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21世纪澳门不可思议的转变:造价20亿美金的澳门大学新校园
The University of Macau — Doing the Unthinkable
Da Hsuan Feng (Dr) (Senior Vice President for Global Strategy, Planning and Evaluation, National Tsing Hua University)
Photos courtesy of the University of Macau
Published: EduNation, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013
“No one 20 years ago would have dreamed that the sleepy town of Macau would one day be giving high fives to the front line of higher education. Who would have thought then that this small Special Administrative Region (SAR) would now be renting land from the Mainland in order to build a world-class university? That this has now happened is an indication of how far we have come in political, cultural and economic terms.

For me, the University of Macau should be seen as the rest of the world’s window on higher education in the Asia Pacific region. If it is successful, the impact will surely be global. Therefore the world should really take note of this development.”

The Start of Higher Education in Macau

Macau is tiny. It is roughly 30 square kilometres. Its “minuteness” is matched by its small population which is about half a million. Politically, Macau had been a Portuguese colony for 400 years before becoming an SAR (Special Administrative Region) of the People’s Republic of China in 1999. It was the second region (the first is Hong Kong) to take on this special title under the auspices of the now world famous “one country two systems” policy. Since becoming an SAR Macau has made enormous strides in economic development. Its gaming — a euphemism for gambling — industry has grown exponentially. Indeed, Macau’s gaming revenue today is many times larger than its closest competitor Las Vegas in the United States.

The history of higher education in Macau is a short one. Prior to 1981, there were for all practical purposes no tertiary educational institutions at all. Secondary school graduates of Macau would either go to Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Mainland or overseas for their tertiary education. This situation was altered somewhat when the University of Macau (UM) was founded in 1981 as a private institution. Later, in 1991, some eight years before the handover of Macau’s sovereignty, UM was acquired by the then Macau Portuguese government and thus became a public university.

I suspect that with the handover looming on the horizon the Portuguese colonial government probably did not have the time or the resources, and maybe even more importantly, the need to seriously consider developing UM into a modern university. For these reasons, UM’s campus, like Macau itself, was small — roughly 120 th of a square kilometre. If it wasn’t actually the world’s smallest university, it was certainly one of the smallest. And even if the government had wanted to expand it — and they probably did not — there was no land available to do so.

Hence, the 20th century ended quietly for both Macau and its university.


Developing a World-class University from Gaming Revenue

There are a number of regions of the world that have made the gaming industry their primary or sole source of revenue. Las Vegas, as mentioned earlier, is one. Atlantic City in New Jersey is another. On a much smaller scale, Monte Carlo in Europe is another. Then there is Macau. All of them are situated in North America or Europe. Macau is the only one in Asia and it is the only one that has undergone a monumental political transformation in the 20th century.

Such a transformation would be nothing extraordinary if Macau had merely leveraged on the opportunity to change itself from the relatively small gaming centre that it used to be to the mega one that it is today. If that were all that had happened, Macau would be looked on as merely a larger version of Las Vegas.

But something in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century made Macau absolutely and stunningly different from all its counterparts in North America and Europe. The leadership of Macau, having now acquired a very deep financial pocket, began to think of how to use this “newfound wealth” to transform the small SAR into something that it was not before.

They realised that what was sorely missing in Macau was a world-class university simply because for any modern city to become world-class it must first become a city of knowledge, but before it can become this it needs to have a world-class university.

So their attention turned to the only public university that was in Macau, UM.

Building a world-class university needs at least four major components:

  1. Financial resources
  2. A strategy-minded and sustainable leadership team with courage and vision
  3. The land mass to expand
  4. A world-class faculty to attract world-class students

Macau now has the first component.

UM has the second factor — it has appointed a new Rector (i.e. President) through global recruitment.

The third was a major challenge. Macau, with only 30 square kilometres, has absolutely no land to spare. Without the land to expand onto there could be no hope of transforming UM into a world-class university.

There is a Sung Dynasty poem by the famous poet Lu You which contains the following lines: “Just as I was about to lose hope of ever finding the way out after navigating a maze of similar-looking mountains and rivers, the entrance to a village with weeping willow trees and blooming flowers greeted my eyes”. Essentially this means that however hopeless the situation may appear to be there is always a way out. This philosophy, it seems to me, is the underlying reason why Asia Pacific today is one of the most robust regions in the world. People always seem to find a way to overcome difficulties.

The solution to the land problem was almost miraculous.

The following is a map of Macau and the surrounding area, which is entirely within the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China. Macau has two sections — a northern part which is a peninsula linking with the Mainland and a southern part which is an island known as Taipa. Sitting on the western side of Taipa, just across a narrow waterway about 250 metres wide is the large and totally under-developed Mainland island known as Hengqin Island.

