7 September 2017

Two Outstanding Scholars Awarded 2017 UGC Teaching Award



The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been honoured with the 2017 UGC Teaching Award by the University Grants Committee (UGC), in recognition of the excellent leadership and promotion by Prof. Emily Chan Ying-yang, Assistant Dean (Development), Faculty of Medicine, and Professor in the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, in the teaching, learning and research of disaster and medical humanitarian response, and Prof. Suzanne So Ho-wai, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology, for adopting an innovative pedagogical approach in clinical psychology training. The result is encouraging as scholars from CUHK won two out of the three awards presented. 

Prof. Joseph J.Y. Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, said, “My sincere congratulations to Prof. Emily Chan and Prof. Suzanne SoProf. Chan, who specializes in disaster and medical humanitarian response, is an experienced scholar with global vision.  She has demonstrated her leadership in various projects in which she has been taking a leading role and has helped maximize the practical and exchange opportunities for local students and the CUHK team. At the same time, she has broadened their horizons and facilitated experience sharing among relevant international organizations.  We are so proud of her success. Prof. So is a young and visionary scholar who adopts an innovative pedagogical approach in clinical psychology courses.  She has not only enhanced the learning experience of students, but effectively helped them to acquire professional clinical skills. Her achievement sets an eloquent example for other young scholars.” 

Prof. Chan and Prof. So are deeply honoured to receive the award. Prof. Chan said, “The award is recognition of the importance of knowledge transfer of disaster and medical humanitarian response and research on disaster risk management in the local tertiary education sector. I could not have achieved this distinguished result without the support from my team. I would like to extend my vote of thanks to my colleagues who have been working hard together with me, and to the students who gave me tremendous support. The enthusiasm from students in the field of disaster and medical humanitarian work inspires me to go the extra mile.” Prof. So said, “I would like to extend my appreciation to all members of the Department of Psychology who gave me great confidence in adopting an innovative pedagogical approach to improve the learning efficiency of students. Moreover, the proactive feedback from my students is also a driving force in my work.”

Promoting Research on Health-Emergency Disaster Risk Management (H-EDRM)

Prof. Chan, recipient of the 2017 UGC Teaching Award – General Faculty Members/Teams, had over a decade-long experience in humanitarian intervention in the world before joining the Faculty of Medicine, CUHK in 2006.

The frontline medical humanitarian experience reinforced Prof. Chan’s belief in the importance of establishing research in Hong Kong’s tertiary education sector that can be translated into evidence-based practice in the field of public health as well as disaster and medical humanitarian response worldwide. This strengthens the city’s role in having robust academic research to ultimately reduce disaster risk.  

Prof. Chan initiated and has been leading the Ethnic Minority Health Project, and triggered the establishment of the Collaborating Centre of Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response (CCOUC) in April 2011. She has been the Director of CCCOUC since then. CCOUC aims to minimize the negative health impact of disasters experienced by vulnerable populations in the region by serving as a platform for research, education, and community knowledge transfer in the areas of disaster and medical humanitarian crisis policy development, planning, and response. Prof. Chan has been emphasizing the importance of constructing knowledge of students and by maximizing overseas learning opportunities for local students. Teaching, learning and research opportunities with various UGC-funded institutions have therefore been strengthened as well. Her unique contribution to the Hong Kong academic setting lies in her effort to pull together an extensive global field-based training network through her projects and academic partners, and outcomes of such student-oriented teaching approach are feasible and applicable in reality. 

Enhance Learning Efficiency with Innovative Pedagogical Approach

A winner of the Early Career Faculty Members category of the 2017 UGC Teaching Award, Prof. So joined CUHK in 2012. She was awarded the CUHK Young Researcher Award 2016 and the Faculty of Social Science Exemplary Teaching Award 2016 in view of her distinguished achievements in teaching and research. Prof. So incorporates her years of frontline experience as clinical psychologist into teaching and research, and has been researching on psychopathology and clinical psychological interventions. She has adopted a student-centred teaching and assessment scheme to enhance students’ learning motivation and participation, which is conducive to maximizing students’ core learning outcomes.

In addition, Prof. So has incorporated an innovative pedagogy by introducing the new Self-Practice/Self-Reflection (SP/SR) approach, turning CUHK into the first tertiary institution in Asia adopting this approach in clinical psychology training.  Students are engaged in a series of carefully designed self-practice activities in class, applying major therapeutic skills on themselves, so as to enhance their experiential learning. At the same time, students write short reflective pieces on their experiences and thoughts regarding the self-practice exercises so as to facilitate systematic and in-depth reflective practice.  By bridging self-practice and self-reflection, students not only acquire the relevant concepts and clinical skills effectively, but also gain deeper understanding of the feelings of both the therapist and the service user. This approach will help to transform students into competent and empathic clinicians in the future.   

The Annual Award for Teaching Excellence 

The annual UGC Teaching Award was introduced in 2011 to honour those who excel in teaching in the UGC sector and their leadership in and scholarly contribution to teaching and learning within and across institutions. Past awardees from CUHK include Prof. Poon Wai-yin, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Professor in the Department of Statistics, Prof. Shekhar Madhukar Kumta, Assistant Dean (Education), Faculty of Medicine, and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Prof. Leung Mei-yee, Director of University General Education, Dr. Julie Chiu, Deputy Programme Director of General Education Foundation Programme and Dr. Wong Wing-hung, Associate Director of University General Education.

Prof. Emily Chan Ying-yang, Assistant Dean (Development), Faculty of Medicine, and Professor in the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care (left) and Prof. Suzanne So Ho-wai, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology, CUHK receive the 2017 UGC Teaching Award.
Prof. Emily Chan Ying-yang, Assistant Dean (Development), Faculty of Medicine, and Professor in the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care (left) and Prof. Suzanne So Ho-wai, Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychology, CUHK receive the 2017 UGC Teaching Award.

CUHK members join Prof. Benjamin W. Wah, Provost in congratulating Prof. Emily Chan and Prof. Suzanne So.
CUHK members join Prof. Benjamin W. Wah, Provost in congratulating Prof. Emily Chan and Prof. Suzanne So.

Prof. Emily Chan receives the award certificate from Prof. Adrian Dixon, Chairperson of 2017 UGC Teaching Award Selection Panel.
Prof. Emily Chan receives the award certificate from Prof. Adrian Dixon, Chairperson of 2017 UGC Teaching Award Selection Panel.

Prof. Suzanne So receives the award certificate from Prof. Adrian Dixon, Chairperson of 2017 UGC Teaching Award Selection Panel.
Prof. Suzanne So receives the award certificate from Prof. Adrian Dixon, Chairperson of 2017 UGC Teaching Award Selection Panel.

Prof. Emily Chan delivers her acceptance speech.
Prof. Emily Chan delivers her acceptance speech.

Prof. Suzanne So delivers her acceptance speech.
Prof. Suzanne So delivers her acceptance speech.