Newsletter No. 92

Message from the New Vice-chancellor To take on the job of vice-chancellor is an awesome task. The vice-chancellorship i s not just an administrative post that seeks cooperation from interested parties to ensure the smooth running of the University and to nurture competent graduates for the job market. Nor is it purely fund-raising for the many activities important to a university. The special responsibilities of the vice-chancellor must include the vision to define the next generation of leaders for our community. In other words, we must ask ourselves what will make graduates of The Chinese University of Hong Kong truly special. Hong Kong has always been an interesting and captivating place, and it is especially so at this historic juncture when we move from a relatively benevolent colonial administration to the exciting uncertainties of embracing our own country for the very first time. This unique opportunity must not be regarded as a threat. Instead, we must determine the role that a university should play under these circumstances. One must, without fear or favour, analyse the current status of tertiary education in Hong Kong and the direction i t should take in future. A university is a unique institution. It allows and encourages freedom of thought so that creativity may thrive. It is such independence that constitutes the very soul of this university. To ensure this basic academic right, it demands from its staff courage to speak out, honesty in all situations, and moral integrity. To value and uphold principles is more important than personal advantages. We must not allow ourselves the luxury of compromise for the sake of expediency or gain. We are fortunate that over the years our University has achieved credibility in all these areas. We have always stood up for what we believe in and our University has never been an extension of the existing power structure of the government, even though on occasions we have been severely disadvantaged by this. No one can ever accuse us of being collaborators or turncoats as we have always been true academic scholars i n pursuit of truth. It is not enough to congratulate ourselves on past achievements, of which there are many. Rather, we must recognize our shortcomings so that we can correct them. As academics, we must critically evaluate ourselves and our goals, and accept this painful process as a part of life. Otherwise we cannot hope to improve the education we offer to benefit the next generation. Under a colonial system, the established hierarchy expects and has become accustomed to praise and flattery in return for patronage. No criticism i s acceptable, not even constructive criticism that may actually induce improvement. Subtle retaliation is used to stifle dissension. Under these circumstances, it is a tribute to the talent at The Chinese University of Hong Kong that we have still managed to advance education to the extent we have. Having experienced such a colonial system, i t is vital that within our own University the administration must never fall into the same trap that we alone know best. In an academic community where talent abounds, it is our duty to realize the full potential of both the staff and the students so that we can set clear objectives, identify the critical issues an d achieve our goals. The process is often time- consuming because we need to discuss, argue, and create. Channels have to be opened and defined. Rationality rather than emotions must prevail. The University needs input from all parties because it belongs to all of us and we all have a part to play. We are fortunate to have a beautiful campus, an ideal environment made for academic pursuits. What we now need to do is direct our efforts to create 'our very special graduates, who will exemplify the spirit of The Chinese University of Hong Kong of which we should all be proud. Arthur K. C. Li Six More CU Research Projects Rated Excellent The Research Grants Council (RGC) completed in June its 1995-96 assessment of research projects launched by local tertiary institutions and financed by RGC earmarked grants. Reports of 80 completed projects were submitted to RGC panel members and reviewers for assessment earlier this year. Fifteen projects were rated as 'excellent', among which six are undertaken by CUHK researchers. Including the six projects rated as excellent in the RGC's first assessment exercise in 1992, CUHK has produced 12 excellent research projects, which represent 44 per cent of the cumulative total from all local tertiary institutions. The CUHK projects newly rated as excellent are: Project Title Principal Investigator(s) Investigation on novel fibre and integrated devices for optical fibre Prof. P. S. Chung* communication systems Dr. Edwin Y. B. Pun* Prof. Wong Sai-peng Morophogenesis and pattern formation in the mammalian embryo Dr. Patrick P. L. Tam* Prof. Ng Tzi-bun Dielectric resonator: a new component for microwave circuits and Dr. K. M. Luk* antennas Political culture and political participation of the Hong Kong Prof. S. K. Lau Chinese Prof. Kuan Hsin-chi Effect of calcium supplementation on the calcium absorption and Prof. Sophie S. F. Leung bone mineral content of children who have habitually low calcium Prof. Jack C. Y. Cheng intake Prof. John R. L. Masarei* Prof. S. J. Oppenheimer* Ab initio molecular orbital studies on the geometric and electronic Prof. Li Wai-kee structures, energetics, and reaction potential surfaces of novel Prof. So Suk-ping molecular species *No longer a CUHK employee Summe r Schoo l for Pathologist s fro m F orty pathologists from leading medical centres in China participated in the first summer school for Chinese pathologists organized by the University's Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology in June. Sponsored by the Fok Ying Tung Foundation and supported by the Chinese Society of Pathology, the two-week programme aimed at giving intermediate-level pathologists from China a chance to systematically review their knowledge and practice of diagnostic pathology. The participants came from leading medical centres in 17 municipalities and cities in China. Lectures and seminars were also conducted by pathologists at the University in conjunction with other local experts and experts from Canada and China. Prof. Joseph C. K. Lee (right), chair of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, and Dr. Manson Fok, representing the Fok Ying Tung Foundation, at the opening of the first summer school for Chinese pathologists on 19th June 1996.