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No. 6   15 December 2003  


Departure Scheme
The Management Board, on 5 December, approved the launch of the Departure Scheme, one of the two staffing measures approved by a recent Council meeting to tackle budget constraints. The voluntary Scheme, aiming at cost savings, will invite applications from 15 December 2003 to 14 February 2004. Only substantiated staff on superannuation terms can apply.

An advisory board, to be chaired by Prof Y S Wong, VP (Admin), with Prof P S Chung, (EE), Mr James Ng, ED(CTEX) as members and Dr Ellen Ko, D(HRO) as secretary, will be set up to make final approvals, with input and comments from department heads. Decisions will be communicated to applicants by 31 March 2004 and the effective date of departure is set on 30 June 2004. Departing staff shall not normally be re-engaged by the University for the same or equivalent position.

Ex gratia payment to departing staff will be calculated with a formula for redundancy purpose set by the Council two years ago. It will be paid out by the University central administration, but staffˇ¦s leave balance will be borne by departmental budgets. Under the voluntary scheme 2001, a predecessor of the Departure scheme, 100 applications were approved.


Salary cuts
When the deadline closed on 12 December to give consent to the University to achieve the 3%+3% across-the-board salary cut on 1 January 2004 and 2005, 96% of staff said "yes". To a few who did not reply or agree to the arrangement, the University, through the Human Resources Office (HRO), will issue a second letter on 20 December inviting consent. To those who still do not consent, the University will terminate their contracts and re-negoitate new ones at reduced salaries and benefits, as approved by the Council.


Matching grants
The University will announce its latest results in the Government Matching Grants Scheme before Christmas. It is believed that donation work has been picking up momentum and showing satisfactory progress, particularly in the last few weeks. Under the scheme, every dollar the local universities raise from their staff, alumni and the community is entitled to apply for an equivalent amount from the government.


Changes to staffing committees
Following the appointment of the Deputy President, Prof David Tong, the Management Board approved a wide-ranging change, with immediate effect, to the constitution of staffing committees. The Deputy President will serve as member, or chair, and nominate or select members to a number of staffing committees on promoting and appointing chair professors, professors and associate professors on Scale A, deans/provost/academic heads.


Budget 2005ˇV08
The University has been given the understanding that the University Grants Committee will communicate the indicative figures for the 2005ˇV08 triennium budget to the higher education sector by the end of February 2004. This not only has major implications on how the University will tackle its future fiscal challenges, but in practical terms, it will have bearing on, for example, setting the scale of the Departure Scheme, the extent and severity of various measures needed to trim central and departmental budgets, and the urgency of new staffing policies to help meet the budget challenges in the next few years.


Student Residence ProjectˇXPhase II
When the second phase of the Student Residence is completed in February or March 2004, the number of places available to undergraduates will be increased to 1,819 from 818. With the increase, there is a greater chance for students to stay for two semesters instead of one, the current arrangement. To date, Phase I of the Student Residence project has been a fully self-financing operation.


New R&D centre
The new FutianˇVCityU Mangrove Research Centre, led by Prof Y S Wong, Chair Professor of Biological Science, was launched in Shenzhen 13 December.


Joint programme
The Department of Accountancy signed on 13 December an agreement with Harbin Institute of Technology on a joint Master of Arts in International Accounting. The programme is to be offered in Shenzhen.


A three-person project on Mobile E-credit Card System led by Geng Chunya, an MPhil student in the Department of Physics and Materials Science, won the Gold Award in the Mobile Multimedia Communications Design Contest 2003 organized by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers.


More Kudos 
CityU ranks second in the overall results from the Hong Kong and Macau section of the 8th Challenger Cup Competition, a national intervarsity contest for academic, science and research. Individual award winners are: Distinction Award: Kenji Yum and Liu Yangfan (EE) ; second Prize: Thomas Wu (AP), Daphne Lai (SCM), and Steven Yang (EE); Third Prize: Anthony Ou (SA) and Francis Kwong (CS).

Still more kudos
SoftEnable Technology Ltd., a CityU Enterprises Ltd company, won the first prize (Health Category) of the Asia-Pacific Information and Communication Technology Award (APICTA) 2003 on 8 December for its Computer-Assisted Orthognathic Surgical Planning System (CASSOS). APICTA is annual international award organized by the Association of Thai Computer Industry. It attracted more than 100 entries from 14 countries this year.

Lunch time concerts
16 and 18 December, 1:00ˇV1:30 pm at Green Zone 4/F and Covered Terrace, respectively, by Staff Association Singing Group.


In Bulletin 5, the item on salary cuts should read: "All full-time regular staff are subject to the salary reduction, except those appointed before 1 July 2003 on 'delinked' entry salary for the first year of employment. Temporary/term/part-time staff will also be affected by the reduction, except those who are appointed before 1 July 2003 and the salary offered is either fixed or not strictly pegged with the University's salary scalesˇK"

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