From Barren Island to Tertiary Institution

Incredibly, someone in Macau’s leadership had the idea that perhaps the university could acquire land on Hengqin Island for expansion. But for this to happen there were two problems which needed to be solved.

First the land is not part of Macau.

Second, even if UM could build a campus on land that belonged to the Mainland the legal jurisdiction over it would be that of the Mainland and not of Macau and in that scenario the university would be a Mainland university and not Macau’s.

Faced with these two challenges, Macau’s leadership decided to “kill two birds with one stone” by negotiating with the central government of the People’s Republic of China to lease 1 square kilometre of land on Hengqin Island. This land could then be utilised by the Macau government to build a new campus for UM. This was a very complex issue because by doing so Macau and the Mainland would have to redraw their border so that the laws in this 1 square kilometre would be Macau’s and not China’s, and the currency in use would be Macau’s Pataca and not the Chinese Renminbi.

Another interesting feature about Macau as an SAR is that it has no water rights and so the surface of the water between Taipa and Hengqin belongs to the Mainland. As such, a passenger crossing by boat from Taipa to Hengqin would need the relevant travel documents to do so, and one can easily imagine the bureaucratic nightmare that could result from this scenario.

But remarkably, after several years of negotiation, the government of the People’s Republic of China accepted these conditions, and to overcome the issue of the water rights it was agreed that a tunnel would be built under water and that it would be under Macau’s jurisdiction.

Hence, in 2009, after pumping close to US$2 billion dollars into its construction, a new campus of more than 80 very large and ultra-modern buildings broke ground on the newly acquired land of Macau on Hengqin Island.

Embracing Challenges Optimistically

During the Q&A session of my speech, I observed that the way UM’s campus had grown so quickly to 20 times its original size was analogous to what is known in thermodynamics as the “non-adiabatic expansion of a gaseous system” i.e. when the expansion of a gaseous system is faster than the system has time to adjust to, the result is chaos. But this is certainly to be preferred to the alternative in this case — which is no expansion at all. Facing such an immediate and somewhat uncertain future it is no wonder that everyone I talked to during my two days at UM — from the leadership to the students — was as full of apprehension as anticipation.

Will UM eventually become a world-class university? I think only time will tell. But one thing is undeniable: UM’s impressive progress in recent years has satisfied several preconditions for it to achieve such a status.

Firstly, UM has initiated an effort to recruit high-calibre international scholars and it is currently planning to launch a “Tenure System” to retain especially talented faculty members. Secondly, the Macau SAR government is continuing to invest in UM. Thirdly, Macau’s first-ever interstate laboratories for microelectronics and Chinese Medicine — both approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China — were inaugurated at UM in 2011, thus ushering in a new era of research in these two fields. And lastly, the number and citation frequency of papers published by UM academics are steadily on the rise. These are all favourable indications that UM can indeed become world-class. And although my discussions with the leadership, the staff and the students have revealed an awareness of the challenges that UM faces, they have also shown a strong sense of optimism across the whole University which means that the battle is already more than half won.

The Sky’s the Limit

I have been struck by a number of the developments that have come about recently, sometimes fortuitously it seems, that would have been considered unimaginable just one or two decades ago. For example, building an international high-speed rail link in the Asia Pacific region would have been unthinkable both from an economic and a political perspective, and yet now such high speed lines are not just conceivable but actually quite common.

Similarly, no one 20 years ago would have dreamed that the sleepy town of Macau would one day be giving high fives to the front line of higher education. Who would have thought then that this small Special Administrative Region would now be renting land from the Mainland in order to build a world-class university? That this has now happened is an indication of how far we have come in political, cultural and economic terms.

For me, the University of Macau should be seen as the rest of the world’s window on higher education in the Asia-Pacific region. If it is successful the impact will surely be global. Therefore the world should really take note of this development.

How exciting indeed!

This article is a summary of Professor Da Hsuan Feng’s contribution to the series of lectures on Liberal Arts Learning that were given at the University of Macau on 7 March 2013. Permission for publication was obtained from Professor Feng.

