Nurturing Good Persons
An Interview with CKLC Master Prof Zhang Meifang

Text:Senior UM Reporter Sally Liang │ Photo:Jack Ho, Editorial Board

Prof Zhang Meifang, master of Cheong Kun Lun College (CKLC), is a renowned scholar in translation studies. Prior to joining the CKLC as its master, she served as the head of the Department of English at the University of Macau and made outstanding contributions to the university in both teaching and academic research. To her mind, both the residential colleges (RCs) and the faculties constitute indispensable components of the ‘4-in-1’ mode of education. Faculties focus on professional expertise, while RCs emphasise soft skills. The mission of the CKLC is to cultivate students to be ‘good persons who are sunny, honest, cooperative, and driven’.

Prof Zhang Meifang, College Master

Understanding the Real Needs of the Students

Prof Zhang earned her PhD degree in translation studies from Hong Kong Baptist University. Before joining UM, she served at Sun Yat-sen University, the University of Hong Kong, London Middlesex University, and the University of Cambridge, as a professor or visiting research fellow. Prof Zhang has a wealth of experience in supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students in translation studies. Her research interests mainly include translation studies, cross-cultural communication, and discourse analysis.

Years of working with students has enabled her to understand what the students really need. She believes that acquiring professional knowledge and skills is an important part of university education, but many soft skills, including interpersonal skills and leadership, are often developed through interaction with other people. Looking back on her college life, she recalls those nights when she and her roommates did homework together and chatted endlessly in bed, and how those experiences not only deepened her friendships with her roommates but also formed her communication skills. Today’s students are luckier, because the RC offers a wide variety of activities and programmes to help them make friends and develop soft skills.

“The CKLC offers a wide variety of activities and programmes
to help them make friends and develop soft skills”

Developing Multiple Competencies

With whole-person development at the core of the college mission, CKLC provides students with various experiential learning programmes, including service learning programmes, visits to mainland China, cultural trips, and visits to companies. These activities help students develop a sense of social responsibility, enhance their civic consciousness, and gain a better understanding of their country. Prof Zhang says, ‘The RC provides an excellent platform to help students adapt to college life and develop soft skills, especially those in the five Areas of Competencies. We will encourage our students to serve the disadvantaged groups in Macao and China, so as to raise their awareness about serving others and foster in them a love of their homeland. We will organise activities to help students learn more about China and the Chinese culture. We will also expand our networks to create more opportunities for students to broaden their horizons and achieve well-rounded development.’

To her eye, CKLC is like a harmonious, friendly, inviting, and vibrant home where students live a healthy life. College activities, learning, and daily interactions help students develop communication skills, team spirit, leadership skills, and other important life skills. CKLC also supports students in their quest to explore their interests and improve their academic performance.