Message from the Director of CETL – Grahame Bilbow

This issue of Teaching and Learning Connections considers “impact” in teaching and learning. Over the past two years, successive issues of this e-newsletter have touched upon three areas of strategic importance for the University: internationalisation, innovation, and interdisciplinarity. These, you will recall, are the three core components of the HKU ‘3+1 I’ strategy. It is timely that we now discuss the fourth, or ‘+1 I’: impact, on which the other ‘I’’s converge.

Such is the integrated nature of the ‘3+1 I’ strategy that readers will inevitably find that the articles in this issue simultaneously touch on some of the matters discussed in previous issues.

From the articles we have collected for this issue, three patterns stand out. First, we can observe that teaching and learning initiatives often have an impact on multiple stakeholders, with positive mutual reinforcement across stakeholders. The obvious and most important beneficiaries of university teaching and learning enhancement are our students, as is evident in every article in this issue. Other stakeholders who benefit are faculty members, who are sometimes able to build more research collaboration opportunities through co-designed curricula with international partners (e.g. the blog by Kay Loy and David Parkinson); research postgraduate students and teaching assistants, who may develop career opportunities by enhancing their teaching competence (e.g. the article by Alex Shum); and lastly members of the local community, who may benefit from interacting with students (e.g. student nurses) in community-based experiential learning projects (e.g. the article by Janet Wong).

Second, not all impact is immediately visible or is easily measurable. In Rachel Barrel’s article, for example, she explores her personal development after becoming a National Teaching Fellow in the UK and observes that much of the impact has been unexpected, including new research and career opportunities. The same phenomenon can be observed with the training of research postgraduate students, which, although geared specifically to teaching assistants’ duties, can lay a firm foundation for an eventual career in university teaching requiring the design and delivery of curricula. This observation reminds us that teaching and learning enhancement is a long-term process, rather than a short-term one.

Third, the articles in this issue further reinforce the fact that impactful teaching and learning depends upon stretching boundaries and sharing practices. Every article in this issue contains examples of strategies and processes to achieve impact. Such boundary stretching and practice sharing are especially evident in the blog by Kay Loy and David Parkinson and the article by Rachel Barrel, as the authors proactively seek opportunities to reach out and form new collaborative opportunities with a range of institutions.

In a similar vein, CETL continues to share its e-newsletter with international readers to seek their valuable input. Our editor, Tracy Zou, recently reported on the development of the Teaching and Learning Connections e-newsletter at an international conference in August 20181, and, as a result, we have been able to publish contributions from Canada, Malaysia, and Hong Kong in the forthcoming issue.

So, to reiterate, I would like to end this message by encouraging our readers to be ambitious in expanding the impact of their teaching and learning initiatives by always having multiple stakeholders in mind, by adopting a long-term orientation, and by actively seeking opportunities to share and disseminate their work. CETL’s e-newsletter, Teaching and Learning Connections, is, as always, at your disposal!


  • 1Zou, T.X.P. (2018). Towards building a community of teaching and learning in a research-intensive university. Poster presented in the European Association of Learning and Instruction SIG 4 Higher Education Conference, Giessen, Germany, 29-31 August 2018.
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow
Professor Grahame T. Bilbow

Director, Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
The University of Hong Kong

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