 

精选文章 > 21世纪澳门不可思议的转变:造价20亿美金的澳门大学新校园
21世纪澳门不可思议的转变:造价20亿美金的澳门大学新校园
文:冯达旋教授 (台湾国立清华大学资深副校长(全球策略、策划及评估))
图:澳门大学提供 图:南洋理工大学校友事务处提供
刊载:《新学》, 第3期,2013年5月-6月
20世纪时谁会想到,澳门这座宁静小城有一天会跃居高等教育的前线?谁又会想到,澳门会从中国内地“租用”土地建造世界一流大学?曾经难以想像的事,如今已成为触手可及的现实,这正正说明亚太地区在政治,经济和文化各领域经历了多么巨大的发展变化。

在我看来,澳门大学(澳大)是亚太地区高等教育面向世界的窗口。它的成功,将产生全球性的影响,因此它的发展值得全世界关注。

澳门高等教育的起步

从土地资源来看,澳门是个弹丸小城,只有30平方公里。人口也少,只有约50万人。政治上,澳门自16世纪开始就一直是葡萄牙的殖民地。1999年,澳门成为继香港之后中华人民共和国“一国两制”政策下的第二个特别行政区。澳门特区自成立以来,经济飞速发展,博彩业更是大幅度增长。如今澳门的博彩收入已是其头号竞争对手美国拉斯维加斯的好多倍。

澳门高等教育的历史很短。1981年以前,澳门的教育完全以实用性为主。其时澳门没有高等学府,想要继续深造的澳门中学毕业生惟有选择香港、台湾、中国内地或国外。这个局面直到1981年澳大的前身东亚大学成立后才略有改变。1991年,也就是澳门政权移交前的八年,澳葡政府收购澳大,由私立转为公立大学。

我怀疑当时因为政权移交在即,澳葡政府没时间、没资源、更没必要去认真思考如何将澳大打造成一所现代大学。正因此,澳大的校园如同澳门一样“小”,只佔约二十分之一平方公里,因此说澳大校园是全世界最小的大学之一应该并不夸张。姑且不论当时的澳葡政府是否无心去扩展澳大,就算真的有心,也实在无地可扩。因此, 就如20世纪悄无声息地写下句点,对澳大来说,也是悄无声息。

善用博彩收入打造世界一流大学

世界上有不少地区将博彩业作为主要甚至惟一产业。美国拉斯维加斯是一例,美国新泽西州的大西洋城又是一例。规模较小的有欧洲的蒙特卡罗以及亚洲的澳门。除澳门之外,这些地区都位于北美洲或欧洲。澳门是亚洲惟一一个博彩中心,也是20世纪惟一一个经历了巨大政治变化的博彩中心。

如果澳门只是利用这个机遇,从20世纪的小型博彩中心转变为21世纪的大型博彩中心,这样的转变并没有什么了不起,澳门充其量也只是加大版的拉斯维加斯。但2000年至2010年间发生了一件事,使得澳门与北美洲和欧洲的其他博彩中心相比有了天渊之别。在坐拥可观的财政收入后,澳门特区政府开始思考,应该如何善用这笔“新财富”,让澳门实现前所未有的转变。

澳门领导阶层认识到澳门急需的是一所世界一流大学,要打造世界一流城市,就必须使澳门成为“知识之城”。缺乏一所世界一流大学正正成为实现这一目标的重大阻障,于是澳门领导将目光投向澳门惟一一所公立大学——澳门大学。

毋容置疑,打造世界一流大学至少需要具备四个条件:

  1. 丰裕的财政资源
  2. 拥有具远见、策略和勇气的领导团队
  3. 足够的土地供校园扩展
  4. 吸引一流学者和一流学生

第一个条件,澳门已具备。第二个条件澳大也已具备——他们透过全球招聘任命了一位新校长。至于第三个条件无疑是重大的挑战。如前所述,澳门只有30平方公里,绝无多余土地供大学扩展校园,但倘若澳大无法扩展校园,就绝无希望成为世界一流大学。

宋朝著名诗人陆游说得好,“山重水复疑无路,柳暗花明又一村。”意思是指不管情况看起来多么无望,总有解决办法。正是凭着这股理念的支撑,亚太区才得以发展成为世界最有生机和活力的地区之一。不管遇到什么困难,人们总能找到方法来克服。

解决澳门土地缺乏的方法听起来是一个奇迹:

澳门的周边地区完全属于中国大陆的管辖范围。澳门分成两个部分,和中国内地相连的北部半岛,以及南部的氹仔岛。而位于氹仔西面与澳门一水之隔的就是横琴岛——一片位于中国内地却完全未开发的岛屿。

荒芜岛屿变高等学府

显然,澳门领导团队中某位人士在21世纪初灵机一动,想到了或许可以在横琴岛申请一块地,供澳大扩展校园之用。不过要实现这个愿望,有两个问题需要解决。首先,地不在澳门;其次,就算澳大可以在内地建造一所新校园,这个新校园也将由内地而非澳门管辖,那样的话,澳大就变成内地大学而非澳门的大学。

面临这两大难题,澳门政府决定“一石二鸟”,跟中央政府协商,把横琴岛约一平方公里的土地租给澳门,然后由澳门政府在这块租用的土地上建造澳大新校园。这是个很复杂的问题,因为这样等于要重新划定澳门和内地的分界线,这一平方公里土地也将以澳门法律实施管理,例如区内流通货币将是澳门币而非人民币。

澳门特区由于不拥有水权,所以连接氹仔和横琴的水域属于内地的管辖范围,也就是说任何人若想从氹仔坐船去横琴,就需要备齐所有旅行证件过关,这其中涉及的复杂行政程序令人想起也头痛!但令人佩服的是,为解决澳门不拥有水权带来的现实问题经过几年的协商,中央政府和澳门特区政府双方同意建造一条归澳门管辖的河底隧道!

