In response to the UGC's triennial academic planning process, CUHK have adopted a bottom-up process that aims to engage all stakeholders in planning for the future. We have subsequently submitted the Academic Development Proposal (ADP) for 2012-15 to the UGC on 14 February, 2011, after approvals by the University Senate and the Council.

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I am pleased to provide you with an update on the triennial academic planning for 2012-15, specifically on the submission of our Academic Development Proposal (ADP) to the UGC. A full list of the consultations is available in this report. Previously in June 2010 and September 2010, you were twice briefed by mass emails with respect to (i) broad-based admission and college assignment, especially for students in certain major programmes, and (ii) the preparation of the ADP for submission to the UGC.

The UGC has recently released the Advisory Letter on student numbers for the 2012-15 triennium. In turn, the Provost and Faculty Deans discuss the student number allocations for FYFD and Senior Year places. These distributions are for internal planning purposes and for submission to the UGC so that they can accurately calculate the funding allocations to the institutions. The RAC is still responsible for determining intake quotas on an annual basis. In follow up of the development, Faculty Deans are expected to relay the results to their Faculty members and Students.


(a) Consultations Conducted

In developing the ADP, CUHK had adopted a bottom-up process with an aim to engage our stakeholders in planning for the future. Faculties had played an instrumental role to consult staff, students and alumni, to reflect on our existing programmes, and to propose revisions and enhancements.

Since March 2010, we had held numerous meetings with Faculties, and Faculties have consulted their stakeholders in arriving at the ADP. In March 2010, Deans and Department Chairs attended a forum on the ADP process, where we reviewed the previous exercise and proposed a process on the current exercise. Although we did not know then the exact size of top slicing, we were fully aware that the scale of the competitive bidding could double that of the previous exercise when the top slice was 4%. Those colleagues who attended the presentation were made aware of the challenging exercise ahead.

In April 2010, I wrote to all the Deans of Faculties and invited them, in consultation with their Department Chairs, to submit an Expression of Intent (EoI) for the ADP exercise, especially their initial thinking on the strategies for top slicing, bidding back and gaining extra student numbers. Having spent two months on their EoIs, individual Faculties met with me in June for an initial discussion on their planning process. I found that all the Faculties had thought very seriously about the ADP process, and I was able to provide them with some feedback and comments. The Faculties were also asked to consult further their stakeholders as an integral part of the planning process.

In July 2010, the UGC issued two letters about the ADP process, including a set of draft criteria and guidance on the preparation of ADP and a set of quantitative data required to support the qualitative submission.

The two letters from the UGC were shared with the Faculties, and they were made aware of the implications. In August 2010, I met with most of the Faculties again, at least once, to review their progress in the ADP preparation in the light of the planning parameters set by the UGC. Although there were many aspects on the programme design for ADP, the crucial issue on broad-based admissions emerged during this round of discussion. We tried to understand how broad-based admissions could be implemented effectively, if one or more Faculties chose to adopt it.

In September, we met with individual Faculties to discuss, review progress and facilitate the finalization of their EoI. In late October 2010, each Faculty submitted its own ADP, having reviewed their existing programmes, proposed any new programmes for launching in 2012-15, and decided to what extent broad-based admission would be implemented in 2012.

In the same month, the UGC issued the Start Letter which set out the planning parameters, student number targets and other policy issues related to academic planning for 2012-15. The Start Letter also confirmed that the competitive bidding exercise would involve 6% of the University's first-year-first-degree places. Based on inputs from Faculties, University-wide efforts coordinated and incorporated Faculty recommendations into a single institutional submission in accordance with the framework of the Start Letter. The proposal was duly approved by the Senate and the Council in January 2011 and was submitted to the UGC on 14 February, 2011.

On 28 April, 2011, the Vice Chancellor, PVC Kenneth Young, Registrar Eric Ng, and I appeared before the UGC Panel on ADP to answer questions on the proposal. We were able to provide strong justifications on our proposal, and the Panel appeared to be satisfied. We were also told to expect the UGC Advisory Letter on student numbers for 2012-15 sometime in June 2011.

