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Outstanding CityU faculty receive Teaching Excellence Award

Eva Choy, Cathy Choi, Chan Pui-fun
Three faculty members were honoured with Teaching Excellence Awards (TEA) for 2016 at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) in recognition of their innovative and influential teaching.

The winners were Dr Yanto Chandra, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy, with a joint appointment in the Department of Management; Dr King Lai Wai-chiu, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering; and Mr David Yip Sai-on, Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Accountancy.

“Nurturing Discovery-based Learning for Social Impact”

Dr Chandra is dedicated to inspiring students to realise social problem outside lecture halls and to discover social innovation and entrepreneurship in their own way. “Students should be well equipped with new skills in this fast-changing global environment, particularly with the ability to innovate and discover new things,” Dr Chandra said.

While Dr Chandra embraces both commercial and social entrepreneurship, he has built more interest in the latter because of the social benefits it can bring. He encourages students to brainstorm ideas or even turn them into products via advance 3D printing technology.

“We talk about social problems all the time, but mere discussion is not enough. With inspiration, students can become change-makers,” Dr Chandra said.
A smart prototype device developed by his students won an award at the 2016 CityU Discovery Festival. It is a personal safety device for crime prevention.

 “Learning Robotics through Hands-on Experience to Change our Lives”

Dr Lai, who joined CityU in 2012, feels that students perceive mechanical engineering to be too theoretical and too difficult. As an engineering scientist, he is keen to help students appreciate engineering more. “It is a discipline that has a huge impact on people’s lives in so many different ways,” he said.

“I show my students the potential of new technology,” he added. The core idea is to share his passion for enhancing students’ learning of engineering through practical hands-on experience in robotics, sensor, and MEMS/nanotechnology applications.

His strategy of bringing together students from various disciplines in tutorials, laboratory classes and various learning and discussion activities to work on innovative new ideas has proven successful with his students winning several awards.

“Excellent Competence in Accounting, Dedicated Contribution to Society”

“I just like teaching,” Mr Yip grinned when asked why he quit accountancy to become an academic. After three decades in the higher education sector, he is still well attuned to the needs of young people today. He listens to their problems, addresses their weaknesses, and nurtures their potential.

By and large, accountancy is a technical discipline. Students are expected to build up hard skills to fulfill the requirements needed to become a certified public accountant. A large part of Mr Yip’s teaching activities, however, fall outside the regular curriculum.

Mr Yip makes sure his students are very well informed – and inspired – through his mentorship programme and year-round seminars and talks that he set up and that are delivered by professionals.

 “Being brilliant or not is one thing, but the right attitude is the starting point,” said Mr Yip, a point shared by employers.

Each TEA awardee will receive a cash prize of HK$15,000 for staff development and related purposes, and a grant of HK$150,000 to undertake a teaching development project of their choice.