Teaching for Wider Learning: Teaching General Education in 21st Century

Teaching for Wider Learning: Teaching General Education in 21st Century

Speaker: Dr. Jerry Gaff (Senior Scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities)
Date: 3 June 2014 (Tuesday)
Time: 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Venue: 701, Hui Yeung Shing Building
Language: English


Teaching general education is always difficult because, if a good combination of breadth and depth is generally regarded as ideal for quality undergraduate education, the definition of breadth is always evasive, and teaching breadth seems the responsibility of general education. For teacher who is responsible for teaching one course in general education, how can he/she introduce a wider perspective to students  while teaching his/her expertise? In this workshop, Dr. Jerry Gaff, renowned scholar in general education and teacher development, will invite teachers to think through what the most important things to teach are, and how these things can be taught in general education courses. The workshop is interactive, with exercises that expand the views of teaching and learning, can improve teaching, and make teachers more sensitive to their students as learners.

Speaker’s Bio

Dr Gaff is the senior scholar of Association of American Colleges and Universities and is an expert in assisting college and faculty members or administrators to improve their academic programs in various ways, such as developing better quality and coherence in GE curricula, internationalizing the curriculum, using diversity and technology to aid learning.  His articles include “Avoiding the Potholes: Strategies for Reforming General Education” (1980) and publications include New Life for the College Curriculum (1991), Strong Foundations: Twelve Principles of Effective General Education Programs (1994) and Building the Faculty We Need: Colleges and Universities Working Together (2000; co-authored).


Teaching Human Nature and Morality in the Scope of Climate Change

Teaching Human Nature and Morality in the Scope of Climate Change

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying (Department of Geography & Resource Management)
Date: 24th April 2014, Thursday

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying has been offering “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” since 2010. The course design arose from Prof. Lam’s vision for a moral education for university students. Many young people nowadays seem to find morality an out-of-date set of code of conduct created out of thin air to “control” them and to deprive them of innate “rights”.  In the meanwhile, popular media sometimes intoxicates them further by espousing “greed is good” so long as money is made. Prof. Lam proposes that a way has to be found to convince students in layman terms that these prevailing thoughts may be misleading.  

The course “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” employs ideas of evolutionary biology to show that morality is a product of human evolution to achieve survival of the species in the face of environmental stresses arising from climate change. It is hoped that students would go away from the course realizing that their sense of "right " and "wrong" comes from within for a good reason and that "to do good" is as natural as eating and sleeping.  The ultimate goal of the course is to help students resolve to be good men in the rest of their life.

In this lunch seminar, the speaker will explain:

  1. how he has used “climate change” as the theme in his university general education course “UGEB2114 Climate, Energy and Life” to attract students to hisand;
  2. how he then uses “climate change” as the thread to sewpieces of knowledge from diverse fields to form a coherent picture of the making of human nature and morality to students.  

***Prof. Lam is the awardee of the 2013 Exemplary Teaching Award in General Education.

Speaker’s Bio

Prof. Lam Chiu Ying is Adjunct Professor of Department of Geography & Resource Management at CUHK, Chairman of HKSAR Environmental Campaign Committee, Chairman of Hong Kong Countryside Foundation, Honorary President of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and Ex-Director of Hong Kong Observatory. Prof. Lam is a long-time fervent bird-watcher and after retirement, has turned into an active speaker. Starting with climate change, Prof. Lam promotes love of and respect for Nature as well as simple life-styles to a wide audience. His publications include: Thoughts on Wing, Birds of Hong Kong and South China (co-author), Director's Blog (co-author), Where for Peace in the Changing World.

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Service Learning- Significance and CUHK Supports

Service Learning- Significance and CUHK Supports

Prof. Fong Wing Ping (Chung Chi College),
Dr. Leung Kai Chi (I. CARE Programme)
Date: 14th April 2014, Monday

To enhance students’ personal growth and nurture them of a sense of community service, Chung Chi College and I. CARE Programme support dozens of local, mainland and overseas Service-Learning projects every year. In the long run, it is hoped that participating students will be able to organize service projects independently and the culture of social service will take root in HK. In this lunch seminar, the speakers will

  1. examine the significance of Service-Learning to students, service recipients and the University;
  2. discuss the difficulties and challenges ahead; and
  3. elaborate their facilitation works for the implementation of Service-Learning projects, and the supports and financial assistance offered to students.