(b) A Summary of the Faculty Consultations Since the Last Update in October 2010

Note that activities organised by individual Faculties are excluded. Please refer to your Faculty for this information. I also encourage staff members to check out the information in the long-standing Intranet: ADP Triennial Planning 2012-15.

1. A memo by the Provost to all Faculty Deans calling for inputs in the form of an EoI on ADP: student numbers, reflections on existing programmes, and proposals on new programmes. April 7, 2010. A template for EoI sent to Faculty Deans and their drafting teams upon a call for finalized EoI. August 20, 2010.

Two thematic meetings were held respectively on March 19, 2010 and December 2, 2010 with Deans, Chairpersons, Associate Deans for Education, and others nominated by the Deans.

20 meetings were held between June and September 2010 with Deans, Chairpersons, Associate Deans for Education, and others nominated by the Deans. 

  • Arts: June 29, August 9, September 14.
  • Business Admin: June 15, August 11, September 15.
  • Education: June 28, September 7.
  • Engineering: June 23, August 9, September 15.
  • Law: June 18, August 9.
  • Medicine: June 17.
  • Science: June 15, August 10, September 15.
  • Social Science: June 23, August 5, September 13.

2. Special Meetings of the RAC on Faculties' FYFD Bids for ADP Process 2012-15. December 20, 2010, and December 21, 2010. Participants: Faculty Deans and RAC members.

3. Joint meeting of the Faculties Deans with the RAC to review the ADP. January 11, 2011.

4. Special Senate Meeting to consider the Draft ADP 2012-15. January 18, 2011. Two Student Members of the Senate (including the then President of the Students Union) were present at the meeting. (Four other Student Members of the Senate were unable to attend the meeting)

5. Meeting of the Council to consider the ADP. January 25, 2011.

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Critical Nature of the Next ADP

We have long been aware of the UGC's planning cycle and the need to submit the ADP for 2012-15 during the current academic year. The exercise for the 2012-15 triennium is going to be more critical than ever because it coincides with the arrival of a double cohort of students - one qualifying with HKAL results after seven years' secondary education, and the other with the first ever HKDSE results after six years of the New Secondary Curriculum and therefore will be coming to university a year younger than those now. This change of academic structure is a once in a generation opportunity for us to review the purpose of undergraduate education and to ensure that our curriculum can better prepare graduates for the needs of tomorrow. 

The top slicing and competitive bidding exercise mandated by the UGC is a means to redistribute student numbers across different universities. If we want to do well in this exercise, we have to seriously review our curriculum and make adjustments to some of our programmes where necessary to ensure that we are indeed meeting the needs of students and educating them for tomorrow's world. Such a review has to be based on academic rationale, and will not be market driven.


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Broad-based Admissions

Broad-based admission is a means to underpin the broad-based curriculum framework. Based on important educational principles that has already been approved by the Senate, the 4-year cohorts will spend more time, especially in their first year or two, taking courses outside their major, including Chinese, English, General Education, Physical Education and IT, as well as 9 units from a Faculty package of courses other than those for their intended major. We need to be aware of the fact that the HKDSE qualifications will not provide the 4-year cohorts with the same depth of understanding in some academic disciplines at the point of entry than the 3-year cohorts studying for the HKALE. Broad-based admission is, therefore, consistent with the broad-based education that we wish to provide for students coming through the New Senior Secondary curriculum, having studied 4 core subjects (Chinese, English, Mathematics and Liberal Studies) plus 1 or 2 electives of their choice. Deferring the choice of major until later in their university career will therefore be welcome by most.



Provost's Office

Telephone: (852) 3943 7446

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Office: 2/F, Room 204A, University Administration Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

This page was last updated on November 18, 2014.

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Thematic Meeting on Preparing for the ADP, 19 March 2010

ADPs: Invitation for Faculty's inputs in the form of EoI, 7 April 2010

Template for Expression of Intent (EoI)

Thematic Meeting on the ADP Planning and Start Letter, 2 December 2010