Chapter Two

Strategic Plan 2010-2015 and Highlights of Major Accomplishments

2.1 Strategic Plan 2010-2015

In 2010, City University of Hong Kong (CityU) issued its Strategic Plan 2010-2015 entitled Excellence in Research and Professional Education. The Plan positioned CityU strategically as a leading university excelling in professional education and problem-based research in the region. It articulated CityU's vision of educating a new breed of professionals for the 21st century through a new model of professional education and pioneering research to spearhead innovation and social transformation. It reflected the shared vision and collective wisdom of the campus community and provided a roadmap to guide the University's development in the following five years. The plan identified six strategic areas for development to realise our aspiration to become a leading university for professional education and problem-based research in Asia.

6 Strategic Areas

As a result of our strategic investment of resources, dedicated teamwork of the campus, strong support of the Council, the alumni and the wider community, CityU has experienced a substantial transformation and a remarkable rise in prominence, both nationally and internationally. Our Colleges and Schools have grown in strength and eminence. They have emerged as leaders in important fields of professional study, offering outstanding academic programmes to nurture talents, and pushing the frontiers of knowledge through innovative, problem-based research to benefit society.

2.2 Highlights of Major Milestones and Accomplishments

CityU has developed a firm foundation and track record as a leading global university with strong international presence and reputation. CityU is now ranked roughly among the top 100 global universities by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings and is among the top five universities founded in the last 50 years. In individual disciplines, CityU was ranked first in greater China and 25th globally in engineering by the Academic Ranking of World Universities ranking scheme in 2013; and its College of Business's research was ranked second in Asia by the UT-Dallas ranking scheme in 2010-2014. The results of the recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2014, released by the University Grants Committee (UGC) in January 2015, further affirm CityU's excellence in world class research with 44% of our research outputs rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent, locating CityU firmly in the top four UGC-funded universities in terms of overall performance. Significantly, University is listed for the first time in the top 150 institutions in a 2014 global employability ranking. These results are strong indicators that CityU is on a steep upward trajectory and that we have built a globally competitive and academically outstanding university which is also meeting local societal needs. (A detailed account of CityU's Major Milestones, Accomplishments and Supporting Initiatives is provided in Appendix 1)

2.2.1 Student Learning and Career Development 2.2.2 Research and Technology Transfer 2.2.3 Faculty and Staff Recruitment, Reward and Retention 2.2.4 Campus Planning and Development 2.2.5 Globalisation 2.2.6 Branding, Image and Culture

2.2.1.1 Path-breaking Curriculum Reform - The DEC


Innovation is the key to enable our graduates to stay competitive and relevant in this age of globalisation. To realise this objective, we fully implemented the pioneering Discovery-enriched Curriculum (DEC) in 2012, which locates discovery and innovation at the heart of our undergraduate education. The DEC is distinguished by its close integration of research and education, whereby students have opportunities to take risks and to explore the unknown under the support of their teachers; and to discover, innovate or create something in their field of study that is original as an exciting part of their learning process. The DEC represents the implementation of a new model for next-generation professional education and was a major developmental milestone in CityU's academic transformation.

We are excited by the emergence of a vibrant culture around the DEC on CityU's campus and the increasing number of creative student projects which apply classroom knowledge to address real-world problems. Many of these projects are on display at our annual Discovery Festival held on campus.

In external competitions, our students' innovation and creativity also gained recognition. Compelling examples included three CityU students who each won scholarships worth HK$150,000 in the Innovation and Technology Scholarship Award Scheme in 2013-2014; and a CityU undergraduate who won the 2014 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition by applying knowledge to devise an innovative solution to energy savings that benefits society.

A team of 12 students won a Gold Medal at the International Genetically Engineered Machine Giant Jamboree Competition 2014 in Boston by using genetically modified Escherichia coli (E. coli) in a project designed to tackle obesity, an increasingly common problem worldwide.

2.2.1.2 Robust Quality Assurance System


CityU's innovative teaching and learning was supported by a robust quality assurance system whose effectiveness was affirmed by the 2010 Report of a Quality Audit of City University of Hong Kong issued by the Quality Assurance Council of the UGC. The comprehensive audit, conducted by an expert panel that reviewed all levels of our teaching and learning activities, commended CityU for providing students with a transformative educational experience which successfully develops their capabilities for professional practice in their future careers. In response to the Panel's recommendations, the University has subsequently undertaken numerous proactive measures to further enhance its teaching and learning activities, as detailed in the institutional progress report to the UGC in 2012.

