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April 22
2013年4月22日

老師與我

Way Cool Blog


 

老師是大學的養份,是承傳創新的主體。

我深信不論在任何組織或單位,人都扮演著最重要的角色。正如前清華大學梅貽琦校長指出:「所謂大學者,非謂有大樓之謂也,有大師之謂也。」學生和我都對城大老師十分敬重,也對他們寄以厚望,特別是對學生來說,有機會向願意為教育全心全意投入的出色老師學習是他們的心願。就算到少林寺學武的人,還不是為了要跟隨得道的師父拜師學藝?

自從2008年加入城大,招聘優秀老師、傑出學者是我特別用心的地方。四年多來,遍走世界各地,風塵僕僕,花了不少心力。禮賢下士,目的就是要進一步增強大學的學術實力,為城大找來更多全心投入教硏、作育英才的學者,加入我們的優秀教學團隊。我們也藉著 PBPR,即績效獎勵計劃,獎勵和挽留校內人才。

基於我在美國34年的經驗,察覺到多元化的氛圍在我們的社會尚不夠成熟,有努力的空間。因此對於老師的招聘,我強調背景的多元化。因為我們身處的是多元化的國際社會,除了學習的多元化、國際化之外,我們還要求師資的多元化、學術的多元化,以及文化意見的多元化。城大從2008年至今,共招聘了約290名出色學者,半數來自全球26個不同國家,其餘屬本地或大陸學者。

招聘師資,我提出依據歐美先進大學的標準與慣例,只問能力與品德,不會受性別、年齡、宗教、種族、出身或政治立場等因素影響。「無友不如己者」是古今中外追求人才與良師益友的標竿,值得強調。教授們通常對同行教授的了解最多,因此,我希望藉着由優秀教授的推薦、支援去招聘其他教授。就此而言,城大有些學術單位做得相當不錯。

我亦留意到,許多在城大任教的老師,對於份內的傳道、授業、解惑都有相當的了解,對於大學的教研任務也當仁不讓、不假外求,其中既有學富五車、令人景仰的學術權威、頂尖科學家,也有朝氣勃勃、奮發有為的年輕老師,更有一批學行兼優、年富力強的中堅學者。老師知書達理,是知識分子中的精英,在發展學術之餘,我們更要求他們肩負厲志育人責任,以身作則,帶引學生博學慎思,明辨篤行,擇善固執。

大學之道,教研合一
「教研合一」是現代大學治學之道。「學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆。」時代進步快速,教學若無研究,資料陳舊,教而不能授,學生即刻察覺。研究若不傳授,為人師者,自然無法讓學生受益,缺乏邊際效益,也同樣不可取。有些傳統講法,把教與研分開來看,甚至於把教學和研究放在對立而又衝突的立場來處理。這種過時的看法既沒有根據,也不合乎實情。沒有學生不願意求教於武林高手似的一流學者。我這裏指的武林高手,就是大學裏「教研合一」的出眾老師。

學生在大學學習並不是僅僅為了學得某種技能,而是在學習過程中,發揮自己創新的能力及主動性。要培訓有創意、有突破性思考能力的高素質學生,必須有走在學術前沿的老師,在他們的引導和刺激下,才可以擦出思想的火花,薪火相傳。老師亦會因為與學生的接觸交流,教學相長,激發開拓嶄新研究領域的熱誠,把學術生命燃點照亮。

擔任校長以來,我一直全力支持策略性的課程改革措施,並在2012年推行以「重探索、求創新」為主題的新課程,加強融合本科生在大學教育中的學習和研究。我們的目標,是讓每一名學生在城大求學期間都有機會進行原創性探索。我們相信,受這種創新環境的耳濡目染,學生在開展事業之前,必會養成探索創新的習慣,會更能回應全球化社會的挑戰。

大學能夠做到「教研合一」,也就必然達到朱熹「春日」中所描述的境界:

勝日尋芳泗水濱,無邊光景一時新。
等閒識得東風面,萬紫千紅總是春。

大學之行,自强不息
城大一方面延攬世界一流師資及具潛力的年輕學者,同時著力營造適當的學術環境,努力倡導「教研合一」,支持學者為學生提供優質教育,從事對社會、經濟發展有益的創新探索與問題導向型研究。幾年來,無論是在獲得資助的研究計劃數目和資助款額上,城大的表現都十分優異,令人稱道。雖然只有29年歷史,城大已在世界大學中排名第95位,亞州大學排名第12位,值得向我們各位老師、學者致敬。

