President’s Blog – The Way > Posts > 2013年3月18日
 

 Posts

 
March 18
2013年3月18日

學生與我

Way Cool Blog


 

學生是大學的主體。

我們在《2010-2015年策略性發展計劃》中,特別把提供專業教育作為城大發展的首要項目,致力為學生提供優質教育環境。優質的教育,可以啟迪學生心智與發掘他們的潛能,而不僅僅是讓他們在輕鬆、愉快的環境中學習,或者只是把大學當作萍水相逢似的職前訓練工廠,為的是畢業後能找到一份工作。我相信,這一點香港社會上、大學內以往不曾特別重視過。

為了達到教育、啟迪學生心智的目的,有必要增加對他們的了解。為此,四年多來,我訪問了近30個不同學習表現、不同專業學生的家庭,深入了解他們的生活情況、居家環境及家庭背景,聽取他們對學習與對學校的看法,了解他們在學習上的需要。

在所有家庭訪談中,都有學生的家長在場,有的單親家長甚至為了家訪特別請假、提早下班回家,與我見面。令人感到鼓舞的是,從交談中得知,我們所開設的課程和設想的發展方向,正是學生和家長所殷切期望的;同時,他們為城大近年來的成就及大學所提供的優質教育和教學環境感到滿意。從他們的友善態度和親切接待中,我深深感受到家長對子女的關心與殷切期望。

也是在類似的情形下,我結識了生患重病、但在病危前仍然堅持上課讀書的施寶欣小姐。本來只是普通的探望,竟發現她求學的毅力與父母給予的支持,都如此超乎常人。我在鄭寶璇教授的陪同下,禁不住一而再、再而三地探訪她及她的家人。最後一次去醫院探望她,她已骨瘦如柴,虛弱不堪,躺在病床上,特地為我朗誦了杜甫的「登兗州城樓」:

東郡趨庭日,南樓縱目初。
浮雲連海岱,平野入青徐。
孤嶂秦碑在,荒城魯殿餘。
從來多古意,臨眺獨躊躇。

聽著聽著,我知道她已來日不多,不由得熱淚盈眶,想起了賈島的「三月晦日送春」:

三月正當三十日,春風別我苦吟身。
共君今日不須睡,未到曉鐘猶是春。

但是春有盡頭,她在病床上領取了城大的學位証書後,終究還是走了。寶欣的父母永遠都是城大的朋友,逢年過節,忘不了與他們魚雁往返。

去年12月十六日,我與學生、校友、教職員組成的城大馬拉松團隊共82人,參加了台北的國際馬拉松賽,為城大組團參加境外比賽打響第一砲。其實,同樣去台北跑馬拉松賽的,除了以城大團隊報名的82人之外,還有一位校友,名叫楊肇麟;只不過,他本人並沒有報名賽,而是作為視障長跑手的義務領跑員。

我認識肇麟源於2008年。當時,他代表運動代表隊(Sports Team Council)到校長室為城大運動代表隊刊物訪問我。2009年11月18日我家訪時去了他大埔富亨邨的家,他母親和他熱情地接待了我們一行人,至今記憶猶新。在學期間,他擔任城大越野長跑隊隊長及運動代表隊資深領袖(Sr Sports Team Council Member)。畢業後,他繼續參與長跑運動,並且跑而優則導,工餘替香港盲人體育會擔任視障長跑者的義務領跑員,把成就他人的心願視為自己的快樂。

我知道,擔任領跑員絕對不容易,不僅要有一夥愛心、無私的奉獻精神,而且要有比視障長跑者更強的體力。

人飢己飢,人溺己溺。肇麟是我們的楷模!