Speaker’s Bio

Prof. Fong Wing Ping obtained his B.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees both at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  He joined the Department of Biochemistry, CUHK as a lecturer in 1989, doing research and teaching.  He is now a professor in the School of Life Sciences.  Throughout the years, he has been actively engaged in student activities.  From 2004-2011, he served as the Dean of Students at Chung Chi College.  In 2013, he was appointed as the Director of the College newly established Service Learning Centre.

Dr. Leung Kai Chi received his PhD in Geography from the University of Minnesota, and is currently the Section Head of the Social and Civic Engagement Section and the Senior Managing Officer of the I. CARE Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is strongly interested in community engagement, in particular various local urban contestations. He contributes regularly to Ming Pao Daily, and served as a guest presenter at Commercial Radio Hong Kong.

How Do We Ensure that Students Learn from Service-Learning?

How Do We Ensure that Students Learn from Service-Learning?

Prof. Ann Huss (Morningside College)
Mr. Tang Wai Hung (Department of Social Work, Wu Yee Sun College)
Date: 10th March 2014, Monday

The diverse student communities of Morningside College and Wu Yee Sun College create unique challenges for the development and sustainability of rigorous Service-Learning programmes. In this lunch seminar, the speakers will define Service-Learning and then address its challenges by responding to the following questions:

  1. How do we connect students’ service experiences with the early stage of their college life?
  2. What and how can students gain from Service-Learning? Can we and should we embed other educational elements in service learning activities?
  3. How do we ensure intellectually rigorous programmes that challenge students to both serve others and analyze the idea and practice of service at the same time?
  4. What are the considerations in running Service-Learning courses and programmes in CUHK?

Speaker’s Bio
Prof. Ann Huss is Associate Master and Dean of General Education at Morningside College. She taught Chinese literature and film at Wellesley College before coming to CUHK to build the new Centre for East Asian Studies (now Centre for China Studies) in 2006. She has been at Morningside since January 2012.

Mr. Tang Wai-hung is Lecturer of Department of Social Work, as well as Director of Service-Learning Programme of Wu Yee Sun College.  He is currently teaching one University GE Course on “Understanding the Socially Disadvantaged” for undergraduates from various disciplines, as well as several GE Courses on “Service-Learning Projects” or similar themes for students from 3 colleges, in which the students are required to undergo local community services.  Moreover, he has planned and organized several non-local Service-Learning trips for students of Wu Yee Sun College.

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Proposing or Revising a University General Education Course

Proposing or Revising a University General Education Course

Speaker: Prof. Leung Mei Yee (Director of University General Education)
Date: 5 December 2013 (Thursday)

Starting from 2004, all University General Education (UGE) courses have been categorized into 4 Areas:  Area A Chinese Cultural Heritage, Area B Nature, Science and Technology, Area C Society and Culture, and Area D Self and Humanity. With the supports from over 40 teaching departments, 246 UGE courses are offered by the University of General Education. In the 2012/13 academic year, over 320 classes of UGE courses were offered, and more than 16,000 students enrolled.
This seminar targets at departments and teachers interested in proposing new UGE courses or in revising existing ones in 2014/15 academic year. We will 1) introduce the design of the UGE programme as a whole, 2) go through the procedures and criteria of UGE course approval, 3) introduce the GE Course Proposal and Inventory System (GECPI), which is a web system for the submission of UGE Course Proposals and the inventory of UGE course materials, and 4) briefly discuss the UGE course review and archive arrangements.