2009年,巨额注资20亿美金的新校园在横琴岛破土动工,建成后的新校园将有80多栋现代化的大楼。

大学上下乐观迎接挑战

在澳大讲座之后的问答环节,我回答提问时指出,从只佔约二十分之一平方公里的校园一下子扩展到一平方公里,就好像热力学里“气态系统的非绝热扩张”原理,即当一个气态系统以非常快的速度扩张,快到系统本身没有时间去适应新的条件,就必然出现混乱。但即使这样,也肯定比完全不扩张好。新校园建成在即,未来虽然充满诸多不确定因素,但我在访问澳大的两天期间,与我交谈过的每一个人,上自大学管理层,下至学生,都对未来充满热情和憧憬。

澳大最终是否能够成为世界一流大学?我认为要靠时间来回答这个问题,但综观过往,澳大近年的进步无疑有目共睹:首先,大学透过全球招聘广揽世界高端人才。此外,校方亦计划推出“终身教授”制度,留住高层次的杰出人才;其次,澳门政府于澳大投放的资源不断增加,比如澳大教职员的平均薪酬就增加了两成或以上;再次,澳门首两个获国家科技部批准筹建的微电子和中医药的国家重点实验室,2011年于澳大揭牌成立,也标志着澳门在该两领域的研究进入崭新发展阶段;最后,澳大论文发表量和被引用的次数继续攀升。事实上,我在和澳大管理层以及很多教职员交谈的过程中,不但感觉到所有人都深刻意识到澳大面临的挑战,同时更深深感受到每个人的乐观,有了这种乐观心态,打造世界一流大学的任务就已经成功了一半。

澳大未来有无限可能

我最近经常说,很不可思议或许纯属机缘巧合,20世纪时很多不敢想像的事情,如今却都成为现实。例如,在亚太区建造国际水平的高铁,不管从经济角度还是政治角度,在20世纪都是难以想像的事,然而今天已成为事实。

20世纪谁会想到,澳门这座宁静小城有一天会跃居高等教育的前线?谁又会想到,澳门会从中国内地“租用”土地建造世界一流大学?曾经难以想像的事,如今已成为触手可及的现实,这正正说明亚太地区在政治,经济和文化各领域经历了多么巨大的发展变化。

在我看来,澳大是亚太地区高等教育面向世界的窗口。它的成功,将产生全球性的影响,它的发展值得全世界关注。

每想及此,着实令人兴奋!

冯达旋教授 / Da Hsuan Feng (Dr)
现任台湾清华大学资深副校长(全球策略与企划研考)。他出生于印度的新德里。1950年初期,全家举迁至新加坡,在养正小学、立化中学及新加坡工艺学院(新加坡理工学院前身)完成教育。1968年取得德鲁大学的物理学士,1972年获明尼苏达大学理论物理学博士。1976年任教美国费城德雷塞尔大学。

曾担任德州大学达拉斯分校副校长,他是第一位在新加坡受教育的美国大学副校长,策划筹建以诺贝尔奖得主艾伦•麦克德尔米德命名的湖北宜昌三峡大学AGM再生能源研究所、曾任国立成功大学资深执行副校长等。

他发表了超过180篇核物理,核天文物理,量子光学与数学物理论文,编辑20多本书,多次在重点国际会议上作邀请报告。1996年获选为美国物理学会会士。

Professor Da Hsuan Feng is the Vice President of Global Strategy, Development and Evaluation at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. He was born in New Delhi, India. His family moved to Singapore in the early 1950s. In 1968 Professor Feng received a BA in Physics from Drew University and in 1972 he received a PhD in Theoretical Physics. In 1976 he became a faculty member in the physics department of Drexel University in Philadelphia.

From 2001–2007, he was also the Vice President for Research and Economic Development of the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). During his tenure at UTD, he personally recruited two Nobel laureates (the late Alan G. MacDiarmid and Russell Hulse), the former European Space Agency Director and the entire nanotechnology team from the Honeywell R&D division in Morristown, New Jersey.

Professor Feng has also published over 180 refereed papers in nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, quantum optics and mathematical physics. He is the editor of twenty books on conference proceedings, and is frequently asked to speak at International Conferences. In 1996 Professor Feng was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society.


 

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