Professor Kuo maps out importance of “soulware”
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Professor Way Kuo, President of City University of Hong Kong (CityU), discussed the importance of “soulware” and the integration of teaching and research for higher education in a sharing session with CityU teachers and students on 10 September.
The session, organised by the CityU Postgraduate Association Reading Club, was attended by guests including Mr Andrew Fan Ka-fai, University Council Member, and Mr Wang Kai, University Council Member and President of the CityU Postgraduate Association. More than 300 staff members, students and alumni attended.
During the session, Professor Kuo cited from his poem published last year in his book The Soulware within Higher Education: “Teaching is empty without devotion of the heart; research after all remains the utmost art. Barely equipped with hardware and software, still it lacks, devoid of proper soulware.”
He said the poem summarised his philosophy on higher education that only teachers who genuinely focus on both teaching and research can nurture outstanding students.
Teaching means communication and the exchange of ideas, which in turn provides a source of inspiration for research, he added.
After conducting their research, teachers should present their achievements to foster the communication of ideas, which subsequently optimises and sustains the development of research. Hence, teaching and research are inseparable.
In the Q&A session, a student asked how to conduct good research. In reply, Professor Kuo said, “Just like a sports team needs a good coach, conducting research projects requires a good supervisor. Students should first identify their areas of interest, and then find a supervisor who is interested in a similar area.”
He also recommended that students take part in overseas exchange activities to expand their vision.
Another student asked whether intellectual development would be affected if a native language was used frequently in daily communication. Professor Kuo responded that language didn’t play a significant role since it was only a tool for carrying messages. Of more importance was the logic embedded in the message and critical thinking.