CHEN, Vincent Yiu-por
1. Could you tell us a little about your background?
I was born in Hong Kong, I have been working in the travel industry while completing my B.B.A. in Marketing at University of East Asia (Macau) during the early 1990s. I was lucky to have the chance to witness the dramatic changes of China’s economic reform during the time when I worked in the travel industry. I then changed my mind to study China by enrolling into the first cohort of MA in Chinese Studies at HKUST. My interest in understanding Chinese economic development has been growing and I decided to go for further my study in the US in 1997. I have enrolled at Columbia University for a PhD in Urban Planning with focus on economic development policy and a Master degree in Government Studies at Harvard, concentrating in political economy and labor studies. Soon after I graduated, I was awarded a Post-doc fellow at Brown University. I then worked as an Assistant Professor in School of Public Services at Depaul University, Chicago, for 7 years before I moved to UK in 2011. I was a senior lecturer of School of East Asian Studies at University of Sheffield before I joined the Department of Public Policy at City University.
2. What attracted you to Hong Kong, and CityU in particular?
Hong Kong is an interesting place that concentrates with both Chinese and Western culture. It is traditionally a great place to study China with high level of international interactions. The City University of Hong Kong is a very dynamic place for academic research. It does give strong emphasis and support on frontier researches.
3. How do you see your research interests and goals as relating to that of your colleagues here in the Department of Public Policy?
Our department of Public Policy is considered to be one of the very best place to study public policy in Asia. The department of Public Policy’s research streams on China Studies and Urban Studies are particularly close to my research interests. I have no doubt that our department will continue be the center to generate high quality research and policy analysis on public policies related to China’s development.
4. Who do you imagine as the audience for your work, and who do you see as conversation partners?
Using institutional approach, my research works mainly focus on migrant workers’ mobility and welfare, labor rights, labor policies, and related development issues. I think my works could attract not only academia but also policy makers in related fields. I can see colleagues in this department, to name a few, Professor Linda Wong, Professor Linda Li, Professor Ray Yep, Dr. Bill Taylor do share similar research interests with me.
5. What are you researching at the moment, and what excites you about it?
I have been doing researches related to China’s economic development; in particular, I focus on migrant worker, labor policies, poverty, and regional economic development in China. Recently, I have just finished a survey about labor conditions of automobile industry, one of the most labor intensive modern industries that have highest level of labor injuries, from seven cities in China. It can be considered as one of the largest survey of the kind and can reveal very important information regarding the industrial management, operation, labor conditions, and labor rights situation that have not been well studied before. I am now writing another GRF grant for an extension of this project.
6. What are your particular teaching interests, and how would you describe your teaching style?
I have been teaching courses on Chinese Economic Development and methodological such as statistical analysis and evaluations. I emphasize interactions and communications in my class since I think questions and answers is the key to active thinking that benefit students much more than passive learning models. To stimulate interactive learning, I usually bring my researches and current events into the class discussions.
7. Do you have a sense of what you wish to accomplish in your first year here?
I am teaching 3 new courses in this semester; one is solely on my own (POL6202, Evidence-based Policy Issues and Evaluation) which looks at the whole policy evaluation process from an evaluator (or manager) perspective. I have two co-teaching courses, POL 5401 Values and Choices in Public and Social Policy and POL6201 Comparative Public Policy. By teaching these two courses, I have chance to extend my knowledge to related fields in public policy and am sure these knowledge will be very helpful to my teaching in the future. To this end, I hope I can get my teaching consolidated while keeping my ongoing researches and grant proposal application in track in this first year in our department. Looking forward, I hope I can further integrate my researches on China’s economic development and related policies into my teaching in the coming future so that more students from our department will be benefited from my work done.
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