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UGC grants Awards for Teaching Excellence

The University Grants Committee (UGC) held its presentation ceremony of the 2012 UGC Teaching Awards today (September 6) to honour academics in the UGC-funded institutions for their outstanding 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 recipients, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Professor Shekhar Madhukar KUMTA, Deputy Head, Musculoskeletal Tumor Team, Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

  • Professor LIU Zhi-Qiang, Professor, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

  • Dr David M POMFRET, Associate Professor, School of Humanities (History), The University of Hong Kong

    The award citations are at Annex A.

    The UGC Chairman, Mr Edward Cheng said at the Ceremony, "The influence that good teachers can bring to the students, their peers and the community is tremendous and long-lasting. Such excellence in teaching should receive the recognition it deserves." He emphasised the importance of teaching excellence in the implementation of the 3+3+4 academic structure in the UGC sector in the new academic year 2012/13. He said, "This 2012 Award could not come at a more significant time for teaching and learning in Hong Kong. Together, we are about to embark on one of the most exciting and challenging journeys in our higher education history."

    The three recipients of the Award were selected from among 15 outstanding nominees through a rigorous process. All of the nominees were carefully selected by their own institutions. The selection of the final recipients of the UGC Teaching Award was undertaken by a Selection Panel convened by Professor William Kirby. Composition of the Selection Panel and the selection criteria of the Award are at Annex B.

    Professor William Kirby, Chairman of the Award's Selection Panel said, "Each and every nominee has demonstrated impressive performance, and it is no easy task to choose the best of best among these distinguished colleagues. The Panel had long and thorough discussions before reaching a consensus on the three awardees who were exceptionally outstanding. Their teaching is inspirational and innovative. They also convinced the Selection Panel that their plans for using the award's grant of $500,000 each would be invested in new learning and teaching initiatives that can make an important contribution to their own institutions as well as the entire sector."

    Prof Brian Coppola, independent international expert of the Selection Panel, said, "All educators in Hong Kong should be aware that the work being done here is comparable, on average, to the best work in education being done anywhere in the world, which means that in some cases it is the best. I have reviewed the dossiers of professors from all over the higher education sector, the creative and engaging teaching happening here has impressed me greatly. Both years, as I have reviewed 15 to 16 portfolios, there have been at least 3 to 4 times each year when I have read about an innovation or approach to teaching that I have not encountered before."

    Mr Cheng said, "I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the eight UGC-funded institutions and Members of the Selection Panel for making this year's Award a success once again. We look forward to continuing to work with institutions in promoting teaching excellence through this Award Scheme and other initiatives to enhance learning for our students."

    6 September 2012

    Annex A

    Award Citations

    Professor Shekhar Madhukar KUMTA

    Professor Kumta's approach represents a true melding of research, practice and education. He has made extensive use of e-learning platforms which simulate complex cases to bridge the gap between the textbook learning and the clinical teaching. He prepares his students to work with real patients. The Panel was very impressed that Professor Kumta engages not only the mind but also the soul of his students. In one particularly inspiring project, he helped students and interns develop empathy with distressed or dying patients, in a manner that students found transformative. His work is widely respected both locally and internationally, and his innovative E-learning tools have been adopted by teachers in several universities both inside and outside Hong Kong.

    Professor Kumta's team has developed a "mobile-apps-making" platform for teachers to convert their teaching materials for integration into apps without the assistance of programmers. He plans to spend his award grant to enable teachers in the Healthcare and Health Science disciplines across institutions in Hong Kong to plan and develop mobile-learning resources and to analyse the impact of such platform.

    Professor LIU Zhi-Qiang

    Professor Liu has pioneered innovative co-curricular activities - Special Interest Groups - to provide his students with up-to-date applied experiences and long-term professional work in the field of creative media. The Groups ensure peer mentorship and feedback as well as collaboration among teams of students. Beyond these Groups, Professor Liu initiated the annual "Playful Media" and "Industry Nights" for students to exhibit publicly their work and to build entrepreneurship. These make learning at once fun and productive. The students' engagement in these co-curricular activities has been as intensive as the external recognition of their work has been extensive.

    Professor Liu plans to spend the award grant to engage other Colleges, Faculties and Schools in the City University of Hong Kong and other institutions into these Groups.

    Dr David Martin POMFRET

    Dr Pomfret is a noted historian of youth - which is a very young field. His scholarly interest in the changing nature of youth has led to a radical reimagining of the history curriculum, and of the learning process.

    Dr Pomfret has demonstrated a powerfully compelling use of new technologies in education that integrate students and teachers into a real partnership of teachers and learners. He introduced RIVAL - "Realtime Interactive Video and Lecture", in which teaching takes the form of interaction between teachers and students, and among students, employing videos, movies, graphs, stills, music, text, etc. The "realtime interactive" part is realized by getting students to respond to images and videos presented on the spot. His students also get their fingernails dirty. To do Hong Kong history, they go on scavenger hunts, finding the material history of Hong Kong's past amid the glitter of its present. Dr Pomfret has a record of sustained contribution through his intellectual leadership at a programme, faculty and institutional level. In his many leadership roles, he has championed, and been a model for, the importance of quality teaching.

    Dr Pomfret plans to use the award grant to engage teachers and students in a project exploring the needs of the rising generation of students, including how technology is changing students' approaches to learning, and how teachers can use technology to at least keep up with their students and, ideally, to challenge them in new ways.

    Annex B

    Selection Criteria of the 2012 UGC Teaching Award

    Selection Criteria

    All nominees for the Award were assessed based on the following three criteria.

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

    (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 adopting complementary research-informed teaching practices; and developing appropriate student learning outcomes and adopting innovative approaches to teaching and assessment which can facilitate students' achievement of the learning outcomes.

    (c) Past/present achievement(s) and leadership in teaching and potential scholarly contribution to and impact on the development of effective teaching practice within his/her own institution and/or in other institutions, which may include demonstrating educational research and innovations in the field of study; and demonstrating leadership in the promotion of teaching excellence within the institution and/or in other institutions.

    The three criteria carried no specified weighting. The Selection Panel 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

    Mr Clifton Chiu Chi-cheong
    Member of the UGC

    Prof Brian Coppola
    International Expert of the Selection Panel
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA

    Professor Richard Ho Man-wui
    Member of the Quality Assurance Council

    Professor Poon Wai-yin
    Awardee of the 2011 UGC Teaching Award

    Mr Edward Cheng, Chairman of the UGC and Members of the Selection Panel of the 2012 UGC Teaching Award took a group photo with the three recipients of the UGC Teaching Award 2012 at the presentation ceremony

    Mr Edward Cheng, Chairman of the UGC and Members of the Selection Panel of the 2012 UGC Teaching Award took a group photo with the three recipients of the UGC Teaching Award 2012 at the presentation ceremony.(From left) Prof Richard Ho Man-wui, Mr Edward Cheng, Dr David M Pomfret, Prof Liu Zhi-Qiang, Prof Shekhar Madhukar Kumta, Prof Poon Wai-yin, Prof William Kirby, Mr Clifton Chiu Chi-cheong.

    Awardee Prof Shekhar Madhukar Kumta shares his teaching philosophies

    Awardee Prof Shekhar Madhukar Kumta shares his teaching philosophies.

    Awardee Prof Liu Zhi-Qiang shares his teaching philosophies

    Awardee Prof Liu Zhi-Qiang shares his teaching philosophies.

    Awardee Dr David M Pomfret shares his teaching philosophies

    Awardee Dr David M Pomfret shares his teaching philosophies.