Home > UGC Publications > Speeches and Articles > 2014 > Welcoming Remarks by Chairman, UGC at the UGC Dinner cum Presentation Ceremony of the 2014 UGC Teaching Award

Welcoming Remarks by Chairman, UGC at the UGC Dinner cum Presentation Ceremony of the 2014 UGC Teaching Award (10.9.2014)

UGC Dinner cum Presentation Ceremony
of the 2014 UGC Teaching Award
10 September 2014

Welcoming Remarks by Chairman, UGC

Council Chairmen, Heads of Institutions, honourable guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening and a warm welcome to you all to the annual highlight of the UGC calendar - the award presentation ceremony of the UGC Teaching Award. We are here tonight to celebrate teaching excellence in the UGC sector.

2. We have just enjoyed the video showing the teaching philosophies of our "ambassadors of good teaching" - the past awardees of the UGC Teaching Award. Since its introduction in 2011, we have so far seven ambassadors championing the promotion of teaching excellence within and across institutions. And they will be joined by the awardees of the 2014 UGC Teaching Award tonight. I am sure you agree with me that our award winners are passionate in their teaching, and are enhancing the student learning experience through their various endeavours, from the use of new pedagogies to the provision of opportunities for students to interact with the society. Their passion has led them to share their valuable teaching philosophies with their peers through building up of various forms of communities of practice to inspire other academics of effective teaching practices. I believe you would concur that the organisation of the UGC Teaching Award not only shows our appreciation for the hard work of our academics, and more importantly, contribute to a real and sustained impact in promoting teaching excellence.

3. Over the past year, the "334" academic structure has continued to be the focus of our work. Embracing the challenges of the new academic structure with confidence, institutions have developed academic programmes that meet the needs of this new generation and endeavoured to incorporate new elements in the curriculum such as service learning, research-based projects and experiential learning to make it more dynamic. These efforts contribute to meeting a major objective of the four-year curriculum: to broaden the knowledge base of the students and infuse them with a balanced development, sound language, other generic skills, as well as a propensity for life-long learning.

4. Two years have passed and it may now be an opportune time for us to pause and think how we position ourselves in the competitive global environment, where we want to be in the coming ten years and how do we get there. Just before this dinner, the UGC had an insightful discussion with the Heads of Institutions on the future challenges of teaching and learning, a vital part of tertiary education, particularly undergraduate education in Hong Kong.

5. The important questions to us all are what sort of future are we preparing our graduates for? And how do we help our students enrich their learning experience and face the future? Our society is now facing increasingly complex problems and we are looking for future leaders who can make use of their knowledge, skills and capabilities to explore the problems and to solve them in creative and innovative ways. I believe the discussion we had this afternoon had provided some useful pointers for UGC and also institutions on how to move ahead. I encourage our leaders here tonight to further deliberate on this important issue and shape their policy, strategy and management practices to facilitate the development of our young generation to face their future, particularly through enhancement of their creativity.

6. As I shared with you last year, the UGC has introduced a new tripartite funding scheme in the 2012-15 triennium with an overarching aim to motivating and better enabling institutions to accelerate the adoption of necessary pedagogical changes and innovations. Our objective is to support worthwhile initiatives proposed by the institutions that will help meet the learning needs of the new generation of students of this information age and better prepare them to compete well in the globalised economy.

7. We are pleased that the funding scheme was received with enthusiasm from institutions. In particular, I am delighted to note that most of the proposals submitted are collaborative in nature. Higher education is entering an era in which collaboration is more important than ever before. By working together to create synergy, faculties, institutions and the sector as a whole can only gain more. Collaboration among and integration across institutions could bring the sector to a wider horizon than before.

8. The projects proposed by the institutions are all timely initiatives which address pressing current need in a practical and innovative manner. For those recommended for funding, they stand out among others by their well-grounded pedagogical research and well-designed project objectives, as well as the ability to serve as a catalyst for positive change and development of scholarship in teaching and learning. I look forward to successful implementation of the various initiatives. The UGC is also contemplating allocating more funds for funding some worthwhile projects highly ranked by assessors but unable to secure funding this time round. We will be in touch with project proponents concerned in due course.

9. Before I pass the floor to Professor William Kirby, who will announce the results of the 2014 UGC Teaching Award, I wish to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to the eight UGC-funded institutions, the Chairman and Members of the Selection Panel for making this year's Award a success once again.

10. Lastly, I wish you all an enjoyable evening. I wish the institutions and academics a successful academic year ahead. Thank you.