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Letter to Lingnanians

21 September 2018

Leonard K Cheng

Leonard K Cheng

Dear Lingnanians,

In the past few days, Hong Kong has been gradually recovering from the destructions caused by Typhoon Mangkhut. I am glad to know that all of you have safely returned to campus. Although we are now back on track after the one-day suspension of classes and work, the task of clearing fallen trees and repairing damaged facilities will require more time. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all operation staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our students and staff, and restore the campus to its normal conditions.

The new academic year began about three weeks ago; I hope you all are feeling renewed and refreshed with enthusiasm and vigor after the summer break. In late June I was in Vancouver to attend the annual conference of the Western Economic Association International. During my stay in Vancouver I took the opportunity to meet with Lingnan alumni in the area and shared with them Lingnan University’s recent development and accomplishments. It was a wonderful experience to re-unite with them. Like the committed alumni I met previously in Toronto, New York and San Francisco, the strong alumni community in the Vancouver area was very proud of Lingnan and immensely interested in the University’s new developments. I was most grateful to their hospitality and well wishes. 

Same as our freshmen and new postgraduate students, I also feel excited for the start of a new journey. From this September, I have entered my second term of presidency with the support of a strong leadership team. Together with the newly appointed dean, department heads and unit/office heads who will bring a diverse range of experiences, perspectives and ideas, the leadership team is committed to propelling the University forward.

Advancing our excellence

Looking back, the 2017/18 academic year was indeed a fruitful year for Lingnan. During the year, there were significant accomplishments that we should be very proud of. We made great strides in academic programme development including the launch of an interdisciplinary Major in Film and Media Studies in 2017/18, the development of an interdisciplinary programme in Data Science and preparation for another interdisciplinary Global Liberal Arts Programme, both to be launched in 2019/20. In June this year, our Risk and Insurance Management programme was awarded by the International Insurance Society the Global Centers of Insurance Excellence (GCIE) designation alongside with other eight renowned universities in the US, Switzerland, Spain and South Korea, which made us one of 29 GCIEs in the world.

Over the past months, we continued to find new ways to elevate students’ learning experience, push the boundaries of research and bring positive impact on society. Recently, our Hong Kong and South China Historical Research Programme and the Asia-Pacific Institute of Ageing Studies have successfully secured very substantial project funds from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, while the Wofoo Joseph Lee Consulting and Counselling Psychology Research Centre was established with the generous donations from Wofoo Social Enterprises. Another new endeavour was the launch of the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative which aims to cultivate an innovative and entrepreneurial culture on campus to address social, business and humanitarian challenges locally and globally. All these initiatives reflect the commitment of the University to serving the society.

A Year of Anniversary Celebration

The 2017/18 academic year was also a memorable year because we started the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Lingnan’s re-establishment in Hong Kong about a year ago. During the year-long celebration of our golden jubilee, we not only showcased the best of Lingnan but also the passion and spirit that shaped the extraordinary institution of today. The Celebration Banquet held in January brought together a wide variety of stakeholders, demonstrating the long-standing solidarity and affection of the Lingnan family that has continued throughout the anniversary. The “Distinguished Leaders Dialogue Series” held between January and April this year as well as the most recent “Conference on the Future Development of Insurance Industry in Hong Kong” held this month successfully demonstrated the University’s rich intellectual diversity and academic strengths in connection with Hong Kong’s economic and social development.

With the dedicated effort of many event organizers and even more participants among you, our anniversary celebration will come to a perfect conclusion with the concert “Symphony of Lingnanians” on 2 October. Tickets can now be obtained by registering on the event website. Please join us in this meaningful and memorable finale event!

Formulation of Strategic Plan 2019-25

As you might know, we rolled out our Strategic Plan 2016-22 with a number of new initiatives two years ago. While we are very pleased with the overall progress, we are facing new challenges and realities, such as shrinking government funding and increasing local and global competition. Given these significant changes, it is time for us to revisit our strategies and devise a new roadmap to advance the University’s excellence.

For this purpose, a Strategic Planning Retreat, participated by over 80 Council/Court members and senior academic/administrative staff, was held in August to discuss and identify strategies for the formulation of the University’s new Strategic Plan for 2019-25. The areas of discussion include academic programme development for both undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes; teaching and learning; research and research postgraduate development; financial sustainability; fundraising and alumni development; student development, leadership and inclusive entrepreneurship; and organisational effectiveness.

In the coming months, the University Administration will take into account the recommendations offered by faculty and staff as we move forward to formulate the Strategic Plan 2019-25. At the same time, we will be counting on colleagues’ support in the preparation of the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 and implementation of the new initiatives developed for the Planning Exercise 2019-2022. With our concerted efforts, I have no doubt that Lingnan is well-positioned to create an environment that fosters excellence in teaching, research, and service.

Lastly, I am deeply grateful to each of you for your contributions and extraordinary dedication in advancing our liberal arts mission. I am honoured to work with such a remarkable and talented community in the years to come.

I wish you all a healthy and productive year, and a happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Leonard K Cheng