I was delighted to see so many colleagues turning out for Convocation and also at the Freshman Inauguration over the past two weeks. Without romanticising these ceremonies too much, there is nonetheless something magical about them—important rituals, as students of humanities, arts, and social sciences are well aware, are potent conveyors of meaning. They do hold a great deal of significance for the students and their parents and friends. It’s really nice to see the campus teeming with students and activities again, despite the long lines at the canteens. I hope all of you have had a restful and productive break.
As the new academic year gets underway, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to new colleagues — do click on this link to meet them virtually — and to share some of the recent developments at HASS. Whether in terms of research achievement or contribution to education, we have much to be proud of and good reason to be confident about the College’s future. The recent recommendation by the International Academic Advisory Panel to the Ministry of Education on the need to provide greater support for social science and humanities research is truly encouraging. We should seize the moment to send in more research grant proposals, not only to obtain a greater share of the research funding but also to further raise awareness of the diversity of research that we undertake in HASS.
On the education front, we have been able to attract more top students into the College. A big thank-you must go to all the faculty and administrative colleagues who took part in our recruitment activities. As we develop more exciting new programmes, especially interdisciplinary programmes, I have absolutely no doubt that HASS will become the college of choice for discerning students. The University’s ambitious campus development plan promises an even more vibrant environment that would further enhance our work in education and research. In this connection, as there will be quite a bit of construction on campus, I would like to urge all colleagues who drive to be mindful of the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Throughout the year, I will continue to hold informal discussion with small groups of colleagues over lunch. It is vital that the College maintains optimal communication and an open culture in which every colleague can contribute to university policy and institutional development. I wish everyone a great semester ahead.