President Professor Way Kuo discusses the University’s significant moves toward “great university” recognition and other achievements over the past year
Q: CityU aims to make a difference to society by pursuing research and professional education that has a direct impact on people’s well-being. What are your aspirations in leading the University to achieve this aim?
A: First of all, I would like to say how much the management team and I appreciate the continued support of our alumni over the past 12 months in helping us to develop CityU into a great university. Our primary aim is to build a great university to nurture and develop the talent of our students and provide them with knowledge that can be applied to support social and economic advancement. This is embedded in our five-year strategic plan for 2015-2020. The plan provides us with a conceptual framework and practical guidance, sets a compelling and achievable vision, and articulates an effective and executable strategy.
CityU has achieved greatness through years of dedicated and concerted effort by the deeply committed community of CityU faculty, staff, students, friends, and people like you, our valued alumni.
The greatness of our institution, as Jim Collins, author of six popular books on business and leadership, summarised very neatly in his #1 bestseller Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, “is not a function of circumstance but largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline”.
Our aspiration to excel in research and education that will have an impact on all of society, including the generations that follow us, is rewarded by the recognition of the education sector, as reflected in the overall academic rankings of the University, as well as recognition across a broad spectrum of disciplines, such as linguistics, communications and media studies, engineering, mathematics, business and management studies, computer science and information system, and
accounting and finance.
We also became the first university in Hong Kong to receive the QS 5-Star Plus Award from the QS Asia-Pacific Professional Leaders in Education (QS-APPLE) conference, which recognises CityU as an elite destination for the very best students and faculty worldwide, and acknowledges our research excellence, quality in teaching, globalisation experience for students, and capacity for nurturing our students’ talent. Our graduates, alumni like you, have been ranked for three consecutive years among the global top 150, according to the Global Employability University Survey and Ranking.
Q: How does the establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine make a direct impact on people’s well-being?
A: The establishment of the School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM) and the launch of the six-year Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) programme, in collaboration with Cornell University, will help combat zoonotic diseases, contribute to food safety, enhance food production through aquaculture, and contribute to the promotion of animal welfare for both companion and large animals.
But this is an important initiative in only one area. As a university committed to providing students with the best education possible, we anticipate and respond to societal changes, and believe in building windmills rather than walls when the winds of change blow, to propel and accelerate progress, expanding and galvanising our academic strengths for the benefit of our students and society as a whole.
We also ventured further into the fields of nuclear safety, energy and the environment, and smart city innovations to create technological advancements that can make daily life more efficient, more environmentally friendly and “smarter”. We examined our curriculum design to ensure its continued high quality and relevance to societal demands. We enhanced cross-disciplinary cooperation on campus. And we boosted the entrepreneurial spirit across the campus, demonstrating how ideas can be developed into market-ready products or services, and how young people can be trained to spot great ideas formulated by others.
All of this would not have been possible without changes in what I call “soulware”, which refers a type of culture, mentality, behaviour and way of thinking.
Q: In what ways can CityU alumni contribute to the University’s aim to make a difference to society?
A: We live in a globalised and highly competitive environment, faced with many pressing and complicated issues which require trans-disciplinary and joint-institutional collaboration. While we are well positioned and academically ready for new challenges, we cannot afford to be smug or complacent, because our expectations are high, our aspirations are ambitious, and our road to excellence is long. Moving forward, we will chart new waters and navigate to new shores. To do this, we will continue to rely on the support of our alumni for our new initiatives, such as the development of the SVM, the enrichment of our students’ education experience, and our commitment to enhancing student development through internship or overseas exchange programmes.
Notable achievements over the year include (1) two extraordinary exhibitions using cutting-edge digital creative media technology: the “Giuseppe Castiglione – Lang Shining New Media Art Exhibition” and “300 Years of Hakka Kung Fu – Digital vision of its legacy and future”, which drew the attention of tens of thousands of people both on and off campus; (2) four of our top scientists from different academic fields winning the Second Class Award in the Natural Science category at the 2015 Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Science and Technology) from the Ministry of Education; and (3) ground-breaking technology developed by our biochemical scientists that turns food waste into textile fibre, which won the Gold Medal with the jury’s commendation in the 44th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions.
A university’s reputation rests largely on the accomplishments of its alumni. I look forward to seeing you put your education to excellent work for society with high expectations and pride.