President and vice-chancellor Ng Ching-fai talks about recent innovations at the university and the challenges that lie ahead What are you most proud of in your stint as head of the university? The university gives equal weight to arts and science. Arts and humanities are emphasised while in search of advancement and achievement in science. This is particularly difficult when HKBU, like other institutions, is facing resource constraints. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of many colleagues and friends of HKBU, the university has has successfully undergone many innovative developments. One example is our Academy of Visual Arts. It is the first academy of its kind to be established by a local university. It seeks to provide the best visual arts degree programmes through excellent teaching and international exchange to build up a visual arts academy of international renown to tie in with developments in visual arts and meet the needs of the fast-growing creative industries in the region. The establishment of the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre puts into practice the university's vision of responding to society's needs and to seize the opportunity to develop the creative arts education through its teachers and programmes for music, film and television, design, digital communication and visual arts. Another innovation is the launch of the first University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded five-year full-time Bachelor of Chinese Medicine & Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biomedical Science programme, which introduces Chinese medical education in the formal higher education system of Hong Kong. We introduced the four-year full-time Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in Chinese Medicine programme in 2001, the only one of its kind in Hong Kong. The university's Education Studies Department takes the lead in developing the Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School, which allows the university to put into practice new education theories and its whole-person education ethos with the aim to develop a model school to contribute to the education of Hong Kong. It has taken another step forward to break free of limitations imposed by geography and finance. In partnership with Beijing Normal University, we have founded the United International College in Zhuhai. This gives the university a new educational platform, which works in synergy with Baptist University while extending the reach of our quality educational services beyond Hong Kong. In what areas is the university less competitive, and what will be done to enhance its competitiveness? We are less competitive in space provision and we have less effective economy of scale due to our smaller size. What we can do to be more competitive is to encourage innovative development and inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration by introducing double-degree programmes such as BA (Hons) English Language & Literature and BEd (Hons) in English Language Teaching, for example. What other challenges does the university face? And what is the strategy in dealing with them? Like other institutions, we are facing an increasingly unstable source of financial support. We have done a lot to stabilise non-UGC funding through offering services to the community, creating new sources of income through the registration of patent of commercial value, policy research and seeking more donations. We also want to broaden the scope and platform of education but we have limitations of space in Hong Kong. Our strategy to deal with the issue is by collaborating with China in establishing the first jointly founded university. The Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College in Zhuhai breaks the geographical boundary between Hong Kong and China and broadens the scope of exchanges and research activities. For China, the concept of an education joint venture with a university outside the mainland is also entirely new. We also create a new platform for education development and room for advancement, and encourage exchanges and interaction between Hong Kong and mainland students, and thus their horizons are broadened. What is the significance of HKBU's future plan? We continue to devote effort and resources to enhance and improve undergraduate education especially under the backdrop of the reform of the 3+3+4 system. We are well-prepared for the implementation of the new system. We will raise our efforts in the promotion and realisation of internationalisation in providing a multicultural campus. We will also reach out to the community. Where will the future plan take the university? We strive to become the first choice of parents and students because of our aspiration and devotion to education, and our uniqueness in different areas. We are less well endowed but we have visions and will continue to strive for the best.