20 September 2019

Vice-Chancellor’s open letter to all undergraduates



Dear Students,

We understand that some students have expressed concerns over the dual undergraduate degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Arts and the internship arrangements with institutions in mainland China, especially at the School of Chinese Medicine (SCM). The University management and related faculties have been closely following up on the matter, and I hope to address some of the concerns via this open letter. 

CUHK has been actively establishing partnerships with universities around the world to continue to enhance the quality and broaden the scope of our teaching and research programmes. The development of collaborative dual degree programmes is increasingly being viewed by universities locally and internationally as an effective mechanism to expand students’ global vision and experience, provide students with wider study options, and better equip them for the competitive, global job market. The tertiary institutions we partner with in offering the dual degree programmes are all internationally renowned in their respective fields. The curricula have been put through rigorous review to ensure that the required academic standards are attained or even surpassed. Starting from the current academic year, CUHK is launching in phases different dual degree programmes with world-class tertiary institutions in the UK, Spain, Japan, and mainland China, covering subjects that include business administration, social science, arts, and science. In designing these programmes, CUHK has faithfully followed our academic principles and standards.

As stated, a fundamental goal of the newly established dual degree programmes is to provide students more choices in course offerings. Students enroll in these programmes on a completely voluntary basis and, as quotas are limited, enrollment requires interviews or screening. To respond to some expressed misunderstandings about the dual degree programmes, I would like to clarify that these programmes are for students who are interested in widening their global exposure and learning experience. For those who do not apply for admission into these programmes, they will not be eligible nor sent to take part in a partner institution’s courses.  

The first dual degree programmes to be launched by the Faculty of Arts, including Linguistics, and Chinese Language and Literature, involve collaboration with Peking University, and are open for application to students admitted in the 2019/20 academic year and thereafter. During the application period, the two Departments involved had provided detailed explanation to interested students about specifics of the study arrangements, so that they could make an informed decision. In view of the limited quotas for both programmes, students were selected based on interviews. It should be noted that the students selected can choose to opt out at any time during the course of the programme, and their undergraduate studies at CUHK will not be affected. 

In response to the concerns and queries about the two dual degree programmes, two task forces have been set up by the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages and the Department of Chinese Language and Literature respectively, which will stay in close contact with students and follow up on matters related to their concerns. 

Regarding the internship requirement of the Chinese Medicine programme, the University understands the misgivings over doing internships in mainland China at this particular time. I understand that in early August, the SCM arranged for teachers to accompany students to the mainland and travel with them to the internship location. The SCM also sent teachers to visit students doing their internships in mainland China in late August, and informed them know that should they have any special needs, the SCM will provide assistance. In light of current social situation, the SCM has arranged for students to take internships in Hong Kong in the latter half of the semester (from November 2019 to March 2020), and has notified every student of the internship arrangements. Should there be any enquiries, students are advised to contact the SCM, whose teaching and administrative staff are always ready to help.

I would like to make it clear here that the Chinese Medicine programmes, including curriculum structure and internship arrangements, offered at CUHK and two other local universities, are subject to rigorous assessment by the Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong (CMCHK) to assure programme quality. Students have to fulfil the specified requirements before they are eligible to sit for the Chinese Medicine Practitioners Licensing Examination administered by the CMCHK. The design of the curriculum and its application towards programme assessment have therefore included internship in mainland China as a compulsory item to ensure the standard of graduates. This requirement is clearly stated when students apply for admission to the programme.

The University and SCM have always had students' interests at heart. In view of current concerns expressed by some students, SCM will approach the CMCHK to explore the possibility of making changes to the internship arrangements. However, students must understand that any proposed changes to the program must have the approval from the CMCHK. The SCM will keep in close contact with students. If students have any individual difficulties, the SCM will try to provide the most practical assistance. 

Should students have any concerns about academic travels to other places, please seek advice or assistance from their respective Colleges or Student Affairs Office (OSA).

Apart from the dual degree programmes and internship arrangements in mainland China, I understand that students are also concerned about the assistance provided for students affected by the current social situation. We understand that, since June, a number of students have suffered from stress and emotional issues, such as insomnia. These cases are closely followed up by our counsellors at the Wellness and Counselling Centre. Individual students may for various reasons need special arrangements in connection with course registration or internship. The Departments or units concerned will respond to these needs with great care and provide assistance to the students in need so that they are able to continue their studies. The University and respective Colleges have also reached out to students who have legal needs and provide them practical assistance, including connecting them with alumni for legal and financial support. If there are other students who need help and have not approached us, please convey the message to them and ask them to contact their College or OSA.

Safety and health of our students are always our greatest concern. OSA has organised for students at least six extra stress management workshops during the summer vacation. Last week, OSA contacted different Colleges to collaborate on activities aimed at promoting physical and emotional wellbeing through healthy food. In the near future, different Departments and Colleges will run various forms of mental health support service for students. We welcome suggestions from students in this regard, so that our service can better meet their needs.  

Please be assured that the University will endeavour to provide students with every possible assistance during this difficult period. We will steadfastly uphold the mission of the University to disseminate knowledge, and to nurture and equip our students to become future contributing members of society.


Rocky S. Tuan|
Vice-Chancellor and President

 

If students need help, please contact the following units for assistance:

For counselling and emotional support  

Wellness and Counselling Centre (WACC), Office of Student Affairs
(Monday - Thursday, 08:45 – 17:30)
(Friday, 08:45 – 17:45)
Tel: (852) 3943 7208 / (852) 3943 3493
E-mail: wacc@cuhk.edu.hk
Address: 2/F, Pommerenke Student Centre, CUHK

24-hour Emotional Support Hotline
Tel: (852) 5400 2055
For security and emergency on campus  

CUHK Security Office
Tel: (852) 3943 7999 (24-hour)

For teaching arrangements  

Registration and Examinations Section
(Monday - Thursday, 08:45 – 17:30)
(Friday, 08:45 – 17:45)
Tel: (852) 3943 9888
E-mail: ugadmin@cuhk.edu.hk
Address: 10/F and 11/F Yasumoto International Academic Park, CUHK

For general enquiries and assistance  

Office of Student Affairs
(Monday - Thursday, 08:45 – 17:30)
(Friday, 08:45 – 17:45)

Student Development & Resources Section
Tel: (852) 3943 7323
E-mail: sdrs@cuhk.edu.hk
Address: 1/F, Benjamin Franklin Centre, CUHK

Learning & Cultural Enhancement Section
Tel: (852) 3943 1533 / (852) 3943 7945
E-mail: lces@cuhk.edu.hk
Address: 1/F, Benjamin Franklin Centre, CUHK