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President's Message

Welcome to the Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK), a young, dynamic and innovative university which advances learning, knowledge and research that meet students' learning aspirations and society's talent needs.

Since our establishment by the Government in 1989, the OUHK has evolved from primarily a distance-learning institution to become a full-fledged university providing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate programmes as well as part-time programmes. Like other Government-funded universities in Hong Kong, we admit students to our full-time undergraduate programmes through Hong Kong's Joint University Programmes Admissions System (JUPAS) and these programmes offer full range of co-curricular activities. On the other hand, the design of our part-time learning programmes and mode of delivery defy the barrier of time and space. Currently we have about 10,000 full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students, and 9,000 part-time learning students.

Among the self-financing institutions in Hong Kong, we are the most established one in terms of student number, faculty number, and choice of programmes. Like the Government-funded universities, we have self-accrediting status, which tells a lot about our academic standards.

We respond dynamically to market trends by tailoring our professional programmes to industry needs. Examples include our signature programmes in creative arts, business, early childhood education, nursing, testing and certification. Our efforts are also recognized by the Government through the "Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors", as twelve of our undergraduate programmes are covered in the scheme starting from 2018/19, with a total of 1,040 subsidized places.

We have invested many resources to set up advanced facilities such as laboratories for creative arts, testing and certification and nursing. Creative delivery of courses that emphasizes experiential learning further adds to the value of our education that seeks to provide early engagement for career and all-rounded development of our students.

It is gratifying to see that our efforts in grooming talent bear fruits. Many of our students have bagged prestigious local and international awards over the years. One outstanding example is that our three fresh graduates in 2017 from the Animation and Visual Effects programme won the 54th Golden Horse Awards for Best Animated Short Film with their final year project "Losing Sight of a Longed Place".

With research funding from the Government's Research Grants Council, we have also strengthened our research by setting up five research institutes to spearhead research in selected niche areas of our strengths.

In face of challenges brought by an aging population, we have started a new campus project – the OUHK Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare - to train up the much-needed manpower for our society, and to help build a healthier Hong Kong. The new campus would house all our existing and new health-related programmes plus a suite of other facilities to enhance students' learning experience. When completed in 2020, the new campus would become a health education and community health care hub in Western Kowloon area.

I invite you to explore our website to find out more about the exciting programmes that we offer to groom talents for our knowledge economy.
Professor Yuk-Shan Wong
President's message to students and staff

I want you to know that OUHK is a new era university.

At OUHK, learning is unconstrained by the confines set by time, space, and age. Using the latest education technology for multimode learning and guided by inspiring faculty, our students can learn anytime, anywhere, at any pace, and regardless of their age. We defy traditional barriers to learning. We nurture new era students with multiple competencies whose success goes beyond the narrowly defined examination scores.

Driven by the visionary leadership and wisdom of our past chairmen, presidents and council, enthusiastically supported by our students, alumni, faculty, staff and the community, the OUHK today is increasingly winning wide acclaim as a dynamic, innovative university that equips our graduates with multiple talents to tackle complex challenges of our time.

OUHK gains broad support

We continue to evolve as a multi-mode university, with renewed spirit of innovation and flexibility that characterized OUHK's first 25 years. Having started with open learning and distance education, we broadened to full-time face-to-face university education on a modern campus. We see our growing relevance in a larger regional context with increasing exchanges and collaboration with tertiary institutions in mainland China and abroad.

Our mission of Education for All remains paramount and gains us strong community and government support. We receive a significant amount of grants and donations from charitable foundations and corporate benefactors. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for sustaining us as a thriving, selffinancing, non-profit institution of higher education and research.

Affordable, quality higher education

We ensure affordable, quality higher education through prudent financial management. Our programmes of studies are designed to meet the rapidly changing needs for diverse talents in our knowledge economy.

OUHK is inclusive. For young school leavers enrolled in our full-time face-to-face programmes, we spare no effort to make learning enjoyable in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome motivated working adults who aspire to upgrade their professional training. We embrace senior citizens who pursue lifelong learning for personal enrichment. To all these student groups, we promise them excellence and pride on their graduation from OUHK.

An amply resourced Student Affairs Office plans and implements sporting and 'whole-person development' programmes that ensure campus life is rewarding beyond academic study. We have funding support for exchanges and study-tours abroad for our students to gain international experience, global perspectives, and knowledge-based confidence.

OUHK students individually and in teams have won awards for outstanding performance in external competitions in public accounting, debates, occupational safety & health, in business start-up competition, in engineering design, in the creative fields of fashion design, micro film, short film, news photography and the Nat Geo Awards, and in rugby.

Projects & professional programmes

OUHK is developing an 'Open Textbook System' for all levels from primary to tertiary education with a $17.5-million grant from the Chief Executive's Community Project Fund. The objective is to framework a sustainable provision of quality open textbooks at minimal cost to teachers and students.

OUHK has been allocated 350 places out of the 1,000 in the Government's Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions (SSSDP) for four laboratory-based programmes: BA (Hons) Fine Arts in Animation & Visual Effects, BSc (Hons) Testing & Certification, Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) in General Health Care and Bachelor of Nursing (Hons) in Mental Health Care.

Applied research excellence

Last year, OUHK won a substantial $18-million grant from the Research Grants Council (RGC) under its Competitive Research Funding Scheme for self-financing institutions. That enables us to launch the Institute for Research in Innovation & Sustainability (IRITS) to be followed by the Institute for Research in Digital Culture & Humanities (IRDCH) and Centre of Chinese Culture.

This year, we again make a strong showing in competing for RGC funding. Out of a total of 12 self-financing institutions applying for funding, we come second in terms of total funding, securing $17 million.

