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Universal change at Buddhist College

Published on Thursday, 28 Jun 2012
Hong Kong Buddhist College’s (clockwise from top left) John Clark, CY Sin, Tracy Wong, Elisa Au and Edwin Wong prepare for changes
Photo: Berton Chang

Lecturers and assistant lecturers are being sought by Hong Kong Buddhist College to help see the school through an interesting but challenging period that will take it from being a non-accredited secondary school to becoming a prestigious private university.

Although the non-profit-making institution was founded in 1969, it was not until recently that its four-year, post-secondary programmes – which had already been approved by the Taiwanese government – were approved locally. Following an institutional review and programme validation by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications, the college will offer two programmes at associate-degree level, in business administration and Chinese. It also hopes to launch a third programme in the area of visual communication design.

“We are re-engineering the whole college with a vision of becoming a private university in Hong Kong,” says Professor Edwin Wong, president of Hong Kong Buddhist College. “Starting from September 2014, we will be offering two higher-education degree programmes – a BA in business administration and a BA in Chinese. We are building up the whole team – academic and non-academic.”

The non-profit-making institution, founded in 1969, also hopes to launch a third programme in the area of visual communication design.

Elisa Au, vice-president for administration, says that with three planned campuses, the college will accommodate 1,800 students in five to seven years. “The number of teaching staff will grow to 70 and the number of support staff to 75,” she says.

The development will take place in three steps. Within three years, functions, policies and departments will have to be streamlined and supporting internal management programmes will be put in place. Equipment, facilities and staff development will all be upgraded. In five years, the college will build a campus, and in seven years, it aims to become a private university with a degree of international recognition.

Lecturers will be able to grow with the college. Apart from teaching and preparing material, they will also contribute by writing new curriculums and conduct-validation exercises.
The ability to accept change is a basic requirement for someone who wants to work in the college’s fast-developing environment. There are no restrictions on nationality, though good English is extremely important. “It is an English-medium college. All documents and meetings are in English. We even expect the Chinese academics to speak English,” says Wong. “We are not checking boxes though. You have to have a good conversation to get the feeling whether the applicant is the right person and will fit in.”

At junior level, the job requirement is a relevant degree and the job is more operational in nature.

“At associate-degree level, we need staff who can teach and know the level of students,” says Professor John Clark, head of the academic quality assurance centre. He says his team will support programme leaders and staff to maintain quality as they teach.

At senior levels, a master’s degree or PhD is necessary, together with successful tertiary work experience.

The college strongly supports research and staff development. Staff can spend 25 per cent of their time on research, with a research fund available. The college also sponsors staff to attend conferences if their papers are accepted for presentation. It also sponsors further studies, including a three-year sponsorship to study for a master’s degree and a five-year sponsorship for a PhD.

Two academic journals – Nan Yan Journal and Nan Yan Business Journal – are published under the leadership of the college’s vice-president for academic affairs, Professor CY Sin.

The college also boasts a comprehensive stock of information resources. “We have an excellent, fully computerised library that is accessible anytime, anywhere, with any device. It has around 70,000 books, of which 45,000 are e-books,” says Tracy Wong, registrar and college secretary.

The newly renovated college offers a good work environment and support facilities. Staff will enjoy outpatient and hospitalisation benefits, and life insurance. Contracts at the newly renovated college are for two years in junior positions and three years in senior positions, with a gratuity paid at the end of a fulfilled contract.

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