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No. 41 6 June 2005


Healthy financial position
The President, Professor H K Chang, reported in the "University Development Forum" on 24 May that CityU is in a "fairly healthy financial position", largely as a result of adopting policies that increase productivity and efficiency, such as proactively reducing the budget by 10% one year earlier, and introducing two voluntary departure schemes to lighten the burden of staffing costs and froze the annual salary increment.

However, due to the phasing out of the government-funded AD programmes, the University has not seen the end of cutbacks. A deficit is projected towards the middle of the next triennium. "The University will have to dip into reserves to make a flat budget and to maintain the quality of education," said Professor Chang, "We are largely out of danger, just like coming out of an intensive care unit. But that does't mean we need not worry."

During the Q and A session, some staff members enquired about the use of the HK$200 million revenue generated the University's self-financing activities in the past year. Professor David Tong, Deputy President, pointed out that 70% of the income already goes back to the academic departments which support these self-financing activities. The remaining 30% would go to administrative departments. On the issue of whether the University would return to the staff the 6% pay cut of the past two years, Professor Y S Wong, Vice-President (Administration), reminded colleagues that our budget situation is better only because this is the first year in which College funding was suspended. Starting from next year, particularly in 2007 and 2008, the University will suffer a significant deficit. "This structural deficit could be up to HK$100 million a year and will last for quite a few years. We should reserve the income for the future," Professor Wong said.


Creation of the grades of Teaching Fellow and Senior Teaching Fellow
The University proposed to create the grades of Teaching Fellow and Senior Teaching Fellow, primarily for teaching, to be appointed on academic staff terms. In view of the introduction of more self-financing courses, creation of the new grades is expected to provide more flexibility to recruit experienced industrialists, professionals, and practitioners in specialized fields and disciplines to contribute to teaching as well as to provide career progression opportunities for serving Instructors

Giant mural for Ocean Park
Four students from the School of Creative Media (SCM), under the guidance of Dr Louisa Wei, Assistant Professor, participated in a project to design a giant mural painting on the theme of conserving our environment and oceans for Ocean Park Hong Kong. The mural painting is presented to celebrate the World Environment Day and the World Oceans Day, on 5 June and 8 June, respectively. The project gave students an opportunity to contribute to enhancing public awareness on the importance of protecting our environment.


Enhancing communication with new students
The Office of the Chief Information Officer has taken the initiative to enhance communication with new students to be admitted in the 2005-06 academic year.

In order to encourage students to make use of the University's IT services as early as possible, students are informed of their individual electronic IDs (EID) in the enrolment letter issued by the Academic Records and Registration Office this year. To activate the EID, students can set their own personal passwords online. With the EID and password, they will be able to access the e-Portal and AIMS for targeted or personal information. This process also activates their email accounts. Also students are informed of the 2005 Student Orientations website in the enrolment letters.

Licensing agreement
CityU signed a licensing agreement with the Graphic Arts Association of Hong Kong on 1 June. The agreement authorized Graphic Arts to use the Intelligent Color Printing Enhancement software to manage the quality of color printing. The software is an outcome of an ITF project undertaken by Dr Peter Tse, Associate Professor of the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management.


Senior staff appointment
Dr Eva Wong has been appointed Head of the Education Development Office with effect from 1 June. Dr Wong joined the University in 1991 as an academic staff of the Department of Information Systems. She subsequently joined the former Registrarˇ¦s Office, Office of the President and the Run Run Shaw Library, being the Acting Head of the Digital Academic Resources since 2002.


Distinguished Lecture Series
World-renowned mathematician Professor Stephen Smale, CityU's Honorary Professor of Mathematics, will present a lecture titled "Data and Learning" at CityU on 8 June. This is the second Distinguished Lecture Series in pure and applied mathematics organized by the Liu Bie Ju Centre for Mathematical Sciences.

Art exhibition
The Chinese Civilisation Centre is organizing "The Art of Guan Liang" at the CityU Gallery from 10 June to 15 August, displaying more than 120 pieces of Mr Guan Liang's paintings. Mr Guan is a contemporary artist renowned for his portrayal of Chinese opera characters. An opening ceremony will be held on 9 June, at the Gallery.


Miss Joann Chow, a first year student of BSocSc (Hon) Applied Sociology (East and Southeast Asian Studies), was selected by the Dragon Foundation to participate in the Global Citizenship Programme in the summer in the US. The Programme is an award for 30 undergraduate students from Hong Kong who are rewarded for their academic excellence as well as non-academic achievements.


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