我經常正式或非正式地與學生聚會。參加聚會的,包括大學部及研究生的社團領袖、城大赴大陸的交換生、外國及大陸到城大就學的大學生、外國到城大的交換生、城大的研究生,偶然還有來城大訪問的香港其他大學的學生。有一位非洲來的同學,普通話講得比香港的一般同學還流利順暢,廣東話也說得比我的好很多。即使校園擁擠,有幾次在圖書館裏,仍與中文大學、教育學院的學生不期而遇,這也算是城大多元化、多樣化的一章。

透過30餘次、逾數千餘人次的各類深入交談,我在傾聽他們的意見之餘,也交換了大學管治的心得。有時,學生編委為他們的雜誌出版物來訪,我樂得有這個機會了解這些80後、90後年青同學對各類事務的看法。許多學生純潔可愛,充滿朝氣。

與編委同學交換經驗時,對他們說,我當年在台灣清華大學當校刊編委時並無電腦,採訪、編輯、設計,都要靠人手書寫繪畫;今天,我擔任 IEEE Transactions on Reliability 的主編,這是一個學術雜誌,重視專業作品的品質與作者的寫作道德。城大的學生編委較當年的我更加成熟,與外界的交往更頻繁,然而他們仍然與我當年一樣,要為選擇題目、邀約稿件而傷腦筋。可見年代雖然不同,使用的工具也大有差別,可是編輯的問題核心與關心的社會價值卻完全沒有兩樣。終究見山還是山、見水還是水。

從他們身上,我發現了學生社團的錯綜複雜;許多社團單位之間常會發生不必要的嚴重口角、相互告發,由於彼此不信任,導致學生會一再要改選。我感到吃驚,年紀輕輕的學生不知道從那裏學來的政爭概念,強調社團間的「制衡」,不是好現象。我把我們社會上嚴重缺乏的「團隊」概念介紹給他們,鼓勵大家遵行「求大同、存小異」的精神。「團隊精神」在我們的社會裏亟待加強。

美國的大學社團較香港的大學社團要平靜祥和得多。我以在美國34年的經驗,為他們分析歐美的民主、自由、人權,甚至女性主義、法治、種族、制度與規章等問題與現象。其實,實踐乃是檢驗真理的不二法門。兼聽、公正、尊重他人,是我們教師與學生需要不斷學習與遵行的硬道理。

我走訪學校各個角落,與各類同學見面閒聊,不時去學生食堂用餐,與同學交談,聆聽他們的聲音、分享我的經驗。有好幾次,跟我打招呼、拍照、共同在餐廳進餐的同學,來自港大、科大、理大等香港其他院校。我也多次與城大校友在美食食堂不期而遇,透過共享餐飲去了解他們的生活與工作經歷。

基於這些用餐經驗以及對餐飲、烹飪的個人興趣,我對校內食堂提供的各類飲食的品質、價錢、服務、衛生、佈置都有相當深入的了解。聽同學說,中大食堂賣的餐飲較城大便宜又好吃,我就特地「親入虎山」,訪問中大,嘗試了那裏的餐飲。

除了在香港之外,我在其他國家與地區也與城大同學有過交往的機會,如在美國馬利蘭大學校園內與城大赴外地學習的同學、在台灣元智大學校園內與元智到城大商學院的交換生、在北京聚會上與來自內地的法學院學生、在南京大學與城大校友、在巴黎與城大的榮譽博士見面傾談。我與不同學生的廣泛往來,意義深遠,因為他們帶給我許多靈感,對城大擬定政策、執行校政、認識教師教研的優劣,有意想不到的幫助。

以上這些與學生的往來,尚不包括我例行參加的各類大、中、小型學生活動,例如迎新、烤肉、運動會、馬拉松、音樂會、龍舟競賽、年度餐會、個別專題會議、畢業典禮後的小型餐會、學生卡通畫作品展、學會辦的義賣、及跆拳道練習等等。只要行事曆許可,我不會錯過任何一個與學生交流的機會。

從以上四年多以來與眾多學生接觸中的觀察所得,我把一些重點摘錄如下與大家分享:

