Home About HKMU President’s Message Speeches

Learning and Teaching Week 2023

Address by Professor Paul LAM Kwan-sing, President

14 August 2023


Good Morning Colleagues,

This is the third year that I've been asked to give the Opening Remarks at the Annual Learning and Teaching Week.

In 2021, I posed two questions:

First, “Why is Teaching Quality important?”, and second, “Is HKMU a teaching university or a research university?”

Last year, I asked you to consider the question:

“Why are we here?”

And I said then that “The answer I would most like to hear is that we choose to be here”.

Colleagues will choose to be here if they can see and discover the value, joy and pride of being a member of HKMU.

To recruit and retain quality faculty, we must reward colleagues who promote and practise the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

This year, as in previous years, August is the time when University Management, especially colleagues involved in student recruitment, are anxious to find out how we performed in our annual student recruitment exercise.

This year the number of JUPAS applicants who have accepted our offers has increased by 19%, compared with last year. That result is remarkable.

Indeed, in the time that I have been with the University, our recruitment results have improved every year, and that gives us the financial resources to:

1. Give our students top-drawer education
2. Help them find good jobs and develop meaningful careers and, ultimately
3. Nurture them to become upstanding members of our community.

To achieve these goals, in addition to financial resources, we will need dedicated colleagues, who are willing to go the extra mile for our students.

To keep such a team of dedicated colleagues at HKMU, colleagues will need to see a bright future at the university.

Over the past few years, we have taken a number of measures to provide a more rewarding and promising future for our faculty and staff. For example, we have introduced:

Awards for Excellence in Inspirational Teaching
Faculty Start-up grants
the Research Impact Fund, and
the Faculty Advancement Fund.

There is also an Annual Promotion Exercise to reward colleagues for outstanding performance in teaching and research.

When we promote learning and teaching at our University, colleagues often feel the tension between teaching and research.

At HKMU, for time dedicated to scholarly activities (that is, apart from administration), we may need to consider a 70–30 split, that is, 70% teaching and 30% research. Research, in this case, should include high-level knowledge transfer and scholarship of teaching and learning. I wonder if we can make that one of the “targets” in our next Strategic Plan.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the challenges we face with the use of AI in teaching and learning.

In my view, we have to move with the times, so we have to embrace and take advantage of this “intellectual revolution”.

That said, I believe that certain qualities, such as empathy, compassion, kindness and trust, are unique to humans and cannot be readily simulated by AI-generated teachers, so far. Therefore, we will continue to have an important role to play as educators.

I also believe that one of the most powerful ways of teaching is to “teach by example” or “practise what we preach in front of our students”.

So how we perform and behave in lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practicum classes, or even out-of-classroom activities, matters.

In closing, I would like to thank all my colleagues in ALTO, as well as all the supporting units and offices, including IROPINE, the Registry, HRO, SAO, the Library and ITO, for the great effort in organizing this event.

I wish you all a productive and enjoyable week ahead.