Issue 9
Jan-March 2002

CONTENTS

Cover Story:

- University Council Strives for the Right for UM to Develop Independently

On Campus
- Partnership among UM, CEM and INESC-Macau
- UM Research Awards
- Open Day 2002
- Unveiling the New Communication Lab
- New Scholarships
- Workshop on Law Studies
- Macao Japanese Speech Contest 2002
Special Report: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary
Student's Corner
- Plan for Elite Development
- Rise High to Win Medals
- Activities by Students' Union
Alumni Network
- Greeting Shanghai by UEAGCAA
- Link up with Shandong and Liaoning
Exchanges and Cooperation
- The Centre for Japanese Studies
- Our Days at UM
- Partnership with Chongqing University, China
Staff News
- The First Gold Medal from the "Olympiad" in the Microelectronics
- Dr Wan Guo Hua: Engrossed in Research
- "It was a recognition of my work at UM"
- "I am extremely optimistic about the future of Macao "
Staff Movement
Visitors

 

 

After serving as President of Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) for 30 years, Dr Tse Chi Wai was to retire in July 2001. At the moment, the cordial invitation of Mr Ho Hau Wah, the Chief Executive of Macao SAR, came upon him and postponed his retirement plan. He returned to his long parted hometown of Macao. On 1 October 2001, Dr Tse became the Chairman of the University Council of UM (UC).

The appointment, more than just a job to extend Dr Tse's career, is an important task to him. Recalling Mr Ho's words, Dr Tse remarked: "The Chief Executive hopes UM will become an independent institution of higher learning without the intervention of the government." He pointed out frankly that the attainment of this objective requires the amendment of the University Charter, so as to make UM more independent and open, fit in with the development of the 21st Century and satisfy the social demands of qualified graduates. The function of the UC should be shifted from an advisory body to a governing one. Serving as the bridge between UM and Macao government, the UC will participate in formulating UM policies.

Though confronted with new challenges, Dr Tse is full of confidence. "UM, as a local university, not only reflects the characteristics of Macao but also enjoys a high status." In addition, with the support and commitment of the government, UM has already laid a good foundation for further development. In spite of these advantages, there still exist some difficulties. Recalling the past, Dr Tse stated, "The University of East Asia (UEA) was acquired by then Macao government in 1988, and renamed the University of Macao in 1991. After that, UM became a publicly-funded institution. During the transition period, when top-level government officials left one by one, UM accepted the solemn mission to provide talents to fill the vacancies in a very short time."

To Dr Tse, this process provided an opportunity for UM to lay a solid basis. On the other hand, it has produced some mechanisms hindering UM from further development. This provided an opportunity for UM to build a closer tie with the government. UM's strength in training public administrators has also been recognized. "But in the long run, a close relationship with the government will undoubtedly impose restrictions on UM's development. If the notion employed in government administration is applied to the management of a university, it will consequently prevent UM from functioning properly to broaden the horizon of the whole society." With the return of Macao to China, Macao SAR government realized the necessity to make some changes. On 28 September 2001, when Mr Ho Hau Wah attended the UC meeting as the Chairman for the last time, he declared the appointment of Dr Tse as the new Chairman of the UC and stressed the wish of the government to give more freedom to UM.

Under the leadership of Dr Tse, the new UC will negotiate with the government and strive for greater opening and independence.

Regarding negotiations with the government, Dr Tse believes that the most important thing is that each government unit should share the same will of the Chief Executive and agree on the significance of UM's independence. If so, the coordination by UC with the government will proceed smoothly, and UM can give full play to the functions of a publicly-funded university.

The content of negotiation will be discussed and decided within UM and UC. "UM's history is short and any burden should be light, favorable to implement new measures." But Dr Tse admitted there exists the phenomenon that staff at UM are of mixed qualifications. Moreover, historical factors have influenced the degree of the staff's sense of belonging to UM.

As for the programmes offered, Dr Tse remarked that UM has not gained the full status of a comprehensive university. There is still much room left for adjustment, involving the participation of each member from UM. Everyone should give it more thought and express own opinions on how to run our UM well, so as to reach a consensus by means of discussion and negotiation. It is in no sense a model led by only one person. Dynamic development is healthy.

The resources of UM, now supplied only by the government, are far from enough to cope with future development. Dr Tse pointed out that the only way out is to establish a social relations network and raise funds from the whole society. "Learning from the experience of American counterparts in building scientific research centres will serve the society while alleviating the economic burden of UM."

Dr Tse is confident that UM is capable of developing featured programmes. "Macao, compared with other parts of Asia, is more closely related to Europe, which will greatly help forge the Macao—Europe relationship." UM can demonstrate its strengths by offering or strengthening such courses as Portuguese language and culture. Macao is well-known for its history of gambling. UM can offer relevant courses and make contributions to the academic research."

In addition to conceiving featured courses, we should establish and consolidate such basic courses as physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology, currently not offered by other universities in Macao. By doing so, UM will have more potential for further development. "There are many high school graduates who are interested in these majors. But they have to leave Macao for a college education. The major cause is that there are no such specialties in the universities here. Moreover, the establishment of these basic courses will provide chances for the local high school teachers to accept in-service training, which will indirectly improve elementary education in Macao. Therefore, it has a high social value".

While referring to the ideas about development, Dr Tse spoke with fervor and assurance. Though optimistic, he never forgot to point out the deficiencies of UM. The current resources of UM are not sufficient for it to be built into a comprehensive, research-oriented institution of higher learning. It is also impossible for UM to initiate programmes involving great consumption of resources. For instance, the establishment of a medical school is one of the hot issues under discussion recently in Macao. But owing to insufficient resources and the small size of the city, chances are slim that medical school will be added to UM at present. Nevertheless, limited resources will not stop UM from setting up some preeminent, research-oriented programmes, like the research of traditional Chinese medicine.

"To develop a university, the motive force at the core invariably consists in human factors." Dr Tse remarked that it is good practice for UM to recruit highly qualified teachers from around the world now. But it still remains a tough challenge to create a good environment beyond academic research to retain these talents and help them fulfill their full potential and achieve academic excellence.

Dr Tse believed that students with best quality and strong ability are the guarantee for local prestige of the University. Most of the students of UEA, the predecessor of UM, came from Hong Kong, so Macao people developed an exotic feeling towards UEA. "The situation has changed now. Today, the reputation of UM can be built on the basis of the outstanding students and graduates from Macao".

"Students from China and other countries are the fine constituent parts of UM. They have offered good opportunities for Macao students to interact with people of different backgrounds, to broaden their horizon, and to cultivate in themselves the ability to cope with the complicated society of modern times." Dr Tse acknowledged that during the 30 years in HKBU, he realized students are one of the assets a university must treasure the most.

There is no question that Dr Tse will appropriately apply his Hong Kong experience to UM.

 

   

Cover Story | On Campus | Special Report : Celebrating 20th Anniversary | Student's Corner | Alumni Network | Exchanges and Cooperation | Staff News | Visitors