Visiting Scholar Scheme – The Platform for Evidence-Based Practice Knowledge Exchange

Professor Catherine Tang

Professor Catherine Tang

The Centre of Interdisciplinary Research in Evidence-Based Practice (CEBP) has endeavored to facilitate intellectual exchanges and sustainable research collaborations among faculty members, researchers and frontline practitioners since its establishment in 2017. To further inspire high quality research in the field of evidence-based practice (EBP) within Shue Yan community, CEBP has launched a visiting scholar scheme to invite overseas EBP experts to deliver a series of research support activities. Three distinguished scholars with different expertise were invited to conduct research trainings and provide advice on research strategic planning and proposal development to faculty members, which have significantly contributed to the development EBP research expertise and skills of both academics and students in the University.

Professor Catherine Tang – Evidence-based Psychology and Counselling

The Centre invited Professor Catherine Tang, the Professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the National University of Singapore (NUS) as the first visiting scholar from December 2018 to January 2019. Prof. Tang is a clinical psychologist with substantial experiences in adopting evidence-based approach to her professions. She was the Deputy Director of the Center for Family and Population Research and Co-chair of the Institutional Review Board at NUS. She was also the past Chairperson of the Singapore Register of Psychologists and the past Chairperson of Division of Clinical Psychology and a Fellow of the Hong Kong Psychological Society.

During Prof. Tang’s visit, four EBP training workshops were conducted to introduce the conceptual framework of EBP and the techniques of translating research evidence into practice. Prof. Tang also shared her views on forming research cluster for interdisciplinary research in EBP at the University and skills to publish in prestige and reputable journals. Moreover, Prof. Tang delivered three lectures to share her invaluable knowledge and expertise in the area of clinical psychology. Presentation topics covered how to treat adolescents with internet-related addictions and individuals with mild post-traumatic distress symptoms. The events attracted industry practitioners from various disciplines to attend, including clinical psychologists, counsellors, social workers and occupational therapists. All these events were very well-received which provided an interactive platform for academics, researchers and industry practitioners to engage in dialogue.

To further facilitate the learning of EBP concepts and explore the potential research initiatives, Prof. Tang hosted several consultative meetings with Department of Social Work, Business Administration, Sociology, Journalism and Communication, and Economics and Finance. Specifically, Prof. Tang shared her clinical experiences with the postgraduate clinical supervisors from Department of Counselling and Psychology to foster their professional development. Prof. Tang also participated in the poster presentation session presented by master students studying counselling psychology and provided advice on the skills of designing and implementing research in EBP.

Prof. Tang’s visit has offered opportunities to academics both within and outside Shue Yan to gain insight, skills and knowledge in conducting interdisciplinary research on evidence-based practice. A collaborative network among Shue Yan community and professional practitioners has also been established which is essential to the joint development and implementation of EBP projects. For example, the Centre established connection with Dr. Candice Ling, Clinical Psychologist from New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (NLPRA) during the EBP training workshops for exploring the possibility of setting up EBP training programmes for their staff. It is envisioned that the prevalence of adopting evidence-based practice among different industries in Hong Kong will increase gradually, and will become a key contribution of social improvement especially in the areas of health care policies, education systems, and economic development in the long run.

Professor Bart Rienties – Evidence-based Learning Analytics

Professor Bart Rienties

Professor Bart Rienties

How to track learners’ performance, motivate their learning and create suitable learning environment are the questions raised among most researchers and educators all along. Learning analytics provides the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data of the learning context. It aims to optimize teaching strategy and learning experience. With the latest technology in education, learning analytics could interpret and optimize the learning and the environment, which becomes an important educational element for curriculum, teaching and learning.

The Centre invited Professor Bart Rienties, the Professor of Learning Analytics at the Institute of Educational Technology of the Open University UK, as the second visiting scholar from May to June this year. Prof. Rienties is an educational psychologist who focuses on learning analytics, computer-supported collaborative learning, and the role of motivation in learning. Apart from engaging practical and collaborative learning environments, his multi-disciplinary researches also studied internationalization in higher education.

