Rector’s Inauguration Speech (24/01/2018)

The Honourable Chair of the University Council, Dr Peter Lam Kam Seng;

The Honourable Members of the University Assembly and the University Council;

Dear guests, colleagues and students:


Good afternoon and thank you very much for attending my inauguration today. I would first like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Selection Committee for their support, to the University Council for their recommendation and to the Chief Executive for my appointment as the ninth Rector of the University of Macau. I am very much honoured to have the opportunity to serve the University and the local community. Today, on this solemn occasion, I am taking up this glorious mission; with it also comes my strong sense of responsibility.


In recent years, the University of Macau has achieved high standards with distinctive regional features. All of these are attributed to the joint efforts and support of the Central and the MSAR Governments, Members of the University Assembly and the University Council, as well as the local community. Also we must give credit to the former rectors for their leadership and university staff for their contributions.


Now on the back of its history of 37 years, the University is setting full sail ahead. In planning the development of the University, we should draw experience from the past, keeping in mind what our predecessors have offered us and treasuring the achievements we have. Through torch-relay, we will constantly take steps forward and strive for perfection and innovation. I will listen to the views of different parties in and out of the University, build communication pathways for staff, foster mutual trust and pool ideas together to work out how to move the University forward. We will formulate strategies to pursue excellence, to refine our education and to make the University impactful internationally. I would like to make use of this occasion to share with you my initial ideas on four aspects of University development:


First, we will refine our integrated education model to nurture talents at different levels and for various fields.

As the Chinese saying goes: Well governance hinges on talents, talent nurturing on education, and education on schools. That is to say, education institutions are what we need to cultivate talents. As students are the future of Macao and China, it is important therefore that we go about talent nurturing at different levels and for various fields. Towards that end, it is our mission to develop the University into a world-class tertiary institution to pitch in with the MSAR Government policy of ‘building a better Macao through education’.


The fundamental pursuit of a world-class university is to provide quality education to undergraduates. We will therefore optimize our whole-person education system that consists of general education, discipline-specific education, research and internship, and peer and community education. We will also make the most of the combined strengths of, and forge closer collaboration among Honours College, residential colleges and faculties; and actively launch the innovation and entrepreneurship education. Besides, we will provide students with more exchange and study opportunities in renowned higher institutions in mainland or overseas; stimulate students’ learning motivation; and nurture students to be the talents with patriotism, aspiration, a global vision, innovative spirits, and a strong sense of commitment to society and to themselves.


The standards of a university are also judged by the quality of postgraduate education it offers. For this reason, we will take a raft of measures to raise the standards of our postgraduate programmes. These will mainly include: admitting high-calibre PhD candidates and building a stronger team of teaching staff; cultivating academic spirits and creativity in postgraduates; seeking to build an international research cooperation platform; and providing postgraduates with more opportunities to participate in cutting-edge scientific and interdisciplinary research. A world-class university calls for an excellent academic environment. We will work hard to nurture our postgraduate talents to be globally competitive and able to bring progress to humanity and solve challenging scientific issues.


Second, we will strive to create a working environment that can unleash staff’s individual potential and bring out the best in them.

The greatness of a university lies in the strong scholarship of its faculty. Having a team of good teachers is a prerequisite for having good students. To develop into a world-class university, it is imperative for us to build a dynamic team of professional teaching staff with academic integrity and international standing. We will strive to foster a culture where each and every one of the members of staff feels happy to work under, where they will work towards the same goal in solidarity and where they will give their best with their efforts recognized and appreciated. Such a working environment can strengthen staff members’ sense of belonging to the University. It is only by doing so will each one of them be able to maximize their strengths and do their job well.


We will also perfect the evaluation mechanism for different categories of academic staff with reference to, where it can practically apply, the relevant criteria of world-renowned universities; improve the efficiency of administrative service and use of resources; recruit more distinguished scholars and other talents; and create favourable working conditions for academic staff to be able to unleash their full potential and produce cutting-edge research output with the objective of building a strong faculty that has excellent academic reputation.


Third, we will build a mechanism to further open up our cooperation with other institutions on research in order to increase the impactfulness and innovativeness of research output.

A world-class university ought to and should be able to constantly explore the unknown, which is key to making it influential and prestigious. Alongside the efforts to strengthen the overall academic standards of the University, we will focus on our priorities and enhance research quality, so that we can carve out niches in research on arts and humanities, social sciences and science and technology. A mechanism to further open up research collaboration will also be established to facilitate interdisciplinary cooperation within the University and deepen the connections with mainland universities, research institutes and enterprises. The strengthening of international research collaborations will also be emphasized. Other manoeuvres will also include reforming the current research management mechanism to ensure smooth running of research-related activities, integrating teaching and research to produce synergetic effects, increasing the ability of our research to address the problems faced by humanity and achieving international leverage and prestige in relevant fields.


Fourth, we will continue to perfect the community service platform so that the intention of serving society can get realized across as broad the spectrums of Macao’s socio-economic development as possible.

The strength of a world-class university is also testified to by the service it provides to the community. The more a university has developed, the greater responsibility it will have towards society and the greater role it is expected to play in socio-economic development of the community which it belongs to. As the only public comprehensive university in the MSAR, the University of Macau should not only root itself in Macao, but also be prepared to go beyond the ivory tower of academia to serve society. It should strengthen its function as a think tank to assist and support the MSAR Government to adopt a scientific approach to its governance and for its positioning in the One Centre and One Platform initiative. Further, the University will continue to promote the integration of academia, research and industry to make more technological transfers possible. It will also work hard to contribute in such areas as building Macao into a smart city, refining its health care and basic education systems, etc. In doing so, the University will be able to play a more significant role of serving the socio-economic development of Macao.


A new chapter. A new journey. A new starting point. A new mission. This is the job that is going to give me a critical sense of responsibility, and I will work hard to do it well. Just like we must have dreams before we can go for greater successes, a university must have its own aspirations before it can achieve excellence. The University of Macau should assume on itself the mission of serving our community, contributing to our Nation and doing good for humanity. For it to do that, the University must root itself in Macao, integrate itself into the Greater Bay Region and relate itself vis-à-vis our Nation and beyond. We will continue to steer the University towards its educational mission and uphold its ideals, in the light of what is prescribed in the university motto — humanity, integrity, propriety, wisdom and sincerity. Under the support of the community and through the concerted efforts of all the students and teachers, we will strive to transform the University of Macau into an institution of excellence: The one which local people feel proud of, which outstanding students want to study in, and which the top scholars want to work for.


Thank you once again for being present here today. I wish you good health, good luck and every success.


Thank you.


Songhua Song
Rector of the University of Macau