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Academics Earn UGC Award for Teaching Excellence

The UGC held its presentation ceremony of the inaugural UGC Teaching Award 2011 today (8 September) to honor academics in the UGC-funded institutions for their teaching performance and achievements, as well as their leadership in and scholarly contribution to teaching and learning within and across institutions. The presentation ceremony was well attended by the UGC Members, Council Chairmen and Heads of the UGC-funded institutions, their senior management responsible for teaching quality as well as those nominated for the award and some 50 outstanding academics.

The two recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Professor Richard A GLOFCHESKI, Professor, Department of Law, The University of Hong Kong

  • Professor POON Wai-yin, Professor, Department of Statistics & Associate Dean (Education), Faculty of Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • The award citations are at Annex A.

    The UGC Chairman, Mrs Laura Cha, said at the dinner, "the UGC is gratified to see so many enthusiastic academics in the UGC sector who are passionate about the learning of their students, and are ready to make a real and sustained impact in promoting teaching excellence in their institutions and the entire sector."

    "Indeed, teaching is the core mission of all UGC-funded institutions. The UGC Teaching Award is an important step to articulate the great importance that UGC attaches to quality teaching, as outlined in the "Aspirations for the Higher Education System in Hong Kong" report," she added.

    Professor William Kirby, Chairman of the Award's Selection Panel said, "the two recipients of the Award were selected from among 16 outstanding nominees through a rigorous process. The Selection Panel was greatly impressed by all the nominees' extraordinary commitment to quality teaching and vision of nurturing thoughtful, self-reliant and globally competitive students for the benefit of our society. They are all gems in the UGC sector. The Panel was gratified by their success in advancing good teaching methods in their own disciplines and institutions. Collectively, they can make even more significant contribution to enhancing learning and teaching in the entire sector."

    Prof Brian Coppola, independent expert of the Selection Panel, said, "as an individual who is completely external to the Hong Kong context, I was thrilled to see the level of innovation and imagination on display across such a wide range of institutions and disciplines. I have reviewed the teaching work of many outstanding professors from the United States, and all of the nominees for the UGC Teaching Award could easily compete with their peers anywhere in the world."

    The selection of the recipients of the UGC Teaching Award was undertaken by a Selection Panel convened by Professor William Kirby. Members of the Panel comprised Mrs Pamela W S Chan, Professor Edmond Ko and Sir Colin Lucas, as well as Professor Brian Coppola, who is a national winner of the 2009 US Professors of the Year Award. The Panel selected the recipients based on four criteria which represented the important aspects of teaching, including the adoption of learner-centred approaches, curriculum design, scholarly activities in learning and teaching and scholarly contribution to the development of effective teaching practice. Each recipient will be awarded a grant of $500,000 for, inter alia, undertaking learning and teaching initiatives for the benefit of their own institutions and the entire sector.

    Mrs Cha said, "We are thankful to the institutions for their support without which the Award Scheme would not have been such a success. We look forward to working with institutions in ensuring quality education for the students through this Award Scheme and other initiatives to promote quality teaching."


    A fact sheet on the selection criteria of the Award and the composition of the Selection Panel is at Annex B.


    Annex A

    Award Citations

    Professor Richard A GLOFCHESKI is an imaginative and innovative teacher-scholar. He is strongly committed to using creative approaches to assessing student learning, and he raises the awareness of the important role of assessment for learning both within his institution and internationally. He has developed localised teaching materials in the Hong Kong context and used them to cultivate a wider civic awareness in his students. He is clearly an exceptional educator whose work will bring about positive and long-term impact on the culture of assessment and hence learning and teaching in the entire UGC sector.

    Professor POON Wai-yin is a fully committed and selfless academic in advancing learning and teaching in higher education. Her own development as an educator has greatly contributed to her adopting learner-centred approaches in her work, as well as the spreading of such practices. As a driver for change, her leadership in bringing a cultural shift within her institution has been most impressive. Prof Poon indeed exemplifies exceptional commitment to and excellence in teaching, and she will contribute significantly to the UGC sector in this area.


    Annex B

    Selection Criteria of the 2011 UGC Teaching Award

    Selection Criteria

    All nominees for the Award were assessed on the evidence/information they provided in relation to the following four criteria.

      (a) Adoption of learner-centred approaches, ability to engage/inspire/impact on students, which may include understanding how students learn and adopting suitable teaching and assessment approaches that can achieve better student learning outcomes; being able to engage students in learning with enthusiasm; and inspiring and supporting students, with respect for their diverse learning needs, to build confidence and capability (including critical thinking, analytical skills, values, etc.).

      (b) Course/programme/curriculum design that can reflect a command of the field, which may include demonstrating up-to-date knowledge of the field of study in the design of the curriculum and student learning resources (e.g., textbooks, e-learning resources); and developing appropriate student learning outcomes and adopting innovative approaches to teaching and assessment which can facilitate students' achievement of the learning outcomes.

      (c) Scholarly activities and approach to learning and teaching, which may include adopting teaching practices that are informed by research in learning and teaching; participating in educational research in the field of study; strengthening the teaching-research nexus; and demonstrating educational innovations in the field of study.

      (d) Past/present achievements and leadership in teaching and potential scholarly contribution to the development of effective teaching practice with impact within his/her own institution and/or in other institutions, which may include participation in and contribution to professional activities related to learning and teaching; active involvement in the promotion of teaching excellence within the institution and/or in other institutions; and demonstrating leadership through activities that aim to enhance learning and teaching.

    The four criteria carried no specified weighting. The Selection Panel had considered each nomination on its own merit with reference to the criteria.


    Composition of the Selection Panel

    Prof William Kirby (Chairperson)
    Member of the UGC
    T. M. Chang Professor of China Studies and Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University, USA

    Mrs Pamela W S Chan
    Member of the UGC
    Chairman, Hong Kong Deposit Protection Board

    Prof Brian Coppola
    International Expert of the Selection Panel
    Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
    National Winner of the 2009 US Professors of the Year Award

    Prof Edmond Ko
    Member of the Quality Assurance Council (QAC)
    Senior Advisor to the Provost and Director of the Center for Engineering Education Innovation, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

    Sir Colin Lucas
    Member of the UGC and QAC
    Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford, UK