August 18, 2016

At the beginning of this new semester, I am glad to report that the History Department has completed another fruitful academic year.

As our teaching team expands, we are set to offer more course choices for our students in all programs. I am proud to share that we have launched a bunch of new courses within AY 2015-16, including 9 newly approved courses, 4 existing topic study courses with new themes, and 3 existing courses that were offered for the first time. Looking forward, I am happy to share that we are going to offer 6 new undergraduate History courses, 2 new postgraduate courses, and 3 new GE courses in the coming academic year. Our new courses reflect the Department’s commitment to creating a stimulating and diverse learning environment for our students.

The Department never tires in creating opportunities to recognize high-achieving students. In AY 2015-16, we continued our previous efforts in seeking external donations to establish new scholarships. Thanks to the Class of 1985 alumni, a scholarship has been established to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their graduation. Thanks to our supportive alumnus Mr Yip Sing-kit, a scholarship has also been created this year to celebrate the happy retirement of our long-serving colleague Prof Kai-wing Chow. Both generous donations have been endowed and will generate annual awards in perpetuity. Another substantial donation of one million arrived in April 2016 from our long-term supporter Dr Tan Siu-lin. This sizable endowment will create 5 awards each year starting from AY 2017-18. The Department is truly grateful for all the strong support we have secured. 

Besides scholarships, we are also committed in giving other forms of support to our students. In AY 2015-16, we implemented the peer mentoring program as an expression of our love and care for our students. We understand that some students may need a little time to adjust to university life, while some may be struggling at different junctures, and others simply require the support of their peers. Therefore, we appointed ten outstanding students as peer mentors and trained them to offer extra support to students who choose to join the program.

In AY 2015-16, the Department organized/co-organized 8 large-scale events including a database launch, several conferences and fora, and a total of 33 lectures/seminars. Our faculty members have been very active and productive. They have engaged in over 140 separate research activities, including publishing journal articles and books, giving lectures and conference presentations, and serving as panel chairs/discussants. At the moment department members are working on 21 externally funded projects and 13 internally funded projects. In June 2016, the Department achieved a great success in the GRF/ECS competition by securing funding for 6 projects. Together with the award of a prestigious CCKF grant won by a colleague in May, the Department is proud to demonstrate its energetic engagement in scholarship. Our research students are also active in publishing and attending conferences. The Department has hosted two fora sessions to better prepare them to present at international conferences.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the University, the History Department is going to bury a century-long time capsule at the Baptist University Road Campus Entrance Plaza on October 5, 2016. All serving colleagues and current students, including the Class of 2016, as well as some of our alumni and supporters, will contribute messages, images and objects to be stored in the time capsule, which is scheduled to be re-opened in 2116. To date, this will be the capsule kept for the longest period of time among all tertiary institutions in Hong Kong. This is our gift for historians of the 22nd century, as they will use what we have deposited to study our time. We are truly grateful for the support of our President, Vice-Presidents, and Dean, who will all attend and officiate at the grand ceremony. We are very much looking forward to this historic occasion, and are excited to declare that as a Department of History we are indeed making history!

In AY 2016-17, we shall welcome a number of new faces including one Assistant Professor, one Visiting Lecturer, one Postdoctoral Fellow, several Research Assistants, as well as 87 newly declared History Majors in different undergraduate programs, including Senior Year entrants and transferred students. We are also in the process of searching for two more Assistant Professors to further diversify our curriculum. With new blood joining us, the History family is ever growing with a positive spirit. Working hand in hand, we shall continue to dedicate our best efforts to making the Department a better place.

Clara Wing-chung Ho
Head and Professor
Department of History