2.2.1.3 Academic Development Planning Addressing Societal Needs


CityU's 2012-2015 Academic Development Proposal (ADP) was favourably reviewed by the UGC, resulting in the positive outcome that CityU retained the 6% First-Year-First-Degree positions held back in a top-slicing exercise, which enabled CityU to launch 6 new majors in 2012-2013. These new majors have further enhanced our programmatic strength and research capacity, enabling us to anticipate and respond to important emerging societal needs and to contribute to solutions to complex, multidisciplinary global issues. CityU also received an additional allocation of Senior Year positions as part of the UGC's support of the University's ADP submission.

2.2.1.4 Enhanced Student Intake and Graduate Employability


Encouraging improvements were achieved in our recruitment of undergraduates. The use of interviews for student admission by the majority of our academic units (AUs) and an emphasis on English proficiency in considering the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) test scores have enabled us to admit students who are strongly motivated and have effective English communication skills. The 2013-14 and 2014-15 cohorts of CityU students achieved the 3rd highest average score on the English portion of the HKDSE test among the eight UGC-funded institutions. We have significantly increased our work-based internship opportunities to enhance students' career preparation. Our Graduate Exit Survey in 2013 showed that the employment rate of our graduates was close to 99%, with increased success in job placements with multinational corporations.

Not only has CityU performed with distinction in various international ranking exercises, our graduates are well placed in the job market and are sought after by companies globally, as reported in the 2014 Global Employability University Ranking released recently. It is the first time CityU made the list, ranking 146th among the world's top 150 universities in terms of producing the most employable graduates. The criteria include how ready for work students are upon graduation, their levels of expertise in their area of competence, teaching quality of faculty, research facilities, reputation, links with industry and levels of internationalisation.

2.2.1.5 Recognition for Teaching Excellence


CityU was honoured that three of its faculty members were among a total of ten winners from the eight local universities in the UGC Teaching Award competition since it was first established in 2011. This prestigious award recognises outstanding teaching in the higher education sector. For the third consecutive year, a CityU faculty member won this prestigious UGC Teaching Award in 2014. The honour conferred on our colleagues is an indication of the high quality of our faculty and CityU's strong commitment to outstanding teaching.

2.2.2.1 Competing for Research Grants


CityU academics have continued to perform well in competing for external research funding over the past years. In the annual research grants bidding exercise organised by the Research Grants Council (RGC) under UGC, CityU was ranked 3rd among the eight UGC-funded Hong Kong higher education institutions in terms of the total number of research projects awarded by the RGC in the 2014-2015 bidding exercise.

CityU was among the top three universities in terms of the number of grants and amount of funding in the Business Panel, the Engineering Panel and the Humanities and Social Sciences Panel. In the subject disciplines of Mathematics; Mechanical, Production and Industrial Engineering; Social Sciences; and Chemical Engineering, CityU won the largest number of grants among the eight institutions.

In addition, CityU has an impressive rise in the number of successful Innovation and Technology Funding applications and National Science Foundation of China Research Grants Competition projects.

Particularly noteworthy is that our young faculty have performed exceedingly well in these external grant bidding exercises. For the third consecutive year, CityU was awarded the largest number of grants among all eight institutions for the Early Career Schemes. The scale of some of the research projects taking place at CityU is impressive, too. A CityU-led research team won an award of HK$20.45 million from the Theme-based Research Scheme, a highly competitive scheme to support collaborative research that targets the development of Hong Kong and beyond.

2.2.2.2 Knowledge Transfer


CityU made knowledge transfer (KT) a strategic priority and strengthened its support of KT activities by revising rules on outside practice and building credit for KT activities into the Performance-based Pay Review (PBPR) schemes of individuals and AUs. The CityU Shenzhen Research Institute (CityUSRI), opened in 2011, has served as an important strategic initiative to deepen engagement with Mainland institutions and industrial partners to boost our research capacity and KT capabilities. CityUSRI was recognised with an Outstanding Research Institute Award by the Science and Technology and Innovation Committee of the Shenzhen Municipality in 2013.

