Newsletter No. 233

University Announces Proposals to Tighten Purse Strings While Keeping the Edge T he University held two briefing sessions for faculty and staff on 17th and 18th December respectively on its plan for tackling the 13.9 per cent cut in government subvention for the 2004-5 academic year, which is on top of the accumulated 10 per cent reduction from 1998 to 2004. The sessions would be f o l l owed by a mon t h - l ong internal consultation on measures to deal with the f und i ng cut amounting to HK$384 million in the coming year. P r o f . Am b r o se K i n g , v i c e - chancellor, emphasized at the briefing sessions that the University would not just manage the budgetary shortfall but would take the opportunity to strengthen its competitive advantage. The guiding principles are maintaining progress and ensuring that the University's core missions in teaching and research are not compromised, and handling the situation strategically rather that implementing cuts across the board. P r o f. L i u Pa k - wa i, p r o - v i c e- c h a n c e l l o r, e x p l a i n ed t hat ' a l l departments and units w i l l have to contribute to a phased cutback.' He said that the University would try its utmost to reduce the impact on units and give them time to adjust by cushioning the b l ow w i th central reserves and the g o v e r nme n t 's ma t c h i ng g r an t s. Departments and units will also be given flexibility to manage the cuts within the parameters permitted under the relevant University policies. It is p r oposed that academic departments w i ll help save four per cent of the funding cuts in three years, while non-academic departments will help save four to 12 per cent in two years. Departments and programmes may have to be restructured to save costs while enhancing the University's competitive advantage. The criteria for restructuring include whether the department or programme is core to the University's m i s s i o n to be a w o r l d - c l a s s comprehensive university, the feasibility of redeploying students to other departments or programmes, whether the size of a particular department or p r o g r a mme can be ma i n t a i n ed in face o f a continuing cut, and whether the department or programme will be able to sustain itself in five to 10 years' time i f there is a continuing funding cut. The University will, however, ensure that academic staff salary is comparable with that overseas so as not to lose its competitive edge in the market, said Prof. Liu. For non-teaching units, staff salaries will first be reduced by six per cent over two years (2004 and 2005) in line with pay cuts for civil servants. Then cuts ranging from four to 12 per cent will be implemented according to unit size through four voluntary cost-saving measures: asking staff to take no-pay leave; reappointing staff from full-time to non-full-time status; reducing the University's contributions to retirement schemes and contract-end gratuity; and further reducing basic staff salary. I f a unit chooses to reduce basic salaries, it has to get the agreement of all its staff of the same grade. This may result in staff of the same grade being paid different salaries in different units. Prof. L i u said that a voluntary separation scheme affecting only non- academic staff may be introduced as a last resort. Should the scheme be introduced, ex-gratia payments w i ll be set at six mon t hs' salary w i t h an additional 0.3 month for each year of service, up to a maximum of 30 years. I f all measures fail to achieve a balanced budget, the University will have to ask some members of staff to leave through a mandatory separation scheme. The University has yet to be notified of whether there w i ll be further cuts in government grants for the 2005 -8 triennium. 'We need the support and understanding of students, faculty and staff members, and the community-at- large to survive this trying period,' said Prof. Liu. The consultation period began on 17th December 2003. A l l departments and units will have until 9th January 2004 to give their feedback on the proposals to the Resource Allocation Committee. Upcoming Anniversary Celebrations 40th Anniversary Conference: The State of Contemporary China Date: 6th-7th January 2004 Venue: Lecture Theatre 1 & 3, Esther Lee Building Website: CUHK 40th Anniversary Concert: The Sound of Harmony, the Voices of Joy! Date: 11th January 2004 (Sunday) Time: 8.00 p.m. Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall Tickets: $180, $150, $100 Tickets are now available at URBTIX outlets; half-price for senior citizens and full-time students; 10 per cent off for each purchase of 10 or more tickets. Ticket Reservation: 2734 9009 Credit Card Booking: 2111 5999 Programme: Menuha Overture (World Premiere) Daniel Law Ping-leung Conductor: Daniel Law Ping-leung • Hong Kong Sinfonietta Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Sergei Rachmaninoff Conductor: Carmen Koon Mee-yu • Pianist: Mary Wu Mei-loc • Hong Kong Sinfonietta Symphony No. 9, in D minor, Op. 125 -Finale: Presto - Allegro 'Ode to Joy' Ludwig van Beethoven Conductor: Chan Wing-wah • Soprano: Katusha Tsui-Fraser • Alto: Melody Sze • Tenor: Tam Yu-leung • Bass: Derek Anthony • Student Chorus, CUHK • Chung Chi Choir • Hong Kong Oratorio Society • Hong Kong Sinfonietta Programme Enquiries: 2609 6716 Objects for Scholar's Desk Exhibition Date: 17th January to 2nd May 2004 Venue: West-wing galleries, Art Museum Opening ceremony: 4.30 p.m. on 16th January 2004 For the men of letters in traditional China, objects for the scholar's desk reflect their artistic ideals, tastes, and academic leanings. This exhibition features a great variety of studio objects, ranging from brush, ink, ink stone, brush holder, paper weight and table screen, to zither, rock and bronze, from both private and the Art Museum collections. Please visit f or the latest information. Exhibition s h o w c a s i ng CUHK'S C o n t r i b u t i on to theFine Arts T o celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Chinese University of Hong Kong and to highlight the contribution of the Department of Fine Arts to art education and Hong Kong's cultural life in the past 40 years, the exhibition entitled 'Cheng Ming in all Directions — 40 Years of Art at The Chinese University of Hong Kong', officially opened amidst much cheer and fanfare on the evening of 8th December. Officiating at the opening ceremony were Dr. Patrick Ho, Secretary for Home Affairs, Prof. Ambrose King, vice-chancellor of the University, and Dr. Dennis Sun, chairman of the Board of Governors, Hong Kong Arts Centre. After the ceremony and refreshments at the Pao Galleries of the Hong Kong Arts Centre, the guests were given a tour of the exhibition, exchanging ideas w i th the alumni, students and staff. This exhibition, jointly organized by the Department of Fine Arts and the Hong Kong Arts Centre, featured the new works of 25 alumni. The works included a wide range of media: Chinese and Western paintings, sculptures and multi-media works, f u l ly illustrating the artistic creativity and the achievements of Hong Kong artists. They showcased the stylistic diversity and recent artistic developments in Hong Kong as well as the department's efforts at nurturing artists and creativity in Hong Kong. The exhibition ended on 30th December. A forum on 'A Dialogue with Teaching and Learning in Arts' was held on 13th December 2003 to h i g h l i g ht the department's growth in the last four decades. 1 No. 233 4th January 2004