大學每年都會選出傑出老師,他們來自不同學系、學科,年資有淺有深,對教書育人無不推陳出新、精誠之至。更有個別老師,別開生面與學生逐一共餐敘談,探討個人進步規劃,鼓勵學生積極學習、樹立目標,並督促逐步實現。同樣值得稱許的是一些研究成績出色、地位崇高的大師級教授,經常與學生在一起,除了諄諄教導指點學問、利用自己的學術網絡積極做推薦之餘,更言傳身教許多做人的道理,對於學生獲得的成績也表示真誠的喜悅與驕傲,希望學生能夠超越自己,推動學術進步。

其實,老師除了上課外,更可以寫作教科書,編著教學軟件,製作教學模型,研討革新教學方法,以及在生活與學業上指導學生,解答疑惑,還可以為學生安排與國外定期交流的機會。由此可見,只要用心,還是有多種方法可以當個稱職的老師。每當看到、聽到城大老師榮得教學獎、喜獲研究資助,或是因為在教研上有所突破發明而得到榮譽或認可,我都十分高興,因為大學進步,學生有福,社會得益。

我於前年成立「校長學術講座系列」(President's Lecture Series) ,安排大學內的卓越學者為大家輪流介紹他們的最新科研成果。應邀演講者遍及大學各個學科領域,至今已安排了15 場演講,專家深入淺出的精彩報告,每場吸引聽眾多達170至350位,講者才情兼備,揮灑自如,令人「如沐春風」,獲益不淺,感激不盡。

這些學者身體力行,體現城大提升學術文化的責任,自强不息的精神。

惟精惟一,允執厥中
西方哲學家蘇格拉底早在二千多年前就為我們開創了講道理的先河。他指出,凡事須擺事實,講道理,遵守邏輯規則。這也是我經常和學生、社會分享的原則。大學享有高度的學術自由,不是謀利的公器,也不是政治角力的場所。假使大學連這一點都要打折扣,那就是高等教育的失敗,千萬不要責備學生一代不如一代。

如果一代真的不如一代,那是因為我們一代不如一代,理由是這些學生都是在老師們耳濡目染之下學習成長。我們目睹的那些衝突、偏見與不公平都可能有形無形地從講堂裏、課室外傳染給學生、傳播到社會上。在大學裏不講道理,那就實在太沒道理了!老師是學生的楷模,品德修養,至為重要。

我了解,標準太高會引起不安。但最重要的是,每個人都應自信天生我才必有用,只要盡力而為,大學無論在教學、研究或推廣服務方面,都有許多大家出力貢獻的地方。城大各類教職員工都是令人珍惜、值得重用的人才。對於敬業盡責的老師、才能傑出的老師,我以禮相待,衷心佩服 。

大學須發展濃厚的學術氣氛和高雅的學風,我們每個人也一定要為此負責任。今天城大有如此傑出的表現,各級老師的貢獻功不可沒。我期望與城大老師共同努力,在現有基礎上,互相激勵,上下求索,盡力發揮科學求真、人文求善、藝術求美的探索精神,繼續追求學術卓越與研究優異的大學理想。

 

Teachers and I

In a university teachers are the providers of nutrition and are the main body for inheritance and creation.

I believe that people play an important role in any government office, corporation, enterprise or educational institution. As Mei Yiqi, former president of Tsinghua University, noted "What are the chief ingredients that make up an institution of higher learning? Not tall buildings, but masterminds. In CityU, the students and I accord due respect to and place high expectations upon teachers. It is the wish of the students that they are granted a chance to learn from excellent teachers who are dedicated to their educational cause. It is similar to those who set their minds on learning martial arts. Why would you take the trouble of going to Shaolin Monastery on Mount Song if it wasn't to learn from the best masters?

For this reason, I have expended a great deal of energy recruiting first-rate professors and excellent personnel from across the world since assuming the CityU presidency in 2008. I have done my utmost to be courteous to and honour worthy professors, with an eye only on increasing our University's cultural, intellectual and academic force, with the engagement of an increasing number of talented scholars in scientific research and the training of our students. Through our Performance-based Pay Scheme, we have rewarded and retained internal staff noted for their professional decency and excellence.

