Human talent is the prime factor making HKUST a world-class research university within only 20 years. Its success is enabled by the joint efforts of its excellent faculty, its team of professional administrators and supporting staff. By setting up the President's Outstanding Service Award, HKUST aims to recognize non-teaching staff members who have demonstrated exceptional service, innovative thinking and commitment to excellence. This is the second time the Award is presented.
Mr Tze-kin Cheung, Senior Technical Officer of the Materials Characterisation and Preparation Facility, Mr Michael Choi, Security Manager of the Facilities Management Office and Ms Julie Shing, Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies are presented the President's Outstanding Service Award in recognition of their significant contributions to the University, as well as their commitment and dedication to work.
Prof Yuk-shan Wong, Vice-President for Administration and Business and the Chairman of the Selection Committee for President's Outstanding Service Award, said, “The University's academic prowess depends not only upon the faculty's high-powered research and teaching, but also the all-round support and effective administration behind the scenes, such as computer networks, executive support and laboratory management. Outstanding administrative support and service is one of the University's most treasured assets."
Going through this year's nominations for the 28 exemplary staff members was no easy task. "All nominees possess unique strengths. It was a challenging mission for the Committee to shortlist the 10 finalists and eventually the final three awardees. I truly hope that all colleagues will continue to work hard and strive for excellence in all areas in the years to come."
The awardees and finalists were invited to bring their families to the award presentation ceremony and dinner gathering on 15 November, where they shared their joy, insights and fond memories. President Prof Tony F Chan expressed deep appreciation of the University's non-teaching staff who are enthusiastic and committed to excellence. He is happy to see the establishment of the Award, which recognizes dedicated non-teaching staff and motivates them to keep on shining.
With our unifying concept of 1-HKUST, the University will continue to create miracles and achieve greater heights with the concerted efforts of teaching and non-teaching staff members.
Awardee – Mr Tze-kin Cheung
Senior Technical Officer, the Materials Characterisation and Preparation Facility
Mr Tze-kin Cheung has served the Materials Characterisation and Preparation Facility for nine years. The unit, which centers on the characterisation and analysis of various advanced materials and nanomaterials, involves the heavy use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM). To help keep the down time of the TEM-related machines low and reduce repair expenditures, Mr Cheung has self-studied machines, electronic circuit design, optics, software and other relevant disciplines. To enhance quality service, he has taken the initiatives to design and locate the components, set up file servers to facilitate user access and manage their TEM results. Mr Cheung loves self-learning. "In order to design and compose a TEM camera, I have consulted and discussed with professors and students, turned to references books and searched for information on the web. I have worked day and night to carry out the test and modify the software. These tasks have been where my interests lie. I fully enjoy it no matter how tough it is." His passion and enthusiasm have been applauded by faculty, staff members and students, which resulted in his entering the final round of the Awards for two consecutive years and being named the winner this year. Mr Cheung takes this humbly. "The Award is a motivating force. My family is even happier than I am. I feel content doing what I enjoy."
Awardee – Mr Michael Choi
Security Manager of the Facilities Management Office
Mr Michael Choi came on board in 1991 when HKUST was still in its setup stage. As a former commander of the British army in Hong Kong, he transferred his expertise into his then new job and built the highly acclaimed security section in the Facilities Management Office from scratch. He worked hard to create a safe campus environment, and was generous with his expert advice, insights and suggestions. Before major campus events, he would even pull all-nighters going over program details and supervise on-site to ensure smooth delivery. Mr Choi has helped to raise the standards and modes of operation of the security section. He was one of the important persons behind the first joint university forum of security forces, where security representatives of local universities converge to share information and experience. Under his leadership, HKUST was awarded the Best Partner Property by the Regional Crime Prevention Office of Kowloon East in 2010-2011.
Over the years Mr Choi has been involved in the HKUST Staff Association and has remained active in community service. He has organized volunteer visits to the Haven of Hope Hospital in Hong Kong and villages on the Mainland. Highly valued and counted on by the HKUST community, he has always been receiving staff members and students in his office. Feeling pleased and deeply honored to be conferred with the Award, he said, "This honor belongs to all members of the security section. I work not for the sake of recognition. Having said that, I'm happy that the University has recognized my efforts."
Awardee – Ms Julie Shing
Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies
Serving the Office of Vice-President for Research and Graduate Studies for close to 16 years, Ms Julie Shing is a living embodiment of HKUST's institutional memory. She testifies to the expanded scope of research activities, among which are the growing number of research institutes and centers from 10 at the beginning to more than 50 currently, and the rapid expansion of collaborative research and technology transfer initiatives. Ms Shing is able to remain calm when changes arise. For whatever work she does, she is able to provide excellent leadership in the administrative operation and to help formulate and implement plans, as well as deliver results in the most effective manner.
Ms Shing's low key, never-complaining and humble attitude has set a role model for her colleagues. Her former and current supervisors give her their unanimous accord. Speaking of her work principles, Ms Shing remarked that she never gives up and she puts all her heart and efforts into her job. She said humbly, "My performance is far from being outstanding. The success depends on my colleagues' support and collaborative efforts. I should not take all the credits."
Finalist – Miss Margaret Sui-chun Chau
Executive Officer of the Office of the Dean of Engineering
Miss Margaret Chau joined the HKUST community in 1994. Over the years she has taken up various administrative positions of the Engineering School, handling a wide range of duties including undergraduate and postgraduate student affairs, overseas exchange program and global outreach, which is her recent focus. Speaking of the most impressive and fulfilling experience she has ever had in HKUST, she thought of introducing the Robocon Hong Kong Contest to the student circle and motivating them to join the competition. Once of an ad hoc nature with only a lean team of participants and a car park as the practicing ground, the Contest has now become one of the most popular events among students with a well-equipped laboratory as its base, and a full-fledged team comprising more than 70 students.
