In the lead-up to its 30th anniversary, the University has continued to do what it has been successfully doing for 30 years — enriching and refining its academic programmes and institutions, expanding and updating its physical infrastructure, and bringing in the best academic talent it can find, all to meet the needs of a new generation of students. At the same time, it has been making changes and developing new initiatives in anticipation of the next 30 years ahead. The result has been a year rich in achievement, in consolidation, and in innovation.

‘Go Further’ brand campaign points way to the future

To celebrate its transformation over 30 years of service to Hong Kong, the OUHK launched a new brand campaign in April 2018 with the ambitious motto ‘Go Further’. The ‘Go Further’ campaign was designed not just to recognize the achievements of the OUHK in transforming itself from a distance learning institute into a major tertiary provider of both full-time undergraduate programmes and part-time programmes for adult learners. It also signals the University’s commitment to pushing ahead with new plans, and to continuing in its long tradition of growth and innovation. Kicked off with a roving promotion campaign utilizing a specially designed mobile truck, the ‘Go Further’ campaign proved an inspiring lead-up to the major 30th anniversary year.

Marking a major milestone — the OUHK 30th anniversary

The OUHK’s 30th anniversary celebrations arrived with great fanfare, and preparations and pre-events began early. In December 2018, the University unveiled a new anniversary logo that cleverly blends the numeral 30 with the mathematician’s infinity symbol, symbolizing endless potential. It came with a new slogan, ‘Striving to nurture ‧ Transforming the future’, nicely capturing the OUHK’s commitment to nurturing the next generation of talent. The anniversary year was formally kicked off at the Closing-of-the-year Luncheon, on 25 January 2019, when University leaders outlined the celebrations lined up for the year to an audience of around 680 colleagues.

Wide-ranging plans for the next five years

‘Striving to nurture ‧ Transforming the future’ is also the theme of the University’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. In keeping with the aspirational nature of the anniversary year, OUHK senior management announced details of the Plan at a media briefing in January. Harnessing the University’s core strengths and identifying major new growth areas that it can contribute to, the Strategic Plan has identified five major areas of focus. These include steps to guarantee premier quality teaching, to ensure an OUHK education is a rewarding and fulfilling learning experience, to enhance the University’s research capacity, to make the OUHK campus a more welcoming and inclusive place, and to achieve excellence in administration and governance.

These five focus areas all have highly practical aspirations and goals associated with them. For example, achieving premier quality teaching will involve a comprehensive review of the current curriculum and the adoption of new and innovative pedagogies down the track. Enhancing the University’s research capacity will see more substantial postgraduate research programmes being put in place, along with more efforts to build international research networks. Meanwhile, campus enhancements will include the University’s new Jockey Club Institute of Healthcare being developed into a vibrant hub of social interaction and learning within an environmentally friendly campus. All these plans and more are now in place, ready to be unveiled and developed over the next five years.

Cash injection to boost quality education

The University has earmarked an additional cash injection to the existing funds set aside to support a programme of Quality Enhancement Measures (QEM) launched by the University in 2017. The extra funds will be used for expanding the scope and coverage of these measures and will contribute to improving the staff to student ratio, consolidating the University’s research culture, and optimizing learning support for students while enriching their learning experiences.

OUHK consolidates leading status in Government’s SSSDP

The Government’s Study Subsidy Scheme for Designated Professions/Sectors (SSSDP) was regularized from the academic year 2018–19, with the OUHK managing to win an entire third of the subsidized places quota. These subsidized places, designed to help talented students get the education they need to gain a foothold in certain key employment sectors, are now applicable to 12 OUHK programmes. Already in 2018–19 the OUHK was the single largest beneficiary of the SSSDP, but the number of places under the scheme allocated to the University has risen further for 2019–20, up by 110 to a total of 1,150 — ensuring the OUHK is well set to attract the talent needed to meet society’s needs in the future. Meanwhile, as the scheme was extended to include sub-degree programmes, eight LiPACE Higher Diploma programmes have been included in the SSSDP, with 390 subsidized places allocated for 2019–20.

More programmes in response to new social and business imperatives

As society and technology change, so the OUHK is quick to update its existing programmes and introduce new ones to reflect the imperatives of the modern world. For example, in 2018–19 the University addressed new socio-economic challenges by adding programmes directly relevant to these areas, specifically by introducing new bachelor’s degrees in Ageing Society and Services Studies, and in Global and China Studies. In response to the changing business landscape, it introduced new undergraduate programmes in areas such as Finance and Real Estate, Hotel and Sustainable Tourism Management, Sports and eSports Management, as well as a new master’s degree in Applied Finance (Risk Management). In the area of Applied Science, it also launched new top-up degrees in Environmental Science and Life Science for holders of diplomas and associate degrees.

Prof. Philips Wang steps into Deanship

The OUHK’s School of Science and Technology welcomed a new Dean from May 2018, Prof. Philips Wang Fu-lee. With an extensive research and publication output, a strong record of gaining grants, and long experience of academic administration in Hong Kong, Prof. Wang has been able to bring a great deal to his new role. As an OUHK alumnus himself, he has a great affection for the University, and is quickly bringing his own ideas to the table with the aim of moving the School forward. Prof. Wang believes that interdisciplinary learning is key in the current business environment. As a highly cross-disciplinary academic himself, he is looking to inject this quality more directly by developing new double-degree programmes for the School in association with the Lee Shau Kee School of Business and Administration.

Dr Benjamin Chan returns to LiPACE as Director

The new Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Professional and Continuing Education (LiPACE) is no stranger to his workplace: Dr Benjamin Chan was the Deputy Director of LiPACE from 2010–12. Now, after some years in academic administration at other institutions he has returned to LiPACE as its Director. He is convinced that, with ongoing changes in the local economic structure and advances in technologies, LiPACE must also be ready to move with the times. In this respect, he is looking at providing enhanced higher diploma and professional diploma programmes that will respond to the skill needs of digital commerce, including creative ecommerce and experience-driven ecommerce, as well as technology-mediated human care services.

Library acquires the experienced leadership of Mr Owen Tam

Taking up the position of Librarian of the OUHK in May 2018 was Mr Owen Tam, a seasoned professional in the field with many years’ experience in the administration of academic library services. One of his priorities is to better utilize the University’s library spaces in order to reflect changes in the way today’s students use library space and access information. In keeping with the OUHK’s pioneering position in technology utilization, he has developed plans to introduce vibrant and technology-rich library learning spaces, while also expanding the library’s electronic and print collections. In terms of acquisitions and information literacy programmes, he is placing emphasis on close collaboration with academic staff to ensure that the needs of every programme are attended to.