevance of what they were learning, prompting me to ask the same. My academic interests changed from physics to education and economics because I thought these subjects were more relevant to people’s lives and the development of a country. My exposure to different academic fields has helped me a lot with managerial work. For example, though I am a social scientist, I can understand how colleagues at the Faculty of Science see things, because I studied physics. 2 你甫自美国毕业后即加入中大,当时中大给你的印 象是怎样的? What was your impression of CUHK when you returned to Hong Kong to join the University? 1976年1月回来时,中大给我的第一个印象是:这是一所 很新的大学,才刚开始发展,和美国那些百年老校恰成对 照。那时候中大才迁进马料水没多久,校园没几栋建筑 物,没几棵树,也没几个人,光秃秃的,全是砂石。 另一个深刻的印象是,中大学生非常关心社会和国家大 事。当时正值文革即将结束的火红年代,在大学校园,国 粹派和社会派的争论非常激烈。 I came back to Hong Kong and joined CUHK in January 1976. My first impression of this fledgling university was: it was a sharp contrast to American universities with a history of over a hundred years. The University had just moved to its Shatin campus. There were very few buildings, trees, and people. My other impression was that CUHK students were very concerned about society and issues of China. At that time, the Cultural Revolution was coming to an end. There were heated debates among students concerned with China issues and those who devoted their attention to local society. 3 教师、学者、大学管理层,你比较喜欢哪个岗位的工 作? Teacher, researcher, administrator—which role do you like most? 三者都喜欢,但也知道顶多只能取其一二,不可三者兼 得。至于如何取舍,我认为是在事业的不同阶段作不同 的选择。开始时当然是专注于教学和研究,后来大学找 我加入管理层,自问能胜任并能为大学贡献所长,那就 投入行政工作。及至觉得无法兼顾教研,那就要放弃其 中一两项。 I like all three. But I can only choose one or two at best at a time. I believe people have different priorities at different stages of their careers. In my case, it was natural for me to start off with teaching and research. Later I was invited to join the university management. I thought myself competent for the job and hoped to contribute to the University. When I found that I had difficulty juggling administrative work with teaching and research, I gave up one or two of them. 4 任教务长/副校长期间,最大的挑战是什么?有什 么难忘经验? Which were the most challenging and memorable moments during your time as Registrar of the University and as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC)? 担任教务长时遇到两大挑战。首先是1982年当上教务长 第一天就投入筹划暂取生计划,当时碰到外界很大阻力, 但1985年计划实施后,我们录取了许多优秀学生,扭转了 中大原本收生的劣势。 另一个大挑战是改革中大的课程结构,废除学位考试,由 中英混合的升级及学位考试制度,转为美国式的学分制。 推行学分制后,学生的自由度大增。我记得课程结构检讨 小组拍板定案那天,正好是《中英联合声明》草签的同一 天。 副校长任内的最大挑战,则是应付2004至05年度大学经 费大幅削减的问题。面对财政困难,大学推行了自愿离职 计划、合约员工减薪、学系重组等不得已的措施。 副校长任内最难忘的经验是法律学院的成立。早在马临 校长时期已有成立法律学院的构想。法学与人文学科和 社会科学关系密切,而中大有根基深厚的文学院和社会科 学院,具有发展法律教学的独特优势。现在成立了法律学 院,中大这所综合大学也更完整一点。 During my tenure as Registrar, I encountered two major challenges. The first was the Provisional Acceptance Scheme, which was aimed at tackling our disavantaged position in recruiting high-achieving students. I was committed to the preparation of the scheme from my first day as Registrar. Its introduction was met with suspicion and huge objection from outside. But when it was implemented in 1985, the galaxy of top achievers we admitted finally turned the tables. Another challenge was curriculum review and abolition of degree examinations, switching from the original mix of a degree examination system and an academic year system to an American credit unit system. With the implementation of the credit unit system, students are given more flexibility in their course of study. The curriculum review panel finalized the plan on the day the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed. The biggest challenge in my capacity as PVC was the budgetary cut for 2004–05 faced by the University. To cope with the ensuing financial difficulties, the University could only introduce measures such as the voluntary separation scheme, pay cuts for contract staff, and restructuring of certain academic departments. The most memorable moment in my tenure as PVC was the founding of the Faculty of Law, which was a dream of the University since the days when Prof. Ma Lin was the Vice-Chancellor. Law is a subject closely related to ( To be continued )

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