Recipients of the UGC Teaching Award

2016 UGC Teaching Award


In 2016, UGC made a few changes in the Teaching Award, A new award category specific for early career faculty members was established and the award coverage was expanded to include team nominations. 

This year, PolyU is very proud to have two nominees being awarded. The Service-Learning team led by Dr Grace Ngai (Associate Professor of the Department of Computing) and co-led by Dr Stephen Chan (Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Associate Professor of the Department of Computing) received the award under the General Faculty Members/Teams category while Dr Shirley Ngai (Assistant Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences) under the Early Career Faculty Member category. Our another nominee, Mr Rémi Leclerc (Assistant Professor of the School of Design), was being shortlisted for the final round. 

The UGC Selection Panel found the performance of the team led by Dr Grace Ngai and Dr Shirley Ngai exemplary and agreed that they have “demonstrated great potential in achieving sustained excellence”.  

For more details, please follow this link:  

Dr Grace Ngai (6th from the right), Dr Stephen Chan (5th from the right) and Dr Shirley Ngai (4th from the right) receiving the award certificates and taking a group photo with another award recipient, the UGC Selection Panel members and General-Secretary of UGC, at the award presentation ceremony on 8th September 2016.  

(photo credits: The University Grants Committee)


Service-Learning team led by Dr Grace Ngai, recipient of 2016 UGC Teaching Award 
(General Faculty Members/ Teams)

Dr Grace Ngai and Dr Stephen Chan, holding the award certificates at the award presentation ceremony.
(photo credits: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Transforming Students through Academic Service-Learning

Dr Ngai and Dr Chan are currently Associate Professors in the Department of Computing at PolyU, and Dr Chan is also Head of the Office of Service-Learning (OSL). They believe that education should give students the space and opportunity to explore the roles they wish to play in society while pursuing academic study. As a team, Dr Ngai and Dr Chan have advanced the practice of academic Service Learning (SL), which has transformed the learning experience of PolyU students. They have formed multicultural student teams through partnerships with local NGOs, organised student-exchange programmes and piloted an innovative ‘global SL classroom’ initiative that allows PolyU students and their overseas peers to attend the same lectures and develop project ideas via video conferencing, and then implement projects together in person at the service location. Over the last 10 years, Dr Ngai and Dr Chan have increased the coverage of their service projects from Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland to Cambodia, Myanmar, Rwanda and Kyrgyzstan, improving the lives of people in need and inspiring the students involved to become responsible professionals and global citizens. Dr Ngai and Dr Chan have demonstrated outstanding academic leadership in helping university management to conceptualise SL as an integral component of the PolyU undergraduate curriculum and implement SL as an institutional teaching and learning strategy. As a result, thousands of students enrol on SL courses every year. 

Dr Ngai and Dr Chan plan to use the grants awarded to them to launch an SL Development Programme with the goal of establishing a sizeable seed community of SL practitioners and a set of rigorous academic SL subjects across Hong Kong’s universities.


Dr Shirley Ngai, recipeint of 2016 UGC Teaching Award (Early Career Faculty Members)

Dr Shirley Ngai, giving her acceptance speech at the award presentation ceremony.
(photo credits: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Exemplary Early-Career Innovator ​

Dr Shirley Ngai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Despite having only 3.5 years of teaching experience, Dr Ngai has established herself an innovator in the implementation, development and enhancement of computerised medical simulation for physiotherapy training in Hong Kong. Dr Ngai always prioritises students’ learning outcomes. She has devised various possible means of bridging the gap between clinical placement and classroom training, such as blended learning, a flipped-classroom approach and the use of computerised medical simulation. Dr Ngai is also a humble teacher who is eager to learn from others. She experiments with a variety of evolving strategies to improve the learning environment, helping her students to learn better and more competently and confidently apply what they have learned in the classroom to real patient treatment before and after graduation. Shirley has led three educational projects designed to progressively enhance the use of computerised simulation for physiotherapy teaching and learning, and these projects have had positive impacts on her students’ learning. She has also engaged actively in projects with colleagues from other disciplines, and shared her experiences with other medical professionals to increase her knowledge and skills and thereby improve her teaching for her students’ benefit. Her commitment to helping her students to become critically minded and competent clinicians capable of effectively serving the community, and her remarkable achievements in teaching and research over the last 3.5 years, have proven Dr Shirley Ngai to be a remarkably determined young university teacher. 

Dr Ngai will utilise the award grant to develop a mobile-learning app which provides students with timely access to relevant learning resources enabling them to learn during clinical practice.


Mr Rémi Leclerc, shortlisted finalist of 2016 UGC Teaching Award

Mr Rémi Leclerc

Enhancing Design Education with the Ground-Breaking 'Design Play' Framework

Rémi Leclerc is an Assistant Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design. He is both an influential researcher in design education and an outstanding design educator. He created the Design Play framework based on insights drawn from his industrial experience and intensive research in toy design and design learning and his teaching and learning practice. Design Play is a breakthrough in design education that infuses play into teaching and learning to help students think about design more divergently, critically, analytically and creatively. It also enhances students’ creative appreciation of design thinking and processes. Rémi’s teaching approach underpinned by Design Play has been highly acclaimed by international design educators, renowned designers and manufacturing companies. The excellent design outputs of Rémi and his students have earned them numerous grants and awards, including the G-Mark Good Design Award and the Hong Kong Young Design Talent and The Hong Kong Social Enterprise Challenge. 

Rémi and Design Play have had a strong positive impact on his students in different ways, on design education at different levels; on industry across different sectors; and on the general public from various backgrounds. Rémi has forged a link between academia and industry by bridging the needs of both. He has also sensitised students’ environmental consciousness and nurtured their sense of social responsibility by engaging them in his research and consultancy projects with manufacturers, the government and NGOs. Rémi has successfully helped students to learn design and to design better, and in turn their designs have contributed to shape a better world. 


 2015 UGC Teaching Award


 2013 UGC Teaching Award