Miss Chau thanked the University for recognizing her effort. She was also grateful to her ever trusting and supportive colleagues who inspire her to excel in whatever roles she assumes. She will continue to help facilitate integration among students and strengthen their sense of belonging.
Finalist – Ms Helen Mei-yee Lai
Executive Officer of the Department of Physics
Ms Helen Lai, Executive Officer of the Department of Physics, joined the Unit in 1996 and has been responsible for many kinds of administrative work in the department. She has shown great care to faculty and students and has made well-thought arrangements for budget preparation, course selection and logistics. She described the SARS epidemic as the most unforgettable episode in her career, during which she and her colleagues had to have all teaching, audio-visual and filming materials ready within a short time for conducting lessons with home-bound students. While it was tough, the fact that they overcame challenges brought great satisfaction.
Over the years Ms Lai has earned the trust of the department head and other faculty members, and has enjoyed a close-knit collegial relationship. She attributes this to her insistence on "going one step further and being reasonable and sincere". "I am pleased that during my 16 years of service, none of the administrative staff in our department has left," she added. She will continue to work with faculty members, students and staff members to overcome challenges arising from the 3-3-4 education reform.
Finalist – Miss May Wing-mui Lee
Personal Secretary to the Provost
Serving HKUST since its inception and having been the Personal Secretary to seven serving Provosts / Vice-Presidents for Academic Affairs, Miss May Lee has witnessed the University's rapid development . She noted that each of them has distinctive character and management style, but what they have in common are their emphases on quality and efficiency. "I am very fortunate to have worked closely with each of them and gained their trust. This is extremely fulfilling," She said.
As the Office's 'commander-in-chief', Miss Lee is responsible for duties ranging from coordinating inter-school and inter-faculty meetings to regular office administration. Always patient and meticulous, she takes initiatives to solve problems and encourages her colleagues to deliver their best. She did not work for awards. "There are many good colleagues at HKUST with contributions. I am only one of those luckier ones to have been recognized," she said.
Finalist – Dr Chi-moon Li
Senior Manager of the Health, Safety and Environment Office
Currently the Senior Manager of Health, Safety and Environment Office, Dr Chi-moon Li joined HKUST in 1994 and has since then assisted in devising a series of safety regulations for the University. His task is by no means easy. "One example is the fire evacuation plan. There are many classrooms, laboratories and offices along the University's interconnecting Academic Building. Also, there are members who are not familiar with the campus environment. We need to be careful to thoroughly communicate with all units to plan and execute the apparently simple measures." In line with the University's emphasis on sustainable development, Dr Li has studied green practice and implemented environmentally-friendly measures in various parts of the campus. He has helped to launch the food waste recycling machine and the organic farm to promote green living.
A finalist of the Award for two consecutive years, Dr Li remarked, "Of course I'm pleased – the Award means recognition and it motivates me to do better." As the Chairman of the HKUST Staff Association, he hopes that the University can introduce greater incentives to further boost staff morale to enable the University to achieve new heights.
Finalist – Mr Donny Koon-ming Siu
Associate Director (Student Life) of the Student Affairs Office
Mr Donny Siu joined HKUST right from the start in 1991. He has played various roles in the Student Affairs Office, ranging from on-campus catering and medical care, scholarships and financial aid, hall education, recreational facilities and amenities, career consultations to strategic development. He facilitates communications among students and the University. He maintains close contacts with students who welcome and trust him as a friend.
Mr Siu is pleased to have become a finalist of the Award. Talking about his future goals, he said, "Students nowadays tend to have their own preferences. This results in greater needs to foster communication. I hope we can devote more time and resources to the bridging work in the future."
Finalist – Ms Shirley Suk-ping Tang
Program Manager of the Interdisciplinary Programs Office
Ms Shirley Tang joined HKUST in 1996. A computer engineering graduate of HKUST, she started off her career serving the School of Engineering and was actively engaged in undergraduate affairs and preparation for the University's first dual degree program. Following the development of interdisciplinary programs, she was transferred to the Interdisciplinary Programs Office. In those days, the idea of interdisciplinary studies had not yet taken root in local or even international scenes. The need to formulate human resources and budgetary standards for the new office added to the various difficulties she was facing. With her conviction and the help of trusting professors and colleagues, she was able to overcome the difficulties.
Miss Tang is impressed by professors' enthusiasm in teaching. She said, "HKUST professors put in a lot of efforts to devise teaching activities. For instance, they had to take multiple injections and suffer from exhaustion arising from long journeys in order to host a case study competition in Brazil. They went through all these to enrich students' learning experience." She is excited to have become a finalist of the Award twice in her career. She hopes that the University will provide greater recognition to deserving staff members in the future.
Finalist – Miss Wendy Suk-kwan Yuen
Clerk of the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering
Miss Wendy Yuen joined the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering in 1994 to support postgraduate affairs and undergraduates' final year projects. Having worked at HKUST for nearly two decades, she has helped propose and implement the use of intranet for postgraduate research in the department. Centralization of information has helped faculty and students access and retrieve useful data.
Miss Yuen appreciates the Department's insights in identifying talents according to their abilities and not only taking into account their education and ranks. This has enabled her to build on her strengths, and she feels highly encouraged to be shortlisted for this Award. For years she has been punctual, diligent and helpful. "Our duties such as scholarship administration involve many closely connected tasks. We have to ensure that all tiny parts run smoothly such that the entire project can be implemented. Thus it is always important to keep track of things and handle them with care no matter how busy we are."