* For more information of submission of proposals for introduction and revision of UGE courses in 2014-15, please visit our website: http://www5.cuhk.edu.hk/oge/index.php/en/teaching-a-learning/2011-07-04-07-54-58/proposing-new-courses-ge-course-proposal-a-inventory

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Can Compassion be Taught?

Can Compassion be Taught?
Engaging Students to Develop Compassionate Attitudes

Speaker: Prof. Shekhar Madhukar Kumta (Assistant Dean (Education), Faculty of Medicine)
Date: 25 November 2013 (Monday)

The technological advances in society have had a profound impact on the practice of medicine and perhaps even in the expectations of people directly benefitting from it. Breakthroughs in human genomic sequencing, the discovery of targeted therapies and highly customized patient specific solutions provide rapid diagnostic possibilities backed up by a plethora of sophisticated therapies for many diseases that were hitherto difficult to manage.

Yet the advances of technology, the expectations of modern society (including those of our students) and the corporatization of health care delivery have all tended to depersonalize the practice of medicine – changing from a healing art to a technology-based research driven enterprise.

Yet for all its sophistications the practice of medicine should remain a matter of close human interaction – based on a genuine feeling of compassionate understanding. Without this important paradigm medicine would become divorced from its deep human bondings and be relegated to the realm of pure commerce.

As educators, how can we retain the deep and innate humanity that underpins the practice of medicine—how can we inculcate compassionate values in our students?

In this lunch seminar, the speaker wishes to share his personal experiences in the teaching and practice of medicine that have profoundly influenced him and have enabled him to engage students and interns, motivating and stimulating them to understand the core value of compassionate and ethical behaviors in our daily interactions with humanity.

Speaker’s Bio
Prof. Shekhar Madhukar Kumta is Assistant Dean (Education) of Faculty of Medicine, Director of the Teaching and Learning Resource Centre and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics & Traumatology. Prof. Kumta joined CUHK in 1989 and is an accomplished teacher, whose courses range from bedside and OPD clinical attachments to small group tutorials and larger group lectures that range widely across the medical curriculum. His contributions both to medical research and to medical education are much valued by the international medical fraternity.

Prof. Kumta is an enthusiastic teacher and advocate of effective and interactive teaching methods. He is highly regarded by both his students and his colleagues. His outstanding teaching has earned him a number of CUHK teaching awards, including the Best Teacher of the Year Award, the Faculty of Medicine Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award. In 2012, Prof. Kumta was presented with a 2012 UGC Award for Teaching Excellence by the University Grants Committee (UGC), in recognition of his outstanding teaching performance and achievements.

Value Education on Moral Issues Raised by Biotechnology

Value Education on Moral Issues Raised by Biotechnology

Date: 15 November 2013 (Friday)
Speaker: Dr. Chiu Chi Ming (School of Life Sciences)
Language: Cantonese

Biotechnology can tell you how to reproduce a dinosaur but not whether it is right or wrong to do so. However, once a new technology is introduced to the society its development is inevitable, no matter how good or bad it is. The question is thus: Can we keep biotechnology under our control?

People who believe in technological voluntarism and those who hold technological determinism see this question very differently. The answer, similar to other moral issues raised by biotechnology, much depends on our moral values and our ability to make moral judgement.

In this seminar, the speaker will share his philosophy on value education based on his teaching experience. The sharing will be in three parts:

  1. Taking biotechnology as an example, if teachers want to help students consider moral issues more thoroughly, what kind of knowledge and theory should students be first equipped with?
  2. What kind of examples can be used to stimulate students’ multi-perspective thinking over moral issues?
  3. What are the advantages of group discussion and group project in value education? How could teachers better prepare them? The speaker will share the experience of assigning group works to students with different academic backgrounds.

Speaker’s Bio Dr. Chiu Chi Ming is Senior Lecturer of the School of Life Sciences, awardee of the 2012 Exemplary Teaching Award of the Faculty of Science and the 2012 Exemplary Teaching Award in GE. Dr. Chiu is teaching two GE courses, namely “UGEB2262 From Genes to Life” and “UGEB2360 Wonders and Insights in Biology”. Dr. Chiu is keen on trying novel pedagogical methods. In the Teaching and Learning Innovation Expo 2009, Dr. Chiu won the best poster award for “Using clickers in learning cell biology”. Another poster with Dr. Chiu as the first author on “Using online video and interactive flash game to bring laboratory experience from life-science to non-science student” was also presented in the Teaching and Learning Innovation Expo 2010.

