Harnessing the Transformative Power of Liberal Arts Education

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A QS Showcase message from Professor Leonard K Cheng, president of Lingnan University in Hong Kong

“The liberal arts education provided by Lingnan University prepares students for success and transforms them into global citizens.”
Professor Leonard K Cheng
President and Chair Professor of Economics

I am often asked why a liberal arts education is important in the 21st century. While the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields continue to offer good career prospects to graduates, many jobs will become redundant or change dramatically with the rise of artificial intelligence and other forms of automation in today’s rapidly evolving world. Liberal arts education is the type of education which teaches students how to think and communicate. It is my firm belief that the knowledge and abilities gained through such an education are more important than specialised knowledge or skills.

The liberal arts education provided by Lingnan University prepares students for success, and transforms them into global citizens. We aspire to provide our students with the best whole- person education, supported by our broad- based interdisciplinary curriculum, close faculty- student relationships, full hostel residency, global exchange and internship opportunities, and long-established Service-Learning programmes. This unique educational approach not only equips students for a rewarding career but gives them the ability to think critically, show care and respect for nature and humanity, and understand the world from multiple perspectives, all of which are essential for success in life. This isn’t just our opinion; many employers are very appreciative of our graduates for their humility, loyalty and interpersonal skills as well as their aptitude for performing well in their respective careers.

I see great opportunities and possibilities for Lingnan in the future, based on the recognition we received from Forbes magazine in 2015 as one of the top 10 liberal arts institutions in Asia and the significant leap in our QS rankings in Asia, from 142 in 2015 to 109 in 2016.

My goal is to elevate Lingnan to a new level of excellence, not only in the local landscape but throughout Asia and worldwide. To realise this goal, we will strengthen our collaboration with eminent international universities, and offer more academic programmes and research opportunities for outstanding students across the globe.

Lingnan will continue to demonstrate the value of liberal arts education and its distinctive position in the higher education sector. In doing so, the transformative power of the liberal arts education we provide will continue to produce outstanding leaders and socially responsible citizens.

Professor Leonard K Cheng became President of Lingnan University in Hong Kong in September 2013. Prior to joining Lingnan, he served as dean of the School of Business and Management of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) from 2009 to 2013. After receiving his MA and PhD in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, he taught at the University of Florida for 12 years before returning to Hong Kong where he became one of the founding members of HKUST and served as head of Economics, associate dean and  director  of  the PhD and MBA programmes of the HKUST Business School.