President's Message

Now that I have enjoyed a full year as HKMU President, I welcome this opportunity to look back on the past 12 months and reflect on our directions, our achievements, and our plans for the future.

One thing I have seen is that HKMU knows how to push the boundaries and head in new directions. In the last year alone, we have embraced a new name, built a new identity, expanded our skillsets, and risen to the challenge of new societal needs. Today, HKMU has established itself clearly as a diverse, progressive and innovative university breaking new ground to provide high quality education that is responsive to social changes. Our ability to do this has partly arisen from our status as a self-accrediting institution, which gives us enormous flexibility in shaping our curriculum. At the same time we have firmly retained the bedrock principle of 'Education for All', a mission that the University has embraced from its outset and will never relinquish.

Many initiatives aimed at helping HKMU transform were laid out in a five-year Strategic Plan rolled out in 2019. In 2022, halfway through the Strategic Plan, we felt it was important to conduct a thorough mid-term review. In this past year, we looked closely at what we had done in each of the key strategic areas identified in the plan, evaluated our progress, and added new initiatives to enrich our outcomes and prepare for our next stage of development.

The most important of these strategic areas is providing premier quality teaching. That means finding the best faculty staff we can, and nurturing their productivity. To do this, HKMU set aside funding from the Quality Enhancement Measures (QEM) to launch a new Global Faculty Recruitment Campaign that is bringing in high-level faculty from around the world. In addition, the Faculty Advancement Fund is in place to support existing faculty members looking to engage in scholarly activities away from teaching. We have also introduced an Annual Promotion Exercise to recognise and retain the best of our academic talent.

It is also important that our curriculum aligns with common local and global practices and is directly comparable with what other universities are doing. To make this happen, we are conducting an Academic Reform exercise that is remapping the University's curriculum under a three-credit-unit denomination framework, in line with common practice elsewhere. The new curriculum structure will include the University's Core Values modules aimed at helping students become professionals with high ethical standards, and citizens with a well-rounded sense of their responsibilities.

To expand our teaching content and programme development, the University is taking advantage of the Government's Enhancement and Start-up Grant Scheme for Self-financing Post-secondary Education. Money from this scheme has already enabled us to develop a new Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Medical Laboratory Science, to be offered in 2023.

Another part of our Strategic Plan is a pledge to provide every student with a rewarding and fulfilling learning experience. Our newly-developed e-portfolio system known as CELTICS (Co-curricular Extracurricular Learning Toward Innovative Comprehensive Soft-skills) represents an important step in this direction. CELTICS enables students to keep a full record of all their outside-the-classroom learning activities, and thus present to employers a survey of the professional and personal skills they have developed from non-classroom activities. The Student Affairs Office has proved an integral driver here by organising a huge array of extra-curricular activities for students: these have included a wide range of service-learning programmes, the entrepreneurial MetroChallenge, and the exciting new Fountain of Knowledge series. I was delighted to see too that a group of HKMU students finally travelled overseas again — our first post-COVID study tour, around the theme of sustainability, involved a group of Student Ambassadors travelling to New Zealand. I trust this is the beginning of many more overseas experiences for our students at long last. Closer to home, we have been allocating more resources to get students involved in arts, culture and sports, as part of our commitment to education as a truly holistic experience.

We have identified nine strategic areas for engaging in applied research, as part of our push to enhance our research capacity. This research drive is not only expanding our impact in academia, but also giving us an ever greater scope to have a practical beneficial influence on the society we serve. A new Research Impact Fund, supported by QEM funding, will channel resources to each of the nine areas as needed. Meanwhile, the University has recently set up a new company (HKMU Research Development and Consultancy Limited) to handle matters related to the commercialisation of research outcomes — namely, knowledge transfer, intellectual property rights, patent management and the like. This expansion in our research endeavour is being matched by a steady increase in the number of research postgraduate students arriving at HKMU, and we are establishing scholarships with the aim of recruiting another 40 PhD students in the next three years.

Expanding the physical space we occupy is also one of our priorities, as we work towards creating a genuinely welcoming campus for student learning. We are naturally constrained by the limits of our existing campus sites. But since opening the Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare some 18 months ago, we have continued to look around for new sites with potential for campus expansion. In the meantime, the University is in the process of moving some of its administrative offices to an off-campus commercial building to free up more space for student learning. Lack of space has meant we have never been able to provide campus accommodation for students, but we have increasingly rented co-living spaces nearby for use as student hostels. Now, we are exploring the possibility of acquiring our own property in the vicinity specifically for this purpose.

The final strategic initiative I want to mention is pursuing excellence in administration and governance. These areas are not the 'shopfront' of a university, but without exceptional standards in these areas, ambitions for enhancing teaching and learning quality are impossible to achieve. We are constantly reviewing our governance policies and mechanisms, always in line with our commitment to maintaining prudent financial management. One recent initiative has involved reorganising the management structure of HKMU to optimise its various administrative functions, for instance by splitting some offices and adding new ones to oversee specific functions.

Our mid-term review has told us that HKMU is well on course for achieving what it set out to do in 2019. It has also given us the opportunity to identify new ideas, new areas and new innovations to push forward our goals. Look out for many more new initiatives in the coming year that will lift HKMU to greater heights!

Prof. Paul Lam Kwan-sing
October 2022