CityU wins UGC teaching award for third straight year

Mavis Wong, Christina Wu

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Dr Elaine Liu Suk-ching
, Associate Professor and Assistant Head of the Department of Applied Social Sciences at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) received the Award for Teaching Excellence from the University Grants Committee (UGC) in recognition of her outstanding teaching performance and achievements.
 
This is the third consecutive year that a CityU teacher has won this award, which honours educators who significantly improve, and excel in, teaching in the higher education sector.
 
The presentation ceremony was held on 10 September.
 
Dr Liu, who joined CityU in 1990, is a registered social worker who has long been engaged in teaching and researching youth and family issues as well as community relations.
 
Her outstanding contributions to teaching and social services have earned her numerous awards, including the Teaching Excellence Award at CityU in 2013–14, the Knowledge Transfer Prize of Merit from CityU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) in 2013 and 2014, the Contribution to Learning Award from CityU’s CLASS in 2001, and the Bronze Prize for the Highest Service Hours Award from the Agency for Volunteer Service in 2013 for the City-Youth Empowerment Project that she developed.
 
“This win shows that CityU’s strategy of integrating teaching and research is appropriate,” said Professor Way Kuo, CityU President.
 
“In pursuit of excellence in teaching and research, CityU encourages teachers to provide quality professional education to students by blending updated knowledge from research with their teaching commitments.
 
“Dr Liu has dedicated herself not only to research on individual empowerment and volunteer services, but also to inspiring students’ potential in order to nurture knowledgeable and responsible leaders for society,” he added.
 
Dr Liu said she was honoured to win the award. “I’m very grateful to CityU for offering me a platform for scaling new heights. The support offered by its excellent teaching team has helped me realise my teaching and research objectives. I will continue to use creative and inspiring pedagogical methods to help improve teaching in the higher education sector and make more contributions.”
 
Dr Liu’s teaching philosophy is based on encouraging individual empowerment with the spirit of humanity. She firmly believes that young people can build stronger ties with their communities through active participation in social affairs. Also, by serving the community and helping people in need, young people build their confidence and acquire communication and leadership skills, which motivate them to pursue their dreams.
 
Dr Liu developed the City-Youth Empowerment Project in 2005, with students in university halls of residence as the initial targets. Now it is a campus-wide volunteer service and learning project with the participation of 1,600 students each year who provide more than 20,000 service hours to 20 different social organisations.
 
“Young people have the right to develop themselves in a positive manner. I have therefore tried to find innovative ways of real-life experience teaching to enhance their motivation of learning and help them achieve their goals,” she said.
 
Through the City-Youth Empowerment Project, students from different majors can better understand the spirit of humanity. More importantly, they develop a sense of “greater self”. Their mindset will not be confined to self-interest but instead aimed at identifying the needs of society-at-large and making greater contributions.
 
Currently, the project serves children and people with physical disabilities, who have undergone rehabilitation, who sleep on the streets, and who are recovering from mental health problems. The service area extends to mainland China, Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal.
 
Dr Liu hopes that students not only take part in social services but also become advocators for social advancement in order to promote social integration, justice and anti-discrimination.

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