13 October 2015

CUHK Receives Exemplary Program Award for Improving General Education



The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has been honoured with the 2015 Exemplary Program Award for Improving General Education by the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS), in recognition of its commitment to continuously improving teaching and learning approaches in general education based on students’ needs and learning outcomes.  Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee, Director of University General Education, and Dr. Julie CHIU, Deputy Programme Director, General Education Foundation Programme, CUHK were presented the award in Wisconsin during the Annual Meeting of AGLS, where they spoke of their experiences in developing the general education programme in CUHK. 

AGLS is dedicated to strengthening and sustaining general and liberal studies programmes at colleges and universities across the United States.  Between 2007 and 2014, 14 universities/colleges in the U.S. have been selected for the Awards, and CUHK becomes the first institution outside the U.S. to be recognized in the new international category.  Institutions were assessed by the Awards Committee on their commitment to the following four key areas: making institutional choices about the most important goals for student learning and defining the desired outcomes; developing a shared faculty commitment to high impact learning strategies; making informed judgments about student achievement and the impact of various teaching and learning strategies; and ensuring continuous improvements in the programme. 

A unique programme in the territory 

General education has played an important role in CUHK’s undergraduate curriculum since the founding of the University.  With the 2012 new curriculum, general education at CUHK was further enhanced by the introduction of the ‘General Education Foundation Programme’ (GEF).  This is a common core programme added to the existing design of university general education and college general education, and a unique programme among local institutions.  The programme consists of two courses, in which students, through the study of classics, engage in dialogues with Nature and Humanity to explore the world of science and knowledge, and reflect on an ideal society and good life. 

CUHK started planning GEF in 2006 and piloted it from 2009.  The University expected that the introduction of GEF would bring undergraduate education to a new height.  It aims to set down for students a common intellectual and cultural ground, from which sensitivity to the concerns of human existence may develop, and intellectual dialogues on these concerns may emerge.  The GEF is reading and writing intensive and taught in seminar style.  It is designed to help students cultivate knowledge, attitudes and skills that are essential for independent learning. 

Comprehensive and innovative study aids 

Since the launch of GEF in 2012, over 20,000 students have enrolled in the programme.  The full-time teaching team has also been expanded from an initial few to 27.  Despite all the challenges during the programme’s development, it is encouraging to have received very positive responses from the students.  The recent Quality Audit Report of CUHK released by the Quality Assurance Council (QAC) of the University Grants Committee (UGC) also commended the quality of the programme. 

To add to the students' enjoyment and understanding of the classics taught in GEF, innovative learning aids and enrichment activities for students have been introduced. These range through specially-designed mobile Apps, Peer Assisted Study Sessions, reading and writing workshops, to documentary appreciation and movie nights.  These tools and activities not only create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere for learning and interactions, but also help develop a good relationship between teachers and students, as well as between students themselves. 

To learn more about GEF, please visit:
http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/oge/gef

CUHK becomes the first institution outside the U.S. to be awarded the Exemplary Program Award for Improving General Education from the Association for General and Liberal Studies. (From left) Dr. WONG Wing-hung, Associate Director of University General Education; Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee, Director of University General Education, and Dr. Julie CHIU, Deputy Programme Director, General Education Foundation Programme, CUHK.
CUHK becomes the first institution outside the U.S. to be awarded the Exemplary Program Award for Improving General Education from the Association for General and Liberal Studies. (From left) Dr. WONG Wing-hung, Associate Director of University General Education; Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee, Director of University General Education, and Dr. Julie CHIU, Deputy Programme Director, General Education Foundation Programme, CUHK.

The specially-designed mobile Apps of the programme are well-received by the students as useful tools to facilitate their study of classics.
The specially-designed mobile Apps of the programme are well-received by the students as useful tools to facilitate their study of classics.

The General Education Foundation Programme has received very positive responses from the students.
The General Education Foundation Programme has received very positive responses from the students.

Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee and Dr. Julie CHIU receive the award in Wisconsin during the Annual Meeting of AGLS, and speak of their experiences in developing the general education programme in CUHK.
Prof. LEUNG Mei-yee and Dr. Julie CHIU receive the award in Wisconsin during the Annual Meeting of AGLS, and speak of their experiences in developing the general education programme in CUHK.