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UGC honours teaching excellence and celebrates launch of Hong Kong Teaching Excellence Alliance

The University Grants Committee (UGC) held a presentation ceremony for the 2019 UGC Teaching Award today (October 10) to honour academics of the UGC-funded universities for their outstanding teaching performance and achievements, as well as their leadership and scholarly contributions to teaching and learning within and across universities. At the ceremony, the Hong Kong Teaching Excellence Alliance (HKTEA) initiated by the UGC was also launched.

The recipients of the 2019 UGC Teaching Award are:

General Faculty Members
Dr Tushar Chaudhuri, Associate Head, Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University

Early Career Faculty Members
Professor Darwin Tat Ming Lau, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


The Common Core@HKU: Transdisciplinarity-in-Action Team of The University of Hong Kong, led by Professor Gray M Kochhar-Lindgren (Director of Common Core) with Dr Xiao Hu (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education), Professor Gina Marchetti (Professor, School of Humanities (Comparative Literature)), Mr Matthew R Pryor (Associate Professor (Teaching) and Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Architecture) and Dr Julian A Tanner (Associate Professor and Associate Director (Teaching and Learning), School of Biomedical Sciences; Assistant Dean, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine) as team members

The citations of the awardees are in Annex 1.

At the ceremony, the other finalists (in alphabetical order) for 2019 were also announced:

Mr David L Bishop, Principal Lecturer of the Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong

Dr Kennedy Kam Ho Chan, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong

Professor Sidharth Jaggi, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The Inter-institutional Team for the AIE-AR Project led by Dr Eva Y W Wong (Director, Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning, Hong Kong Baptist University) with Professor Siu Yin Cheung (Professor, Department of Sport and Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University), Professor Siu Cheung Kong (Director, Centre for Learning, Teaching and Technology, The Education University of Hong Kong), Professor Lai Chuen Paul Lam (Associate Professor, Centre for Learning Enhancement and Research, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Mr Andrew Morrall (Senior Lecturer, English Language Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) as team members

The Chairman of the UGC, Mr Carlson Tong, congratulated the awardees, finalists and nominees on their accomplishments, and thanked the UGC-funded universities for their support for the UGC Teaching Award. Mr Tong said, "The UGC recognises teaching excellence in the sector and has always encouraged and supported universities in striving for continuous improvement of the learning experiences for our students." He remarked that the presentation ceremony of the UGC Teaching Award is an annual celebratory event for good teaching in the UGC sector.

The three recipients of the 2019 UGC Teaching Award were selected from seven finalists among 19 outstanding nominees through a rigorous process undertaken by a Selection Panel convened by Professor Jan Thomas. The selection criteria and the composition of the Selection Panel for the 2019 UGC Teaching Award are in Annex 2.

When announcing the results of this year's UGC Teaching Award, Professor Thomas said, "The Selection Panel was truly impressed by the nominees' commitment to students and their learning. Their teaching approaches, innovation and leadership have enhanced students' learning experience."

To further emphasise the importance of quality teaching and enhance the impact of the UGC Teaching Award, the UGC has initiated the HKTEA, which is a network for UGC Teaching Award fellows, and provided funding support for its operations. The Executive Committee of the HKTEA is chaired by Professor Isabella Poon, and members include Dr Elaine Au, Dr Jason Chan and Professor Daniel Shek. They, together with Professor Alice Chong, also served on the Preparatory Committee of the HKTEA. Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Poon said, "The HKTEA will not only serve as a network for UGC Teaching Award fellows, but will also connect teaching staff in the higher education sector for the promotion of good teaching."

The presentation ceremony was well attended by UGC Members, representatives of the UGC-funded universities including their Council Chairmen and Presidents/Vice-Chancellors, and those nominated for the award.



The Chairman of the UGC, Mr Carlson Tong (third right), and the Secretary-General of the UGC, Professor James Tang (first left), are pictured with the Chair of the Selection Panel, Professor Jan Thomas (fifth right); members of the Selection Panel Dr Don Westerheijden (fourth right), Ms Carol Yang (second right) and Professor Daniel Shek (first right); and awardees Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren (sixth left), Dr Xiao Hu (third left), Professor Gina Marchetti (sixth right), Mr Matthew Pryor (centre), Dr Julian Tanner (second left), Dr Tushar Chaudhuri (fifth left) and Professor Darwin Lau (fourth left).


