Students’ Steely Support: Edwin Chan on Students and Growth

(Photos by ISO staff)

Prof. H.Y. Edwin Chan

 

What do you see are your challenges as University Dean of Students?

I can claim some knowledge of CUHK students as I have served as a warden for many years and was Dean of General Education of Chung Chi College. But the diversity of the entire student population at CUHK and their needs and interests are so great that it takes time and patience to get to know them and work out solutions with them. I see my role as that of a bridge between the students and the different units of the University which are there to facilitate and complement their education here.

How will an ideal graduate of CUHK look like to you?

A CUHK graduate should be an aspiring practitioner in his/her own chosen field of expertise but should also be more extensively conversant in such matters as the arts and social affairs. His/her life’s aim should be to make constant advancement on three levels—the personal, the professional and the societal.

What would you advise a freshman?

The freshman year is a critical one. It’s important that a freshman should plan and start expanding his/her experience and horizon. The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) has many programmes that facilitate it, including the newly launched ‘Flourishing First Year@CUHK’. The dedicated staff of OSA will help the students become better equipped for the challenges in school and in life ahead and embrace and benefit from the various experiences in the next few years. Its many activities address the freshmen’s mental well-being, experiential development, learning enhancement and career planning. All freshmen are well advised to join.

Why did CUHK host the Symposium on Internationalization of Student Affairs Issues in Higher Education?

Universities across the globe have been sparing no expenses or resources on providing services that complement and enhance the education of their students. CUHK is a forerunner in investing and offering so much in the support of our students and has been in frequent contacts and collaborations with other universities. In time we felt we could take a lead in organizing such an international event to provide a formal platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices among the administrators, student services personnel and education researchers.

What do you do to relax?

If one can be addicted to sports, I think I’m addicted to running, swimming and cycling. I do them individually and in the triathlon. I always think that the mind is sharpest when the body is exerted. Even with the present workload, I try to maintain a basic regime of training whenever I can. Running with the students, as in the Hong Kong Marathon last month, is doubly satisfying.

Any remembrance of your CUHK days as a biochemistry student?

Lots of fond memories, in and out of the classroom and lab. I benefitted a lot from the teachings and mentoring of good professors like Prof. Lee Cheuk Yu, Prof. Fung Kwok Pui and Prof. Fong Wing Ping. They did not just show me how to be a scientist but also someone committed to the value of education which made me want to follow in their footsteps.

This article was originally published in No. 512, Newsletter.