August 28, 2018

At the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year, I am glad to report that the History Department has again made impressive progress in the past twelve months.

2018 is a very special and important year for the History Department because we are celebrating our 40th anniversary.  We started our celebration in January and February with a formal kick-off ceremony, academic events, and a sharing by a distinguished alumna.  As soon as we announced our 2018 celebration plan at the commencement of AY 2017-18 we began to invest efforts in fund-raising, with the aim of establishing a series of commemorative scholarships.  Now we are truly grateful to report that to date we have successfully raised six new endowment scholarships. The scholarships are grouped under the umbrella title of "Department of History 40th Anniversary Scholarship," but also have individual titles: The Spring and Autumn Annals Award, The Herodotus Award, the Dr Soo Kim Lan Scholarship, the Professor Robin D S Yates and Professor Grace S Fong Scholarship, The Sima Qian and Ban Gu Award, and the Alumna Esther May Wai Wong Scholarship.  Moreover, our long-term supporter Dr Tan Siu Lin, who was conferred Honorary University Fellow by the University in fall 2017, has generously donated another million to our Sun Yat-sen Research Fund, a permanent asset of the Department established by Dr Tan's continuous donations over the years. We are ever grateful to all of our friends and supporters.

In AY 2017-18, the Department organized/co-organized 7 large-scale events, including conferences, fora, and exhibitions, and over 20 lectures/seminars. Energetic as usual, our faculty members have engaged in nearly 200 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 27 funded projects, externally and internally sponsored.  The Department is extremely proud that a team of 5 History colleagues and two external members won a grant of 2 million (maximum-level funding) awarded by the Development Bureau, HKSAR, under the newly launched Built Heritage Conservation Fund.  Furthermore, for the first time our historians won a sizable Equipment Matching Fund in order to purchase a 3D scanner, which will be used for various research activities. Three members were successful in the GRF/ECS exercise this year, adding to our proud inventory.  The Department's dedicated engagement and productivity in scholarship is illustrated by all these endeavors. We are also delighted to share that a member was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, while yet another member won the Faculty Award for Early Career Academic (Research).  Moreover, it is very encouraging that one Assistant Professor will be promoted to Associate Professor and one Lecturer II will be promoted to Lecturer I, both effective on September 1.  Congratulations to all of our much-deserved colleagues! Our research students also spare no efforts in publishing and attending conferences. They have achieved a record of 15 publications/presentations in the past year.

Our undergraduate students in all programs continue to work hard and flourish.  In AY 2017-18, our students won over 50 scholarships and prizes, which is truly record-breaking.  A particularly astounding achievement is that History students swept all the 2017 HKBU Library Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.  A significant number of our graduates in recent years got admitted to first-rate universities in North America, Europe, and Australia to further their studies, some on full scholarships.  Besides, 23 students participated in exchange programs and studied outside Hong Kong for one or two semesters, while 10 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.  It is also illuminating that a total of 52 graduates in HKBU's Class of 2018 declared a Minor in History, making us the second most popular Minor program in the university.  We witnessed a 40% growth as compared to last year, and the growth is almost 400% if compared to the average figure of the Minor program's first five years since 2009.

In AY 2018-19, we will welcome a number of new faces, including two new Research Assistant Professors who bring expertise on environmental history, medical history, and comparative history.  We are also happy to host a Visiting Scholar sponsored by the Capital Normal University, who works on the history of middle-period China.  Our welcome is also extended to two new graduate students, one on a HKPFS Scholarship and the other on a university studentship, a new teaching assistant, several research assistants, as well as 74 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. Another climax of our 40th anniversary celebration will happen in the fall semester, when we launch a series of "Ruby Lectures," as well as some other distinguished lectures, all delivered by internationally-renowned scholars.  We will co-organize an exhibition with the Library to showcase our journey in the past four decades.  Moreover, we will publish a commemorative album, in print and online, to showcase memories of our forty years’ journey.  Most significantly, we shall host a grand reunion on the evening of December 1. We are very proud to have secured many alumni, past colleagues, and other honorable guests to join the celebration, including but not limited to three former professors who will fly from North America to participate in this occasion.   Please stay tuned and check our website often for updates.  Looking forward to catching up with our family members of many different generations in December

Clara Wing-chung Ho
Head and Professor
Department of History