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No. 5   1 December 2003  


AD Final Report deferred
In the eleventh hour, the Council's Working Group on Associate Degree Programmes, chaired by Mr S M Chung, Treasurer, decided to withhold submission of its Final Report to the Council on 24 November.

One business day before the Council meeting, Mr Chung explained, the Working Group received a letter from the College divisional representatives in which they raised a legal issue over employment with the University under superannuable terms. Under a recommendation in the Final Report, in June 2008 staff was to switch to employment under fixed term contracts to be signed with a new company under the Council. Staff has since been advised that those on a superannuation contract are protected under the "legitimate expectations" principle and that they could expect an ex-gratia compensation payment if their superannuable employment with the University ends. Mr Chung said the Working Group must seek legal advice before finding an appropriate way forward. At this stage, the Working Group is keeping all options open.

Mr Chung believes that further delays jeopardize the setting up of a new College and draw the University away from the pressing issues it has to face in the coming months. "It is frustrating for the whole University community," he said, "if we have to start over again."


Funding allocations 2004-05
The University Grants Committee has verbally notified CityU that for 2004-05 it will be allocated a recurrent grant of HK$1,884.5 million, 14.4% reduction from 2003-04 figures, inclusive of withdrawal of funding for affected associate degree and taught postgraduate programmes. The sector-wide nominal cut is 13.4%. The University is awaiting written notification from UGC. Figures for the 2005-08 triennium are expected to be announced in April 2004.


Governance issues
The Council, on 24 November, approved a set of recommendations on University governance. The main thrust of the proposals lies in enhancing the Council's role in setting the University strategy, yielding delegation of management matters to the President, and monitoring the management and operation of the University through agreed key performance indicators. Among the 20 recommendations:

  • Decrease Council membership to 20 from 33, by reducing the number of internal members from 15 to five (President, Deputy President, two staff representatives and one student representative)

  • Impanel an ad-hoc Nominations Committee to recommend individuals for Council membership

  • Establish a University Development Committee to take the place of the Estates Development Committee and Finance Committee

  • Establish an audit committee, with membership exclusively drawn from lay Council members

  • Set up an External Relations Committee to replace the Donations Committee


Salary cut
The 3%-plus-3% across-the-board salary cut for 1 January 2004 and 2005 respectively, in line with Civil Service practice, was approved by the Council. All regular full-time and temporary, term and part-time staff will be affected, except those who are appointed before 1 July 2003 and whose salary is either fixed or not strictly pegged to the University's salary scales. Research staff, whose salaries have been revised with a 20% cut effective 1 July 2003, will not be affected either. The Human Resources Office will seek staff consent in the next few weeks.


20th anniversary
Four working groups have been impanelled under the 20th Anniversary steering committee, to focus on: academic activities; sports/cultural/social service/promotional activities; publications and publicity; logistics and support. These groups are chaired by, respectively, Prof Joseph Lai (AP), Prof Matthew Chen, D(FHS), Prof C C Lee (EN) and Mr K Y Wong, D(FMO).


Search for librarian
On November 25, a shortlist of three external candidates was whittled down to two. An appointment is expected soon.


Council member
Mr Mak Hoi-wah, SS, has been re-elected staff representative to the Council, with a term of office from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006.


Prof Y C Chan (EE), Director of Centre for Electronic Packaging and Assemblies, Failure Analysis and Reliability Engineering, has been elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Prof Chan is the ninth FIEEE at CityU. He has been nominated for his contributions to electronic product reliability, an area of endeavour exclusive to CityU.


More Kudos 
A CityU team of eight undergraduates, representing the disciplines of accounting, economics and finance, creative media, information systems, electronic engineering and materials science, won the first prize in the YDC E-Challenge 2003 organized in June by the Young Entrepreneurs Development Council. The winning team, comprising two exchange students from Tsinghua University, was selected from more than 80 teams from local universities. The winning project "GUARDIN Access Control System" is biomedical recognition technology built on the walking habits and characteristics of individuals.

The second of the Famous Scholars/Writers Lecture Series, "Sun Tsu's Art of War and Management", organized by the Run Run Shaw Library and the Department of Management, will take place Thursday, 4 December, 4:30-5:30pm, at the Library's Reading/Seminar Room. Renowned writer and newspaper columnist Mr Shum Yat-fei will speak.

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