Colleges chalk out hiring plans

Chris Davis

The expansion of lifelong-learning aspirations, existing education schemes and the introduction of four-year undergraduate programmes is fuelling a strong demand for professors and lecturers in the tertiary-education sector.

At Hong Kong Baptist University's College of International Education (CIE), for example, a growing interest in environmental conservation awareness, and food safety and hygiene, has led to an expansion of programme content, prompting a need for additional instructors.

According to CIE acting director Sam Lau, the institution is on the hunt for lecturers who not only possess teaching experience but also industry knowledge.

'As both the associate programmes in environmental conservation studies, and food safety and environmental health, have extensive practical components, we are looking for people with hands-on experience,' says Lau, who believes that rather than learning from textbooks, students benefit most from a combination of theory and knowledge presented by experts.

In addition to classroom experience, lecturers in food safety and environmental health should have industry experience in food testing, auditing and production. Lecturers in environmental conservation studies should have experience working with green groups and non-governmental organisations, plus knowledge of conservation project management.

Following an interview and thorough evaluation of their industry experience, shortlisted candidates are asked to give a teaching demonstration with faculty staff posing as students.

'It is vital that our lecturers engage with our students in a way that enables them to appreciate how science and the environment are part of our daily lives, and are areas in which they can build worthwhile careers,' says Lau.

The Open University of Hong Kong's (OUHK) School of Education and Languages is also in the market for teaching staff. It recently advertised vacancies for a lecturer and assistant professor. '[Growing] demand for our programmes means that we need to expand our faculty,' says the school's dean, Professor Yvonne Fung.

The school is a key provider of programmes in teacher education, language proficiency and language studies. Fung says that as such, demand is particularly strong for its full-time bachelor degrees in English language studies (single and double degrees) and English language teaching. Demand for lecturers in these areas is expected to be high in future as a result.

Fung also points to the need for another assistant professor or lecturer to plan, develop, co-ordinate and deliver distance-learning courses. The role requires face-to-face teaching up to postgraduate level. Candidates will ideally have earned a doctorate in a related field. They should also have a teaching qualification and relevant experience.

Fung says one of the key benefits of working at OUHK is that staff get to work in small teams while still earning salaries similar to their counterparts at other institutions.

At The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Professor Cees de Bont, dean of the School of Design, says that he, too, is looking for additional staff.

'We are investing in design and have the drive and ambition to become one of the leading design schools in the world,' he says. He adds that the school is looking for faculty members with strong research backgrounds in a bid to enhance what it delivers in the classroom.

As well as an honours degree in graphics design, multimedia design, visual arts or a related field, candidates should have good working experience and knowledge of typographic design, desktop publishing and interface, and web design. They should also have some familiarity with popular graphics software programmes such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects and Flash.