Moving forward on the Associate Degree programmes
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For over two weeks in late May, these questions came to a head between College staff and the University administration after the University announced on 16 May not to contest the decision of the University Grants Committee (UGC) to withdraw funding for 13 of our 19 AD programmes by 2007D08 (see list on page 3). A number of College staff, student and alumni aired their concerns to the media and petitioned the Council, saying that the University has given up on the AD programmes and intended to close down the
He said, over the past two to three years, the University:
- has worked, to the best of its efforts, to convince the UGC that all the AD programmes at CityU deserve continuous public support; that when the UGC's policy of funding withdrawal appeared to have been set, the University continued to argue for a longer transitional period than four years for these programmes to be switched over to a truly self-financing mode;
- has planned, despite great difficulties and uncertainties along the way, to convert the AD programmes into a financially viable self-financing mode of operation, and such efforts included submitting three applications to the Government for a separate campus site on which to build a community college for AD programmes;
- has, on numerous occasions, communicated and consulted with the College administration and senior staff on the latest developments of AD programmes, the UGC plan and the University's response strategy.
- has NOT decided or said anything to the effect that CityU would pull itself completely out of the self-financing AD business. What the administration had said in the announcement in mid-May was that University found it impossible to take over 13 of the 19 AD programmes affected by UGC's funding withdrawal policy in the exact context and financial parameters as they are run now;
- has NOT indicated in any way that the University would "close down" the College.
This clarification came a few days after 27 May, when the Senate Meeting resolved to postpone deliberations on AD programmes to its next scheduled meeting in October. This decision was taken, in the hope of giving concerned College colleagues a chance to articulate their plans for the programmes affected by the UGC funding withdrawal policy and to let other Senate members familiarize themselves with the issues.
Commenting on the Senate resolution, Professor Chang said, "I believe a dual voice has spoken among staff. In the end, Senate's decision-making process has prevailed and a confrontation has been effectively avoided." He called upon all staff and students to set aside differences in opinion, and to work together calmly and steadily towards the best solution.
Two days later, the Council Executive Committee paid heed to the sentiments of the affected staff at the College and discussed the future provision for AD programmes at the University. The Committee agreed to recommend to the full Council, as proposed by the President, that a working group be established by Council to examine the financial viability of offering self-financing programmes. The Committee proposes that the Working Group should comprise seven members:
- three external Council Members, one to be appointed Chairman;
- two representatives of the management of the University;
- two members from and elected by College staff.
The recommendation will be put to the next meeting of the Council on 23 June.
Meanwhile, the University is committed to communicating with staff on the issues involved and a special corner has been set up within the CityU Today website for this purpose.