Newsletter No. 68

A Profile of New Students 1994 T h e average age of newly-admitted undergraduates has grown steadily from 18.3 in 1989 to 19.4 in 1994, and a large percentage of the students continue to be from families of limited means. These are some of the findings of a recent survey on the University's new students in 1994- 95. The survey was conducted by the University's Office of Student Affairs. Of the 2,802 new entrants, 2,733 completed and returned questionnaires, giving a high response rate of 97.5 per cent. The increase in the average age of students is due mainly to more admissions at the form 7 level. The more mature student population also includes some who could not enter the University in their first attempt. Close to eight per cent of the students come from families with a monthly household income below HK$6,000. The median family income of HK$13,411 per month represents a meagre 0.6 per cent increase over that of last year, and the average household size is 4.8. A ll these figures explain the substantial increase in the number o f students applying for government and University assistance this year. Taking their fathers' educational attainment as the benchmark, about 85 per cent o f the new entrants are first- generation tertiary students i n their families. As few as seven per cent of their mothers have received any tertiary education. A case for strengthening language training of CUHK students is borne by the figures denoting self-assessment i n abilities — 23.5 per cent of the students surveyed indicated inadequacy in spoken English, and 72.3 per cent in Mandarin. While the majority of respondents indicated confidence i n adapting t o University life, many anticipated difficulties in three areas in particular: meeting course requirements (44.9 per cent), adapting t o the University's teaching method (38.9 per cent), and understanding reading materials i n English (28.4 per cent). The respondents also indicated their four most preferred areas of employment to be administration/management (39.6 per cent), teaching (33.4 per cent ), research (17.1 per cent), and computer (15.0 per cent). Those pursuing courses in professional disciplines like accountancy, computer science, electronics, medicine, and social work naturally opted for careers that correspond with their training. Self-assessment of abilities and skills Donatio n o f Books by Australia n Consul General The Australian Consul General, Dr. Jocelyn Chey (left 3), accompanied by Mr. Brian Cummins, the Consul for Public Affairs (left 5 ), visited the University on 27th March to present a gift of Australian books to the vice- chancellor, Prof. Charles K. Kao (left 4 ), who received the donation on behalf of the University. Also present at the ceremony were Dr. Michael Lee, the University librarian (left 6), Dr. K.K. Tarn, chairman of the English Department (left I), and Prof. Andrew Parkin, professor of English (left 2). The presentation was followed by a tour of the University library conducted by Dr. Lee. Ar tHistoria n Portray s Poeti c Paintin g i n Chin a and Japa n P r o f . James Cahill, Emeritus Professor of A rt History a t the University o f California in Berkeley, visited United College from 18th March to 1st April as the second Distinguished Visiting Scholar of United College in 1994-95. During his stay, Prof. Cahill delivered a series of four lectures on the theme o f 'The Lyric Journey: Poetic Painting in China and Japan'. Th e lectures traced th e development of poetic painting in the Sung and Ming dynasties in China and the Edo period in Japan. Moderators of the four lectures included Prof. John Jamieson, director o f the Chinese Language Centre, Prof. Kao May-ching, curator of the Art Gallery, and Dr. Stanley Baker from the Fine Arts Department of the University of Hong Kong. Budding Scholars f rom Tsing Hua Visit United College A delegation of five undergraduates from Tsing Hua University in Beijing accompanied by their academic advisers visited United College from 26th March to 2nd Ap r il under the sixth Budding Scholars Exchange Programme. Du r i ng their stay, the delegation visited the Tuen Mun District Board, the Land Development Corporation, different government departments, and other tertiary institutions t o gather information for a research on 'Urban Construction and Modernization i n China'. They presented their findings at a public seminar held on 30th March in the Hall of Adam Schall Residence. As the second part of the exchange programme, a United College delegation consisting of nine undergraduate students of the college and two academic advisers —M r . K. H. Wong, the college dean o f students, and Dr. Irene Chow o f the Management Department — will pay a return visit to Tsing Hua University i n May 1995. They will spend a week i n Beijing and make a public presentation on the topic The Civil Service System and Human Resources Management'.