By the end of our five-year AURORA strategic plan in 2002, the staff, students, and alumni had completely turned around the fortunes of City University of Hong Kong. According to an Asiaweek survey in 2000, CityUniversity's rank among Asian universities jumped from 50 to 27, indicating a quantum leap in the University's teaching, research, facilities, as well as staff and student quality.
By mid-2002, CityUniversity had been transformed by the strategies of AURORA into a people-friendly campus. The University has, in stages, upgraded many of its classrooms, pedestrian passages and resting areas. The University completed Phase One of our Student Hostels Project. Meanwhile, our Student Activities Centre, Media Technology Building, and Landmark Building are under planning and scheduled to be completed by 2006D07 or soon after. Our School of Continuing and Professional Education (SCOPE) opened its Admiralty Learning Centre, while the College of Higher Vocational Studies and SCOPE are extending to an annex campus at TelfordGardens in Kowloon. Over the past five years, we have organized many cultural activities, such as "China Splash", "Hands Across the Water" and "Voices of Spring". The CityU Gallery also hosts a number of art exhibitions on various themes.
Undergraduate education We also demonstrated our excellence in undergraduate education. Over the past five years we have implemented a flexible credit-unit system, expanded our portfolio of out-of-discipline electives, improved our student development services in leadership training, career planning and social skills, established an English Language Centre, a Chinese Civilisation Centre and the School of Creative Media. We have continued to honour recipients of Teaching Excellence Awards. We also have consolidated and vastly improved our quality assurance system and academic decision-making process. In our quest for quality teaching we have embraced new technologies. Our Web teaching offers over 300 courses on the Internet while our iMBA programme was ranked Number One of its kind by Asiaweek in 2002.
In terms of research, we have grown by leaps and bounds. The number of Chair Professors rose from 29 to more than 60. We boast 13 academicians from around the world, while we continue to excel in bids for University Grants Committee Competitive Earmarked Research Grants and in receiving a considerable sum from the Innovation Technology Fund. CityUniversity has established one Research Institute, thirteen university /faculty research centres, and six applied strategic development centres / applied R&D centres on campus and in the mainland. Each year, our scholars publish more than 900 Science Citation Index (SCI) and Engineering Index (EI) research papers. CityU is the first local tertiary institution to have successfully incubated a technology company, TeleEye Holdings, from start-up to public listing in May 2001. More are in the pipeline.
Our outreach and community building efforts were greatly enhanced over the past five years. We have built a network of more than 50,000 alumni; liaised with over 117 reputable universities worldwide to improve our academic and student exchange activities; provided training for a total of over 5,000 local secondary school teachers through our Teachers Update Course over five years; and played host to many important international functions, including the World Academicians Conference and the International Forum for World Leaders in Higher Education. We continued to strength collaborations with industry and business. Our academics continued to serve on a full range of government and non-governmental bodies, putting their expertise into good use for the welfare of the community.
Of course, our greatest reward is seeing the contribution our efforts make to the enhancement of the communities we serve. But we also know the importance of providing incentives that reward excellence. That is why, through the course of AURORA, we established a reward scheme for academic departments, to help maximize students' learning. Over the same period, we also instituted a reward scheme, for administrative and support departments, to improve service efficiency and quality. We also implemented a Performance Planning, Appraisal and Development scheme for both academic and non-academic staff to link rewards to performance. Staff development policies and initiatives have also been sharpened and enhanced.
The last letter in AURORA also happens to be a very important one. In the past five years, the face of education in Hong Kong has changed for everyone. The government now expects local universities to achieve better value for money with the same, or even less, public funding. This means doing more with less, and more than ever, doing our best with less. The University has adopted re-engineering and benchmarking as two main tools in its quest for excellence. Key processes on facilities management, residential accommodation, and financial/administrative/operational systems have been enhanced. An Internal Audit Unit has also been set up to assist the University in maintaining efficient and effective management systems for continuous improvement in quality.