World-renowned scholar Prof. Haydn Chen appointed UM’s first vice rector for student affairs


Through open recruitment and strict selection, the University of Macau (UM) appointed Prof. Haydn Chen, a world-renowned expert on materials science, as its first vice rector for student affairs. Prof. Chen will be responsible for devising student affairs development plans geared towards the realization of whole person education to which UM has always attached great importance, especially in recent years when the university is progressing by leaps and bounds. Prof. Chen is a world-renowned materials scientist. He received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University, one of the top universities in the world. He then taught for many years at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (ranked among the top three in the U.S.) of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and became a tenured professor there. Prof. Chen has an impressive trajectory of research on materials science. He is the winner of Humboldt Research Award and is currently a fellow of ASM-International, the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, and the Japan Society for Promotion of Science. He is also the principal editor of Materials Chemistry and Physics. Prof. Chen is a distinguished figure of leadership in higher education. He was administrative fellow of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at UIUC, head of the Department of Physics and Materials Science at the City University of Hong Kong, and was appointed president of Tunghai University in Taiwan in 2004. As a fervent advocate for liberal arts education at Tunghai University, Prof. Chen was the one who established "POYA", or "liberal arts school" there through which students learnt under a nourishing education that has knowledge and practice integrated together. Under the liberal arts education, Tunghai University has been able to have impressive accomplishments on the fronts of student enrollment, evaluation, teaching, research and discipline and counselling service. Prof. Chen notes that after it is put into use the new campus will bring unprecedented opportunities for UM, but will also bring greater challenges to student affairs. He thinks that UM possesses great potential, especially given the residential college system to be fully implemented after the new campus is built next year. He believes that UM could promote liberal arts education through the residential colleges in order to nurture more outstanding graduates with extensive knowledge. He also believes that through quality undergraduate education and Honours College which well complement each other, UM will be able to strengthen students' "soft strengths", such as values, passion, courage, team spirit, communication skills and critical thinking, and equip students with liberal arts knowledge, expertise, integrity, and a strong sense of social responsibility. In recent years UM has launched several major projects, including the ongoing new campus, the undergraduate curriculum reform with focus on whole person education, the residential colleges, the Honours College, and so on. UM Rector Wei Zhao says that with the completion of the new campus, UM will transform into a residential-college university, which makes it necessary to make long-term plans now and input sufficient resources to ensure the quality of student management. Prof. Chen's outstanding academic performance, rich administrative experience in higher education and his broad international perspective will form a perfect coordinate with UM's "4-in-1" pedagogical model to fulfill the university's missions, in particular the nurturing of future leaders for Macao.

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