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Message from Academic Vice President

Academic Vice President
Prof. CHAN Selina Ching

Aspiring to be a private liberal arts University which promotes inter-disciplinary research that informs teaching, Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU) is devoted to conducting research that benefits communities and serves the needs of professional associations, industry, NGOs, NPOs, governments, voluntary organizations, and grassroots citizens. Many of our colleagues’ research projects involve an active engagement with communities, professional organizations, and policymakers. These activities epitomize the ‘three Ps’ identified in the University’s fiveyear strategic plan (2021–2025) – People, Practices, and Profile. Under these three Ps, HKSYU aims to promote commitment, agility, and responsiveness across the whole community and workforce, in addition to engaging all different stakeholders in our ongoing development of teaching and research. We strive to improve our systems and practices so as to develop our reputation for excellence in teaching and learning and the profile and impact of our research. Our research on marginalized under-privileged social groups and grassroots communities have created a significant social impact by empowering various social groups with new practices to improve their well-being. It has also broadened our horizons and knowledge, promoted cultural diversity and social tolerance, and helped build a better future for society. Such a process also demonstrates how we cultivate and promote the virtues of benevolence in HKSYU’s motto,“敦仁博物”.

We are now living in the digital age – bombarded by massive amounts of information – with diverse narratives competing to become knowledge, and complex interactions between science, technology, and society being observed. To fit the needs of industries, cultural institutions, governments, and educational institutions in the age of technology and the knowledge economy, the University reinvents liberal arts education by combining traditional liberal arts education with digital technology. We encourage colleagues and students to engage with new technology in the process of creating knowledge and generating social impact. We promote the use of digital data to achieve scholarly and research goals, as well as the use of digital methods to present research findings, promote knowledge transfer, and generate positive impacts.

Last year, we received research donations of around HK$12.5 million. The majority of this funding has come from iFREE, which supports research in digital humanities. These donations will support the University in achieving the two other P’s of our five-year strategic plan – Place and Programmes. We will improve the research infrastructure of our liberal arts University by developing and promoting research in digital humanities. With the establishment of the Applied Data Science Department, and three laboratories: the Big Data Laboratory, the Virtual Reality Laboratory, and the Social Robotics and Digital Living Laboratory, we promote relevant interdisciplinary research projects as well as tailor the department’s teaching and research programmes towards the applications of technical skill-sets in the field of social sciences and humanities. The Big Data Laboratory facilitates research projects related to big data, data analytics, data mining, machine learning, data visualization, content demonstration, and/or assignments. The Social Robotics and Digital Living Laboratory supports research projects that involve the use of socially interactive robots in personal settings such as home, health, workplace, market, and education. The Virtual Reality Laboratory facilitates research projects examining VR/AR applications in content design and content consumption from social, cognitive, and behavioural science perspectives.

Amid the pandemic and the rise of the new normal, the University and its Research Office are committed to raising the University’s profile by proactively supporting colleagues to explore interdisciplinary research in digital humanities, and develop research on the post-pandemic changes in socio-cultural and economic life. By encouraging colleagues to further engage in multilateral communication with different stakeholders (e.g., communities, professional bodies, civil societies, the government, etc.), new theories and practices to meet local and global needs could be developed for a better future.