10 July 2017

CUHK’s first STEM Academy Provides Diversified Learning Experience to Secondary School Students



The Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) jointly launched the first STEM Academy in Hong Kong from 3 to 7 July. The pilot courses including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are offered free of charge on a trial basis for secondary students with a science background. The STEM courses support and promote STEM education in Hong Kong and nurture future scientific and engineering talents. The initial application quota was 100 whereas the Academy received nearly 250 applications. Eventually, 106 students were admitted into the STEM Academy.

Learning experience diversified by integrating engineering project with mathematical and scientific theories

The 5-day intensive courses, which are jointly organised by the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science as well as independent sponsors, comprise lectures and tutorials in Mathematics and Physics, and Engineering project workshops. Participants who fulfill attendance requirements will have their deposit fully refunded. The course aims to bring out the essence of STEM. Learning is achieved not simply through assembling a measuring instrument. Instead, participants are required to perform data analysis and optimisation which involves knowledge of University Year 1 mathematics and physics. The courses consist of lectures, tutorials, discussion, experiments, presentations, and seminars to inspire students and generate creative ideas. 

Participants give positive feedback on the modes of instruction that comprise both theory and application

Prof. Henry N.C. Wong, Dean of Science introduced the course content together with Prof. Wong Hoi-ying, Associate Dean (Student Affairs) on Monday, 3 July. The Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony on Friday, 7 July was officiated at by Prof. Irwin King, Associate Dean (Education) of CUHK’s Faculty of Engineering. Prof. King congratulated the participants and expressed his gratitude to the two faculties and staffs for their great collaboration and provision of innovative learning approaches for the students. He was glad that the students enjoyed the courses and hoped that they could apply the knowledge learned to real life contexts. 

Prof. Wong Suk-ying, Associate Vice-President and Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, gave an encouraging speech at the Ceremony. “STEM courses provide secondary school students with preparatory training which helps them build a stronger and broader foundation for university studies in STEM-related disciplines,” Prof. Wong said. “As the pioneer of STEM Academy, CUHK Engineering Faculty and Science Faculty take into account students’ interests in scientific-related disciplines, their outstanding results in mathematics and science subjects as well as equivalent experiences and achievements during the admission process. The flexibility of the admission scheme allows the Schools to select eligible candidates and nurture them to become future innovative talents.”

“The various ways of learning, such as tutorials, discussion and experiments instead of one-way lectures, increase interest and allow me to learn more effectively,” said Choi, one of the HKDSE candidates this year, after completing the 5-day STEM courses. Another candidate, Chan, pointed out that the courses enable one to develop independent and more active ways of learning. “We have benefited a lot from the courses since instructors encourage students to express their opinions and think creatively,” Chan added.

With the successful launch of STEM Academy and for the further promotion of STEM education in Hong Kong, CUHK aims to use available resources effectively and further develop enrichment courses for different levels of secondary students who are interested in Engineering or Science disciplines and would like to enroll in preparatory courses.

Engineering Faculty and Science Faculty to promote diversity in development for undergraduates

To expand undergraduates’ knowledge in the field of STEM, the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Science both offer concentrated courses which help students to develop in different areas. Since 2014-15 admission, the Engineering Faculty has been offering the Engineering Leadership, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship Stream (ELITE Stream) to students with excellent academic performance. The Stream has attracted more than 220 undergraduates to apply. A series of stimulating and inspiring courses is offered exclusively for ELITE students. There is a student society, special exchange opportunities such as taking summer courses about information technology and visiting major technology firms in Italy and Portugal, and social and scholarly events specially organized for ELITE students.

As well as this, the Faculty of Science offers extensive research opportunities under the title of Science, Technology and Research Stream (STARS), for students admitted in 2017-18 and thereafter. It is an “add-on” stream intended for students with strong abilities and an interest in gaining wider exposure and research experience during their undergraduate studies. STARS students can participate in research, starting from junior year, under the supervision of faculty professors and have the opportunity to gain external  experience and join international conferences and seminars.

The students participate in the experiments.
The students participate in the experiments.

Prof. Irwin King officiates at the Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony.
Prof. Irwin King officiates at the Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony.

Prof. Wong Suk-ying delivers a speech.
Prof. Wong Suk-ying delivers a speech.

The Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony for the STEM Academy.
The Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony for the STEM Academy.

The Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony for the STEM Academy.
The Course Completion and Certificate Presentation Ceremony for the STEM Academy.

The first batch of graduate of the STEM Academy.
The first batch of graduate of the STEM Academy.

Students speak about what they gained from the course.
Students speak about what they gained from the course.

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