Visit to Universities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia and Hong Kong book talk during Winter Break

During the first few weeks in January, I set up a trip to visit several excellent universities in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia – all reinventing higher education in the 21st Century in their own ways.

I first visited Shenzhen and saw the results of the InnoX project, which includes workshops in new forms of engineering education, including one offered by Olin College’s Jason Woddard. The InnoX project is a massive undertaking hoping to spark new companies in China’s “Greater Bay Area,” including Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macao, and Guangdong, encompassing 71 million people.

The next stop was Hong Kong – where I visited the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and met with their staff working on innovation in teaching and learning. The meetings included Sean McMinn, Director of the HKUST Center for Education Innovation (who has prepared some amazing materials for faculty using AI), Winnie Leung from the Division of Integrative Systems and Design (who provided a tour of their vibrant maker space and reviewed their Olin-like engineering curriculum), and Alison Lloyd, Associate Provost of Institutional Research (who updated me on HKUST’s strategies).

Then, off to Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), one of our members of PALAC, where I met with Theresa Kwong, who directs HKBU’s Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning. There. I gave a talk on our new book, the New Global Universities – Reinventing Higher Education in the 21st Century – and met with many of their faculty and had a great conversation about innovation in universities. Along the way, I had a wonderful visit with Thomas Schneider, who co-led the PALAC alliance with me and now directs the Association of Pacific Rim Universities.

Then, I went to Singapore, where I met with many old friends from Yale-NUS and met some amazing leaders of new institutions across Asia at the Yale-NUS liberal arts symposium. They also dedicated the performing arts hall as the new Yale-NUS Hall, which will be a lasting tribute to the vibrant and dynamic Yale-NUS College long after it has been absorbed by NUS and transformed into the NUS College.

Finally, I visited the new Asian School for Business (ASB) in Kuala Lumpur, a project in collaboration with Sloan MIT. ASB is currently being led by MIT’s Sanjay Sarma, who hosted me, gave me a great tour of Kuala Lumpur, and arranged meetings with his senior staff. I discussed the origins of the ASB with senior staff Joe Cherian and Zainon Mustaffa, and learned about the Action Learning programs from faculty members like Sangeeta Menon Matu. The institution was very inspiring and provides unique kinds of experiential learning within Malaysia for a cross-section of Asian students and business leaders.