CityU hosts conference on general education and university curriculum reform

Michael Gibb

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Academic leaders, innovative teachers, and advocates for reform and quality improvement in higher education in Asia, North America and Europe discussed university curriculum reform and the enhancement of undergraduate education at an international conference titled “General Education and University Curriculum Reform: An International Conference in Hong Kong” at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 12–14 June.

The conference is very timely as the launch of the new 4-year degree programme at publicly funded tertiary institutions in Hong Kong is imminent. Over the past few years, universities in Hong Kong have been restructuring their undergraduate studies from three to four years, a development that has enabled the inclusion of a substantial General Education (GE) component.
“We have a unique opportunity to reshape the undergraduate curriculum, and General Education is at the core of this transformation,” said Professor Arthur Ellis, Provost and Acting President of CityU, in his welcoming remarks.
Dr Richard Armour
, Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee, agreed that the conference was indeed well-timed, and he drew the audience’s attention to the logistical challenge facing universities in Hong Kong. He added that he was “greatly impressed” by the work that CityU had put into developing its Discovery-enriched Curriculum, agreeing that innovation and critical thinking were essential drivers in shaping undergraduate education.
Representatives of the senior management from nine local institutions attended an interactive workshop on the first day of the conference. The participants included Professor Ellis; Professor Reza Hoshmand, Director of General Education, Hong Kong Baptist University; Professor William Lee, Associate Vice-President (Academic Affairs), Lingnan University; Professor Hau Kit-tai, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, The Chinese University of Hong
Kong; Professor Joanne Chung, Associate Vice President (Programme Development), The Hong Kong Institute of Education; Professor Walter Yuen, Vice-President (Academic Development), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Dr David Mole, Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs (Undergraduate Studies and Academic Planning), The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Professor Danny Wong, Vice-President (Academic), The Open University of Hong Kong; Mr Gwyn Edwards, Director of Common Core Curriculum, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, The University of Hong Kong.
Conference attendees learned about the collective Hong Kong experience of GE and curriculum reform, and at the same time found out more about how GE is developed, implemented, and evaluated in other universities in Asia and internationally, at more than 15 plenary and VIP sessions and around 90 concurrent presentations, seminars, and roundtable discussions.
The event was co-organised by CityU, the Hong Kong-America Center, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the ASIANetwork, the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, and the Fulbright Programme in Hong Kong.


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