  1. 學生家長為城大今天在世界上受到的高度認可感到興奮。有些單親家庭,即使生活艱困,對子女的教育依然沒有絲毫疏忽。只不過他們常常代表著沉默的大多數,支持校政,但不希望引起他人的注目。

     

  2. 學校擁擠,用地太少,是許多人的共同感受。不少同學在各種場合表示,城大人稠地窄,招生太多,圖書館、餐廳座位太少,對生活與學習有影響。

  3. 經常有同學對於通識課程有意見。值得報告的是,許多同學未必認同簡單容易的課程。深度不夠的課程或準備不周詳的教學絕對逃不過聽者的法眼。這一觀察與去年十二月份「城大月報」的專題報導頗為一致。

  4. 非本地生最有意見、也表達最頻繁的意見是,有時教師在課堂上用廣東話講課,而課堂內不夠安靜,吵鬧的氣氛令人感到不舒服。當然,有些超級樂觀的學生,似乎很能自得其樂,不受任何外界的影響。

  5. 很容易注意到,有國外交流經驗的同學,表現成熟、言語得體、行事穩重。然而,本地生、大陸生、外地生之間彼此交往太少,交集不多。這是一件令人遺憾的事。

  6. 大家也許對城大兩年多前向政府申請籌劃成立動物醫學院被拒一事有許多不同的猜測。在我訪談的各類同學裏,對於創立這一前瞻性的學院,幾乎是眾望所歸,一面倒地支持學校所擬訂的計劃。這些支持,堅定了我們擇善固執、成立動物醫學院的信心。

  7. 幾乎所有交談過的普羅大眾,包括本地生及大陸生,都對於城大最近在社會上的認可度上升特別感到鼓舞。這些認可,依照一個典型的說法是:「城大現在是一所不能讓人忽略的大學。」一位2003年來自北京,畢業於城大,而後在科大獲得碩士學位的校友說:「當初來到城大,很快就感到城大並不那麼被香港人認可,還一度為此覺得失落、不舒服。」對於當初捨大陸一流大學來到城大,她曾經認為有被欺騙的感覺。

當然,除此之外,還有其他大大小小的個別意見,我都已交與相關單位參考改進、接納或者回覆。許多有價值的資料,我已轉發給大學同仁當作參考,並成為我們帶領城大邁入世界大學的重要基石。

此外,值得一提的是,在過去兩年多以來,我在大、中學及各式專業集會應邀做了近40場演講;在許多中六、中七的畢業典禮上,我還與未來的大學生交談。在中文大學所做的那場演講會,有一千七百人參加;而在重慶中國科學院召開的年會上,聽講者逾七千人。我珍惜這些傳播教育、普及創新科技、傳播人文知識與對外拓展交流的機會,並透過這些交流把城大的各項優質教研推廣散佈到世界各地;由其中的交往或與出席活動者的交談帶來許多意想不到的支持,特別令人鼓舞。

我輯集改寫了福島事件後撰寫的一系列文章,由香港「天地圖書」負責,出版了《七彩能源一鑑開》一書,並把獲得的稿酬捐給學生獎學金。此書的再版及由廣西大學出版社安排出版的簡體字版,目前正在進行中。日文版與英文版也正根據再版版本在與外地出版社接洽。

回顧四年多來以城大為家的生活,轉眼間匆匆而過,心中惦記著每一個探訪過的學生與他們的家庭,學生與家長對城大的寄望和關心。我相信,我們的學生在鼓勵創新探索的環境下,會孜孜不倦,勤於學習,為未來的事業發展做好準備,而他們的家人也會永遠耐心地給予大學支持和關心。這些既是我們對學生的期望,也應該是所有城大同仁繼續努力的方向。

作家莫言說過,當眾人都哭泣時,應該允許有的人不哭。當哭變成一種表演時,更應該允許有的人不哭。

我趁著與同學交往的機會,介紹給一個現代化大學應該持有的標準,鼓勵大家自立自強,以及在擁有自己的看法之下,學會尊重他人的看法。

在很多時候,學生就是我們的老師。

註:本博克曾載於城大月報(二零一三年二月號及三月號)。

 

My life at CityU — Students and I

Students constitute the core of a university.

In our "2010-2015 Strategic Plan" we regard offering professional education to our students as the priority in CityU's development, aiming to provide our students with the environment for a high-quality education. A high-quality education can open the minds of the students, allowing the full manifestation of their potentials in addition to providing a relaxing and pleasant learning environment. A university should not merely be a school of occupational preparation for finding a job after graduation. I don't think the local society as a whole or the universities in Hong Kong have attached sufficient importance to this point.

In order to achieve the goal of educating students, opening their minds and promoting mutual understanding between the university and students, I have visited nearly 30 students' families in the past four years. I have chosen to visit students with different majors and academic achievements. When I visited their families, I tried to find out about their living conditions, home environment and family backgrounds. I also listened to what they thought about the University and their learning as well as their needs in their study.

In all my visits, the parents were present. Some of them had to ask for leave from work or came home early for the occasion. I have learned from speaking with them that the courses we offer and the objectives of our strategic plan are exactly what they have ardently wished for. They are satisfied with CityU's achievements during the past few years in offering a high-quality education and an excellent teaching and learning environment. I could appreciate from their friendly attitude and warm reception their love for their children and their high expectations for their future.

During one of those visits, I got to know Miss Sze Po-yan, who persisted with her studies at CityU even when she was terminally ill. In what was in other ways an ordinary visit, I was deeply touched by her extraordinary tenacity and her parents' firm support of her. Accompanied by Dr Maria Cheng Po-suen, I paid her and her parents one visit after another. When I saw her for the last time in hospital, feeble as she was, she chanted for me Du Fu's poem Going up the Gate Tower of the City of Yanzhou.

Visiting my father in the City of Yanzhou,
Ascend the South Gate Tower for a first look out.
Hanging clouds connected Mount Tai and the sea,
To cities of Qingzhou and Xuzhou level land stretched.
Nothing remains round the wreck of the Qin stele that stands
Or the crumbled King Lu's Palace rubbles.
Forever seized by melancholy for things of the past,
My heart trembled with hesitation.

 

 

Knowing that her days were numbered, I was moved to tears. Jia Dao's poem Farewell to spring at the end of the third month came to my mind.

It is exactly the thirtieth day of the third moon,
When good time parts me who dolefully croon.
Through the night you and I shall stay up today
For it is still spring ere bell tolls in the morn ray.


(http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_63e482140100hhvs.html)

Yet, spring came to its end that year as in any other year. After receiving her CityU diploma at her bed, she passed away. Her parents have become CityU's friends since then, and we make it a point to write to each other on New Year's Day and other festivals.

On 16 December last year, the CityU Marathon Delegation, composed of 82 students, alumni and staff including me, participated in the Taipei International Marathon. Running along with our 82- member team in Taipei this time was Yeung Shiu-lun, a CityU alumnus. He didn't participate as a runner, however; but ran as a volunteer guide runner whose duty was to help a blind participant complete his race.

I met Shiu-lun in 2008 when he interviewed me in my office for a publication of the Sports Team Council. On 18 November, 2009, I visited Shiu-lun's home in Fu Heng Estate, Tai Po. The warm hospitality he and his mother extended to me and other CityU members still remains fresh in my memory. While studying at CityU, he was the leader of the CityU Cross-country Running Team and a Senior Sports Team Council member. Since graduation, he has continued his long-distance running. And because of his excellent performance, he started to volunteer at the Hong Kong Blind Sportsmen Association as a guide runner for the blind runners. He regards it his own happiness to help others fulfill their wishes.

Putting himself in the place of others and being always eager to help those in need, Shiu-lun is certainly our role model!

I often hold formal or informal meetings with students. The attendees include leaders of both undergraduate or graduate organisations, CityU's exchange students studying in the Mainland, students from other countries and the Mainland, international exchange students and CityU's graduate students. Occasionally, I also get together with students visiting from other universities in Hong Kong. There is a student from Africa who speaks putonghua more fluently than the average Hong Kong student and Cantonese much better than I. Our campus was crowded, but that does not stop me from running into students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Institute of Education in our library sometimes. This can be considered as a snapshot of CityU's .diversity and plurality.

Through the thirty and some visits to students' homes and face-to-face conversations with several thousand students, I have the chance to share my views about university administration just as I listen to the students' comments attentively. When the editorial board of the students' monthly journal. came to interview me, I was only too happy to have the opportunity to learn about the views of the students of the post-80s and post-90s generations about a variety of issues. Many students are lovely and full of life and untouched by cynicism.

While exchanging experience with the students of the editorial board, I told them about the times I worked as a member of the editorial board of the school journal of Tsinghua University in Taiwan. There was no computer then, and all interviews, editing, design and writing were done by hand. Today, I serve as the editor-in-chief of IEEE Transactions on Reliability, an academic magazine that sets great store by the professional quality of the articles and the ethics of authorship. The student editors of CityU's school journal are more mature than I was then, and have more frequent contact with the world outside. However, they still have to rack their brains to get the right topics and solicit contributions from the right authors. Although we live in different times and the tools at our disposal are entirely different, the main concerns of the editors and the social values they hold on to remain the same. Nothing much has changed, as far as that is concerned.

I also learned from them that the relationship between different student organisations can be complicated at times. Differences of opinion arise, to such a point that they impugn each other when they run for student offices. Such mutual distrust has unfortunately led to the abortion of the election. I always urge our students to seek a common ground on major issues while allowing differences on minor ones. Such "team spirit" is in great need in our society, too.

Student organisations in the USA enjoy a much more peaceful and amicable relationship. As practice is the sole test for the truth, listening to both sides, overcoming one's prejudices and respecting other people are the established truth that all the teachers and students should learn and follow.

I have been to every corner of our university. From time to time I dine with the students at their cafeteria. While we eat, I would chat with them, listen to what they have to say and share my experience with them. There have been a few times when those who greet me and ask to have pictures taken with me or dine side by side with me are students from the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University or the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Many times I have run into CityU alumni at the Food Court in Festival Walk. While enjoying the delicious food with them, I also get to know their life and work.

Thanks to these occasions and my personal interest in food and cooking, I have gained a thorough understanding of the quality, price, service, hygiene and decor of CityU's cafeterias. When I learned from students that the food sold in cafeterias of the Chinese University of Hong Kong was cheaper and more delicious than ours, I made a special trip to try out the food there.

Outside Hong Kong, I have also had the opportunities to meet with CityU students in other countries and regions. For example, I met and talked with CityU students who studied at the University of Maryland in the USA, the students of Taiwan Yuan Ze University who had studied at the Business School of CityU as exchange students, the mainland students who had studied at the School of Law at a get-together in Beijing, some CityU alumni at Nanjing University and an honorary doctor of CityU in Paris. Those extensive encounters have given me fresh inspiration and are surprisingly helpful to me in drawing up policies, exercising efficient administration and recognising the strengths and weaknesses of our teaching and research.

In addition to these encounters, I routinely take part in such student activities as student orientations, barbecues, sports meets, marathons, musical events, dragon-boat races, annual dinners, seminars, commencement luncheons, student cartoon exhibitions, charity sales organised by the Student Union and tae kwon do practices. As long as my work schedule permits, I will never pass up the chance of communicating with students.

I would like to share with my readers the following observations from my encounters with students:  

  1. The parents are excited over the fact that CityU is highly recognised in the world. Some single-parent families, though far from well-off, never neglect their children's education. As part of the silent majority, they support CityU's administration, but they don't want to draw the attention onto themselves.

     

  2. Many people are of the opinion that CityU's land is scarce and the campus is too crowded. Quite a few students express their views on different occasions that CityU has recruited too many students and that the crowded library and cafeterias have affected their life and study.

     

  3. Students have often complained about General Education courses. It should be pointed out that many students do not necessarily welcome the gut courses. Courses lacking in depth or teaching without adequate preparations do not escape the notice of the students. This observation of mine conforms to the views of the report of the December 2012 issue of the CityU Monthly.

     

  4. Non-local students complain repeatedly and bitterly about teachers who give lectures in Cantonese. The noisy classrooms are also a nuisance to them.

     

  5. Those students who have overseas exchange experience appear more mature. They tend to speak and behave appropriately. It is regretful that there is little contact among local students, mainland students and overseas students.

     

  6. There is wild speculation among the students as to why CityU's application for the establishment of a School of Veterinary Medicine was turned down by the government two years ago. All the students I have spoken to strongly support CityU's plan to establish such a school with its forward-looking character. Their firm support has strengthened our resolve to embrace what is sound and reasonable and establish this vet school.

     

  7. Almost all the students I have talked with are inspired by the recent rising prestige of CityU in society, which, as one representative remark has it, "CityU is now a university nobody can overlook." A CityU alumnus who came from Beijing in 2003 and who graduated at CityU and later obtained his MA degree at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said to me: "When I first came to CityU, I quickly found out that the university was not well accepted by Hong Kong people. I felt quite lost and disappointed." She even felt that she had been hoodwinked into choosing CityU over a first-class university in the Mainland.

     

Besides these points, I have forwarded to relevant departments other observations, which they will consider, adopt or respond to as necessary. I have passed on a lot of valuable information to my colleagues for their reference, which will become the cornerstone of our plan to make CityU a world-class university.

It is worth mentioning that I have been invited to give about 40 lectures and speeches in the past two years at universities, high schools and academic conferences. In many high school graduation ceremonies, I talked with those future university students. About 1,700 people attended my lecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. At the annual conference of Chinese Academy of Sciences held in Chongqing, my lecture attracted 7,000 listeners. I treasure these opportunities where I can promote education, popularise innovative science and technology, disseminate humanistic knowledge and broaden academic exchange with the outside world. Through these activities, I am able to spread the word about CityU's high-quality teaching and research to other places of the world. I am particularly inspired by the unexpected support from communicating and comparing notes with other participants of these events.

I wrote a series of articles after the Fukushima nuclear accident, which the Hong Kong Cosmos Books published under the title A Spectrum of Energies: Reflection of Energy and Environmental Protection in the Wake of Fukushima Nuclear Accident. The royalties from the book have gone to student scholarship. The work is now in progress to issue the second edition in simplified Chinese by Guangxi University Press. The Japanese and English editions of the book will be based on the second edition, and negotiation is underway with publishing houses outside Hong Kong.

Four years have fleeted by since I have made CityU my home. I keep thinking about all the students and their families I have visited, and their concerns and expectations for CityU. I firmly believe that in the environment that encourages exploration, our students will work hard in their studies and get prepared for their future career. I also believe that their parents will always patiently give their support to CityU. All this is not only the hope we place on our students, but also the goals for which my colleagues and I should continue to strive.

The famous writer Mo Yan once said, when the majority are crying, we should allow some people not to cry. When crying becomes a performance, we should all the more allow others not to cry.

I have taken up the opportunity of communicating with students to introduce to all the standards a modern university should uphold. I also encourage the students to stand on their own feet and strive to improve themselves all the time. I would like to see them respect the opinions of others while adhering to their own views.

More often than not students are our teachers.

Note:
This blog was carried in the CityU Monthly in February & March 2013.

March 18, 2013

 

 

email to OP OfficeSend email

 

 

 
 
Hit Count: 21