Structure and History

The successful institutionalisation and continuing expansion of the Common Core as a pivotal programme for all the HKU undergraduates and for the university as a whole has been strongly supported by a legacy of university innovation, collegial service from across all 10 Faculties, and the leadership of a range of dedicated individuals.


Under the leadership of the Senior Management Team—and in particular with the guidance of Professor Ian Holliday, the Vice-President and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Teaching & Learning—the Common Core Curriculum is currently governed through two pillars of the Teaching and Learning Committee: The Teaching and Learning Quality Committee (TLQC) oversees the quality assurance and quality enhancement (QA/QE), while the Academic Board (AB) oversees academic development.

Established under the Academic Board, the Common Core Curriculum Committee coordinates the development and selection of Common Core courses for recommendation to the Senate, establishes and monitors assessment procedures and processes, including the nomination of examiners, and promotes and monitors the quality of the curriculum for the TLQC.

Current Committee Members (2023-24)

Prof Pauline Chiu (Chair), President’s Office and Faculty of Science
Prof Ian M. Holliday, President’s Office
Prof Julian A. Tanner, Common Core Office and Faculty of Medicine
Dr Jack Tsao, Common Core Office
Dr Christelle Not, Faculty of Science
Prof Shihui Feng, Faculty of Education
Prof Kaimin Shih, Faculty of Engineering
Prof Benjamin Kane, Faculty of Sciences
Prof Karen Laidler, Faculty of Social Sciences
Prof Tim Gruenewald, Faculty of Arts 
Prof Joe Y.F. Lau, Faculty of Arts
Prof Hugo Horta, Faculty of Education
Prof Peter Cobb, Faculty of Arts
Prof Liz Jackson, Faculty of Education
Dr Maurice K.S. Tse, HKU Business School
Prof Jiangnan Zhu, Faculty of Social Sciences
Prof Xiao Hu, Faculty of Education
Prof David Palmer, Faculty of Social Sciences
Prof Herman Cappelen, Faculty of Arts

Past Committee Members

Prof Umberto Ansaldo
Prof L.C. Chan
Prof Joseph Chan
Dr Julie Chen
Dr Peter Cheung
Dr Cecilia L. Chu
Mr Gwyn Edwards
Prof Louise Edwards
Dr Chris Fraser
Dr Benoit Guénard
Dr Courtney Fung
Dr Marie-Paule Ha
Prof Edwin Hui
Prof Gray Kochhar-Lindgren
Dr Travis Kong
Dr Frederick Lee
Prof Becky Loo
Prof T.L. Lui
Prof Gina Marchetti

Prof Patrick Ng
Prof Timothy O’Leary
Dr Nicol Pan
Dr Robert Peckham
Prof David Pomfret

Prof Mike Prosser
Mr Mathew Pryor
Dr Jeffrey Saunders
Dr Gang Song
Prof James Tang
Prof George Tham
Dr Xiaoli Tian
Dr N.K. Tsing
Prof Amy Tsui
Dr Roland Vogt
Dr Xiaojun Yan
Dr Esther Yau
Dr Isaac Yue

Past Directors and Associate Directors

Professor Gray Kochhar-Lindgren (Director, 2014 – 2022)

Gray was the Director of the Common Core from June 2014 until December 2022. Focused on building an intersecting series of F2F, hybrid, and online learning platforms for students and colleagues, he coordinated efforts to expand the flexibility of course types, enhance the interactivity of large and small courses, and support students’ co-curricular projects. During his directorship, he initiated connections with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), expanded regional and global partnerships with the invention of Hong Kong Learning Partners (HKLPs), GLADE (Global Liberal Arts Design Experiments), the facilitation of CLASS (China Liberal Arts Summer Sessions), and deepened attention to the Transdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Initiative, including Critical Zones: Gender, Cities, and Well-Being, the More-Than-Human-City (a Global Action Lab with Utrecht University), among others. An Advance HE Principal Fellow, Gray also served as the Team Lead for a UGC and HKU Outstanding Teaching Awards (Team) for Transdisciplinarity-in-Action and is a member of the first cohort of HKTEA (Hong Kong Teaching Excellence Alliance). With a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies, Gray’s scholarship focuses on intersections of philosophy, literature, critical theory, the arts, urban spaces, and university learning practices across multiple scales. 

Dr Nicol Pan (Associate Director, 2017 – 2020)

Nicol was the Associate Director of the Common Core from 2017 to 2020. With a PhD in Education from HKU, she was an educational researcher and instructional designer in eLearning and virtual reality. During her leadership, Nicol expanded the Common Core’s civic engagement by coordinating strategic community projects, including Intergenerational Participatory Co-Design Project, Mindfulness and Meditation with Tsz Shan Institute, and Diversity in Sham Shui Po, with the production of a mini-documentary screened at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.

Professor Gina Marchetti (Acting Director, Dec 2013 – Aug 2014)

Gina served as interim Director of the Common Core Curriculum and was a Professor of Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Arts and Convenor for Global Issues Area of Inquiry. Gina is a leading author in world cinema and has published many books, including “Yellow Peril”: Race, Sex and Discursive Strategies in Hollywood Fiction (Berkeley: University of California, 1993), The Chinese Diaspora on American Screens: Race, Sex, and Cinema (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2012), Citing China: Politics, Postmodernism, and World Cinema (Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi, 2018). She has taught in various universities, including Zhongshan University in Guangzhou, China; Nanyang Technological University in Singapore; Ithaca College in New York; and the University of Maryland-College Park. Gina is now the Chair of the Department of Humanities and Media Studies (HMS) in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the Pratt Institute in New York.


Mr Gwyn Edwards (Director, Sep 2012 – Dec 2013 / Partial Launch Sep 2010 – Sep 2012)

Gwyn was actively involved in various capacities with the Common Core Curriculum from the time it was first mooted in 2006 until his retirement in 2014. During this period, working with colleagues across campus and under the leadership of Professor Amy Tsui, the inaugural Pro-Vice Chancellor of Teaching and Learning, he played a vital role in the conceptualisation, development, implementation, evaluation and administration of the Common Core Curriculum, as well as the establishment of the Common Core Office. He served as the inaugural Director of the Common Core Curriculum during the partial launch period from September 2010 to September 2012 and after the full launch from September 2012 to December 2013. As a researcher, Gwyn’s main interests were curriculum change, geographical /environmental education, interdisciplinarity, and professional identities. His publications include Change and the Curriculum (co-written with Geva M. Blenkin and A. V. Kelly, 1992), Experience and Education: Towards an Alternative National Curriculum (co-edited with A. V. Kelly, 1998) and Learning in School University Partnership: Sociocultural Perspectives (co-edited with Amy B. S. Tsui and Fran Lopez Real, 2009). Gwyn was awarded a University Teaching Fellowship by the University of Hong Kong in 2000-2001 in recognition of his excellence as a teacher.