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No. 3   3 November 2003  


New staffing policies
The "cocktail" approach to achieve savings and to enhance performance at times of budget constraints was unveiled in two open forums held back-to-back on 30 October. The approach includes, among others:

  1. reducing the budget allocation for 2004-05 (5% from academic and administrative units, 8% from institutional budgets);

  2. implementing an across-the-board pay cut following the civil service practice (3% and 3% on 1 January 2004 and 2005, respectively);

  3. reducing the budget for administrative units (3% for 2005-06 and 2% for 2006-07);

  4. initiating new salary scales on 1 July 2004 for new appointees;

  5. no automatic salary increment increments; rewards based on merits and performance, and the overall financial health of the University; and

  6. launching a departure scheme in early 2004 for staff on substantiated superannuable terms.

These measures, described as "initial steps", are premised on a funding withdrawal for most of CityU's taught postgraduate programmes and for 75% of its associate degree (AD) programmes by 2008-09, and a 10% cut in overall university funding for 2004-05. The proposals also assume a further 10% cut for the 2005-08 triennium. (http://www.cityu.edu.hk/cityutoday)


Funding allocations 2005-08
Cuts in funding allocations to universities in the 2005-08 triennium would not be single digit, Dr Alice Lam, Chairman of the University Grants Committee, told the press 22 October. Indications are that it is likely to reach 20%, Prof David Tong, DP (Designate), told the open forums on 30 October. Altogether, the funding cuts and withdrawals would mean that the University could accumulate a loss of as much as HK$2,000 million in government funding by 2008íV09. The exact figures for the cuts 2005-08 will not be availabe until April 2004, after UGC panels visit the funded institutions to discuss their academic development.


Core Group to stay
Because the cost-saving exercise will be a long-term process, in view of declining funding allocations from the Government, the Management Board's Core Group, comprising Prof David Tong, DP (Designate), Prof Y S Wong, VP(Admin) and Prof Roderick Wong, D (FSE), will stay intact. The Group will work closely with Deans and Heads to achieve efficiency savings and to enhance performance over the long haul.


Self-financing AD
Self-financing AD In the open consultation forums, staff mainly questioned the rationale behind recommending switching College staff employed on superannuable terms to contract terms in the interim years 2004-08. Some demanded compensation or a severance package. Mr S M Chung, Chairman of the Council Working Group on Associate Degree programmes, promised to consider the divergent views. In reponse to a request for a greater financial commitment from the University, however, he pointed out that the University has to set aside HK$130 million to pay for the protected College staff benefits in 2004-08, not to mention underwrite a HK$300 million loan for the construction of the new College's permanent campus.


Minor restructuring
After Prof David Tong, VP (AA), has taken up the post of Deputy President on 1 December, it is envisaged that some minor reshuffle of administrative arrangements will be carried out. Some offices may be integrated, others given new heads. Details will emerge in mid-November.


Council meeting
The forthcoming meeting, on 24 November, will be jam-packed with important issues, including the final report on the Associate Degree programmes, university governance reform, new staffing policies to meet fiscal constraints (see first item in this issue). Council Chairman Mr Norman Leung's terms of office will expire soon. A change of Council leadership is also expected after this meeting.


University spokesperson
The Management Board agreed, in principle, to appoint a senior staff member to serve as the official conduit of communication with the media.


20th Anniversary
1 January 2004 will mark the 20th anniversary of the institution's formal establishment. A steering committee, comprising 17 serving and retired staff members and chaired by President Prof H K Chang, has met twice. It has decided that the entire year 2004 will be designated as the "20th Anniversay Year", even though highlights of the celebration programme will concentrate in the second half of the year. A theme will be announced soon.


DynaCity Technology (HK) Ltd and SoftEnable Technology Ltd, both CityU Enterprises companies, have been awarded the Machinery and Equipment Design Award and the Certificate of Merit in Technology Achievement, respectively, at the 2003 Hong Kong Industry Awards, on 27 October. The two companies are headed by, respectively, Dr Sun Dong of MEEM and Prof Horace Ip of CS.


The 18th Congregation will take place 11 to 14 November, in nine sessions. About 6,000 students, including 160 MPhils and PhDs, will receive their academic awards. Four honorary degrees will be conferred in the fourth session, on 12 November.

Distinguished lectures
Prof Brian Anderson of the Australian National University: "Pulling Information Out of the Clutter", 4:30 pm, 6 November, SCOPE Lecture Theatre. Prof Andrew Chi-Chih Yao of Princeton University: "The Enjoyment of Computing Theory", 4:30 pm, 10 November, SCOPE Lecture Theatre.

The 6th International Symposium of Japanese Studies and Japanese Language Education, organized by the Divsion of Language Studies, 8 & 9 November.


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