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Thirty years is a long time for an individual, but it is only a fragment of history for a university that aspires to be part of the fabric of Hong Kong for generations to come. This makes the OUHK’s 30th Anniversary a time not only for celebration of what has been achieved over the past three decades, but also an important opportunity to review our directions and plan for the future. Thirty years represents a significant milestone, and the Council and senior management are determined that the momentum we have gathered in the past will continue even more strongly into the future. To that end, we have put together a Strategic Plan covering our next five years, a document which identifies our strengths, defines our core mission and goals, and pinpoints pragmatic actions that will enable us to achieve them.

The Strategic Plan starts by recognizing good teaching as the cornerstone of any effective education. To achieve consistent, high quality teaching across the University, we are looking to embrace the latest innovative pedagogical strategies and cutting-edge learning technologies. Already, we are enhancing our existing programmes by placing greater emphasis on student-centred teaching and learning, and by adopting innovative curriculum strategies that are helping to make our programmes richer and more practical than ever for today’s society. The Plan focuses not simply on enhancing our core functions of teaching and research, but also on lifting student learning experience, for example by providing opportunities for students to travel more widely and gain exposure to valuable experiences outside the classroom. In other areas, the Plan will involve us boosting the range and quality of our research output, further improving our campus and its facilities (especially in terms of use of space and environmental friendliness), and streamlining and strengthening our administrative procedures and governance.

These goals are ambitious ones, but the University does not lack the dynamism, talent and commitment to make them happen. What is also crucial, however, is appropriate financial resources — especially for a university such as the OUHK which is self-funding. We rely to a great extent on the generosity of donors, and in this past year they have responded enthusiastically! The number and level of the donations we have received from multiple donors, both institutional and individual, over the year have been truly outstanding, and have enabled us to push ahead with our expensive plans without delays. The bulk of the year’s donations were earmarked particularly for the construction of the new Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare (IOH). One may wonder why a mere building should elicit such an outpouring of generosity. I see this as explicit approval on the part of our stakeholders of the valuable social mission of the University. As our donors clearly see, the IOH represents our long-term commitment to the health and wellbeing of Hong Kong. It will have a direct and pragmatic social function, and will improve the lives of countless Hong Kong people in the years ahead.

While recognizing the social value of the IOH, our donors are also expressing their confidence in the OUHK’s ability to manage this University for the greater good. In other words, their generous donations are partly a testimony to their faith in the OUHK, built on the evidence of our strong track record in serving society and responding practically to its changing needs. This tradition is encapsulated in our ‘Education for All’mission, and plays itself out in the quality education we have developed in response to social demand and Government encouragement. We have proved our ability to deliver the kind of education that is needed, and the kinds of graduates that are needed — more than 120,000 of them over the years. It is no surprise then that, given our exceptional student achievements of recent years and the growing demand from employers for OUHK graduates, our donors are so supportive of the latest IOH initiative. It is a privilege to have witnessed the OUHK build up this kind of reputation over the years, and to see the OUHK brand increasingly being regarded in today’s Hong Kong. We will not rest on our laurels, however. Whatever stage we reach, it will always be our goal to go further, so that the OUHK becomes a synonym for educational quality and innovation.

Many donors also gave generously for other initiatives during the year, such as scholarships and bursaries. Such areas are crucial because they enable the OUHK to welcome and support talented students who might otherwise be unable to afford the education they deserve. Some contributions have brought about innovative, meaningful educational initiatives. These include a five-year partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust for the community-based Home Health Watch Programme, and donations from the Tin Ka Ping Foundation for setting up programmes to develop students’ moral and cultural values. We very much see this kind of giving as a partnership, and it is such partnerships that drive the forward momentum of the OUHK, not least because we are a self-funding institution.

Education involves partnership, and the support we have received from the Government, from donors, from friends, from staff, from alumni and from our own students has been crucial in enabling the OUHK to deliver the quality education it aspires to. Our 30th Anniversary celebrations this year are an excellent opportunity to reflect on the achievements that have been made possible by our partnerships with multiple stakeholders who share our commitment to quality education and the future of Hong Kong. With such a partnership in place for the OUHK, I am confident that further achievements lie just around the corner. I sincerely thank all our partners for their contributions, and encourage their continued support and trust in the OUHK as we enter the next phase of our mission.

Michael Wong Yick-kam

Chairman of the Council
June 2019