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Saturday 2 July 2022
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Undergraduate Research Series

Organised by Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Series Abstract
How can we engage undergraduate students in research? Promoting undergraduate research is a key recommendation in HKU’s “Delivering for Our Students Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Strategy 2021-28”. This series aims to showcase successful examples, effective strategies, and practical models of how undergraduate students have been involved in research both within and outside HKU. This series consists of four sessions. We are excited to have you join us in this series!

[2 March 2022] Talk 1: BAScLab (Bachelor of Arts and Sciences): A model for interdisciplinary, undergraduate-led research development and delivery

Date : 2 March 2022 (Wed)
Time : 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Staff and Students from the BASC Programme
Facilitator : Dr. Ronnel King, CETL, HKU

We face an array of problems: war, climate change, inequality, aging, disease, depression, the list goes on. These problems are diverse and complex, and their solutions require us to take an interdisciplinary focus, understanding the complex interplay between politics, economics, biomedical sciences, computer sciences, philosophy, psychology, sociology and more. Such an understanding can also help us enhance other, more positive, areas of life such as education and culture.

About the speakers

Staff and Students from the BASC Programme

The BASc programme under the leadership of Dr. Tom Barry equips students with this interdisciplinary focus and prepares them to make an impact in the real world! Each student achieves these goals in a personalised and tailor-made manner, and has the opportunity to apply for research funding within our programme-wide BAScLab. The BAScLab is a collaborative space for students to lead and develop interdisciplinary research projects whilst working together with their peers and staff.

[9 March 2022] Talk 2: HKU Registered Reports challenge: Promoting, supporting, and incentivizing open-science high-rigor publishable science with students

Date : 9 March 2022 (Wed)
Time : 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Dr. Gilad Feldman, Department of Psychology, HKU
Facilitator : Dr. Ronnel King, CETL, HKU

Registered Reports are a new publication process now adopted by over 300 journals across the science domains, in which peer review occurs on a pre-registration plan prior to any data collection (http://cos.io/rr). Once the pre¬ registration plan passes peer review and is approved, the journal grants authors an in-principle acceptance guaranteeing the publication of the article regardless of results, provided that data collection and analysis follows intended plan, and with the second-round peer review focused solely on ensuring adherence to the initial plan (or documenting deviations). It is a promising revolutionary development in science, with many benefits for both science and scientists, yet very few scholars have so far pursued this direction.

The “HKU Registered Reports challenge” is aimed at promoting and incentivizing the adoption of Registered Reports at HKU and working with students on impactful publishable science. In recent years, in my courses and thesis mentoring I have been guiding students to write and submit Registered Reports to academic journals in the domain of social-psychology and judgment and decision-making. Together with a growing team of over 50 early career researchers from around the world, we formed international student-scholar collaboration that have resulted in many student coauthored academic journal publications.

Students and faculty at HKU are invited to adopt what we do, build on our work, and/or join us. With the support of Teaching Development Grant, over Registered Reports journal submissions that received an in-principle acceptance and are coauthored with HKU students can now receive data collection support of up to HK$8,000 per student and up to HK$20,000 per project to ensure high-quality well-powered samples (95%+) using online labour markets (MTurk/Prolific/etc.).

I’ll briefly present my experience of working on science projects and publishing with students, the TDG “HKU Registered Reports challenge” scheme, and with recommendations for what you can do to join us or promote this direction in your own labs, departments, and faculties.

About the speaker

Gilad Feldman is an assistant professor with the psychology department at the University of Hong Kong. Gilad’s work is in the areas of social psychology and judgment and decision-making. Research focuses on the topics of biases and heuristics, especially regarding agency and action. In recent years, following signs regarding the need for a science reform, Gilad has taken a special interest in the movement for improvement of psychological science to implement and promote open-science and meta-research. More details on Gilad can be found at https://giladfeldman.org

[23 Mar 2022] Talk 3: Nurturing Researchers of Tomorrow: The URECA experience at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Date : 23 Mar 2022 (Wed)
Time : 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Dr. Adam D. Switzer, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Facilitator : Dr. Ronnel King, CETL, HKU

Video Presentation (HKU Portal Required)

The Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA) is a university-wide undergraduate research programme to cultivate a research culture and to nurture research capabilities among undergraduates who have achieved excellent academic standing. Established in 2004 and offered as an elective course, it enables undergraduates to experience independent research under the mentorship of faculty of their choice in any chosen field of research over a period of eleven months. The foundations of research experience and practical skills gained through URECA programme prepares undergraduates for postgraduate research studies, career in research, or professional roles that require a firm understanding of research. URECA values innovation, ambition, collaboration and inclusiveness, so far enabling more than 10,000 students to discover and develop their passion for research. Nearly 1,000 students are enrolled in URECA in the academic year of AY2021/22. The URECA programme benefits students in many broad ways: students who successfully complete their URECA journey(s) receive the title of ‘NTU President Research Scholar’. Some students get to publish in journals of international repute and present at top international conferences in their chosen fields; others get to apply their theoretical knowledge to actual research projects while others experience work in challenging research environments with industrial relevance. Around 30% of URECA students go on to pursue post graduate studies in NTU and elsewhere, demonstrating that URECA is meeting its key aim of recruiting, training and equipping the next generation of research talent.

About the Speaker

Adam Switzer holds concurrent positions as Director of Undergraduate Research Experience on Campus (URECA), Associate Professor at the Asian School of the Environment, Assistant Dean (Development) at the College of Science, and Principal Investigator at the Earth Observatory of Singapore (EOS). He is a broadly trained coastal geoscientist with BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Wollongong. At The University of Hong Kong he held positions as Post-Doctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Professor. Adam is an internationally recognized expert in coastal science coastal systems and his work aims to facilitate the development of safer and more sustainable coastal communities in Asia. He has been PI or Co-I on 17 grants in Singapore (worth >$17.5M) and he has authorship on >100 peer-review publications. He is a founding editor of the Journal Communications Earth and Environment from Nature and he is passionate about science communication.

[29 Mar 2022] Talk 4: Transdisciplinary crossings: Student research capacities and civic engagement

Date : 29 March 2022 (Tue)
Time : 12:30pm to 1:30pm
Venue : Zoom
Speaker : Dr. Jack Tsao, Common Core, HKU
Facilitator : Dr. Ronnel King, CETL, HKU

Presentation Material (HKU Portal Required)

Higher education has often been criticised for its disconnection to civil society, criticisms that have only intensified amidst the Covid-19 pandemic disruptions as teaching and learning migrated online. The retention of traditional pedagogic instruction and the continuing general lack of innovation with online HE teaching is in stark contrast with the proliferation of online educational resources available, attracting further criticism of what fundamental purposes a contemporary university serves. In response to such critques, anincreased focus on normative models such as the Civic University has asked questions around how we can transform higher education to enable teaching and learning engagements to better address ‘real world’ problems and thereby enhance tangible social impacts.

This talk is a case study focused on the Common Core’s co-curricular undergraduate research project “Night Time Design in Hong Kong – Perceptions of Safety,” a pilot conducted this semester in collaboration with the multinational engineering, architectural, and design firm Arup and supported by the non-profit environmental organisation The Green Earth Hong Kong. Through structured learning activities, fieldwork, and establishing clear deliverables, the project is an example of how we can activate transdisciplinary learning and the development of undergraduate research skills while enabling an opportunity for students to create and inflect new knowledge and make a contribution to the sustainable development of the city.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jack Tsao is the Associate Director of the Common Core, the holistic trans- and inter-disciplinary undergraduate curriculum at the Unversity of Hong Kong. In teaching and learning, he is focused on initiatives exploring the professional development of tutors, activating global cross-institutional networks, expanding student capacities for the future of work, and developing undergraduate research skills through pilot projects around creativity, game design, sustainability, and peace and conflict. Before his current role, he taught Common Core courses at the HKU’s Faculty of Medicine. With a PhD in Education, Jack’s current scholarship focuses on comparative and international education, youth aspirations, the theory of practice, and the sociology of education, grounded through an interdisciplinary lens. His previous background was in organisational learning and development, commercial banking, and entrepreneurship, occupying various leadership roles and trained and coached executives and professionals of multinational corporations across the sectors of banking and finance, education, healthcare, construction, FMCG, and governmental organisations.

For information, please contact:
Ms. Lavina Luk, CETL
Phone: 3917 5272; Email: ytluk89@hku.hk