At HKUST, there is the institutional honor of receiving the prestigious Michael G Gale Medal for Distinguished Teaching. More unusually for a local university, there is also a well-regarded student-organized accolade, with many faculty members happily including a Best 10 Lecturers Award in their CVs.
Held annually by VERTEX, House II Student Association, HKUST Student Union, and open to all HKUST undergraduates, the poll gives students an additional voice in the appreciation of the University’s lecturers apart from teaching evaluation forms at the end of a course. In 2013-14, an estimated 3,000 voters participated. The election also allows faculty members to gain further insights into students’ thoughts on teaching and learning and improves student-teacher interaction.
Adrian Wu, External Vice-Chairperson of VERTEX and one of the organizers of the forthcoming event in the Fall semester, said the entirely student-led election was highly popular among undergraduates. It was first held in the mid-1990s and had since become a HKUST tradition. The event also enables students to work on a larger-scale project involving different sections of the University and offers practical experience for organizers to learn about running a poll.
Recognition and respect
Former chairperson of VERTEX Henry Chau, who organized the 17th Best Ten Lecturers Award in 2013, said that the election enabled House II residents to contribute to the University as a whole in addition to hall activities. “The election recognizes faculty members’ core contribution to the University and provides an opportunity for students to show their respect for teachers.”