Professor Gordon Tang: Devoting 30 years to students
27 Apr 2018
At the 62nd Founders' Day Thanksgiving Service, one modest scholar went on stage to receive a 30-year Long Service Award from President Professor Roland Chin amid appreciative cheers and applause. He is Professor Gordon Tang, Director of Student Affairs.
Professor Tang has devoted a third of his life to teaching, motivated by the sole aim of empowering students to contribute to the community. In 1988, he joined the Department of Finance of the then Hong Kong Baptist College and thus began his 28-year teaching career in the University. In 2007, he was appointed Department Head.
Professor Tang recalled that there were not that many staff and students in Hong Kong Baptist College. At that time, regular staff assemblies and seminars were held for exchanging views and ideas. To encourage staff participation, the president even allowed offices to close for an hour.
Professor Tang left his teaching post to take up the role of Director of Student Affairs two years ago. He observed how the Occupy Central Movement in 2014 made a huge impact on society, and so he developed a strong desire to be the one helping students to grow. At the same time, he also wanted to take up some new challenges before retiring.
From the time he was a teacher to his current role as Director of Student Affairs, Professor Tang has witnessed the growth of many students. He can still remember the time when many international students were forced by their parents to leave Hong Kong because of the SARS outbreak in 2003. “The students came to say ‘thank you’ before they left. It's a very touching gesture that showed us their appreciation.”
After the new 3-3-4 academic structure was implemented in 2012, Professor Tang has found that students these days are not as mature as their predecessors and require more support on their studies. "Students used to be proactive and take responsibility for their education, such as looking for reference materials in the library, whereas many students of today rely on materials prepared by teachers. In addition, we have to remind students from time to time about the minimum number of credits needed for graduation. I think students are not as mature and considerate because they entered university one year ahead and experienced only one public examination under the new academic structure.”
Professor Tang, with more than 20 years of experience teaching finance, always emphasises the concept of “risk-return”. He appreciates students' passion to fight for their rights, yet he thinks that they also need to respect the right of others and be aware of their responsibilities. “Students should understand that responsibility and freedom go together. It is important to strike a balance.”
With three years to retirement, Professor Tang aims to continue nurturing well-rounded graduates. Instead of teaching “good students”, it is even more important to provide education for all without distinction, teaching “students to be good” so they develop into civically responsible citizens who contribute to the world.