2013 UGC Teaching Award

We are proud that both PolyU nominees Dr Julia Chen and Prof Alan Lau were among the shortlisted finalists. We are also very excited that Prof Lau was conferred the Award. The Award is not just motivation for our hard work on enhancing student learning outcomes but also a recognition of the excellent performance of our teachers and what has been done to support this to happen.

For more details, please follow this link: http://www.ugc.edu.hk/eng/ugc/publication/press/2013/pr05092013.htm

Chairman of the University Grants Committee (UGC), Mr Edward Cheng, and Members of the Selection Panel of the 2013 UGC Teaching Award took a group photo with the two recipients of the 2013 UGC Teaching Award at the presentation ceremony on September 5, 2013. (From left) Prof Shekhar Madhukar Kumta, Mr Cheng, Dr Alice Chong, Prof Alan Lau and Prof William Kirby.
(photo credits: University Grants Committee)


Prof Alan Lau, recipient of the 2013 UGC Teaching Award

Mr Edward Cheng (right), Chairman of the University Grants Committee, presented the certificate to Prof Alan Lau (left).
(photo credits: University Grants Committee)

Prof Alan Lau, Professor and Associate Dean (Industrial Relations) of the Faculty of Engineering and recipient of the PolyU President’s Award for Excellent Performance and Achievement in Teaching. He sits on several programme committees to oversee the quality of the programme and student learning outcomes. He also takes a significant role in advocating the industry-university partnership through his chairmanship and membership in various professional bodies, such as the International Multifunctional materials and Structures Council and the Institution of Engineering Designers.

Engaging Students in the Real World; Engaging the Industry to Enhance Learning & Teaching

Prof Lau is an inspiring teacher, an accomplished researcher and a recognised expert in the field of mechanical and aerospace engineering, materials science and product design. He believes in engaging the real world in his teaching. He has taken the partnership between academics and industry to a new level. Over a carefully planned program that runs over a three-year period, students are introduced to the perspectives of industry and to real-world training in design. Finally they create and promote a real product. The result is a deeply engaged, synergistic relationship between the students and the companies, with the firms benefitting from the solutions posed by these students as the students profiting from their professional development. What Prof Lau calls his "Industry-Engaged Outcome-Based Approach" results in a true collaboration between the academic and industrial sectors.

Tributes from Former Students


"Professor Lau has undoubtedly opened my eyes, enriched my university life, and groomed me academically and mentally to become a competent person and a sophisticated engineer."

Gigi Au-Yeung
presently PhD candidate at Nanyang Technological University


"Interactions with real clients and people from the industry during the design process and presentation at the exhibitions helped polish my design, marketing and communication skills to meet the real-world standards, and these are the skills that I need to apply every day to run my business."

Joe Wong
presently the Director of Takon


Dr Julia Chen, shortlisted finalist of the 2013 UGC Teaching Award

Prof. Timothy W. Tong (right), President of PolyU,  presenting the certificate issued by UGC to Dr. Julia Chen (left) in recognition of the nomination for the 2013 UGC Teaching Award.
(photo credits: Faculty of Humanities)

Dr Julia Chen, Associate Director of the English Language Centre, Chair of the Faculty of Humanities Learning and Teaching Committee, and a two-time recipient of the PolyU President’s Award for Excellent Performance in Teaching and Service. She teaches students from higher diploma to PhD level.  She also sits on several committees and workgroups, such as the Learning and Teaching Committee, the Working group on Teaching Evaluation Practice, the Working Group on the Development of E-Learning and Community of Practice on Enhancing Students’ English Abilities, to help enhance and promote quality teaching in the university.

Engaging Students in Continuous Learning; Taking a Scholarly Approach to Teaching Developments

Dr Chen believes that an excellent teacher has a profound impact on student learning through the effective planning and delivery of energetic and adaptive lessons, which engages students in continuous learning and puts pedagogic vision into action for students’ benefit.  She addresses departmental and institutional strategies, takes a scholarly approach to teaching developments, and mobilizes fellow teachers to work towards goals and pursue excellence together.

UGC Selection Panel's Comments: “the Selection Panel was favorably impressed by your work in bringing not only excellence in language instruction to your students, but also the deep and meaningful reasons why they need to care about this. Your enthusiasm and passion for teaching were self-evident, and we congratulate you on your fierce dedication to your students’ learning”.