We develop critical research to monitor and manage air and water pollution, sewage and urban waste disposal. We have established innovative techniques over a decade of focused experimentation into algal treatment of waste water and control of the red tide effect. Our collaboration with Sino Group at its Olympian City mall has been particularly productive in gaining valuable insights and experience into waste treatment and bio-fuel derivation.

We are deepening faculty expertise in multi-media technology to improve teaching methods, leverage mobile access and cloud computing. We are institutionalizing research into the digital impacts on society of e-books, social media, personal devices and the digitization of art and culture for archival, heritage and educational value.

The University promotes Chinese culture through a rich array of activities including public talks and cultural salons. From performing arts, film culture, as well as fine arts and crafts to academic ideology, philosophy and literature, we provide a platform for cultural exchange and learning among students, teachers and the community at large.

In contrast to other local research universities that put the emphasis on basic or 'blue sky' research, our uniqueness is that we focus on selected disciplines that are highly relevant to the livelihood and the economic development of Hong Kong and the Region.

Transition to knowledge economy

As Hong Kong enters into the knowledge economy, OUHK is well posed to play a big role in nurturing the needed talent. In a knowledge economy, nothing remains static. Frequent updating of skills and new learning is the norm. That levels the playing field for all. The acceleration of change opens fresh opportunity to start anew. There is no reason for anyone to feel blocked from new era jobs and skills the knowledge economy will generate. At OUHK, our door to learning is always open.

Professor Yuk-Shan Wong
September 2015

This being my first website message at OUHK, I wish to dedicate it to first-year students admitted to our 2014 full-time undergraduate programs.

Finally, for you, four years of university life has begun. It is a time of hope, as you come with your private dreams and public expectations. At the end of four years, one of two things will likely happen: either you leave feeling fulfilled and thankful, or you depart with a sense of loss, of opportunities missed. It all comes down to your mental preparation. I therefore want to weigh in with a bit of early advice as someone who had been there, urging you to get the most out of your undergraduate experience. Here, I choose to speak freely, because I care deeply.

Setting goals is the good habit of good students, of which building self-confidence should be goal number one, for without it success is impossible. Speaking of self-confidence, some of you may feel that you deserve better, that Open U is not exactly your dream university via JUPAS System. But you need not feel this way. After all, you are good enough to be among the lucky 23% who make it to a local university. I ask you not to sell Open U short, for it is a government-established, internationally respected university now celebrating its Silver Jubilee, whose graduates are highly competitive in the job market.

What you get out of a university education depends on what you put into it, not necessarily on which university you attend. In my own case, I graduated from Baptist College 40 years ago. It was then not yet a university. But it didn't prevent me from winning a full scholarship to McGill University, Canada's most famous university. I went on to complete my doctoral program, managing to have eight of my papers published in international scholarly journals as a Ph.D. student. One even made it into the pages of Science, widely considered the most prestigious journal in science. I shared this story not to boost my own ego, but to boost your self-confidence. As Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the US president famously said "No one can make you feel small without your permission." You have no reason to feel small as a member of Open U.

There is a catchphrase gaining currency these days, "Losing the race at the starting line." I take strong exception to this misguided thinking. In the knowledge economy, the starting line is constantly being redrawn by technology. A single starting line no longer makes any sense in the 21st century. You set your own starting line, wherever you happen to be.

Scientists tell us that the IQ gap between most human beings is small. What is big is the gap in "persistence". In the end, "persistence" separates the achievers from the underachievers.

You are now a university student, a privileged member of society. A hallmark of a university student is independent thinking. This means that you don't jump on the bandwagon and you won't be led by the nose. Most of all, you don't over-simplify things with slogans. In academic studies, as in life, have the courage to challenge orthodox thinking. In fact, according to Chinese Nobel Laureate Professor Samuel C.C. Ting, "In science, the majority often follows the lead of the minority who challenges and overturns established thinking. Scientific progress is made possible by the courage of the minority who dares to think different."

Being independent, however, doesn't mean excluding the views of others. An educated person is an inclusive person who knows how to respect others and their different views. There is much to be said for the Chinese virtue of going easy on others while being hard on ourselves.

To stay competitive, we must go international. By going international, I don't mean just bringing in large numbers of foreign students and scholars to our campus. It means paying attention to what is happening in the wider world beyond our borders, including what is unfolding across our own country.

Now that you are in the university, make sure you don't leave empty-handed. University life is for character-building, knowledge-seeking, network-expanding and self-discovery. In doing so, your teachers may be your best resource persons. In a free and unsupervised environment, it is all too easy to slough off and slip into self-indulgence. Don't squander your precious years at the university. Get the most out of it through self-discipline, self-awareness and seizing the initiative.

One thing people seldom talk about is the friendships you form in university. They are the truest and most durable. Here you will find friends for life. Don't leave the university without them.

Finally, I ask you not to forget your community. I will never forget those dark days in 2003 when Hong Kong was in the grip of fear over SARS. It was then virtually a dead city. But we did not lack for medical heroes. My oldest daughter was then serving as an intern at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the frontline of the battle against the scourge of SARS. Not knowing whether she had become infected, she dared not go back home, for fear of spreading it to her family. I remember meeting her one day in a restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui East. The streets were deserted and we were the only customers in the eatery, talking to each other through surgical masks. It was a heartbreaking moment but I was never prouder of my daughter for standing bravely by her city in its hour of maximum danger.

That SARS period was our darkest moment, but it was also our finest hour, when love, courage and selflessness triumphed over fear and despair.

I am not asking you to risk your life for our community. But I am asking you, as its future leaders, to keep Hong Kong in your heart as you enjoy your university life. May your years at Open U be filled with joy and the rewards of discovery!

Professor Yuk-Shan Wong
September 2014 


Maintained by: Public Affairs Unit( pau@ouhk.edu.hk )
Modified Date: Dec 18, 2018