Newsletter No. 405

10 No. 405, 19.10.2012 Photos of Professor Young in this issue are by Keith Hiro Now that you have stepped down from University management and become the Master of a College. How do you feel? Life is more or less as busy as it used to be, except that I get to handle fewer policy issues and papers of a complex nature and spend more time meeting students face to face. But since I have always been teaching, this is no strange task to me. In addition to Freshman Physics, I am teaching College General Education courses. Next term I will be teaching a University General Education Foundation Course. I am in constant touch with students and always think about what courses and activities should be provided to them. I think I am doing my bit to their education from another, perhaps higher, level. I enjoy what I do now. New entrants to C.W. Chu College have to pledge to abide by the Honour Code. What is it? The spirit of the Honour Code is based on mutual trust and not on an external regulatory regime. Similar systems have existed for a long time in overseas institutions, although we are the first in Hong Kong to advocate it. The Honour Code demands self-discipline from students in three areas: honesty, integrity, courtesy. Whenever there is a complaint, the Student Honour Code Society comprising entirely students will look into it, decide if there is a breach and if so mete out disciplinary actions within its ambit. We have put in place the respective complaint handling, investigation and appeal procedures. The idea is to put trust and responsibility on the students and let them tackle interpersonal or even moral issues that arise among students from a peer’s angle. It will do them immense good in their process of maturation. Does the Honour Code take the place of the College’s disciplinary regime? Simple disputes or complaints can be handled by this student-run regime. For more serious cases, or where academic honesty is concerned, the College may also take its disciplinary actions. The two systems run in parallel in some cases. To you, the mission of university education is to educate students not only in one subject, but across multiple disciplines and cultivate their values. How often do you cross to other disciplines? I seldom cross over to music and the fine arts. But I take delight in many other things, mainly through my undisciplined reading habit. For example, we are preparing a book club for the College, and a colleague who’s a computer scientist recommended John MacCormick’s Nine Algorithms that Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today’s Computers . I read it and learned a few ways to look at Google’s success. In a casual conversation, another colleague recommended Michael J. Sandel’s Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? I bought a copy and have started reading it. Last year, for the purpose of teaching a general education course, I read Ziauddin Sardar’s Reading the Qur’an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam . Very revealing, though I haven’t finished it yet. What books have you read recently? I read a lot of the late Prof. Chen Chih-fan’s literary musings. Recently, Prof. Tung Yuan-fang gave me a few books of his and I am re-reading some of them. I feel like listening to an old friend again. I have been reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice . You know why? P.D. James, a favourite detective story writer of mine, wrote a sequel to Pride