The University of Macau’s (UM) residential college (RC) system recently achieved satisfactory results, according to the two-year performance assessment. The results show that students who have lived in the RCs tend to outperform those without the experience in various areas. This is testament to the university’s significant progress in liberal arts education.
UM implemented the RC system after relocating to its new campus two years ago. As of today, ten colleges have been established. Recently, UM conducted a two-year performance assessment of the system, based on criteria in five areas of competencies (Healthy Living, Interpersonal Relation and Teamwork, Leadership and Service, Cultural Engagement, and Citizenship with Global Perspectives and Patriotism) and Hong Kong Baptist University’s Whole Person Development Inventory. 1,772 students were surveyed. At today’s (29 July) Third Forum on Education of Modern Residential College, Prof Haydn Chen, vice rector (student affairs) of UM, shared the assessment results with forum participants. The results show that students who have lived in RCs tend to outperform those without the experience, in various areas, including academic results, sports, art appreciation, cultural engagement, leadership skills, and peer relationships. The results also show that students who have lived longer in RCs tend to achieve higher scores. ‘UM’s RC system is still very young, so the results are very encouraging,’ said Prof Chen. ‘The results have increased our confidence in the system.’
The forum attracted nearly 300 experts, scholars, faculty members, and students from more than 40 universities in the United Kingdom, Australia, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan. During the forum, the participants will discuss the philosophy, implementation, and development of RC systems at today’s universities. Half of the non-UM participants will stay at UM’s RCs during the period. At the opening ceremony, Prof Lionel Ni, vice rector (academic affairs) of UM, said that UM’s RC system has inherited the traditions of college education in ancient China and is modelled upon the successful experience of top universities, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and Yale University, adding that the system has a comprehensive master plan and its own characteristics. Prof Ni also said that all faculty members at UM are required to spend at least on hour per week outside the classroom with the students. Today, 300 faculty members are available in the RCs to help students with the problems they encounter in their studies and everyday life.
The theme of this year’s forum is ‘Student Development in a Residential College and the Shaping of Its Educational Character’, which includes four sub-topics: 1) the assessment of RCs’ learning outcomes; 2) the collaboration between RCs and faculties; 3) educational programmes for student development; and 4) developing the characteristics of RCs. The keynote speakers include Prof David Ibbetson, president of Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Prof Trevor Cairney, master of New College at the University of New South Wales, Australia; and Dr Gong Hui, deputy Party secretary at XJTU, mainland China. Two sub-forums will be held for student representatives of various universities to discuss their experiences in RCs. In addition, a book collection of 34 papers selected by an editorial panel formed by UM and XJTU scholars will also be presented at the forum.
This year’s event is organised by a RC alliance and hosted by UM. The past two events were hosted by Beihang University. The alliance was formed by RCs at eight universities, namely Beihang University, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, XJTU, Chengchi University, Fudan University, Tsing Hua University, East China Normal University, and UM.