Teaching Excellence Award recognises committed teachers

Eliza Lee, Ellen Chan & Irene Lau

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Dr Cheung Sai-on, Associate Professor from the Department of Building and Construction, Dr Raymond Lau Yiu-keung, Assistant Professor from the Department of Information Systems, and Ms Maria Jose Pareja Lopez, Lecturer from the Division of Language Studies, have received City University of Hong Kong (CityU) 2009-2010 Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) in recognition of their outstanding teaching performance.

Having taught at CityU for 20 years, Dr Cheung is now the programme leader of Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Surveying, lecturing on building contracts and law-related modules. Dr Cheung used the quote by the late Mother Teresa, “In this life, we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love”, to describe his teaching philosophy.

Dr Cheung believes there can’t be a single formula that fits all students, so he does not limit his teaching on books or within classrooms. He has designed various new learning modes and opportunity for students with different needs. He believes a definite goal is the most effective driver for learning, so he will help students carve out their career path through illustrative industry development. Dr Cheung has used tailor-made course packs for the respective courses. Recent social issues and industry news are included in the pack so that the course can be closely tied to society’s need and relevant research. He has established a research unit and developed a web-based construction contracts information service to facilitate online self-learning by students.

Another winner, Dr Lau, has taught e-commerce management, website design, customer relations management system at CityU since 2004. He uses different methods to stimulate students’ learning motivations, discover their strengths and begin their lifelong learning. During the class, Dr Lau set the questions with no supplementary notes to encourage discussions as a way to develop students’ independent thinking. He encourages students to participate in competitions, set-up their own e-commerce company and apply their knowledge in the real business world.

By using podcasting technology, Dr Lau’s lecture will be recorded in electronic files so that students can download them to their mobile media players like iPod or MP3 to replay the lecture anytime, anywhere. Moreover, Dr Lau has set-up groups in social networks to exchange teaching and research experiences and daily trivia with students, building close relationship with them.

Maria has been teaching Spanish in the Division of Language Studies for more than two years. She had earlier gained rich and wide experiences in teaching Spanish across the world such as in the United States, Russia and Israel. Maria’s motto is “Teaching makes a difference” - her passion in teaching lightens up lives of her students. She believes that interest is a good motivation. Therefore, she insists on asking the prospective students to declare their purpose of studying this relatively rare language in Hong Kong during the pre-entry interviews, to make sure they will be dedicated to learning this language and get good results. Instead of teaching the language alone, Maria is leading her students into the great wealth of Spanish and Latin culture such as music, TV and entertainment programmes, dancing and cuisine.

To enhance the effectiveness in learning Spanish, she designed her courses on practical issues and the content focuses on daily life, like producing advertisements and acting as Spanish news anchor, to raise students’ interest in learning. Maria has her students totally engaged in the learning process by playing games in class. Under her effective and practical way of instruction, her students communicate in Spanish among themselves both inside and outside the classroom and they cherish every opportunity to practice Spanish.

TEA was launched by CityU’s Quality Assurance Committee in 1993, the first of its kind among Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions. Aimed at recognising outstanding teachers and emphasising the importance of professional education, the award is testimony to the University’s commitment to the enhancement of education quality for the territory and the region.

This year, 32 teaching staff were nominated by students, alumni or programme committees. Through the rigorous selection process, three teachers were selected for the award, adding up to a total of 83 TEA winners until now. The 2009-10 TEA awards presentation ceremony will be held during the Congregation in November this year.


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