August 28, 2017

At the beginning of the new academic year, I am glad to report that the History Department has again made impressive progress in the past twelve months.

The biggest event of AY 2016-17 was, undoubtedly, the centennial time capsule our Department buried in the Baptist University Road Campus Entrance Plaza on Oct 5, 2016, in celebration of HKBU's 60th anniversary.  A grand ceremony officiated by our President, all Vice-Presidents and our Faculty Dean and witnessed by more than two hundred university colleagues, supporters, alumni, and press reporters, sent an emphatic message to the world that we as historians do indeed make history.  The time capsule we deposited underground, which will be opened in 2116, will certainly be a welcome gift for historians in the next century.  Our future colleagues will make use of the carefully curated texts, images, and objects we have selected to enable them to study our present time.  The History Department is very proud to have received many generous compliments about the centennial time capsule project, which was a huge success.

In AY 2016-17, the Department organized/co-organized 9 large-scale events, including conferences, fora, and exhibitions, and a total of 32 lectures/seminars. Energetic as usual, our faculty members have engaged in nearly 150 individual research activities, including publishing journal articles and books, giving lectures and conference presentations, and serving as panel chairs/discussants. At the moment faculty members are working on a total of 34 funded projects, externally and internally sponsored.  The Department is proud that one of its members won the first Collaborative Research Grant initiated by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Furthermore, one of the 3 new GRF projects awarded to members in summer 2017 secured the largest amount of funding won by HKBU Faculty in this round.  The Department's dedicated engagement and productivity in scholarship is illustrated by all these research activities. We are also delighted to share that a Department member was elected as the first Junior Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities while yet another member won the best paper award of an international journal.  Our research students also spare no efforts in publishing and attending conferences.  They have achieved a record of 11 publications and 29 presentations in the past year.

Our undergraduate students in all programs continue to work hard and flourish.  In AY 2016-17, our students won nearly 50 scholarships and prizes, which is truly record-breaking.  Besides, 10 students participated in exchange programs and studied outside HK for one or two semesters.  23 students completed internships at different periods during the past academic year.  In accordance with the value the Department places upon students' voices, our Faculty-Student Consultative Meeting was held as usual in April. Moreover, our Peer Mentoring Program operated during both semesters and will continue this year.  The Nanjing University Exchange Tour in late May to early June, which created opportunities for our students to visit a first-rate university in China, also demonstrated our care for students.  We collaborated with the School of History, Nanjing University, to win sponsorship from the "Ten Thousand Student Interflow Program" launched by the Ministry of Education, which enabled two Department members to escort a group of students to Nanjing University in summer 2017 and engage in a very fruitful exchange.

In AY 2017-18, we will welcome a number of new faces: two new Assistant Professors and one Research Assistant Professor arrived in the summer, bringing expertise on the histories of Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East, thereby benefiting our students by broadening the geographical scope of our courses. We are also extremely honored to host a Visiting University Fellow, an internationally renowned scholar on Early China, who will be with us for Semester One.  Our welcome is also extended to two new graduate students, a new half-time teaching assistant, several research assistants, as well as 78 newly declared History Majors in different undergraduate programs, including Senior Year entrants and transferred students.

With new blood joining us, the History family is ever growing with a positive spirit. The History Department was established in 1978, and therefore will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2018.  A host of scholarly activities and family reunions will soon be planned.  Besides our current students and colleagues, other family members including our alumni, supporters, and former colleagues, will be invited to several events.  Please stay tuned and more news will follow.  The History family works as a team: let's aim to do our best to make the Department a better place, for every stakeholder.

Clara Wing-chung Ho
Head and Professor
Department of History