Value Education in the Era of Value Pluralism: Teaching in “Outline of Chinese Culture” and “Freedom and Destiny”

Value Education in the Era of Value Pluralism: Teaching in “Outline of Chinese Culture” and “Freedom and Destiny”

Date: 31 October 2013 (Thursday)
Speaker: Prof. Ng Kai Chiu (Department of Philosophy)
Language: Cantonese

The age of monism, may it be Confucianism or Christianity, has long gone. Instead, we are now living in the era of value pluralism. “How to promote value education in university” is thus a critical issue to educators unless we regard value education as superfluous in university education. In this lunch seminar, the speaker will share his philosophy on value education based on his teaching experience in general education courses. The sharing will be in four parts:

  1. The concept of “values” is more abstract than concepts like “artefacts”, “creative works”, “data” or “phenomena”.  How can teachers arouse students’ interest in the reflection and exploration of values?
  2. What are the principles that teachers can follow when they are teaching courses that introduce single cultural traditions and their values, like “Outline of Chinese Culture”?
  3. On the other hand, are there any guiding principles or useful practices for teachers teaching courses that introduce plural values, like “Freedom and Destiny”?  
  4. Conclusion: What is the purpose of value education in university education?

Speaker’s Bio Prof. Ng Kai Chiu is Assistant Professor of the Department of Philosophy, awardee of the 2012 Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award and the 2012 Exemplary Teaching Award in GE. Since 2009, Prof. Ng started teaching general education courses aside from the Philosophy major courses. These include courses in Area A (Chinese Cultural Heritage) including  “Outline of Chinese Culture”, “An Introduction to Chinese Culture”, “Chinese Culture and Its Modernization”, “Mainstream Chinese Philosophical Thought”; and courses in Area D including  “Art and Methodology of Thinking” and “Freedom and Destiny”. Among the above courses, “Freedom and Destiny” was designed and proposed by Prof. Ng in 2010. Prof. Ng’s research interest is Chinese Philosophy, particularly Confucianism.

The Quest to Educate Students

The Quest to Educate Students

Date: 25 September 2013 (Wednesday)
Speaker: Prof. Norman Jones (Professor, Utah State University)
Language: English

Prof. Norm Jones has been involved in teaching general education at Utah State University since 1978; since 1981 he has served on general education committees. He has lived through three major General Education reforms at his University, and since the late 1990s he has been administering one and coordinating the GE programs in the Utah System of Higher Education. If he has learned anything, it is that teachers are the key to good general education. Only they can model it, and only they can ensure its quality. In this GE lunch seminar, Prof. Norm Jones will talk about the quest by the faculty of Utah to ensure their students emerge as educated people.

Speaker’s Bio  Prof. Norman Jones is Director of General Education and Curricular Integration as well as Professor of History at Utah State University. He chaired the History Department there for eighteen years.  Since 2001 he has been the Chair of the Utah Regents’ General Education Task Force, leading Utah’s efforts to improve general education’s assessment, transfer and articulation through faculty interaction.  Every year for sixteen years he has organized the Utah System of Higher Education’s “What is an Educated Person?” conference on General Education issues. Under his leadership, Utah became a LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) State with the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU).  He is deeply involved in “Tuning USA” and sits on its advisory board at the Lumina Foundation and the Institute for Evidence Based Change (IEBC). He consults nationally and internationally on faculty led curricular reform.  Working with the Business Innovation Factory and the Lumina Foundation, he has helped pioneer the Student Design Studio approach to student services and curricular change. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Liberal Education, the magazine of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.  In 2012 he was awarded the Jerry Gaff Award for Faculty Leadership in General Education by the Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS).