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No. 12 15 March 2004


College issue
The University Management, led by Prof David Tong, Acting President, met with representatives of the Staff Association on College issues, 12 March. He started the 90-minute meeting by reiterating that the Council approved the report of the Working Group on Associate Degree Programmes in January. The report's recommendations were the result of thorough discussions and consultations. The Management Board's role is to implement these recommendations and the Management does not have the right to unilaterally change the Council's decisions. The purpose of the meeting was to share pertinent background information on the recommendations and exchange views with staff representatives.

On the issue of a 20% salary cut, which the staff representatives believed should be reconsidered, the Management explained the percentage was arrived at, based on a financial model used by the Working Group to calculate the College's expected expenditure and income for staff salary between 2004 and 2008. The model took into account a number of assumptions, primarily the income to be generated from self-financing programmes and the actual expenditure -- mainly staff salaries, but it did not, as the staff representatives were led to believe, factor in a 10% sector-wide cut in higher education funding in 2005-08. The Working Group recognized that both income and expenditure may vary significantly over the next four years, but all the available surplus will be left with the New College, with full autonomy to decide on its own financial matters. The Working Group reckoned that with a 20% reduction in salary cost, inclusive of the two rounds of 3% salary cuts in January 2004 and 2005, the University is prepared to absorb the resultant shortfall projected over the next four years.

The University, moreover, is committed to paying housing and other fringe benefits of the College staff up to 2008. All these commitments, including a guarantee of employment in the transitional period, will add up to a substantial amount, which, in essence, represents a collective compensation package for affected College staff.

On the issue of income from the Telford operation, which some staff representatives said was omitted from the calculations and should help contribute towards the new College's overall financial well-being, the understanding was that the exact cost and revenue from Telford are yet to be determined. Any surplus from the Telford operation, past and future, however, will go into the reserve of the new College, and not ploughed back to the University, in order to provide a firmer financial footing for the new operation. The Working Group recommends that, provided that the new College is successful, its management can review the staff salary in 2006, and may decide to reward staff with bonuses based on performance.

Instead of "divvying it up now" for individual staff members, the new College will need a reserve when its operation begins on 1 July 2004. The reserve will be used to meet emerging needs, for example, replacing staff who are planning to leave, or hiring new academic staff to meet growth in self-financing programmes.

Prof Tong also told the staff representatives that Prof H K Chang, President, after the Council's approval of the Working Group report, wrote again to the UGC for help in staff compensation.


ADP 2005-08
On 4 March, the University submitted to the University Grants Committee, on the basis of extensive consultations with various faculties and schools, a draft Academic Development Proposal (ADP) for 2005-08. The ADP concerns student numbers and the range of academic programmes CityU is prepared to offer in the next triennium, consistent with its new role statement. The UGC will meet with the President to review and discuss the Proposal in April. A decision from the UGC is not expected until August this year.


20th Anniversary
Below is an initial list of celebration activities from March to June 2004:

1/3 - 20/4
Wellness March
Postgraduate Forum: Career Development and Practical Application of Academic Research
24 - 27/3
Regional Conference on Clean Technologies
2 & 3/4
Built Expo 2004
15 & 16/4
Zheng He's World, Then and Now
Symposium on Teaching and Learning
14 - 30/6
Teachers Update Course 2004: Developing Reflective Professionals

More celebration activities are on the way.


Visit of Shimon Peres
1994 Nobel Peace Laureate and former Israeli Prime Minister Mr Shimon Peres visited CityU 5 March. Mr Peres and his party toured the Centre of Super-Diamond and Advanced Films before he gave a public lecture to students and staff on the impact of science and technology on economic and social development. Mr Peres, lauded as the "father of high-technology" in Israel, was impressed with CityU's achievements in nanotechnology.


CityU Today magazine
The new magazine, CityU Today, replacing its predecessor, CityU Bulletin, is scheduled to come out eight times a year. Its more regular appearance, and sharper content will help it grow into a "primary communication vehicle" for the University's "latest developments and greatest achievements." The new publication aspires to become "the single most valuable means of telling the University story for students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, government officials, media people, businesses and the University's overseas partners."


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