During his two-month residency, Prof. Rienties provided a series of EBP workshops to our University’s research novice, experienced teachers and researchers, started with conceptual framework of EBP and ended with more in-depth interdisciplinary research in EBP. His expertise in learning analysis, learning design, learning motivation and cultural difference in learning strategies were also presented in other series of lectures and workshops which included the practices at Open University UK as case studies. All these lectures and workshops were rich of interactions and personal experience sharing to engage audience learning. A research novice commented Prof. Rienties’s lecture was fun and useful which provided good picture of EBP and learning analytics for her future studies.

Apart from lectures and workshops, Prof. Rienties also provided staff consultations with various teachers and staff from different departments in our University, including our Assistant Academic Vice President, Dr. Claire Wilson and the head of Department of Journalism and Communication, Prof. Leung Tin-Wai, and his colleagues. These meetings set a milestone for the future advanced development for learning analytics and learning design with technology at the University.

The Centre also connected Prof. Rienties to community out of our University. When Prof. Hiroaki Ogata, the Professor at the Academic Center for Computing and Media Studies and the Graduate School of Informatics from Kyoto University, visited Hong Kong for “2019 Symposium on Learning Analytics in Asia”, he was invited to join Prof. Rienties’s lecture and had a meeting afterward. Dr. Alex Chan from the Department of Counselling and Psychology of our University also had an appointment with Prof. Rienties with his student from the University of Hong Kong. Prof. Rienties was hence invited by Dr. Chan to be the keynote speaker at “Hong Kong Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Conference 2020” in June 2020, which aims to contribute in the current and future development of learning design in Hong Kong.

Professor Mark Learmonth – Evidence-based Management and Leadership

Professor Mark Learmonth

Professor Mark Learmonth

The third visiting scholar, Prof. Mark Learmonth, visited the University from late September to early October this year. He is a professor of Organization Studies at Durham University in United Kingdom, having previously worked at the Universities of Nottingham and York. Before academia, he was a health care administrator in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. He has conducted extensive qualitative research, all of which has been concerned, broadly speaking, with investigating the personal consequences of work. He has also written theoretically, combining almost two decades of experience in administrative posts, about topics including evidence-based management and leadership. With Centre’s objective of advocating interdisciplinary research in EBP, Prof. Learmonth’s visit could enhance the knowledge of EBP of the members in our Faculty of Commerce and broaden the research content with respect to his expertise in corporate leadership and skills in qualitative research to other faculties’ members.

In the first lecture by Prof. Learmonth, he opened the conversation on EBP with the differences, benefits and limitations of social scientific ‘evidence’ compared with medical healthcare ‘evidence’. Discussion was carried out between Prof. Learmonth and Dr. Kelly Peng, the Associate Professor in the Department of Business Administration, regarding the reliability and credibility of evidence-based management in practical aspect. In another lecture, Prof. Learmonth argued, with supplements of his recent co-authored book, that rather than suggesting greater benevolence, leadership was more likely to be camouflage for corporate interests. The participants responded actively with exchanging their views about the eligibility of being leaders. Prof. Learmonth also discussed issues regarding mission and vision to a leader in an organization with Dr. Margaret Wong, the Head of the Department of Social Work. In the last lecture, Prof. Learmonth shared his own approaches to qualitative research over the course of his career. Afterwards, he met one of the participants, who was an undergraduate student of our University and provided him some insights on research methods.

The Centre also arranged our University’s teachers, researchers and other staff to meet Prof. Learmonth individually during his residency. Our teachers from the Department of Business Administration and the Department of Social Work made appointment with Prof. Learmonth in discussion with their researches. In view of the plentiful teaching and research experience on evidence-based management and leadership from Prof. Learmonth, the Centre believes more EBP research experts can be developed by collaboration with professions.

Throughout all the lectures, workshops and consultations with the three visiting scholars from different disciplines, the Centre assisted the University to create a stronger EBP research atmosphere. It results the delivery of high-quality and/or large-scale interdisciplinary research projects in EBP with engagement to boarder network to benefit the University and the society.

All the lectures and workshops by Prof. Catherine Tang, Prof. Bart Rienties and Prof. Mark Learmonths are uploaded to YouTube. Details please visit https://ids.hksyu.edu/cebp/media-library.

Source: October Issue 2019

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