GlobaLinks September 2021

Embracing diversity and inclusion

Prof. Alan Chan shares CUHK’s experience in diversity and inclusion at the World Universities Summit.

Prof. Alan Chan (top right) shares CUHK’s experience in diversity and inclusion at the World Universities Summit.

Creating and sustaining support systems which ensure equal representation and access to quality education for all is at the heart of universities. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced universities to rethink and redefine education and reposition themselves in a post-pandemic world against a rapidly changing higher education landscape. It is therefore paramount for universities worldwide to reimagine their education mission to encompass diversity, inclusion, and equity as core values.

Prof. Alan Chan, Provost of CUHK, spoke on how CUHK has addressed diversity at a panel titled ‘On a Road to Equity: University Support System to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education’ at the World Universities Summit 2021 hosted by O.P. Jindal Global University in India on 21 July.

Prof. Chan emphasised that the University fully embraces diversity and inclusion and shared how a University-wide Diversity and Inclusion Policy was adopted in 2020, consolidating and enhancing the various existing initiatives, with a new dedicated office coordinating and spearheading diversity and inclusion at CUHK. To champion diversity and inclusion, a Steering Committee was formed, which he chairs, signaling the importance and commitment of the University to promoting diversity and inclusion. ‘Diversity and inclusion is a core value of the University and has been a part of CUHK’s ethos since our founding in 1963,’ said Prof. Chan. The University is particularly concerned about the underprivileged. ‘We make sure students from grassroot families have access to high quality education regardless of their family financial circumstances,’ added Prof. Chan. Moreover, CUHK integrates the value of diversity and inclusion in education and research in addition to removing barriers and enhancing accessibility to education.

The University has also given heed to the needs of students with special learning needs as it moved its teaching and learning activities online during the pandemic so that such students would be able to equally benefit from the teaching, albeit without face-to-face interaction.

Other speakers of the panel were are Prof. John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor and President of La Trobe University; Prof. Leisa Sargent, Co-Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion of UNSW Sydney; and Prof. Laura Lyons, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

For more information, please visit the panel discussion.