and Prejudice , titled Death Comes to Pemberley . Not only has P.D. James put a murder mystery twist to Austen’s classic but she has also done it in the style of Austen. The latecomer James led me back to Austen. Can you tell us a little about the relationship between the Chu Scholars and C.W. College? The establishment of C.W. Chu College was initiated and facilitated by a group of Chu Scholars who benefitted from the philanthropy of the late Dr. C.W. Chu, who did not just finance their education abroad but also accompanied them to their destinations and took good care of them in many ways during their stay abroad. The Chu Scholars were so appreciative that they decided to grow the seed sown by Dr. Chu. Our College is fortunate to have received from some Chu Scholars donations as well as contributions in other forms such as mentoring our students, sharing their experience and giving just a little help where it is needed. There are two Chu Scholars among our teachers. I find it particularly meaningful to be working with them to lay the foundation of the College. You have received a Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. What’s the secret to teaching? First, one has to know one’s subject thoroughly so that talking about it comes as naturally as in, say, walking and driving a car. One doesn’t even have to think about it. That would enable you to concentrate on your students in class and what happens there at any moment. Second, one has to have passion in one’s subject. You cannot disguise it and it would help tremendously if the students could feel and see you have it in you. It makes teaching all the more effective. Lastly, a good teacher has the skills of the scriptwriter, director and actor all rolled into one. He/she should be able to choose and organize his/her material, determine how to best present it, and give a good performance in the podium. Good teaching requires a combination of skills and attitude. Prof. Kenneth Young Master, C.W. Chu College 杨纲凯教授 敬文书院院长 从大学行政岗位退下来,又扛起了书院院长的任务,两种工作的感觉有何不同? 论忙都是差不多忙,只是少了处理复杂的政策问题和文件,多了在前线接触学生,但由于我一向 没放下教学工作,学生对我从不陌生。现在除了教大一物理,我也教书院通识,下学期教大学通 识基础,还经常和学生交谈,思索如何设计课程、活动,在更广泛层面为他们的教育筹谋,我很 享受现在这样子。 学生加入书院要承诺遵守「诚信誓章」,可以解释一下吗? 「诚信誓章」的精神是基于群体的互相信任,而非外来监督。类似制度在外国院校行之已久, 在香港却是创举。它要求同学在三方面恪守自律∶正心诚意、刚正不阿、谦恭有礼。遇有投诉, 会由学生组成的委员会处理,研究违章个案,考虑作出在其权力范围内的惩处。我们有完整的 处理投诉、调查以及上诉程序及章程。我们希望多给一些信任与责任给同学,以己及人,思考人 际以至道德问题,在成长路上走得更快更远。 「诚信誓章」是否取代院方订定的院规? 一些简单的争议或投诉,会由学生管理的机制处理。但若有严重的情况,又或是牵涉学术诚信 的,也不摒除或取代书院的纪律机制,可以说两套制度是并存并行的。 你认为「大学教育的理想是培育学生在主修以及其他学科的知识,并建立他们的价值 观念」,那你在物理之外,对哪些学问也感兴趣? 我对音乐、艺术认识不多,但平时看各类闲书、杂书,因而对很多事物都有兴趣。举例说,为 筹备书院的读书会,有本业计算机科学的同事推介约翰.密考密克的《改变未来的九项运算 法—驱动当今电脑的巧妙设计》,我特别找来看,得知一点对Google成功的分析。有次跟另 一位同事闲聊,他对迈克尔.J.桑德尔的《公义—什么是应该做的事情?》赞不绝口,我于是 也买了一本,正开始阅读。去年为了教通识课程,看了齐亚乌丁.萨达尔的《读古兰经—伊斯兰 教圣典的现代意义》,也是大开眼界,可惜暂时未有时间读完。 最近看些什么书? 陈之藩教授的散文以前我看过不少,最近童元方教授又送来一套,包括《时空之海》、《散 步》和《看云听雨》,我正在重看其中一些,感觉很亲切。我最近也看珍.奥斯汀的《傲慢与偏 见》,你道是为了什么?我很喜欢的一位侦探小说作家P.D.詹姆斯,她仿效珍.奥斯汀的文 笔,为《傲慢与偏见》写了一部以谋杀布局的续集《死神降临彭伯里》,我因为看了P.D.詹姆 斯的侦探小说,所以兴起看珍.奥斯汀原书的念头。 请介绍一下「朱氏学人」和敬文书院的关系。 敬文书院的成立是由一群有心的「朱氏学人」发起促成的,他们都曾受惠朱敬文博士的帮助与 栽培,得以在外国完成学业,及后在各行业干出成就。他们感激、怀念的并非纯是金钱上的资 助,而更是朱博士在他们留学期间对他们的照顾与关怀,所以有心把朱博士的精神承传、发扬。 我们有幸得到多位「朱氏学人」不同形式的协助,包括捐赠、出任学长、和同学分享经验和提供 社会参与的机会。我们的老师中也有两位是「朱氏学人」,和他们一起打造新书院,我觉得很有 意义。 你曾获模范教学奖,你觉得教导学生的诀窍在 哪里? 第一是必需对所教学科有透彻的掌握,学科 知识成为自身一部分,娴熟而不自觉,收发 自如,如走路和开车般自然,几乎不必用 脑,那末在课堂上便可全副心神放在学生 身上,专注他们的反应以及课堂上的瞬息 变化。第二是要对学科有浓厚兴趣,甚至 是热忱,学生是感觉到的,这样才可感染 他们,令教学效果更佳。最后是讲课要有 技巧,一位好教师应是多才多艺,能自编 (教材、讲义)、自导(教法、程 序)、自演(课堂表 现)。教学要成 功,技巧和态度 缺一不可。