Bulletin Spring‧Summer 1993

A nIntervie w wit h Prof . S. W. Tam Associate dean of the Graduate School in 1974, acting dean from 1975 to 1976, Prof. S. W. Tam was appointed dean of the Graduate School in 1981 and has supervised its development for more than a decade. He stepped down from deanship in March this year, and before he relinquished his duties the Bulletin had had an opportunity to talk to him about the Graduate School under his aegis. • Chinese University Bulletin • Prof. S. W. Tarn • Since its inception in 1966 , the Graduate School has been expanding rapidly, with student and course numbers being doubled and redoubled. Are you pleased with this pace of development? • I think i t is difficult to evaluate the growth rate out of the context of the development of the University as a whole. The Chinese University as a comprehensive university has to develop as its first priority undergraduate programmes, and postgraduate education i sonly a natural extension, which from time t o time i s also influenced b y external factors such as the needs of the community and the buoyancy of the job market. A l l I can say is that the Graduate School has been keeping pace with the development of the University, and I am happy about this. • What is most worth mentioning in the course of its development? • In its formative years the Graduat e School offered only a handful o f master's programmes. The number of such programmes has now increased to 46, covering almost every field of study in which the University has undergraduate programmes t o offer, reflecting a very healthy growth across the board. Also i n the early years funds for research were scarce and many worthwhile projects had to be shelved. Wi th more active government support in terms of resource allocation in recent years, and with the persistent encouragement from the current vice-chancellor, Prof . Charles K. Kao, there is now a change i n the tide and the future is bright. Looking back, what I consider to be the most important milestone i n the development o f the Graduate School i s the introduction o f the first Ph.D. programme in 1980. • Why did it take 14 years for the Graduate School to launch its first doctoral programme? • The reasons are twofold. First of all, in the sixties and seventies, society's demand fo r experts and specialists was relatively small, and holders of a doc t o r al degre e m i g ht f i nd themselves overqualified for a large number of jobs. Secondly, the Graduate School had all along adopted a very prudent expansion policy: no doctoral programme in any discipline would be offered unless relevant master's programmes had proven to be successful, GRADUATE SCHOOL 9