Newsletter No. 438

你是社会学教授,又是书院辅导长,更是入学 及学生资助处处长,如何分身有术? 虽然要兼顾学术、辅导和行政,但我看到三方的 对立统一和相辅相成。我的研究领域是教育社会 学,「教育机会均等」是当中一个颇主流的议题, 探讨个人的社会地位如何因公平开放的入学机会 而改变。教育作为一种社会制度,其中一个重要 功能是提供健全坚实的机会结构,而收生在整个 教育达成过程中也扮演了重要角色,制度的建立 可影响个人往后的社会流动。由是我打通了自己 学术研究和收生工作的脉络,学术视角和理念可 为政策执行把关。同时在书院与不同背景、本科 兴趣各异的年轻人共同生活,更是教学相长。 经常奔走内地省市召开招生说明会,你以什么 方式推广中大? 我不做歌功颂德的硬推销,而是向内地父母综述 大学与社会、大学与人格塑造,以及二十一世纪大 学生应怎样认识和装备自己,开拓终身学习的天 地,继而介绍中大的理念和愿景。我希望学生和家 长是因为真正认识大学而作出有依有据的选择。 你认为新生应如何准备高中到大学的过渡? 理学、工程和社会科学院已大致引入大类收生,第 一年修读基本课程,其后再决定主修科目。所以进 入大学前起码要认识自己大方向的学术追求。其 次,四年制大学比三年制空间大,学生应藉此建立 自由开放的思想、独立的人格,不再仰赖父母或中 学老师的指示安排。第三要虚心,即使以高分考上 大众称羡的星级学科,但和不同专业的同学磨合 互动,要保持开放态度,既要独立思考,也要群体 协作。我相信要达致卓越,除了热诚,也要对基本 原理有充分的掌握和深悟。 在虎妈和怪兽家长横行的年代,你觉得父母在 子女择校选科方面应该参与多少? 如果怪兽家长是指家长对教育的看重,我认为不 是一面倒的坏事,而是反映了中国人家长相信教育 可以改变儿女的生活、地位、成就。我是鼓励家长 参与择校的,但家长要把当今时代的需求和未来 社会的种种发展趋势连结,而非当下热门什么就 追求什么。全面的分析结合丰富的人生历练,父母 的建议可以发挥得正面而有价值。有学生说自己不 跟家人商量,独力作决定,我反而觉得弊大于利。 大学每年颁发的奖学金数目上千,除了学习成 绩外,奖励的对象还有哪些? 学业成绩不是评选奖学金的唯一标准,还兼顾奖 励热心社会工作、有领袖才能、创新精神或体育出 众的学生。更有鼓励选择偏门专业的奖学金,这 些学生忠于兴趣,怀着理想选择譬如纯科学或文 史哲作为主修科,毕业后或许不会像金融、法律在 就业上那般确切稳定,但这种不盲目从流和专心 致志值得嘉奖。 担任处长有什么抱负? 大多数行政部门的工作是自己内部的事,但大学 收生是内外兼向的,面对中大和所有非中大成员。 收生涉及繁重的文书处理,我必须要守住每个程 序毫厘不误。家长学生致电查询,倘若给出错误指 引,招致的麻烦可以很严重,甚至影响大学声誉。 另外,我不断提醒自己绝不可变成处理文书或办 公室政治的官僚,而要高瞻远瞩,配合大环境的发 展,根据每一届新生的录取成绩和入学后表现,相 应调整入学条件。这是对莘莘学子负责任的表现。 入学及学生资助处处长 王淑英教授 Prof. Wong Suk-ying Director of Admissions and Financial Aid You’re a professor in sociology, the dean of students of a college, and now the chief admissions officer of the University. How do you prioritize your work? These roles look conflicting at first but upon closer examination they can be integrated. My research interest lies in the sociology of education. One of its mainstream topics is the equality of educational opportunity, which investigates how one’s social position is affected by equal access to education. Education as a social institution serves to provide a solid opportunity structure, wherein university admissions plays the important role of facilitating social mobility. In this way, I seem to have found a natural connection between my academic interest and my admissions portfolio. Academic perspectives and principles provide a safeguard for policy and implementation. My exposure to students of various backgrounds and interests in the college context further makes this a very nourishing experience. You hold admissions talks at mainland cities frequently. How do you introduce CUHK? I am not the hardsell type. I would touch upon topics such as university and society, university and character building, and how students of the 21st century should understand themselves and equip themselves to become life-long learners. I will then introduce the mission and vision of CUHK. I hope students and their parents have a clear idea about the University so they can make well-informed decisions. How should a prospective student prepare for the transition from high school to university? The Faculties of Science, Engineering and Social Science have introduced broad-based admission, meaning freshmen would study a common core of subjects before choosing any specific major programmes. Therefore, when knocking on university doors, students should at least have identified or attained a broad understanding of the kind of disciplinary areas they would like to explore. Second, more grounds can be covered in a four-year curriculum than a three-year one. Students should take this opportunity to develop freedom of thought and an independent character, instead of following close at the heels of their parents and teachers. Third, be modest. Even if you have made the elite programme you chose, that is not the end of it. You still need to keep an open mind, think independently and collaborate with peers from diverse backgrounds. I believe creative excellence is only possible if it is also coupled with a mastery of the basics while passion is a default. In the age of tiger moms and helicopter parents, how do you see the parents’ role in their children’s choice of universities and majors? If helicopter parenting refers to taking responsibility for children’s educational experience, it is not necessarily a negative thing. It only shows how much faith Chinese parents have in education. I encourage parental involvement in choosing universities and majors, only if the parents have carefully evaluated the current social and manpower needs and future trends of our society, instead of going for whatever is most sought after at the moment. A comprehensive evaluation combined with their life experiences can make parents’ suggestions most valuable. Some students said they made the decision on their own without consulting their parents. I don’t think that’s a good idea. CUHK awards hundreds of scholarships every year. Who are the beneficiaries besides academic achievers? Academic excellence is but one of the criteria. The University also gives due recognition to students who have demonstrated outstanding performance in other areas, such as community service, leadership, innovation and sports. There are scholarships that encourage students to take the road less travelled. Those dream-followers devote themselves to majors such as pure science, literature, history or philosophy. Their career prospects may not be as straightforward as those who are trained to be lawyers or financial executives or managers, but the spirit of independence and devotion to what they believe in is worth rewarding in itself. Can you share your to-do list as Director of OAFA? Most administrative units of a complex organization inclines to be inward-looking, but university admissions casts its sight both inside and outside the university. It involves an enormous amount of paperwork. I must make sure every procedure is executed with the utmost care and attention. If we fail to provide accurate guidelines when answering enquiries, troubles may ensue and worst of all, it may bring the University into disrepute. But I also keep reminding myself not to become a bureaucrat. I must look far and wide to continuously enhance our system of admissions in step with changing circumstances and in view of each freshman’s entrance record and his/her performance afterwards. This is what a responsible admissions officer should do. 10 No. 438, 19.5.2014

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