On the evening of 15 March at the UIC Annual Party, an award ceremony was held in the function hall of the sports complex. UIC presented two professors with the President’s Award for Teaching and Service. Assistant Professor of the Division of Business and Management (DBM), Dr Rita Lai-Ying Chan, and Assistant Professor of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences (DHSS), Dr Sheena Van Der Mark, were the recipients of this award. Additionally, during this ceremony, Long Service Awards were bestowed to 49 staff members, who have worked at UIC for 10 years.


In his speech, President of UIC, Prof Ng Ching-Fai, congratulated the awarded staff and used a quote from Confucius, “A scholar does not consider gold and jade to be precious treasures, but loyalty and good faith”. Prof Ng went on to explain that “Nothing is more valuable than staff who are committed to the cause of liberal arts education; who devote themselves to the development of the College; who endeavour to make a difference to the UIC community, our society and the nation.”

UIC President, Prof Ng, saying that "Nothing is more valuable than staff"

Prof Ng also stated that in the second decade, UIC has embarked on a new journey. He mentioned how the formal establishment of the Graduate School and the well-established facilities on the new campus will provide UIC faculty and students with a better platform to help the university community obtain more teaching and scientific research results.

The ‘President’s Award for Teaching and Service’ was established on the tenth anniversary of the founding of the school to recognize teachers who have performed outstandingly in teaching and services. At the awards ceremony, Prof Ng issued certificates to the winners. The recipients for the 2016-2017 academic year, Dr Chan and Dr Van Der Mark, delivered speeches.

Dr Chan receving the ‘President’s Award for Teaching and Service’

Dr Van Der Mark receving the ‘President’s Award for Teaching and Service’

Dr Chan is a Hong Kong native and holds a doctorate degree from Durham University, UK. She has worked in the private and public sector for more than 20 years in human resources management and training development. She joined UIC as an Assistant Professor of human resources management in September 2009, introducing her work experience and philosophy into her classroom. Since the students did not have practical work experience, Dr Chan deepened the student's learning through a large number of real cases and scenarios.

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Dr Chan said during her speech: “I am deeply honoured. UIC is small but unique. We have a lot of dedicated teaching staff. As an HR person, I’ve been thinking how UIC can retain such a wonderful team of staff. One of the reasons is we all enjoy a huge sense of achievement when we see the transition of our students in their four years.”

Dr Sheena Van Der Mark is an Assistant Professor in the English Language and Literature Studies (ELLS) programme at UIC. She teaches Introduction to Language Studies and Teaching Cross-Cultural Communication. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. Her doctoral research was on language description and linguistic fieldwork, where she wrote about the grammar of an undocumented language from Papua New Guinea. Originally from Canada, she received her BA and MA in Linguistics from the University of Calgary. Sheena has taught linguistics at universities in both Canada and Australia. Besides fieldwork and language description, her research interests include cross-cultural communication, phonetics and phonology.

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Dr Van Der Mark’s rich cultural background and educational experience broke the limitations of traditional classrooms and actively adopted e-educational media such as animated videos to enable students to gain a better grasp of the teaching content both inside and outside the classroom. Sometimes, Dr Van Der Mark even explained concepts in Mandarin and Cantonese. She said, "This will be more realistic for students and closer to real life."

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One recipient of the Long Service Award was Associate Professor of DHSS, Prof Edgar Yuen, who joined the UIC family in August 2007. The students affectionately call him "Mr Beard." He said that receiving the Long Service Award is not just a simple ten-year stay at UIC. Everyone experienced two “new” campuses, and they have had to endure a lot of difficult land reclamation work. Ultimately, the teachers and students have embraced the beautiful new campus.

Prof Yuen giving a speech on receiving Long Service Award

Another recipient, Assistant Director of Estates and Campus Development Office (ECDO), Xu Baohua, is responsible for the safety of the campus. For ten years, he has managed the security of the entire UIC campus. From the old campus at 28 Jinfeng Road to the new campus at 2000 Jintong Road, he was responsible for safety on every corner of the campus. He achieved a zero safety accident record during his ten years. Xu Baohua said: "We sincerely hope that our security people will really create peace and happiness for the teachers and students.”

DHSS Senior Lecturer, Ms Sophie Dubois-Pepin, who also received the UIC Long Service Award, said “It is hard to believe I have been working here for 10 years already. Maybe because I chose a job I love and a workplace I value. It was inspiring to witness the changes and improvements and I am optimistic about the future of UIC.”

Another recipient of the UIC Long Service Award was DHSS Senior Lecturer, Ms Roser Cervera. She said that “I have been able to grow with UIC and meet incredible people - grow not only as a better person but as an educator. It is hard for me to believe that I stayed in the same institution so long because I love challenge and changes are big challenges. I guess I have encountered many challenges in UIC to keep me motivated all this time in UIC. I love what I do and I hope people around me feel the same!”

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Reporter: Samuel Burgess
Photographers: Ivy Liao, Ben Wen
Editors: Deen He, Samantha Burns
(from MPRO, with thanks to the ELC)

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