Dr Alice Chong Ming-lin, Associate Professor from the Department of Applied Social Studies at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), was presented with the Award for Teaching Excellence by the University Grants Committee (UGC) on 5 September at a ceremony.
The award was set up to honour teachers who significantly improve, and excel in, teaching in the higher education sector. This is the second year running a CityU teacher has won this award.
Dr Chong has worked at CityU for over 20 years. She is a registered social worker, an expert on problems concerning the elderly, and a recipient of CityU’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2012–13. She uses her research results on social gerontology, professional expertise and experience as a social worker, and a student-centred experiential approach in teaching, to link their professional knowledge with personal experience.
“CityU has a team of internationalise and excellent teachers, providing students with a high-quality professional education,” said Professor Way Kuo, CityU President. “Dr Chong is the exemplar of CityU teachers and the embodiment of our emphasis on teaching. She disseminates knowledge to students and helps them to become leaders of tomorrow through various activities. Her achievement is recognised by UGC and the community. CityU teachers and students are proud of her.”
Dr Chong applies her research and her experience to her classes. For example, when she taught a Discovery-enriched Curriculum course about the ageing society, she guided the students to reflect on their own experiences of the elderly to better understand the problems arising from the ageing population. In addition, by engaging local senior citizens as life mentors for the “Life Mentor Scheme”, she encouraged students to experience the challenges faced by elderly people and acquire a deeper inter-generational knowledge.
“Students become motivated when they find a connection between what they learn and real life issues in the world around them,” Dr Chong said. “I adopt a student-centred experiential teaching and learning approach that engages and inspires students behaviourally, cognitively, affectively and perceptively.”
She added: “Through concrete and visceral experiences, reflective observation, and knowledge application, students gain meaningful learning. Students take an active role in their learning and become life-long learners.”
Dr Chong is a visionary leader committed to enhancing undergraduates’ adjustments to their first year at university. During her appointment as the Associate Dean of the Liberal Arts and Social Science College from 2005 to 2010, she took the initiative to plan and implement the innovative First Year Enhancement Scheme to help students acclimatise to university life; and in 2008, she spearheaded the departmental Project on Learning Excellence that assists students in setting and achieving educational goals while serving their community.
Dr Chong plans to use her award grant to engage students from other local universities to contact senior citizens through a Life Mentor Scheme. This will prepare students for the challenges and opportunities arising from the ageing population.