From : Professor Roland Chin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dr Albert Chau, Dean of Student Affairs
Subject: Communication with Students
The Hong Kong University Students' Union (HKUSU) issued an email to all its members on September 16, 2012 to discuss matters related to student participation and consultation. We would like to provide our observations and some facts for your consideration as follows:
a) HKU has a long history of student participation in university affairs. We consider student participation as crucial for the formulation and implementation of good policies, as well as an important HKU educational component. There are student representatives on the Council, Senate, all faculty boards, boards of studies, and more than 20 committees at different levels. The student representatives participate fully in the work of all these committees. The Committee on Student Affairs and all its subcommittees, which deal with different student-related matters including student residences, have student representatives.
b) In the preparation for the new curriculum and double cohort, students have been involved since as early as 2006. There have been a large number of forums on a wide variety of issues: design of the Centennial Campus, new curriculum, academic advising, first year experience, credit unit system, honors classification; and design, management and education mode of the Residential Colleges on Lung Wah Street, etc. Student representatives are included in the relevant committees as explained above. For Lung Wah, student representatives serve on the Working Party which looks after the construction, and the Governance Committee which deals with management and residential education.
c) Ever since we approached the beginning of the new semester, the communication with the executive committee members of HKUSU has been stepped up. Albert Chau and his colleagues of CEDARS have multiple phone conversations and email exchanges with different members of the committee every week, and meetings or face-to-face dialogues on different issues took place at the frequency of once in 7 to 10 days. Professor Chin has attended every meeting requested by the executive committee or other students. Updates were sent to students through email or on other occasions such as forums, training workshops for orientation leaders, etc.
d) There have been many instances in which University policies and proposals are changed because of students' input, e.g., the quotas for different categories of students of the Residential Colleges. Student representatives of HKUSU and the Postgraduate Student Association (PGSA) were also consulted on the appointments of masters, deputy masters and senior tutors of the Residential Colleges.
e) It is considered not appropriate for students to join the 334 risk management team since it involves financial and personnel matters. Nevertheless, as explained above, close and frequent communication has been maintained with students on a wide range of matters.
f) The management staff of Lung Wah and CEDARS staff have all along been in contact (emails or phone calls) with the new non-local students to keep them informed of the latest construction progress of Lung Wah. We have asked them for detailed arrival information and prepared different types of student accommodation accordingly.
g) In the earlier emails, we have explained that we had communicated with students at the earliest possible time on the contingency hotel arrangements as a result of the delay of the move-in date of the Residential Colleges due to health and safety concerns.
h) The latest contingency plans for 334 were reported at a recent HKU Council meeting with the presence of student representatives. The executive committee members of HKUSU have also been involved in the discussion and tendering of catering kiosks which supplement the catering outlets in the Centenary Campus. They were also informed of the renting of outside hostels and apartments to accommodate students who might be affected by the delay of the completion of Lung Wah. All along we are very grateful to our students for their valuable ideas and involvement in the 334 and other university matters.
i) All non-local students affected by the delay have moved back into the Blocks A and B of the Residential Colleges in the past week. We, as well as the new students, have deep appreciation for hundreds of students who have come forward to lend a helping hand to the new students, e.g., academic advisors of halls and faculties, buddies, hosts and helpers at the Residential Colleges, ambassadors in the Centennial Campus, etc.
We have every confidence that our students and staff will continue to work closely to make the University a better place. We, as always, welcome your comments and ideas.
May we again wish everyone a very successful academic year ahead.
With very best regards,
Roland Chin Albert Chau
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dean of Student Affairs