Welcome to City University of Hong Kong and the THE summit on leadership in higher education.
This is a very exciting event for CityU, Hong Kong and universities all over the world. We are at a critical point in the development of higher education. It is essential that we deliver sustainable long-term policies if we are to produce graduates who give back to societies in which they were nurtured, if we are to pursue research that will have a genuine impact on people’s lives, if we are to contribute to solving the world’s most pressing problems and if universities are to make a difference at all.
How to achieve such aspirational thinking will differ depending on the country or region, the university itself and its leadership team. After all, we each face our own challenges in higher education today that require targeted solutions within a specific political, social and economic context.
But, in my opinion, what unites us today in higher education is the need to strengthen “soulware”. Whereas, broadly speaking, universities possess labs and equipment (hardware) and research and teaching (software), what about soulware?
By soulware, I mean a commitment to concentrate our hearts and souls to embrace international standards and procedures in all of our educational endeavours. In practice, this means making the best use of the hardware and software at our disposal, spearheading innovation and entrepreneurship, maintaining autonomy and academic freedom, and combining teaching and research in the classroom.
The cultivation of a healthy soulware creates an innovative environment in which academics and students fulfil their potential so that universities continue to be regarded as necessary rather than as ornaments for learning.
We hope that your stay in Hong Kong proves rewarding and that this summit heralds the start of significant collaborations in the future.
City University of Hong Kong – pioneering innovation in higher education
At CityU, we place great emphasis on the integration of research and teaching in the classroom and have initiated a transformational undergraduate curriculum in response to the many challenges facing society today. Our aim is to embed innovation and creativity in every aspect of our professional education and problem-driven research.
In terms of success for this strategic direction, our Times Higher Education rankings are improving year on year. We have climbed more than 80 places since 2012 in the World University Rankings to 110th place and are ranked 14th in Asia and seventh in the Young University Rankings.
More specifically, we stand among the top 100 universities in key subject areas. Our ranking for law is 45; engineering and technology, joint 61; and business and economics, 78. Not only that, we are ranked number one in the world for “international outlook” by THE.
In addition, in engineering and computer science we are ranked number one among universities in Hong Kong and Taiwan. And in materials science and engineering, we are ranked first in Hong Kong.
Our undergraduate curriculum has been particularly well received. CityU won the 2017 Team Award for Teaching Excellence from the Hong Kong government for our groundbreaking “discovery-enriched curriculum”, while the success of our research is reflected in the number of faculty named as “highly cited researchers” for 2018 by Clarivate Analytics, among others. Our overall performance has led to record-breaking donations from our supporters, too, in our efforts to establish a school for veterinary medicine, among other initiatives.
Over the years, we have been forward looking and visionary. We established several notable firsts in Hong Kong well before they became a mainstream focus in society: the first College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences, the first free-standing School of Data Science, the first School of Creative Media and the first School of Energy and Environment.
CityU’s proximity to, and close ties with, mainland China, as well as its international partnerships and outlook, mean we are ideally positioned to provide a dynamic learning and research environment for students and faculty from all over the world. Our ties with global institutions grow year by year, and the number of non-local students selecting our programmes is making strong progress, too.
Like the incredible city in which we are based, CityU continues to grow, innovate and prosper.