Message from Dean
It is my honour and privilege to take up the position of Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in its 50th year. The Faculty is recognized worldwide for the quality of its scholarship, being ranked 11th in the world (in “Social Sciences and Management”) by QS Top Universities for 2017, but more importantly is, in my experience, a wonderful place to work. I had a very enjoyable eight years in the Department of Psychology from 2006 to 2014, where I got to know many of the Faculty’s staff and taught a great many students! For the last three and a half years I was Head of the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, enjoying fresh air and cool temperatures. However, Hong Kong was never far from my mind, and I jumped at the opportunity to come “home.” In this new role I receive a lot of support from the Associate Deans and Department Heads, as well as the Faculty administrative staff, so I’d like to thank them all; in particular, I’d like to thank Professor Paul Yip, who is the new Associate Dean (Research). Thanks also to Professor George Lin and Dr Travis Kong who have recently stepped down from Associate Dean roles after making great contributions to the Faculty.
I come back to the Faculty at an exciting time in our development. Issues of identity, social cohesion, economic development, globalization, inequality, mental health, and community are all central pillars of research in Social Science, and increasingly have become topics of discussion at dinner tables and on smartphone screens in Hong Kong. As an institution with local knowledge but a global perspective we can see the similarities (and the differences) between social forces in Hong Kong and those that fueled Brexit in the UK, Trump in the US, and other social movements around the world. This context gives us tremendous opportunities to have real impact with our scholarship and our teaching, and to provide clear and obvious value to the community that sustains us.
By training I’m a Cognitive Psychologist so my research is focused on how we perceive the world and how we remember it. I trained in New Zealand and the US, and have worked in Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong (both HKU and CUHK). I’ve moved back to Hong Kong with my wife Sasha (a lawyer), and my children Max (age 14) and Alyssa (age 10), along with our 17-year-old cat Honda who we adopted in the New Territories (and who has now been around the world with us). In my spare time I like to go running, so you may see me running home from campus in the evening (usually quicker than being stuck in HK traffic!).
I look forward to you joining us as we set course for the next period in the Faculty’s history. We mark this moment with our Anniversary Dinner in December and I very much hope to see you there!
Professor William Hayward
Dean of Social Sciences