The University’s Strategic Development 2003-2008 committed the University to four strategic areas which crystallized our core values and furthered our aspirations to attain international distinction as a leading institution of higher learning:
- Enhancing academic excellence
- Raising global presence and visibility
- Partnering with society and serving the community
- Developing and supporting "the University family"
These four strategic areas emphasized the importance of outstanding scholarship, internationalization, community relations, and a collegiate spirit of pride and collaboration.
The past five years have been ones of significant achievement. In the area of teaching and learning, progress has been made in providing our students with a diverse and intellectually stimulating educational experience. They have been presented with subject breadth and exposed to interdisciplinarity through broadening courses, double degrees and innovative multisubject programmes. International exchange, internships and undergraduate research opportunities have been integrated into many of our programmes.
In the year 2012, the length of undergraduate degree programmes in Hong Kong will move from three years to four years. The University has set up a working group on the 4-year structure and a steering committee on the new curriculum to advise the senior management on the necessary planning. Much progress has already been made in our curriculum reform and some elements of the 4-year curriculum will be implemented in the 2009-12 Triennium.
In Strategic Development 2003-2008, we committed the University to engage in innovative, high impact and leadingedge research within and across traditional boundaries of academic disciplines. As a result, the University consistently ranks among the world’s top 30 research-led institutions based on key performance indicators.
As a comprehensive university, the University is able to support a diverse range of research interests, carried out by scholars who maintain high international standards. In 2008-09, 100 of our scientists were ranked among the top one per cent in their fields globally by the Institute for Scientific Information. The quality of our work enables us to attract more research funding than any other university in Hong Kong. In 2008-09, there were 3,319 research projects being conducted across the University supported by $1,541 million of research funding.
On the world scene, HKU has established a solid reputation as a premier international university and a member of the global family of universities. The latest THE-QS (Times Higher Education - Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings placed HKU as the 24th ranked university in the world (2009), and the leading university in Asia (2009). These rankings are based on peer reputation, employer preferences, number of international staff and students, staff-student ratio and research quality. In 2009-10, we had a headcount of 2,414 non-local students at all levels of study. The number of undergraduate students receiving international exposure through study, training and placement opportunities overseas is consistently on the rise.
Academic programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and a culturally rich campus environment have enabled us to attract outstanding applicants - both local and international, students and staff - to broaden our educational horizons, enrich the cross-cultural fertilization of ideas and enhance the position not only of HKU but also of Hong Kong as a regional education hub.
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP AND SERVICE
One strategic priority of the University has been to support Hong Kong's continued success as a city of enterprise and to respond to Hong Kong's call for knowledge-based development.
Faculties have reviewed their missions and activities from the perspective of knowledge exchange and confirmed their commitment within the learning process to heightened emphasis on internships and placements. In 2008-09, around 2,400 workplace internships were organized by the Faculties. Students were also involved in over 2,000 community or social services opportunities in and outside Hong Kong.
In applying research results, the total number of patent applications filed in the 2005-08 Triennium was 281, and the number of patents granted was 103. For the same period, there were 173 technology commercialization and contract research projects, involving a sum of over $640 million. A total of 72 projects were approved for support under various funding schemes of the Innovation and Technology Commission in the period 2003-08, and the total funding received amounted to $140 million.
THE UNIVERSITY FAMILY
HKU is a community of students, academics, staff, alumni, friends and benefactors who value collaboration and cooperation and carry a sense of pride and ownership in the University. To enhance collegiality and organizational effectiveness, we have streamlined governance, management and academic structure, strengthened internal and external communication, and expanded and diversified our resource base to ensure that the University stands on a sound financial footing.
In September 2004 the University Council approved the principles of the Human Resource Management Reform and endorsed in particular the system of new academic titles to align with international practice and the adoption of performance-based assessment. In the current competitive global environment, the development of a human resource system that values talent and excellence, recognizes performance and supports professional advancement is strategic to the University’s continued improvement.
The loyalty and support of our graduates is a distinctive feature of the University. Our 128,000 alumni have been at the forefront of community life in Hong Kong, providing leadership in government, in commerce and industry, in education, and in the arts, sciences and culture. They have contributed generously to the University’s future, and have demonstrated their loyalty through a network of mutually beneficial relationships.
HKU has been the leader amongst Hong Kong institutions in cultivating the philosophy of academic philanthropy, receiving continuous support from the community for institutional advancement. In this endeavour, we have been able to rely to a great extent on our benefactors and friends and on our extensive alumni organizations. During the past five years, donations totalling more than $3 billion have been received, supporting research, scholarships, bursaries, prizes, capital development and the general endowment fund.
Sustaining momentum for the University’s continued change and development will be our next biggest challenge. The foundation that has been set in Strategic Development 2003-2008 will provide a platform for further growth and progress, and assure the University’s continued contribution to excellence and innovation.