Based on my 34 years' experience in the US, I perceive that the social atmosphere for cultural diversity is not sufficiently favorable. There is still room left for further improvement. That is why I have attached value to a diversification of backgrounds when recruiting new teachers. Because society is so diversified and international these days, we should pay special heed to the diversification of our teaching force, academic pursuits and cultural views in addition to increasing our stock of knowledge about varied and international elements. Since 2008, CityU has recruited 290 outstanding scholars, half of whom are from 26 countries and regions throughout the world, and the rest from the mainland and Hong Kong itself.

In recruiting teachers, I proposed that we should adopt the criteria and standard practices used in advanced colleges and universities in the US and Europe, and that we only take into account applicants' ability and integrity. Gender, age, religious belief, nationality, place of origin, political stance and other factors play no role at all in appointments. "Making friends with those who are no less capable or virtuous than themselves" is the motto for those at home and abroad who seek to cultivate themselves. Professors know their peers best. Therefore, I hope that we can recruit more high-calibre professors with their recommendation and support. In this respect, some units within the University have done quite well.

I have also noticed that a large number of teachers in CityU well understand the responsibility to "transmit the wealth of human knowledge, impart necessary skills and clear up whatever may confound the mind". Likewise, they know the expectation is that they fulfill their teaching and research duties. They depend entirely on their rich knowledge and special expertise. Among them, there are erudite and admirable academic authorities and top scientists, energetic and thriving young teachers and outstanding middle-aged scholars. Teachers are the elite of intellectuals, for they are civilised and inclined to deal with all affairs in a rational manner. I urge them to set themselves up as inspiring models to encourage their students to attach a great deal of value to a range of learning options and to carefully choose one's career path and adhere to a righteous mode of life.

Integration of Teaching and Scientific Research – the Epitome of University Spirit
The integration of teaching and scientific research is the noblest way for a university to pursue academic excellence. Confucius once remarked,"To study without thinking is futile; to think without studying is perilous." Life changes quickly in this era. If a teacher only teaches but does not do any research, the teaching material will be outdated. Students will notice right away if they fail to benefit from this kind of teaching. If one spends time on research but does not engage in teaching, the students will not gain, either. What do we mean by the integration of teaching and research? The traditional understanding, which aligned with the conventional understanding in Hong Kong, was that teaching and research were divorced from, if not at odds with, each other. This outdated view is both groundless and remote from reality. No student is unwilling to learn from first-rate scholars who, in the students' eyes, must have magical powers just like the famed masters of martial arts. In a university, the "famed masters of martial arts" are outstanding teachers who have successfully integrated teaching with research.

In a university, students not only seek to acquire techniques; they also endeavour to bring creativity into full play and demonstrate sufficient initiative. If we wish to turn out quality students equipped with bright and breakthrough ideas, we need teachers who can inspire students with fresh notions within a great tradition and heritage. Through constant contact with students, teachers can make steady progress in their work, retain their passion for exploring new fields of research, and enlighten students with the fresh fruits of their research.

Since assuming my position at CityU, I have worked hard to support strategic measures for changing the current curriculum and implemented new curriculum with the theme of "emphasising exploration and seeking creativity" and strengthened the integration of learning and research in undergraduate education. We aim at providing every student with a chance to make his own explorations while studying in CityU. We believe that students, imperceptibly influenced in such a favorable climate for creativity, are most likely to foster the habit of discovering new possibilities and creating new modes on their own before they step into society for a career so as to make themselves sufficiently capable of responding to the social challenges of globalisation.

When the integration of teaching/ learning and research becomes standard practice in a university, teachers and students can experience the bliss that Zhu Xi felt on the outing which he captured in his poem, "Spring Day":

Searching for fragrant flowers in the daylight, I found myself in the boundless seas of new sights.
Enjoying east breezes in leisurely hours, I took in the rich profusion of spring flowers.

