New rector vows to bring University of Macau to top of the list

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Issue 524, Page 4
Word count: 547
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The 8th rector of the University of Macau (UM), Professor Zhao Wei, assumed office yesterday and pledged to transform the University into a leading higher education institute in both mainland China and South East Asia.

At the same time, Professor Zhao was appointed to be the Chair Professor of Computer and Information Science, which is also the first ever Chair Professor at UM.

The 55-year-old Chinese American scholar was recruited for a five-year term through an international open recruitment staged by UM for the first time and in accordance with requirements of the new Charter of the university.

The inauguration will be held on November 29 at the Macau Forum where the new rector will officially announce the priorities and strategies of the university’s future development.

Professor Zhao also met with local media yesterday at the university campus where he shared his vision about the university together with chairman of the University Council, Dr Daniel Tse Chi Wai, vice rector, Professor Rui Martins, and also vice rector in administration, Dr Alex Lai Iat Long.

The rector said “higher education in Macau needs to expand to cope with the booming economy,” and thus UM had already established a 10-year plan which envisioned “an increase of student intake and enhancement of its position in the international community”.

Currently the number of students at UM stands at about 6,000, and Professor Zhao said he aimed to have that number lifted to 10,000 in 10 years’ time with an increase of five percent year-on-year.

He also said that more non-local students would be enrolled in the future as part of the plan but added that the number would not be “big”.

At present 15 percent to 18 percent of UM’s students are from outside Macau.

“The university will continue to be committed to the excellence of both teaching and research in various academic disciplines,” the rector said.

“We aim to become a leading university in the country and in South East Asia and to provide opportunities of higher learning at an international standard through excellence in teaching and research,” he added.

Having admitted yesterday enhancing research area would be one of their agendas, Professor Zhao said UM was already “quit well” in the field such as in micro electronics led by vice rector Martins.

“We will evaluate the international standard of UM and also place the right resources in the right place so as to lift the university’s reputation,” he said.

When asked whether UM would further reinforce the teaching area of the Portuguese language, the rector said such a profession was “one of their advantages” and UM would continue to “make use of the tradition and resources to enhance it”.

“We’ll develop our strengths based on what we have now,” he added.

Professor Zhao said he had held a number of meetings with the University Council, management staff as well as professors in the past week to discuss the strategies on the future direction for the University’s research and administration.

Dr Daniel Tse Chi Wai, the chairman of the University Council, also said yesterday they were “confident” that Professor Zhao would lead UM to a “new height of excellence in teaching and research and at the same time accomplish the university’s mission of nurturing young talents for the Macau SAR”.

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