The Liberal Art University in Hong Kong
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23 December 2016

President Leonard K ChengDear Lingnanians,

2016 will be drawing to a close in a few days. It is an opportune moment for us to reflect on our progress and developments over the past year, and to plan ahead.

After a year of hard work and thanks to the dedication and contributions from all of you, I am proud to say that 2016 has been a fruitful year for Lingnan. 

A productive year

During the year, not only have we achieved a significant leap in our QS Rankings in Asia from 142 to 109, our commitment to fostering whole-person development of students through a liberal arts education was also commended by the Quality Assurance Council (QAC) of the University Grants Committee. In October, QAC released the Report of a Quality Audit of Lingnan University. The QAC findings confirmed that the University is committed to “providing quality whole-person education informed by the best of Chinese and Western liberal arts traditions; nurturing all-round excellence in students …… and encouraging faculty and students to contribute to society through original research and knowledge transfer.” 

Inspired by the QAC report’s affirmations, the University is taking concrete steps to further consolidate our strengths, and implement measures in response to the recommendations of the Report. As you may be aware, we officially announced the University’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2022 in early November. This new plan is formulated with the goal of steering Lingnan to the next level of excellence and addressing the education needs of the present and future generations. 

During the year, the University also made significant advancement in research and postgraduate education.  Notable examples are our participation in the Centre for Global Higher Education, the largest research centre in the world specifically focused on higher education and its future development that was launched in February, and our co-launching of the Inter-university Research Consortium for Higher Education in October with other international partners.  A number of new master programmes offered jointly with international partners have also been launched or in the pipeline, such as the double-master degree programme of MSc in International Banking and Finance (Lingnan University) – MSc Financial Economics / MSc Banking and Finance / MSc Business Analysis and Finance (University of Leicester); International Master of Social Sciences in Comparative Social Policy (University of York, UK); MSc in Work and Organizational Psychology (Beijing Normal University); and the master programme in International Higher Education and Management which is under development.  As one of the major strategic initiatives laid down in our new Strategic Plan, more new master programmes will be launched in the coming years.

An exciting year ahead

Over the past year, we have been taking steps on multiple fronts to strengthen the University’s brand.  In November, we launched a revamped website with a new look and many enhanced features to strengthen our brand outlook.  The University also conducted a brand audit earlier this year and based on the audit result, a brand positioning statement has been developed, as follows:

 “Lingnan University prepares students for future success and transforms them into global citizens in a rapidly changing world through its unique liberal arts education, distinguished by an interdisciplinary curriculum, small classes, a vibrant campus life and rich international exposure.”

In line with this brand positioning statement, the University has adopted a new tagline “Liberal Arts Education. Transformation for life” to highlight our brand essence.  We are in the process of developing a brand campaign on this theme.  From around March next year, the University will also promote a series of alumni and student stories through different publicity channels.

2017 will be an exciting year for Lingnan because we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our re-establishment in Hong Kong.  To celebrate this milestone, we will be hosting a rich array of activities and events during the 2017/18 academic year.  An Organising Committee, chaired by Vice-President Prof Joshua Mok Ka-ho, has been formed to organise this year-long celebration.

While a detailed celebration plan has yet to be worked out, some signature events have been proposed, including a kick-off ceremony, a gala dinner, a lecture series by distinguished leaders, a Conference for Alliance of Asian Liberal Arts Universities, a finale concert, and many other events organised by different Faculties and departments.  I call upon the support from all of you to take this opportunity to showcase the best of Lingnan through active participation and involvement.

Professional service

Besides leading the University and offering public service to the HKSAR, in the past year I was also personally involved in the provision of professional service in the form of organising a conference and serving as a Guest editor for an academic journal. A special section on “The Role of a Rising China in the World Economy” which Professor David D. Li (an internationally renowned expert on the Chinese economy) of Tsinghua University and I co-edited for the China Economic Review (a leading international academic journal published by Elsevier that focuses on Chinese economic issues) appeared in the September 2016 issue of the journal. The seven articles under this special section were developed from presentations made at an international conference held in Beijing in December 2015. The conference featured seven speakers including Prof. Li, myself and other notable scholars from Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, Peking University, and National University of Singapore. The speakers are leading economists who are famous for their research on the Chinese economy or recognized as experts in the global economy. Five of the seven articles studied the role of China in the world economy from the global, Chinese, U.S., European, and Asian perspectives; and two had a focus on China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

2016 was a great and successful year for Lingnan and myself; I believe 2017 will be even greater for all of us. May I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous new year!

With best wishes,

Leonard K Cheng
President