University Experience – a Tireless Journey for Knowledge and Truth
CityU applies itself to recruit first-class professors and very promising young scholars across the world. It takes a great deal of effort to create a favorable climate for academic pursuits by advocating the notion of "integrating teaching and research". The aim is to encourage professors and scholars to offer a quality education for students and to pursue research into issues such as exploration, creativity and problem analysis, with solutions that should be conducive to social and economic development. Over the years, CityU has won a great deal of praise in terms of the number and amount of grants for its research projects. CityU is less than 30 years old but ranks 95th among the universities in the world and 12th in Asia. For this remarkable achievement, I would like to show my special respect to all the teachers and scholars at CityU.

A number of outstanding teachers are selected from different schools, colleges and disciplines every year in CityU for the Teaching Excellence Awards. Although they are of different ages and different lengths of experiences in CityU, these teachers are dedicated to their teaching careers, putting a great deal of effort into make new breakthroughs while inheriting traditional merits in their teaching and research. One of the extraordinary sights in the University is that some teachers are on very friendly terms with their students and take them out to dinner where they can talk about the students' plans face to face and encourage them to set lofty ideals. Equally praiseworthy are those senior professors at CityU who are often seen mingling with their students, setting a good example, furnishing them with knowledge and recommending them through their social network. They cherish a very noble wish that their students will catch up with and even exceed them in academic pursuits one day, and that their joint efforts will push academic studies into a new boundary and a higher sphere.

In addition to going to class, a teacher can use his or her time to compile textbooks, design pedagogical software, construct teaching models, explore new teaching methods, provide guidance to students in their studies and life, answer questions they might have, and explore overseas academic exchange possibilities. In short, we may conclude that so long as a teacher has a willing heart, he or she can make himself a boon to the students in various ways. I invariably feel happy whenever I see that teachers in CityU have been blessed with teaching rewards or granted financial assistance in their research projects, or have won honours and social recognition for their breakthroughs and inventions in their teaching and scientific research, for I feel that the advancement of the University will benefit students and society at large in the final analysis.

CityU has held some high-level academic activities worth mentioning, one of which is the President's Lecture Series that I established the year before last. I provide a forum for outstanding professors at the University to talk about the results or latest advances in their research. So far there have been 15 lectures, all of which have conveyed profound truths and transmitted the latest advances in science and the arts in plain terms and a simple language, attracting crowds of between 170 to 350 people. The lectures are vivid, convincing and inspiring, and have been of great benefit to the audience, and they embody a sense of responsibility for fostering the CityU culture and its spirit of progress.

Adhering to the Fundamentals by Going Deep and Professional
Over 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Socrates set a fine example for argument by reason. He held that whatever we do, we should begin with facts, and then proceed to reason via the rules of logic. That is the very principle by which I frequently share my views with students and society at large. The University enjoys a high degree of academic freedom. It is neither a profit-making corporation nor a political wrestling ground. If university teachers are allowed to cut corners in these areas, our higher education will have failed. It is not right to blame students, saying things have just gotten worse and worse over the years.

If students have indeed gotten worse over the years, it is because the teachers have gotten worse. Students learn by observing their teachers and by modeling their behaviour on them. All the contentiousness, all the prejudices and unfairness spread like a disease from the teachers to the students and then to society. In a university, we should never fail to reason things out based on evidence and facts. It would be ridiculous if we should do anything without rhyme or reason in a university. It is particularly important that teachers pay sufficient heed to the cultivation of moral integrity because they are the models that students look to.

I understand that high standards may cause unease. However, it is most important that everyone should rest assured that his or her talent will not go unnoticed forever. As long as one does his or her best, there are always places within the University where he or she can contribute. CityU boasts teachers and staff members who deserve to be cherished and put to great use. Dedicated and outstanding teachers always command my reverence and admiration.

It is essential that university teachers should endeavour to create and enjoy a favourable climate for their academic passion, pursuits and excellence, and students should seek to learn all that is refined, lofty and true. Every one of us is required to direct our efforts towards that goal. The credit for CityU's remarkable achievements so far should go to our teachers at all levels. Their contributions to the University are indispensable. I sincerely hope that CityU teachers and students and I will make joint efforts to work out new models based on our accumulated achievements to attain the ideal of the university for academic excellence by bringing into full play the explorative spirit of seeking after truth in scientific studies, striving for benevolence in the humanities, and going all out for beauty in creative studies.

April 22, 2013

 

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