2.2.2.3 Strong Performance in Research Assessment Exercise


CityU performed outstandingly in the Research Assessment Exercise 2014. The results released by the UGC in January 2015 further affirmed CityU's excellence in world-class research, assessed against international benchmarks. The results indicated that nearly half (44%) of our research outputs were rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent, assessed against international benchmarks, locating CityU firmly in the top four UGC-funded universities in terms of overall performance.

2.2.2.4 Recognition for Highly Cited Researchers


CityU ranked 2nd in Hong Kong among all local institutions in terms of the number of Highly Cited Researchers named in the list of Highly Cited Researchers 2014, published by Thomson Reuters. The result was based on work conducted at CityU and published with CityU as the authors' primary affiliation. The recognition is a strong indicator of the impact of CityU scholars.

2.2.2.5 Establishment of CityU Foundation to Advance CityU Research


The launch of the CityU Foundation in connection with the University's 30th Anniversary was both timely and significant for enhancing our research capability. The Foundation will serve as a major platform for expanding our social networks and growing our capacity to engage in large-scale, multidisciplinary, team-based research with our global partners to tackle real-world problems.

In the past few years, CityU has significantly increased its research capacity and funding success, enabling it to raise its contributions to innovative solutions to global problems of great significance. University scholars are advancing our understanding of cellular systems and biomedical robotics, healthcare management, climate change and sustainable cities. The recent establishment of the Department of Chinese and History further augments our capacity in the humanities, arts and culture at CityU, in partnership with our Chinese Civilisation Centre.

2.2.3.1 Faculty Growth and Diversity


Our proactive global recruitment strategy has allowed us to successfully increase our full-time faculty by nearly 200 since 2008, to a total number of more than 700 in 2014. Nearly 60% of our faculty were recruited from leading overseas institutions across over 26 countries or jurisdictions outside Hong Kong and the Mainland. These new recruits have further increased our diversity and capability, enabling us to build a solid base of intellectual strength in our faculty, and extending our global connectivity, to enhance vibrancy and innovation in our teaching and research.

2.2.3.2 Accountability and Alignment of Rewards with Performance


The PBPR Scheme for individual staff and faculty members of the University was launched in 2010 to support the pursuit of excellence and to reward outstanding performance. The goal is to ensure that the performance of each academic and administrative staff member is recognised and rewarded appropriately on an annual basis. To further enhance accountability and excellence, a more stringent annual review of AUs was introduced in 2013 to evaluate and recognise each AU's collective performance in education, research and management based on key indicators. In 2014, a 5-Year Review of Academic Excellence (RoE5) was initiated, enabling each AU to be reviewed by a panel of international experts on a rolling 5-year cycle to globally benchmark AU quality.

2.2.3.3 Continuous Terms of Appointment and Staffing Policies


Ensuring staff quality and performance is essential for supporting effective University governance. In order to retain and give recognition to quality staff, the "Continuous Terms of Appointment for Administrative and Support Staff" policy was introduced in 2012.

To further enhance the robustness of our structures and processes, the University took the initiative between 2010 to 2013 to develop a set of four separate but interrelated procedures that form an integrated platform for resolving different kinds of campus disputes. These include (a) Personnel Decisions, Performance Appraisal and Redundancy Appeal Procedures, (b) Grievance Procedures, (c) Sexual Harassment Procedures, and (d) Staff Disciplinary Procedures. Timely settlement of complaints is emphasised, while ensuring fairness and protecting the interests of all concerned parties.

2.2.4.1 Completion of Three Academic Buildings


The implementation of the long-term Campus Master Plan and the completion of three new academic buildings between 2011 and 2013 - the Run Run Shaw Creative Media Centre (CMC), Academic 2 (AC2) and Academic 3 (AC3) - have resulted in an uplifting transformation of our physical, social and intellectual environment. These buildings have added 60% more teaching, learning and research space to the campus and greatly contributed to CityU's emergence as a modern, vibrant, international university. Significant improvements were also made to enhance access, connectivity, circulation and green spaces on campus. It is noteworthy that the CMC building was recently selected as one of the ten most spectacular university buildings in the world, and one of only two representatives from Asia.

To support the implementation of more student-centred and flexible learning approaches, additional learning commons are being created in AC2, AC3 and CMC with a total area of about 2,000 square metres.

2.2.4.2 Student Hostel and the Ma On Shan (Whitehead) Project


Residential life is an important part of university education. Our Student Hostel Phase 4 was completed in 2011, adding 700 bed spaces to our student housing stock. The University has also obtained approval to build another student hostel in Ma On Shan, which on completion will add 2,168 bed places to the current provision of 3,692, to better satisfy demand for hostel life and to promote internationalisation.

2.2.5.1 Overseas Exchange Programmes


CityU has been actively promoting global engagement to enrich students' educational experience. We have met the target of raising HK$50 million in private donations to support the goal of having at least 50% of undergraduate students participate in overseas exchanges by 2015 to enhance internationalisation of learning and professional practice. We now have about 1,000 outbound and 1,000 inbound exchange students per year, supported by over 420 academic exchange agreements developed with more than 300 prestigious universities around the world.

2.2.5.2 Joint Collaborations with Global Partners


Building joint degrees of high international standards with world renowned universities is another important goal of our internationalisation strategy. We have developed a 2+2 (by year) programme with Columbia University which provides two full years of in-depth international exposure for our undergraduate. Our students spend their first two years at CityU, their last two years at Columbia and then graduate with degrees in their field of study from each institution. We also set up similar 1+2+1 (by year) programmes in accountancy with National Taiwan University, and a 3+4+1 (by semester) programme in creative media with Leuphana University in Germany.

Another major milestone in our internationalisation is the approval by the Council to set up a School of Veterinary Medicine at CityU in collaboration with Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The mission of the School is to help the region address key public health and food safety issues, and to become a centre of excellence in veterinary education and research. The School has launched an interdisciplinary PhD programme in Veterinary Sciences in September 2014, under the joint supervision of CityU and Cornell faculty.

2.2.5.3 Strategic Mainland Alliances


In the Mainland, CityU has established joint doctoral programmes with leading institutions such as Xian Jiaotong University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and University of Chinese Academy of Sciences.

To complement our CityUSRI, which has served as an important platform to coordinate grant applications and promote KT in southern China, CityU and the Shuangliu Government signed a collaborative agreement in 2013 for the establishment of the CityU Chengdu Research Institute (CityUCRI) in Chengdu, one of the most important economic, transportation, and communication centres in western China. Under the agreement, the Shuangliu Government provides land, building and funding for CityU faculty and research staff to carry out research activities in CityUCRI.

The CityU Beijing Liaison Office, located in Beihang University, was officially opened in 2014, complementing our office in Shanghai Jiaotong University. Both offices promote academic collaborations and student recruitment. They support the University's development and alumni activities, and assist students and staff involved in Mainland exchanges, internships and research activities.

2.2.6.1 Alumni Engagement


CityU alumni have become a major source of support and a great asset to the University. They play an active role in many University events and activities, including mentoring, advising, fundraising, internships, scholarships, and support for curriculum development and new initiatives. The establishment of the Eminence Society in 2010 by a group of distinguished senior alumni marks a major milestone in uniting the support of the alumni body for the advancement of CityU. In recognition of their invaluable contributions and dedication to the University, an Alumni Function Room called "Eminence Galaxy" was established in 2014 to provide a platform for networking and fostering a stronger alumni community.

2.2.6.2 Fundraising


Notwithstanding its relatively young history, CityU has been performing strongly in fundraising and in maximising matching grant opportunities offered by the Government over the past few years. The University was particularly grateful to receive two donations of HK$100 million and one donation of HK$125 million from three generous private donors during this period to support various University initiatives. These generous donations reflect the trust and the confidence of the community in CityU's pursuit of academic excellence.

2.2.6.3 Branding, Image and International Recognition


By pursuing a more proactive media engagement strategy over the past few years, CityU has greatly strengthened its media relations and raised its profile in the local community. We have significantly increased our visibility as a dynamic and energetic university, supported by our campus's physical and academic transformation. Our consistently strong performance in the global higher education league tables is a point of pride. Especially noteworthy is CityU's rise in the QS rankings from the top 200 global universities a decade ago to among roughly the top 100 global universities for the past few years. CityU is on a steep upward trajectory and is increasingly recognised globally for its successes in realising its vision of pursuing excellence in research and professional education.

2.2.6.4 30th Anniversary Celebration


In 2014, CityU marked a special year with its 30th anniversary. The year-long celebration has further promoted the unity and success of the University. As a relatively young institution, CityU has made great strides in its academic standing. We recognise that we must not be complacent. It is imperative that CityU continues to steepen its trajectory of pursuing excellence in the next five years, given the highly competitive and fast-changing global environment in which we operate.

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