Career Path

Academics find multidisciplinary platform

by Nicolette Wong

Tung Wah College - Recruiting multidisciplinary educators in teaching profession
Nancy Shum, director of human resources
Human Resources Office, Tung Wah College
Photo: Nolly Leung
Quality education is the cornerstone of social sustainability and economic prosperity. As such, aspiring individuals looking to join the teaching profession must possess the necessary qualifications, professional skills, the right psychological making, and perhaps more importantly, a learning attitude.

In a move to foster a healthy academic environment, newly established tertiary institute Tung Wah College adopts a practical approach to its operation, blending academic training, professional development, and industry exposure with whole-person development not only for its budding students but also for its challenge-craved faculty staff.

According to Nancy Shum, Tung Wah College's director of human resources, the college welcomes confident candidates with different levels of qualification and experience but a master's degree and two years of teaching experience are the prerequisite for a lecturer position whereas a relevant doctoral degree, substantial teaching experience, professional qualifications, proven leadership plus other laudable accomplishment are required of applicants for senior positions including assistant professor, associate professor and professor.

Aside from academic achievements, she points out that potential candidates must be able to demonstrate a passion and a commitment to helping students to achieve their learning objectives as well as professional and personal development goals.

In particular, the college has in place a "Co-operative (Co-op) Education Scheme", which allow students to take up paid internships during their third or forth year of studies. A "Co-op Cafe" set up in association with Pacific Coffee Company on the Tung Wah College campus, for instance, is giving students an opportunity to put their academic skills into practice.

The college's lecturers and professors are expected to play an important part in this too. They step into the role of advisors and offer these working students guidance on several things like developing good work habits and interpersonal skills in specific vocational contexts. Their contribution is vital in many aspects and helps their students to eventually find their feet in the increasingly competitive job market. The college has lined up other career placement and internship opportunities for its students and all this requires dedicated support from members of the Tung Wah College faculty.

"Our teaching staff often participate in student training. They're not only there to observe but they also learn from the experience and contribute ideas for future student activities and work-experience programmes," Ms Shum stresses.

Faculty diversity

Tung Wah College is always on the lookout for business partners who are willing to provide internship opportunities, giving the college's students and teaching staff invaluable exposure to the real world. "We also invite industry leaders to host seminars or give lectures to enrich the learning experience for our students," Ms Shum adds. For the same reason, business professionals who aspire to a teaching job are also welcomed to sign on with the college.

She believes that faculty diversity and staff development contribute to the college's future success. She adds that the college offers programmes in different disciplines such as business administration, health services management, social science and health science, and will continue to roll out new programmes in medical science, and that this essentially translates into career prospects and opportunities for professional growth. The cross-disciplinary nature of the college's programmes also allows its teaching staff to stretch their expertise and scope of experience potentially beyond academia.

Tung Wah College's growing presence in the local academic arena has meant stringent requirements for its job candidates. "We aim to get a balanced mix of people on board—teaching professionals with diverse experience and people in business," Ms Shum reveals.

Good prospects

Bryan Lo, assistant human resources manager, human resources office, Tung Wah College, says that the college currently employs 50 faculty staff and is looking to recruit more outstanding educators. "We are looking for the best people to fill both full-time and part-time teaching positions as we continue to expand our programme portfolio."

To those looking to pursue a teaching profession with Tung Wah College, Ms Shum advises that they should acquire solid post-qualification experience in their respective fields so that they can maintain a practical perspective to teaching and develop the necessary insights into student development.

In addition to academic qualifications, participation in professional activities and major industry events is instrumental in building professional credentials and long-term career advancement for people in the field.

"We expect our faculty members to have a commitment to the profession, a genuine, personable disposition, as well as team mentality," she emphasises.

Taken from Career Times 20 July 2012, A12

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