HKUST’s International, Research-rich, Creative and Broad-based Teaching Commended by Quality Assurance Council

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) welcomes the report from the Quality Assurance Council (QAC), which concluded that “in its short history, HKUST has advanced to become a leading international university”, with “strong grounds for being proud of its achievements to date”. The QAC Audit Panel also recognizes the University’s commitment to a “culture of academic excellence”, demonstrated by its “strong global rankings”, and commended that HKUST has a “rigorous and scholarly approach to quality improvement”.

HKUST is commended “for its creative, broad-based and detailed approach to implementing the 4-year degree program and the transformative effect of the new tri-modal approach to undergraduate education.” The QAC Audit Panel noted “the University has developed effective mechanisms for setting and maintaining academic standards”, “continues to strive to provide additional opportunities for students and has set up funding to support teaching and learning development.” It also commended a tracking system implemented by the University to monitor the whole student experience throughout the curriculum.

The University is delighted that the Panel acknowledged “the substantial and successful efforts of HKUST to provide international service learning and exchange opportunities for its students” and also its “proactive efforts in securing a large number of international agreements,” ranging from student exchanges and internships, joint programs to research collaborations.

HKUST takes great pride in its graduates, whose rankings in the Global Employability University Survey and Ranking have continued to climb over the years to the world’s 16th in 2014. The Panel noted the University’s “impressive standard of achievement of graduate employment and the proportion of its graduates pursuing further study”, and took the view that “the academic environment of HKUST is conducive to the development of graduates who are sought-after employees.”

As a leading research university, HKUST is particularly pleased of QAC’s commendation of the actions the University has taken to “establish and foster a rich research environment that provides strong local support for the development of students as future researchers”. The Panel observed that in spite of intense competition, “the University has enjoyed growth in its research student numbers and has maintained its ratio of research students at international standards.” According to the University Grants Committee (UGC)’s Research Assessment Exercise last year, HKUST produced the highest proportion of international excellent research work.

The report also commended the University’s efforts in integrating students’ voices in its daily operation, as there were “numerous examples of actions taken in response to student feedback” and “clear examples of change that have resulted” from it.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the University identified areas for further enhancement which have been affirmed by the Panel. These include extending undergraduate programs’ quality assurance process and review mechanisms to taught postgraduate programs, taking measures to build language competence and develop teaching skills for new teaching assistants, and extending external benchmarking routinely to include data-based comparisons.

HKUST President Prof Tony F Chan said the University has greatly benefited from the QAC audit process, “As the University is celebrating its 25th anniversary, we are greatly encouraged by the numerous commendations on our teaching and research quality, as well as an open and international learning environment that cultivates well-rounded and sought-after graduates. We have moved forward on a number of issues identified in a critical self-review and we will continue to listen and improve in our commitment to academic and research excellence.”

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