Dr Tushar Chaudhuri, an awardee of the 2019 UGC Teaching Award, talks about his teaching philosophy today (October 10) at the award presentation ceremony.


Professor Darwin Lau, an awardee of the 2019 UGC Teaching Award, talks about his teaching philosophy today (October 10) at the award presentation ceremony.


Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, an awardee of the 2019 UGC Teaching Award, speaks about his team's teaching philosophy today (October 10) at the award presentation ceremony.


The Chair of the Executive Committee of the HKTEA, Professor Isabella Poon (centre), is pictured with members of the Executive Committee Professor Daniel Shek (second right), Dr Elaine Au (second left) and Dr Jason Chan (first left) and the Secretary of the Executive Committee, Ms Angel Fan (first right).

Ends/Thursday, October 10, 2019


Annex 1

2019 UGC Teaching Award Citations

Dr Tushar Chaudhuri, Hong Kong Baptist University

Dr Tushar Chaudhuri is committed to diversification and internationalisation of students' learning experience through innovative teaching programmes and international projects, as well as creative use of cutting edge technologies. Through the online telecollaborative projects, he combines language education with global topics, such as sustainable urban development. These projects have reached and impacted over 1 000 secondary and tertiary students, who have been connected to more than 15 universities and over 25 schools in Hong Kong and Europe. The learning experiences have greatly enhanced students' sense of global awareness and intercultural understanding. Dr Chaudhuri will use the award grant to set up a multi-institutional Community of Practice to provide a platform for multiple initiatives on technology-enhanced language education in the Greater Bay Area.

Professor Darwin Tat Ming Lau, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Professor Darwin Tat Ming Lau, an expert in robotics, is known for his achievements in the learner-centred and experienced-based learning ideology. He is dedicated to bringing about meaningful hands-on experiences both within and outside the classroom to improve students' learning interest and outcomes. Professor Lau has introduced the "hands-on lectures" in which learning tools are used to aid students in better understanding abstract concepts. This makes learning more fun and relevant to the practical world and increases student motivation. Professor Lau will use his award grant to implement two initiatives. One initiative is to transition a course into a "student-driven course" through the development of a custom smartphone teaching app, and the other one is to deploy telepresence robots equipped with virtual reality capabilities to improve the experiential learning element.

The Common Core@HKU: Transdisciplinarity-in-Action Team, The University of Hong Kong

The Common Core@HKU: Transdisciplinarity-in-Action Team is led by Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren, with Dr Xiao Hu, Professor Gina Marchetti, Mr Matthew Pryor and Dr Julian Tanner as team members. The Common Core is designed to broaden students' intellectual and social perspectives, and develop in students' some of the skills they need in order to address the complexities of life. The Transdisciplinarity-in-Action initiative moves across pedagogical questions, styles, content, and methodologies, and through this movement, stimulates student learning, creativity, and responsibility. The Team will use the award grant to build transdisciplinary student teams, primarily across the eight UGC-funded universities, but extending to the Asia-Pacific region and focused on three of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals - Good Health & Well-Being, Gender Equality, and Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Annex 2

Selection Criteria of the 2019 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 etc., at/within an institutional, inter-institutional or sector-wide level.

(c) Past/present achievement(s) and leadership in teaching and potential scholarly contribution to and impact on the development of effective teaching practice within the nominee(s)' own university 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 university and/or in other institutions. In the case of early career faculty nominations, the focus will be on the nominees' potential of leadership in teaching as well as their past achievements. In the case of team nominations, the impact of the collaborative work of the team on the development of effective teaching practice will also be considered.

The three criteria carry no specified weighting. The Selection Panel considered each nomination on its own merit with reference to the criteria.

Composition of the Selection Panel

Professor Jan Thomas (Chair)
Member of the UGC and Quality Assurance Council
Vice-Chancellor, Massey University, New Zealand

Dr Don Westerheijden
Member of the Quality Assurance Council
Senior Research Associate, Center for Higher Education Policy Studies, University of Twente, The Netherlands

Ms Carol Yang
Member of the UGC
Principal, St Stephen's College

Professor Daniel Shek
Awardee of the 2018 UGC Teaching Award
Chair Professor and Associate Vice President (Undergraduate Programme), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Professor Simon Bates
International Expert of the Selection Panel
Associate Provost, Teaching and Learning, The University of British Columbia, Canada