Ambitious plans to create an “Asian hub” for the University of Sunderland are well on their way to success.
A year ago the University of Sunderland launched its first international campus – thousands of miles away from Wearside in Hong Kong.
But, 12 months on, how has the facility developed and what does the future hold?
The University’s international footprint took a big step forward 12 months ago when it launched its first overseas campus.
Officially opened in March 2017, and providing spaces for 1,000 students, the facility helped break the mould in terms of cross-continent student opportunities.
Based in the heart of Central district, Hong Kong, the campus enables students to attain a globally recognised degree from a UK university.
But, from its conception, it was always important students would leave with more than just a qualification.
It was vital the University’s ‘career ready’ approach formed the foundation of the facility. And by career ready, this meant the perfect combination of academic learning, work relevant skills and real-world experience.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland Shirley Atkinson said: “Since opening our Hong Kong Campus in March last year, our reputation as a provider of first-class higher education and globally recognised qualifications has expanded even further.
“Just by having a physical presence in such an economically important city, in such a vibrant part of the world, has raised our profile significantly.
“We are continuously developing new opportunities for our University community to benefit from our presence in Sunderland, London and now Hong Kong.
“Marking the first anniversary of the Hong Kong Campus gives us a chance to reflect on our ‘career-ready’ ethos and how that is now reaching across continents to provide the best student experience possible.
“I am so proud of everything we have achieved in Hong Kong. I think our staff and students are exceptional and our vision for the Campus is to continue doing what we are good at, delivering excellent teaching and developing our collaboration with the business community.
“Hong Kong is a city of massive potential so there are plenty of opportunities to grow our reputation on the international scale even further.
“Our plan has always been about growth and innovation and these ambitions sit really well with our colleagues and students in Hong Kong.”
Students who are based in the Asia campus are encouraged to take that important step in broadening their own international footprint.
The learners can opt to study a semester or two in the UK – at either the University’s London Campus or in the North East – gaining vital networking opportunities and future career contacts.
Steven Ng, Acting Hong Kong Campus Director, today looked back on the past 12 months – and forward to the coming years.
And he was keen to emphasise the work underway to cement strong ties between Sunderland and Hong Kong.
He said: “Our links with the various campuses and facilities in Sunderland is closer than ever and we also benefit from learning from the experience of the University of Sunderland in London.
“We have refreshed our campus facilities and launched five new programmes here in Hong Kong – Msc Data Science; MSc Tourism and Hospitality; PG Certificate in Leadership and Change; BA (Hons) Business and Management; and BA (Hons) Business and Marketing top up.
“There has been positive feedback from the students, the greatest change we have observed is their stronger sense of identity as students of the University of Sunderland.
“Students have also expressed a desire to experience the Sunderland student life on campus more fully, and we have arranged several ongoing initiatives to address this such as having a common space for their use and recreational activities such as board games and free classical guitar lessons.
“We have organised career talks, recruitment days and workshops on CV writing and interview skills.”
So what are the plans for the future – and just where will the campus be in five years time?
“Well, closer integration with the UK campuses,” says Steven. “We have organised a working group which will work out in detail plans to implement the ‘One Programme – Two Location’ initiative for Hong Kong students studying for a term or more in either Sunderland or London and vice versa.
“We will be broadening our portfolio of programmes to better suit the needs of the Hong Kong market, as well as approaching secondary schools to increase awareness of what we offer.
“In five years time, our systems will be fully integrated with the University and we will expand our student base in both local and international recruitment as part of our plan to develop the Hong Kong Campus as the Asian hub of the University of Sunderland.”
The campus offers a variety of courses for students from Bachelors’ degrees with honours to top up degrees and post-graduate programmes.
No stranger to Asia, the University has had long-standing success for the past 20 years, having partnered with HKU Space and Hong Kong College of Technology.
There are more than 5,700 alumni in Hong Kong and the University is recognised by the Hong Kong Education Bureau
For more information on The University of Sunderland in Hong Kong please visit the website https://www.sunderland.edu.hk/