The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), formerly known as the Hong Kong Polytechnic, assumed full university status in 1994, and is currently the largest University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded tertiary institution by number of students. With 3000 staff, 28,000 students and 280,000 graduates, PolyU has made outstanding contributions through its many talents throughout the years. Presently it has six faculties and two independent schools, encompassing 26 departments and teaching centres. Wide range of courses is offered, directly meeting industry, commercial and community needs.
The academic faculty drawn from different countries and regions around the world are globally recognised and excels in qualification and teaching. Results of independent surveys conducted in 1994, 1999, 2003 and 2007 showed that PolyU graduates were regarded by recruiters as of the highest practical value and the “most preferred” for employment among local university graduates.
One of the prestigious faculties in PolyU is the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) established in 1979, as an application oriented educational institution in hospitality. As a global centre of excellence in hospitality and tourism education and research, they provide industries and academic communities through the advancement of education and dissemination of knowledge. Among the academic institutions in hospitality and tourism, SHTM is ranked number two based on research and scholarship, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research in 2009. They are also one of the first institutions to receive the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) TedQual Certification.
SHTM have been recognised by the International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators with an ISTTE Institutional Achievement Award for enhancing tourism education in Asia and innovativeness in student admission, curriculum design and industry partnerships. The International Agency for the Study of Tourism (IAST) has chosen SHTM as the home of its permanent secretariat, and also been designated as Asia’s first Meeting Professionals International Training Centre.
There are now more than 1,900 students enrolled in the School, guided by an international staff of 60 academics from 18 countries, bringing a strong international scope to the SHTM. With the purpose-built teaching and research hotel, Hotel ICON, students will be able to learn and practise their skills first-hand in an icon of both hospitality and the industry itself.
Interview with Hong Kong Polytechnic
What does being in the World Gourmet Summit (WGS) Hall Of Fame mean to your school?
The school of hotel and tourism management is committed to achieving global excellence in hospitality and tourism education. We are all the more determined in reaching our goal with this further recognition.
What do you hope to achieve in the near future?
The school of hotel and tourism management’s achievements as the pioneering tertiary institution in its field in Hong Kong are well recognised. Already rated number two globally in terms of research and scholarship by the respected Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, the school seeks to scale new height and attain higher level of excellence in the years ahead.
How important to the school is the students’ exposure to the industry?
It is vital. While classroom learning and desk research are important components of the learning process, we consider gaining first-hand experience in an actual industry environment crucial and complementary to classroom learning and desk research. That is why the school requires all undergraduate students to verify their classroom learning, interact with customers, interact with peers and suppliers, and get a realistic impression of the workplace dynamics. The internship experience would better prepare students when they enter the industry upon graduation.
What other plans are in the pipeline to bring your institute to world standards?
The school of hotel and tourism management is ranked number two in the world based on research and scholarship according to the respected Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research in November 2009. Never complacent, we continue to look to the future and further our growth. A teaching and research hotel, Hotel ICON, scheduled for completion in late 2010, will allow students to learn and practise first-hand what will become an icon of hospitality education and the industry. Included in the premises will be a hotel, conference facilities, training restaurants, a research centre, classrooms, offices and new staff quarters. Hotel ICON will facilitate partnerships with the industry and educational institutions around the world, and will heighten the school’s visibility as a world-class institution.